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Summer's Around The Corner, Time to Level Up

By Jordan Hill | March 18, 2021 | Food & Drink Lifestyle

LEVELS’ GAME-CHANGING TECHNOLOGY WILL TAKE YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS ROUTINE TO THE NEXT LEVEL.

Levels translates your CGM’s data, making it easy to read and interpret.
Levels translates your CGM’s data, making it easy to read and interpret.

Let’s face it—2020 did a number on my mental and physical health. While I tried to maintain an at-home workout routine and eat a relatively clean diet, I still ended the year drained thanks to one too many quarantine cocktails and a never-ending news cycle that wreaked havoc on my energy and stress levels. It was time for a change, and I was willing to try anything.

According to Dr. Casey Means, an easy way to keep blood sugar stable is to eat whole foods like fruits and veggie
According to Dr. Casey Means, an easy way to keep blood sugar stable is to eat whole foods like fruits and veggie

I first learned about Levels (@levels) through an influencer on Instagram (yes, I’m easily #influenced) and was immediately intrigued by the technology. While I’d tried different wearable devices that gave helpful insight into my daily activity and sleep patterns, I’d never heard of a device that could assess my body’s physical response to nutrition. So when an opportunity to test the technology presented itself, it didn’t take much convincing for me to jump on board.

I start my journey with a call from Dr. Casey Means. The Stanford-trained doctor, biomedical researcher and surgeon was inspired to join Levels’ team of forward-thinking founders by her passion for preventative healthcare. “Current research shows that only 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy,” she tells me. When she mentions that poor metabolic fitness presents itself in a spectrum of daily symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, depression, anxiety and “hangry-ness,” I begin to believe I’m part of the reverse statistic. Levels’ main goal, Means says, is to help Americans reclaim their metabolic fitness. Losing weight by finding your body’s ideal diet is simply an added bonus.

Studies show that exercise of any kind can improve metabolic fitness and glucose control.
Studies show that exercise of any kind can improve metabolic fitness and glucose control.

Because our bodies use glucose as the primary energy building block for our metabolism, the most effective way to determine someone’s metabolic fitness is through continuous glucose monitoring (or CGM as Means calls it). She explains that I will receive a monitor in the mail that will track my blood sugar in real time, and then send the information to my linked smartphone. The Levels software will take the data and translate it for the everyday user. “As opposed to giving them the raw glucose score, we actually gave a score on a scale of 1 to 10, which takes into account a number of glucose metrics that we know to be important,” explains Means. “If the food causes the blood sugar to spike, it will negatively impact its score.” For the next four weeks, I’d use the software to monitor my own health habits, with the goal of keeping my glucose levels as stable as possible. At the end, I’d have a better understanding of which foods and fitness techniques were right for my body.

The continuous glucose monitoring device is placed on the flat part of your upper arm
The continuous glucose monitoring device is placed on the flat part of your upper arm

I’m not nervous about the process until the Levels kit shows up at my door. I know that the installation process involves inserting a small, flexible needle under the first few layers of my skin, and as a person who faints at the sight of blood, I’m terrified. Means promised me the process would be quick and painless, and I’m thankful she didn’t exaggerate.

Each kit comes with sensor sleeves to protect the CGM
Each kit comes with sensor sleeves to protect the CGM

For the first few week, I go through my normal routine while scanning the sensor every four hours. I am blown away by how easy it is to both use and understand the technology. I can literally see my glucose levels rising and falling, and my daily comprehensive score hovers at around 70% (C’s get degrees?). By week two, the honeymoon phase is over. The Levels program guides me through a set of challenges designed to test my body’s response to certain foods. I learn that a serving of vinegar before a carb-heavy meal minimizes my body’s inevitable glucose spike, and that short post-meal walks can drastically improve my daily score—I resolve to make both part of my daily routine. By the start of week four, my score is nearly 90%.

By the end of the program, I no longer need my midafternoon caffeine break, and I’m sleeping better than I ever have before. While I haven’t lost a ton of weight, I find that I have a much greater appreciation for my body. I finally understand the meaning of “intuitive eating,” and I realize that I eat less, despite having heavier meals. While I’m sad to remove my CGM, I’m excited to keep implementing the knowledge I gained throughout the process. And I’m already planning to re-sign up for the program in a month or two so I can track my progress—if I can get past the 60,000-person waitlist, that is.



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