TBD. Great guys. As it relates to my own experience, and this is what was so fascinating is that we traditionally look at metabolic health as binary. It’s like you’re healthy. Then something happens to you and you’re not healthy any more.
Most people ask that question is like, “When you’re talking about metabolism, am I metabolically healthy?” What we’re needing to do is reframe this entire conversation. It’s not binary.
We all live on the spectrum of metabolic function. That’s called metabolic fitness. The same way we go into the gym, and we train our strength through focus, effort, and repetition. That applies to all of the lifestyle choices we’re making throughout the day, which build into a hormonal environment, a chemical environment in our bodies that determine whether or not we’re functioning properly.
For me, throughout my life, I’ve been focusing on the physical fitness piece, been focusing on strength and conditioning, putting up big weight, running fast, those were my metrics for health. It’s important for sure. There are several other levers. Those are sleep, stress control, and nutrition. I had never paid enough attention there.
I had always been the type of person’s like, “I can outwork any diet. I’m a machine. As long as I have the right mindset, I’ll be able to go without sleep. I’ll be able to manage my stress levels. That’s for other people to worry about.” The realization that I had with CGM extended well beyond the foods I was eating to the environment I was building for myself.
I realized that by watching how my body responded, the value of sleep specifically. Going from, let’s say, a red-eye flight, jumping off and going straight to work and working a 16-hour day. Seeing how my body responded to something like that, which was to say disastrously blood sugar elevated fasting level in a dangerous borderline pre-diabetic or pre-diabetic zone.
Every meal I ate, major blood sugar elevations, and shortly thereafter, reactive crashes, horrible energy dysfunction, needing tons of coffee versus stringing together multiple days of high quality, eight hours of restful sleep, shutting down, winding down before asleep, not going straight from email into bed.
Seeing how dramatic the difference was, the quality of sleeping being at stake was totally mind-blowing to me. It really drove home that this science, it’s legitimate and applies to me, and stress.
[laughs] I have had a stressful meeting where without eating anything, I’m sitting there, my blood sugar has gone into a pre-diabetic state, a post-meal pre-diabetic zone, by basically the cortisol that is flooding my system and creating a fight or flight scenario.
Cortisol, it’s a hormone that falls into the glucocorticoid territory. It tells the liver, “You’re in danger. You need to produce a ton of energy to escape this.” Your liver starts flooding your system with blood sugar.
What’s fascinating about that is that in the gym this is exceptional. It’s going to give you all the fuel you need for your muscles to function properly and get that workout done. When you’re sitting at a desk and stressing out about emails or stressing out about that complex project you’re working on day after day, this is creating hormonal mayhem.
This is what was happening to me. I was working crazy, stressful environment and not sleeping well. Those were the factors that were dominating my life. Add into that the fact that I was guiding my nutrition based on the Internet and based on friends at the gym whatever was working for them, I was doing that.
It was not at all nuanced. It wasn’t formulated for me. I was eating hundreds of grams of carbohydrates thinking I needed to replenish glycogen or carb load for a workout. I was causing these huge blood sugar elevations and dealing with the hormonal consequences thereafter.
Seeing all this stuff in real time from my body in front of my face, it led to embracing mindfulness breathing techniques, stress management, sleep hygiene, seven to nine hours of sleep at all costs. Then de-emphasizing workout specifically in favor of a balanced recovery and workout scheme, and then of course, nutrition changes.