I Tried A Glucose Monitor - CGM - For 3 Months -- Here’s What I Learned About Metabolic Health and Blood Sugar

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I tested a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for 3 months, and I share my learnings from that experience. We discuss healthy blood sugar, pre-, and post-meal workouts, meal timing, and sleep as they impact our glucose levels. If you're thinking about getting a CGM or are curious about my experience, check this out!

This right here is a CGM. I've been wearing it for about a month, maybe a little bit over a month. I'm going to share some of the insights that I learned while using the CGM, and I have it connected to my device here. It's on my phone, and I can track my blood sugar in real time. It tracks every five minutes.

So having this patch right here on my arm, it's actually not intrusive and the data is just amazing. It is so useful to having that tracked real time that I don't want to take it off honestly, but the point is to get a lot of data as much as you can by trying a diverse range of foods and things that you were curious about.

And in what context you're having those foods. Are you doing a workout before or after? How much of the food are you eating? How much water do you have in your system? There are so many variables that go in and so many factors that we have when we are thinking about food and in what context and how that impacts our blood sugar.

So how was the process of actually putting it on? All right, so as you can see, there is a sticker here and it's actually covering the device. So what it is a sensor. There's a piece of plastic, and then you have a sensor that goes in and then you cover it with this sticker, and that's to prevent it from getting wet.

So if you are active, if you're swimming, if you're taking showers, if you're sweating a lot, if you're doing a lot of activity and you don't want it to be, getting impacted, then you're going to want to have the sticker on. But you might have seen people with a different version and they don't have the sticker on.

That would probably be Because they don't need it necessarily. But if you are an active person and you really move around a bit, then you probably want to have some sort of protection for it. So you put it in with a sort of It's a device that you just you click on it and you'll hear the device go in and you don't necessarily feel the needles.

It is more psychological than anything and there is a psychosomatic response in a way that you have. Because if you, depending on what part of your body you put it on, some people put it on their abdomen, some people put them on their triceps. You probably will not feel it. I. Sometimes if you hit a nerve, you might feel it a little bit then but for the most part you don't feel it.

And honestly, like I, the first time I had it, I think it was on this arm, I thought I was going to feel it, and I was psyching myself out. I was worried about the needles, but you honestly don't feel it. And the needles are very thin. They're very small. It's sampling your blood every five minutes, and it's just remarkable.

This type of technology and the fact that we have access to it. So this is the one I'm wearing is the Signos CGM. You can see the S right there, and it is something that you can get as a prescription. It can be prescribed to you. You have to order it, and if you are non-diabetic, you have to get permission for it.

So I'm testing my blood sugar. I wanted to see what my levels were at. I want to see what my fasting glucose is. I want to see what my glucose is when I am eating fruit, when I am doing my low glycemic, normal eating patterns that I have when I'm working out. When I'm in the sauna. I want to see how my blood sugar is impacted by the foods that I eat.

I want to see it when I'm going out to eat with friends or if I'm in a situation where I don't have full control over my meal because somebody just plops down a beautiful plate of something in front of me and that's the only option there is to eat. And I don't want to be rude and say I'm not going to eat that food.

So there we are. We have that food. That might not be something that I prepare, but I'm going to eat it anyway Because one, it's good food. Two, I don't want to be rude. It looks amazing so there those situations as well. And it's super helpful to have something like this where you can really hone in and see what's happening.

So the way it works is you set it up on your phone and. You want to be aware of, calibration. So first you calibrate it. So the first two hours after you have the device in, you are going to let it calibrate. And what that means is you don't have anything to eat. You can only have water. I believe you can have black coffee, just plain black coffee.

I've done that once, but I didn't do it this last time. And you're not supposed to move, You're not supposed to do any exercise. You're not supposed to be doing any, movement really. You want it to be such that you're just letting it do its thing while it calibrates. And then after two hours you can carry on with your day, do your workout, get some food in your system.

And just, see what happens. So I love, love, love having the information here on my phone because I can just look at it in real time, see what's happening. And when a spike is happening, it will tell you it'll beep. You can actually get alerts if it goes too high or too low. 

One thing that really surprised me was fruit. So I am a big, I honestly sometimes say I would be a fruit of war if I could, but I also, don't necessarily want to be eating that much fruit. But when I have a piece of fruit, let's say it was a peach, for example, I had a peach. I started going into the threshold that I don't want to be in beyond my safe threshold. And so I immediately got on my bike and I did that for 20 minutes and it brought it down substantially. So I was out of the danger zone. And by danger zone, I mean it went a little bit above my threshold, the one that kind of surprised me a little bit. Okay, so here's the thing about the context.

So rice is notorious for raising blood sugar, for giving you those spikes. And we know about white rice and we know about brown rice. So I tested white rice and we were at dinner with friends and they served a delicious meal. It was arroz con pollo, so it was chicken with rice. It was absolutely delightful and I definitely had a nice portion of it, but, I did not spike and that was very interesting because I thought I was going to spike and I didn't.

I am starting to realize that I had done a 30 minute semi high intensity bike ride before the meal, and I had also had a week of really good low glycemic, steady blood sugar balancing foods eating. So I was going into that meal with that, and I also had a lot of fiber. So that is a lot of good things in terms of keeping your blood sugar balanced.

Now I had a very similar meal to that in another social setting with friends. It was also chicken and rice. This time it was brown rice and it was chicken, and I also had a lot of veggies with it. The two differences was that I did not do any activity beforehand, and then I also had a week of not that great eating because I was not fully in control of my schedule. We were on a trip and it was a situation where, it was very communal and there were a lot of, meals with people and you can't, make separate meals necessarily in those settings Because it was being served to us. And so it's one of those situations where you have to think about the bigger picture and the balance.

And it's also why I am very aware of what I'm eating during the times where I have full control over my schedule, over my food, over my meal timing and all of that, which gives me some leeway when I want to be social, which when I want to be around people, when I want to be around friends and family, and they might be on a different schedule.

And that's also really important, right? It helps with mental health as well, just being around people we love. It's not just sticking to your schedule all the time. You could do that, but it might not be the best way of getting the most of out of life, right?

That's one way of interpreting that. But the point I want to make here is that these two meals were very similar in terms of macro nutrient content, but timing was different, activity was different the preceding days were also different. And so my blood sugar went up so high, it went up higher than even after having done the glucose tolerance test.

Okay, so we didn't talk about the glucose tolerance test. The glucose tolerance test, you do that, I believe, the second or third day of your first CGM insertion, and that is basically a sugary drink. Think of it as like a soda or a Sprite or something like that. It's a clear soda liquid, and. It's not, It's just the syrup it's not the carbonation. So it's like a Sprite without the carbonation, and you have that first thing in the morning before any activity, before any other food, so you're not lining your stomach with delightful fiber to blunt that stunt, to blunt that spike. You are just having it straight up. Okay. So I had that straight up.

That was a crazy experience because you just feel so out of sorts. Like you can actually feel your blood sugar doing crazy things. So it goes up super high and then you'll have that crash from the sugar of course, as we know. 

And so the rice that I had with that meal, the chicken and rice meal that I had, that second time the rice made my blood sugar spike like crazy.

It was awful. The next day I felt so horrible, and then because it was a week of a lot of spiking, it took me when I got back to my schedule, my own routine the regimen that I have for myself with my activity and my food and my eating patterns and my time restricted feeding, it took me, I kid you not a week to get my levels back to where I want them to be.

So that to me was very surprising because I thought that, when you are a little bit off your schedule and you have your sometimes foods or your fun foods, and you're off your schedule, then you'll just bounce back the next day. Easy peasy. Not necessarily. If you maybe did it just that one day or that one meal, okay, you might bounce back the next day, but if you did a week of that, let's say you were on a trip or you were on vacation, you were on holiday, you were with friends, you were with people that don't necessarily do the same things you do health wise.

Your blood sugar might also go a little crazy. And so to get that back, it might take a week. And it was really interesting Because I could feel it like it would be elevated at night, so it wouldn't be in like the danger zone, but it would be higher than I than the baseline, right? So I brought my baseline back over the course of a week and that was reassuring because it just, made me realize that what I'm doing is not, I'm not doing it in vain there's a purpose to it. And the low glycemic foods and the timing and the exercise around it is all beneficial. 

The other thing that was interesting was that sleep. If I was sleep deprived, my glucose would be higher. My spikes would be more like, of course, every time after you eat, there will be a little bit of a spike.

That happens, but depending on what you eat and the content of what you eat and the amount of what you eat, the spike will vary. So if it's a very sharp spike, like a dramatic spike, that probably means that you had probably, it might could have been sugar or refined carbs, but if it was like a little spike, which you're going to have after your meal, that would probably be from a low glycemic food.

So for example, if you had a salad with fish and olive oil and some nuts and seeds, then you're going to spike, but it's not going to be a dangerous spike. It's going to be a little bit of a spike and the way to, to get that back to baseline, which, you can do if you want to go on a walk for 20 minutes or do a bike.

Then you can totally do that. I have found that the most, the best way to get my blood sugar to stabilize after a spike or to blunt a spike and to prevent that spike from happening. Because you'll see it in the app. It'll show you like, oh, and it'll tell you, Oh, blood glucose levels are rising fast.

If you want to blunt this or if you want to stop it, you'd better do some activity and they'll tell you what heart rate you should be targeting. So I appreciate that. That's, that's good stuff. But the other thing is that I found that the bike, so we have an indoor bike and it takes it down like crazy.

It is. I've this is the first time I'm trying a, I'm trying a CGM. I did not expect that. I thought maybe a walk would do it or a run in place. A run in place gets you there, you get your heart rate up and it works, but not to the same extent that the biking does.

And I'm doing zone two biking right when I'm doing this. And so it's not my max heart rate by any means. Sometimes I get, if I start seeing a spike, let's say the most disappointing for me was fruit. That to me it just it's such an annoying thing to see, and I'll have it like I never have fruit just by itself.

I'm talking fruit at the end of a meal. That's like a hearty meal filled with fiber, mostly fiber, good protein, healthy fats. I'll spike. So I had a small pear the other day. It was not, , it was amazing. I had it with yogurt and cinnamon and I sprinkled a couple of crushed up almonds in there. It was delightful.

And then I spiked. Again. It wasn't dangerous, but it was like on its way up into the danger zone. So I got on that bike and I pedaled to the metal and I brought that thing down and it went all the way down. And then afterwards, it's stabilizes, right? So then it goes like up and then down, and then it stabilizes.

And you really want to be looking for that stable. Stable variance. So that's something that's really important. But if you can try to do your postprandial walk after every meal if you can. And even before, it's really helpful too, right? Like when I had the first rice and chicken that was coming in after a bike ride, which was amazing.

I will say that if I start seeing a spike happening, I will go more like zone three, zone four, zone five. Because I'm like, I need to get this down. Do not do this to me. What are we doing? Get it back down. But I'm telling you, the most disappointing thing for me was the peach that I had seeing that spike and then the pear.

So that to me just says I better get on a bike afterwards. I'll still have those, but I'm just going to get on a bike afterwards and I'm going to, I'm going to play around with maybe having half of the fruit. So tonight I'm going to see if I can get away with half of the fruit, if that's going to not spike as much, so that'll be interesting to test.

The other surprise that I thought was interesting was after my sauna. So I had a pretty heavy duty leg workout and it didn't really spike in my workout. Like it went a little bit higher than baseline, but it wasn't crazy Because sometimes it does go above that. But then right after my leg workout, I hopped into the sauna and I did a 22 minute sauna.

And it was hard. And it was hot, and I had, I was pretty well hydrated. I had two liters. I did it in the morning, so I had my two liters, maybe I was even going into three liters of water. And I did that and it spiked into the danger zone, but it was not a dangerous it was like, so if it was a food induced spike that would've been being in the red zone could have been dangerous. You want to minimize the number of spikes you have in terms of keeping yourself metabolically healthy and making sure that you are insulin sensitive, not insulin resistant. The goal is insulin sensitivity. And so the way to do that is to have a low glycemic food pattern and be active and to minimize spikes.

So when I saw that from the sauna, I was like really alarmed. So I got in touch with my wellness advisor and she sent me a nice message explaining to me why it's not a red flag when you have a non-food spike induced spike, non-food induced spike. So it was a sauna induced spike or an exercise induced spike.

Those are different. So that's just something to be aware of. And. If you're doing the sauna and you notice and you're wearing a CGM and you notice that you spiked from that, don't worry, don't be alarmed. It is part of the process. 

And the other thing I'll say is if you have very sodium rich foods, that's what happened to me on the trip and yeah, spiking happened, again, so much data. What's amazing about the CGM is that what foods might spike your glucose might not spike someone else's glucose. So for some people that is oatmeal. I've tested oatmeal and I was okay with it. I'm going to test it again and we'll see. It was after a 20,000 step hike, so that could have been, that probably blunted the spike.

But if I were to just have oatmeal, without having done activity or maybe less activity, let's see what happens. I'm curious about that. So I'm going to test that out. I'm going to still keep, I'm going to keep eating my fruit. I'm just going to be smart about it. And I am going to also see play around still with the sauna, see what happens with that, and just not be alarmed if it spikes.

And the other thing is I want to test out hummus. For my husband hummus spiked and I make homemade hummus and it was really good. I actually had not been eating it because I was like worried of, spiking Because it spiked him his blood lo glucose. But then I tried it and it was fine. So that's something to be aware of.

We know bigger picture, we know for a fact that sugar refined carbs, refined sugars, that is definitely going to spike. Fruit can as well. But it depends on the nature of the fruit. So berries for me when I have my berry smoothie, does not spike. Bananas in the smoothie. That is a for sure spike.

I haven't tried mango yet. I really like mango in the summer. I'm going to try that. I think that's going to spike. But again, if you can figure out what the right quantity is to not have that spike or to prevent that spike, then that's probably what you can do If you want to include fruit, Because fruit's really nice.

You can still get the nutrients that you need from other food, like that's non fruit. But then you have fruit, like avocado, right? Avocado is a fruit technically. But it did not spike. The berries I had raspberries. I think blackberries, blueberries did not spike.

For some people blueberries can spike their glucose. So it really just depends. The ones we know for sure. Rice, white bread, probably all bread. I haven't tested all the bread, I'm not much of a bread eater it's not something that I have mostly in my day. But I would be curious to see if a hardy, nutty brown country bread, like a hardy one would spike.

And how does it compare to a, like a regular, like a white bread spike? So that would be interesting. So much data. So interesting, so many things to test and play around with. And then just giving you solace in knowing that the. If you are a non spiker , if you know how to balance your blood sugar, then keep doing what you're doing.

And if you don't have a CGM, but you're thinking about getting it, I would say don't hesitate. Do one month of it, maybe do two months or three months if you can, but do one month of it and then test out different foods and see, and then try the same food in different contexts. So before exercise, after exercise. Testing out the quantity, testing out, like lining your stomach with fiber beforehand, so getting a lot of veggie in making sure you're hydrated. I did not mention hydration. I mentioned sodium, but hydration is key. That helps stabilize your blood sugar a lot. So you definitely want to be hydrated and avoiding like lots of sodium and just keeping your body replenished with water and liquid and ways of hydrating. 

So that is my little spiel on CGM and I would definitely consider trying it out if this is something that you're interested in. Otherwise, just if you ballpark, like what probably does not spike you and you've [00:22:10] eliminated refined sugars and refined carbs.

That is a huge step of the way, like that is, you're doing more than most people. So if you can do that and stick with it and do it maybe 90% of the time, then maybe you don't need a CGM. Like that was me before the CGM. Like I avoided refined sugars, refined cars, every now and then, it was okay, but 90% of the time at least low glycemic foods.

The big surprise for me, Because I'm someone who loves fruit and will continue to eat it, is, the fruit spiking. And then I just wanted to see like, when I'm off my schedule, what does that look like? How much of an impact does that make? And then how long does it take me to get back to baseline? I was very surprised that, not like having elevated glucose levels after those spikes or a spike even with foods that I'm not used to didn't make for pleasant sleep. So that was interesting as well. So my point there in sharing that is that you can sort see if you're not having good sleep and your meal was too heavy or you like overdid it on something, then you don't necessarily need a CGM to tell you that your glucose is out of whack.

So that's something to definitely, be aware of. Just checking your sleep, tracking your sleep closely, making sure that you're giving yourself enough sleep opportunity, meaning getting into bed as early as you possibly can. When you get tired and the adenosine kicks in and you're starting to get those heavy eyelids and you're ready to sleep, take advantage of that because that will do your blood glucose, lots and lots of favors.

It's all intertwined, folks. It really is. That's why I love the way of the holistic approach because there's so many components to it. If you are working out like crazy, but your nutrition is out the window or you don't work out, but your blood sugar is totally balanced, like that's one component.

But we really want to have all the aspects together. We want the metabolic health in order, we want the physical health in order, we want our brain health in order. Our heart health in order. We just want to be the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be, right? So that's why I wanted to hop in on here and share my experience with the CGM.

So that's it for me today. Send me your questions down below. Would you consider wearing a CGM? Have you tried a CGM? What are your blood sugar balancing foods and recipes? Share those with me and the community and I will see you in another IgnyteFit. All right, bye for now.