New Year, New You! As we kick off 2023, the season of resolutions is upon us once again. Millions of people around the globe have set ambitious goals for the year, hoping to better their minds, bodies, and spirits. Drink less. Save more. Eat healthier. Lose weight. Shedding a few (or more) pounds is one of the most common resolutions Americans set each year. Unfortunately, nearly a third of resolutions won’t even make it past January, and that can be even harder when your resolution is weight loss.
The diet industry is a massive and multi-billion dollar business in the United States, constantly promoting the latest exercise regime and diet protocol- most of which are touted as “quick fixes.” But restrictive diets are challenging to stick to and can do more harm than good (both physically and mentally)- leading many individuals to return to their old habits and pack on the pounds once again. Sometimes, more than what was lost in the first place. The truth is, crash diets will never work as well as long-term lifestyle changes. And while that can seem overwhelming from the outset, there are many tools you can utilize to help you achieve your goals. One of these tools is a continuous glucose monitor- or CGM.
What Is It?
Essentially, a CGM does precisely what its name suggests- it is a small, wearable device that monitors your glucose levels 24/7 without the need for a single finger prick! Most of us know or recognize a CGM in the context of being a diabetic and managing blood sugar. However, a CGM is so much more than that! It is for anyone who wants to know the state of their metabolic health. A CGM can help you see how your body processes glucose, how your numbers change based on the foods you eat and the activities you engage in, and even how your blood sugar responds to stress!
How Can a CGM Drive Weight Loss?
We know that most diets fail, and many return to their previous eating habits, ultimately regaining their lost weight. In fact, research suggests that up to 80% of those who embark on a diet will regain their lost weight. However, when you implement permanent lifestyle changes, you are much more likely to keep the weight off. A CGM is a great informational tool, the data of which will help you slowly and steadily drive behavioral changes.
The way your CGM reacts will be utterly unique to you. All of our CGMs will respond differently, even to the same foods. This can be due to how we pair our foods, our activity level, or how healthy our gut microbiome is (to name a few). In fact, you may discover things about the foods you are eating that surprise you (for instance, maybe your blood sugar spikes more than you thought it did). These are essential tools and data points for maintaining a healthy weight. For example: take note of what going for a walk after a meal can do or the impact pairing a high-carb meal with fiber has on your glucose levels. Each data point will help you develop (and stick to) healthier habits!
CGMs, like anything in medicine, are not for everyone. For instance, I’d highly caution against the use of a CGM for anyone who suffers or has suffered from an eating disorder. The information must be interpreted with moderation since not all wearables provide perfect data. And for everyone using the device: It is important to remember not to take the tool as an indictment on your body- simply as a guideline to take a look at your lifestyle and data on how you can improve. Remember, while maintaining a healthy weight is important, so is keeping a healthy mind. A CGM should be used under the directive of a doctor, so make sure to communicate if you develop obsessive thoughts or behaviors surrounding weight loss.
Knowledge is power- particularly when it comes to your health. The more data you can gather about your health, the more you can take steps to protect it. We start saving for retirement in our 20s and 30s- so why not do the same for our health? Invest now, and reap the rewards for years to come. A CGM is a wonderful investment you can make now, not just for your 2023 resolutions but for 2025, 2030, and beyond.