The Weight Loss Playbook
More protein, less carbs, stabilizing blood sugar
👋Hello, my friend. Labor Day is behind us and if we weren’t there already, I think we can agree that we’re now officially back to reality. With that, many of us are looking to get our routines - fitness, sleep, & nutrition - dialed in for the remainder of the year. Today’s newsletter may help you kickstart that process.
Here’s what I’ve got for you:
The latest episode of the Intentional Wisdom podcast
What I’ve learned wearing a CGM the last two weeks
A few nutritious additions to your content diet
Let’s do it.
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Ep.26 - Dr. Ashley Lucas - The Weight Loss Playbook
I came across Dr. Ashley Lucas and her business PHD Weight Loss a few months back after seeing a good friend drop 56 lbs in about six months using her program. I was intrigued and started to dive into her content - both podcast and YouTube channel.
I liked what I found and invited her to come on the podcast. Thankfully, she accepted and the result is this conversation.
What did we discuss? Basically everything you’d need to know about losing weight and/or improving body composition (what I’m personally aiming for). We get super-specific in this conversation about topics like:
How to measure body fat (and what targets to aim for)
Why eating to stabilize blood sugar is so important (and how to do it)
How much protein we should be eating (hint: It’s a lot)
Recommended brands from protein bars to beef jerky
Ideas (and very specific recommendations) to get kids eating healthier
Breakfast ideas, smooth recipes, & what to put in your coffee (hint: NOT oat milk)
And what Dr. Ashley thinks about Ozempic and the new GLP-1 weight loss drugs
I learned some new info here that I’m already applying myself. If you want to improve your own body composition, I think this one may help you.
What I’ve Learned From Wearing a CGM
As part of my ongoing to effort to wear out my welcome at my doctor’s office, I recently got him to write me an Rx for a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
Why? This is yet another recommendation that came from Peter Attia in his book Outlive and one that I discussed in pretty good detail in my conversation with Dr. Ashley.
Basically, the idea is that our blood glucose levels are great indicators of our metabolic health - or how efficient our bodies are at turning food into energy. Also, according to Dr. Ashley, if our goal is to lose weight or improve body composition, we need to forget about counting calories and start eating with the goal of stabilizing blood sugar.
I discuss my full experience in the podcast and I’ll likely write more about this topic (and maybe do a full podcast on it) in the near future but let me give you a few basic learnings in case it may help you.
I am wearing a FreeStyle Libre 3 from Abbott. You stick the sensor on the back of your arm and a small needle goes into your skin. It doesn’t really hurt.
It costs ~$37 if you can get insurance to cover it. Kind of a big “if.”
The sensor is good for 14 days (I got two of them so I can do it for a month) and you hook it up to an app which shows your blood sugar in real time.
The reason I wanted to try a CGM is that I was interested in learning how different foods may impact my blood sugar (as it can be quite individual) and then potentially either eliminate those foods or consume them in a smarter way.
Here’s a few conclusions I’ve had for myself after wearing it now for 10 days:
My fasting blood sugar (basically overnight) has been in the 80’s. I’m no doctor but my assessment is that that’s okay. According to Dr. Ashley, you want to see your fasting blood sugar under 100.
My “normal” daily diet doesn’t seem to spike my blood sugar much. But… huge caveat, I’ve been trying very hard to focus on high protein (130g + per day), low carb (<100g / day) + no added sugars. When I stick to that, I’m golden on the blood sugar. It’s staying sub-120 throughout the day.
But… I’ve had several events where I haven’t stuck to that over these 10 days and I’ve seen the effects:
3 non-alcoholic beers on the golf course - I drank these on an empty stomach all within about 1.5 hours. My blood sugar shot up to 160. That was a bit of a surprise but I was drinking Heineken 0.0’s which do have 16g of carbs each. When I’m normally <100g for the day, a quick shock of 48g in an hour shouldn’t have surprised me in spiking my blood sugar. Another reason to drink Athletic Light’s which only have 5g of carbs each.
I ate a bratwurst AND a hot dog (both on buns which are the problem) back to back at an MLS soccer game last week. Hey - give me a break, my 3-year-old refused to eat his hot dog and I couldn’t waste it… My blood sugar SHOT up to over 200. That was pretty shocking to see. I would have thought the protein/fat might have blunted that rise; it didn’t.
My wife and I had a massive 5-course anniversary dinner a few nights ago. It was probably the nicest meal I’ll have for 5 years. Lobster bisque. Sweet rolls. Cheeses. Scallops. Tuna. Chocolate Mousse. Some crazy s’more looking thing. A sweet N/A beverage. And a bunch of extra little amuse bouche and inter mezzo’s, if those are things. I clearly was not eating to stabilize blood sugar. Interestingly, my blood sugar rose (>150) which I expected to see. But the surprise was that it CRASHED about 45 mins later. It crashed all the way down to 64 and the app was sending me alert messages telling me I had really low blood sugar. Again, I’m no doctor so if anyone reading this has an opinion on that - or wants to diagnose me with anything, just leave a comment on this article. I’m okay crowdsourcing my health. My takeaway was basically that “binge eating” does crazy things to your blood sugar. And back to Dr. Ashley… calories in / calories out isn’t really what we should be optimizing for. Rather, we should be optimizing for the stabilization of our hormones via keeping blood sugar in a relatively constant range. This is critical if we want to lose weight and improve body composition. In other words, don’t do what I did. Or… just do it rarely.
Like I said, this has been an interesting experiment thus far. I’ve got another 20 days left and I’m going to get really specific trialing the impacts of different foods (and even brands) so I can better understand what my body reacts to and how I can optimize my own eating to focus on this factor. Let me know if this is something you’re interested in. I’ll keep you up to date on what else I learn.
Quick update…. since I wrote the section above, the sensor I was using went bad (from swimming in a pool). I got a new one and…. I’m getting TONS of low blood sugar warnings (like in the low 50’s). Super weird. Not sure if it’s a bad sensor or how I’m wearing it or… I really do have low blood sugar. I’m going to try yet another sensor and see what that tells me. We’ll see. 😬Ah, the life of a bio-hacking, self-experimenter…
That’s about it for this week, but before you go, don’t forget to add some of these to your…
Podcast: Here’s How the New Weight Loss Drugs Could Change Everything
Dr. Ashley gave one view on Ozempic and the new GLP-1 weight loss drugs: She doesn’t love them. Here’s another view, from an investor on Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast. I thought this was a super-interesting discussion about what these drugs are today and how they might develop in the years to come.
But then again……… maybe the more cautious view on Ozempic is right. Apparently, it causes quite a bit of muscle loss. Check out this very short video from Peter Attia on the subject.
Andrew Huberman on prayer and faith in God (YouTube clip - 11 minutes)
I don’t write much in this newsletter about religion - mostly because I don’t feel like I have any particular expertise on the subject. It’s no secret that my generation has, to make a mass generalization (pun maybe intended?), moved away from organized religion and favored other ways of finding meaning. But as we get older, it will be fascinating to see if that changes. Anyhow, this clip on how Dr. Andrew Huberman, one of science’s more well-known and vaunted figures, thinks about his relationship with God really struck me and I’ve been thinking about it.
Dr. Ashley Show - One more quick plug for Dr. Ashley’s content. Check out her podcast The Dr. Ashley Show and also her YouTube channel where she does a nice job discussing many of the topics covered in today’s newsletter.
YouTube episode - Finally, here’s the full YouTube version of my conversation with Dr. Ashley. If you haven’t yet subscribed to my YouTube channel… why not? It’s good. I promise.
Thanks for reading. See you in two weeks.