What is a CGM?
A CGM, or continuous glucose monitor, is a wearable device that allows you to track your blood glucose levels in real-time. Levels CGM is paired with an app on your iPhone that monitors your diets and activity choices to suggest changes to improve your health. Once the CGM is applied, you can take your iPhone to the sensor and click it (just like Apple Pay) and check your blood sugar without multiple needle pricks a day. The Levels app lets you know how the food you eat and your activity levels directly impact your blood sugar.
How to Apply a Levels CGM
A Levels CGM kit comes with an applicator tool and sensor device to painlessly attach your device to the back of your arm and conceal it with the Levels performance patch. The applicator has a small needle that allows the fiber that monitors your glucose levels to be inserted into the skin. It’s quick and easy to apply, and once you have it on it stays in place for 14 days and you won’t even notice it is there.
- Choose your placement for the sensor and disinfect it with an alcohol wipe. I place it on the fleshier part on the back of my arm.
- Remove the sensor and its seal, then insert it into the applicator to transfer it from its package into the applicator.
- Then, gently place it against your skin and push on the applicator to insert the fiber into your arm.
Once it is applied, you can scan over it with your iPhone and use the Levels app to start monitoring your glucose levels. For a quick tutorial on how I insert my CGM, check out the video here.
Why I Use Levels CGM
With a CGM, you can see exactly how the food you are eating affects your metabolic health. Our metabolisms are all unique so having a personalized understanding of our glucose levels takes the guesswork out of what we should and should not be eating to maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
Metabolism refers to how our body uses food for energy. After a meal, our digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates and produces glucose. Glucose is a primary source of chemical energy in the human body. Insulin, secreted by the pancreas, helps shuttle glucose from the blood into cells for energy or storage. Carbohydrates (sugar and starch) have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels. Eating a mix of macronutrients (like the FAB 4 - protein, fat, fiber, and greens) can blunt blood sugar spikes, elongate your blood sugar curve to decrease cravings, and keep you fuller for longer.
Why You Should Use a CGM
Blood glucose changes throughout the day depending on what you eat, your activity levels, caffeine intake, and stress. When our blood sugar levels spike and remain elevated, our bodies can become insulin resistant which impacts the way our body stores and uses energy. I use CGMs with my clients so they can start to learn how specific foods affect their blood sugar, how pairing foods can support energy levels, and how poor sleep decreases insulin sensitivity and makes most of us crave sugar and jump on a blood sugar roller coaster.
Before this technology, I strategically used a handheld glucometer to track fasting glucose and the most common meals. Connecting their choices with a diagnostic tool and recognizing symptoms made the most positive impact on change. Now, Levels CGM has simplified and accelerated how my clients can track their glucose and make immediate changes from the results.
If someone wants to track change, we throw away the scale and use a glucose monitor. Blood sugar balance is going to have the most positive impact on our overall health in the long term. From preventing chronic lifestyle diseases like type two diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome to giving my clients real data on how they respond to that venti iced coffee, how they can enjoy a donut without crashing (hint: we had grass-fed sausage before we picked up donuts this weekend), and how good it feels to eat whole foods!
If a CGM isn’t for you, here are the things I recommend to maintain healthy blood sugar levels:
- How you break your fast matters most, so make sure you’re getting enough protein (aim for 20 to 30 grams) to feel full and satisfied. Starting your day with a savory meal that contains protein, fat, fiber, and greens is especially important to maintaining balanced blood sugar throughout the rest of the day and limiting sugar cravings later on.
- The Fab 4 lifestyle is key to maintaining your blood sugar levels within a normal range. Ditch the processed foods and liquid sugar, and swap to whole foods. Adding fat, fiber, and protein to a carbohydrate-dense meal can lessen glucose spikes and keep blood sugar more steady.
- Stay Hydrated. Use sugar free electrolytes to replenish your body’s fluids. Electrolytes are essential for keeping your nervous system and muscles functioning, and proper hydration increases blood volume which decreases milligrams per deciliter, basically diluting the glucose in your blood stream. My favorite sugar-free electrolyte drink is LMNT, which I drink daily.
- Move your body after each meal. A walk around the block, climbing some stairs in your office building, jumping on your bike, playing with your kids, any movement works. Movement allows for the uptake of glucose into your muscles and it’s the fastest way is to bring elevated blood sugar back down and make you feel better.
- Sip on Apple Cider Vinegar before a meal. The acetic acid in vinegar slows down the rate at which the stomach empties the food you’ve eaten into the small intestine, which in turn slows the breakdown of carbohydrates and gives the body more time to remove glucose from the blood.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as irritability, inability to focus, obsessively thinking about food, shaky, blurred vision, or a headache, this may be due to high glucose levels. Blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance are all linked to diabetes, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Keeping your blood sugar in check is essential to feeling your best and avoiding other health issues down the line. It’s totally normal to have glucose excursions, but it is how you come out of them that matters. With Levels and the Fab 4 method, I am able to monitor and maintain elongated blood sugar levels and stay feeling my best all day long.