Anyone want to guess what I’m doing in this photo?
If you guessed ‘swabbing my mouth to get a genetic sample,’ DING DING DING! You’re right!
A few months ago, a company called Genetic Direction reached out and offered to send me, for free, a product called GxSlim, which puts together a custom weight loss program for you, based on your genetics. How sciencey! I was definitely intrigued. So I said yes, please send it!
They sent the DNA Swab kit, which had easy directions on how to obtain the sample and mail it off.
I’ve never seen this on a package before!
I also did a questionaire, where I provided my height, age, weight, how much I drink, smoke, and exercise, and stuff like that.
A few weeks later, I got an email saying my report was ready! Very exciting. I logged into their secure portal and…
…holy crap. It’s a huge report! You can download it as a PDF – mine was 47 pages. Or, you can just click through it on the website, where it’s easy to jump around to various parts of it and access additional information.
They look at your genetics in regard to four areas: Weight Loss Ability (the overall way your body responds to diet and exercise), Food (how your body utilizes carbs, protein, and fat), Nutrients (your body’s tendency to absorb various vitamins), and Exercise (the various ways your body responds to strength training and cardio.)
Sound overwhelming? It is. It’s a lot to take in. I poured over it until my eyes glazed over, and then I took advantage of another feature that comes with the kit: phone coaching sessions with a nutritionist.
I spoke with a very nice woman named Lauri, and she spent an hour walking me through the report, highlighting key bits of information and helping me figure out actionable steps. It was very helpful.
Here’s a couple things I learned: First of all, I have gene combinations that have been shown to make people resistant to lose weight and keep it off.
I’m below average. NO DUH. This wasn’t exactly eye-opening. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, as have most people in my family, including the mother and father, from whom I got my genes. While it’s disheartening to see this fact confirmed by science, I also want to raise my middle finger to that science, because dammit, I’m defying what this report says. I’ve lost 160 pounds. I’ve kept it off. Screw you, unfavorable gene combinations!
Lauri was taken aback when she saw that my body doesn’t utilize protein, fat, or carbs in the normal ranges. “It’s common to see someone have an enhanced or low response to one of the three, but you have abnormal responses to all three!” Got that, everyone? I’M SPECIAL!
She boiled it down by saying I’m likely to lose weight if I increase my suggested protein intake, and curb the carbs. The report suggested I eat 2,342 calories daily to lose weight (which represents a 20% calorie reduction). After talking with me, Lauri tweaked a couple other numbers. For optimal weight loss and maintenance, I should eat 117-146 grams of protein a day, 39-52 grams of fat, and 351-381 grams of carbs, a majority of which should come from veggies, beans and fruit (and not starches).
This information is one of the reasons I started using My Fitness Pal (in addition to the incredible success my sister has had with it). I’ve never been a calorie, fat, or carb counter, but Lauri recommended it, so I could see how close or far off I was from staying in those ranges. Generally speaking, I’m too low on protein, so I’ve been working on that. I don’t know if I’ll be a long-term food logger, but for now, My Fitness Pal has proven to be a good tool to learn more about how I eat.
The GxSlim report came with all sort of additional information, like a 7-day meal plan (including recipes), and a custom exercise plan, genetically designed just for me. I’ve been entrenched in bettering my health and fitness for over 6 years now, and I’ve had a lot of success, so some of the recommendations was stuff I’ve read or heard many times before, but some of it was new, and all of it was interesting because it was so inherently personal.
I definitely think that a report like this could really come in handy for someone who is struggling to get started losing weight, or finding a program that really works for them. GxSlim provides the ultimate custom program, because it’s based on your own genes!
I have a follow-up call with Lauri tomorrow. I’m excited to touch base with her again and learn more about me and my genes. And I’m gonna continue logging my food on My Fitness Pal. I’ve diligently logged for 18 days in a row, and even though I skipped my July weigh-in because I was traveling, I can tell my clothes as a wee bit looser. That will always be a tremendous feeling!
Keep it up, David!