Wendy Lister is the host of the “Confessions of an Over Eater” podcast. She was never able to lose weight or get control of her health until she learned about insulin resistance and the power of a CGM (continuous glucose monitor).
She struggled with over-eating her entire adult life, and was never able to lose more than 10 pounds with any diet no matter what she tried. But then she learned about the physiology of insulin resistance, and in her 40’s she identified that she was insulin resistant. Through the feedback of a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) she was finally able to monitor her blood sugar levels, and find the key to the lock that helped her lose weight and become healthy.
Here’s the way she describes how insulin works in our bodies:
Insulin is a hormone that’s produced by your body. The job of insulin is to get the fuel out of your blood and into your cells. When you eat carbohydrates they are broken down into glucose in your bloodstream and then the insulin comes in. I explain insulin like a key which goes to the cells, and unlocks the gates so the glucose can get in the cells, and that’s how you feed your cells get the fuel they need.
When you are constantly eating sugar and carbohydrates you have high levels of glucose in your blood and that’s toxic for your cells. So your cells begin to down regulate number of gates they have and the insulin can no longer get the glucose out of the blood and into the cells. So then the insulin can move it to your liver or to long term storage.
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Wendy discovered through reading the Obesity Code by Jason Fung that she had insulin resistance. She began wearing a continuous glucose monitor to track just how much glucose was in her bloodstream throughout the day, and it became the key to her losing 50 pounds.
Although insulin resistance may not be the reason you or a loved one are struggling to lose weight, glucose monitoring can still provide you with fascinating insight into your personal physiology and metabolism. For example Wendy discovered that at a healthier weight bread and butter do not affect her glucose levels as much as other foods, but a piece of cake can cause her levels to spike and not drop again for 5 days. Dave learned that ice cream doesn’t spike his glucose levels like other treats do. When glucose levels are high, it can cause us to feel tired, “brain fog,” and un-satiated after eating. It can also make it difficult to lose weight.
[Dirobi’s Pounds and Inches Drops, and Mimi’s Miracle Mutli contain Chromium-GTF which has been clinically shown to help control blood sugar and increase fat loss. Check out these products here.]
Continually monitoring your glucose can tell you a lot about which foods, eating patterns, and exercise habits are good for you. Glucose monitors are not currently available for retail in the United States as they require a prescription from your doctor. Wendy recommends talking to your doctor or nurse practitioner for a prescription. If they are unwilling to write one for you, you can also monitor your glucose with a fairly inexpensive kit like this.
To learn more about glucose monitoring, how to overcome overeating habits, and Wendy’s weight groups, you can find her through the following channels:
Facebook Group: Personal Data Enthusiasts
Podcast: Confessions of an Overeater
Intro: 00:02 Welcome to the Dirobi health show covering the world of fitness nutrition and supplementation with world class gas. The latest kind of research and plenty of tips you can use right away to boost your health and wellness. Here’s your host. Dave Sherwin.
Dave Sherwin: 00:19 Hello everybody welcome to the Dirobi health show today. I’ve got a unique episode about continuous glucose monitors and the personal experience of Wendy Mills Lister who had struggled her whole life with overeating. As a matter of fact she’s started a podcast you ought to check out called Confessions of an over eater and she’s very passionate about what she does because she had so many struggles getting to where she is now and feels like so many people could benefit from the exact same things that she learned. She’s from California originally a mother with four young kids and her over eating issue was such that she was never able to lose more than 10 pounds at any time in her life other than after having children you know losing that pregnancy weight. Otherwise just could not kick that weight. And yet she’s found solutions, solutions that she feels strongly about and that many people could benefit from. So I’m so glad she would take the time and be on the show so Wendy thank you so much for coming on the show.
Wendy Lister: 01:22 Oh you’re welcome. It is my pleasure to be here.
Dave Sherwin: 01:25 Yeah. And and I believe that you’re so sincere. I could tell you from chatting with you online and setting this up and then are our few minutes here of talking before we started. You’re very passionate about the subject and I know that you feel like this is really meaningful and could make a huge difference in people’s lives. And so you don’t represent yourself as a doctor or a professional or anything like that. You’re someone who went through life experience and difficulty that you had to overcome and that you just think that now you know what you’ve discovered applies to a whole lot of other people and other people might be struggling with the same things you were struggling with and maybe what barking up the wrong tree or finding the wrong things that just aren’ going to work. Is that the code you’re seeing out there.
Wendy Lister: 02:16 Yeah I’m not you know my main credential is that I am an overachiever and I have been my entire adult life and the way that I describe that it’s like it’s like eating against your own will. Like you wanna have a healthy life. My health my wellness my really really vitality is like my most important health metric that I measure by. And yet no matter what I tried I always found myself in the same place and it was it was like madness. It was so frustrating to me to be someone who I am highly educated. I’m very capable in other many other aspects of my life and yet I constantly have these patterns of over eating that left me in the summer of 2017. I weighed 195 pounds. I was exhausted all the time. And the worst part for me though was that I had this mental fog that would not clear and it was not like baby brain it wasn’t that like literally I just felt like I wasn’t as smart as I used to be.
Wendy Lister: 03:27 And when I stumbled upon a book and changing a mindset and then using a continuous glucose monitor my health and my vitality completely changed, and what I realize is that there are plenty of people that will offer you a program like that before and the after. And it’s so great. Come meet me where I am. Aster and this is where the where everybody wants to be but there isn’t a lot of resources for people who are in the middle who are in the trenches day in day out fighting for better health. And I have a like I’m one of those people if I read a book and I love it I will tell everybody if I see a movie and I love it I will tell everybody because I just like to share and I’d like to to highlight the really great things that are going on in the world. And when I found that when my journey started and that things really changed I just found this really powerful need and desire to talk about it. And that’s why I started a podcast and that’s why I’m so glad to be here today.
Dave Sherwin: 04:37 Yeah and I’m sure a lot of people will relate to your story. When did things start for you in elementary school in junior high and high school did you have eating any kind of an eating disorder or or a bad relationship with food or when did things kind of go south for you?
Wendy Lister: 04:58 No it was even like. Like more innocuous than that which is why as a mom like I feel so like it’s an important discussion to have. What happened to me when I was a child is I just had unsupervised eating time. My mom was a hardworking single mom. And I have time after school and on the weekends and we have like the great misfortune at that time to live around the corner from a convenience store and across the street from an ice cream parlor. So depending on like the economy of my childhood what how much money I could scrounge every day. I got a treat one of those places and it wasn’t it was it really just started as a 10 year old who was like yeah why wouldn’t I.
Wendy Lister: 05:44 Sugar and then that kind of developed you kind of get a taste for sugar and you get a tolerance for sugar and you can tolerate eating more and more sugar and then as I became an adolescent and went through you know typical adolescent things and you know just life.
Wendy Lister: 06:02 I became someone who would use eating as a way to sort of moderate my mood or or just over eat from stress so I kind of started to like overlay all of these behaviors.
Wendy Lister: 06:15 But the one that really under was underpinning all of that I never understood is what happens to us if we eat too much sugar and refined carbohydrates. And that is the condition of insulin resistance. And if you don’t understand that there is really no it really makes it very difficult to make meaningful and lasting changes in your eating habits if you do not understand the way that works.
Dave Sherwin: 06:44 So as a teen as you were going through this eating you know a lot of sugar on a daily basis. You know a lot of teens can do that and get away with it. They don’t necessarily gain weight. It depends on their genes. Right. But how did that play out for you. Were you able to be kind of symptom free while you were kind of. It doesn’t sound like your necessarily binge eating or anything like that it sounds like you were just snacking a lot.
Wendy Lister: 07:16 I mean describe was snacking I was eating consistently I was eating a lot of this was the era of the fat free food so high sugar no fiber just sugar and flour. So a lot of that refined carbohydrates. I was also very active. I played basketball in high school and college I was on the swim team through my teenage years and my early 20s I was still very active. And it’s funny because when I look at pictures of myself and my friends during that area during that era I look the same as they do externally. I wasn’t like the thinnest person but I was you know of. Well within a healthy BMI and then in my 20s I began that process of gaining weight steadily. A few pounds a year. And then I had the kids and then I never lose that weight. But I really couldn’t understand because I really hadn’t been doing that much differently.
Wendy Lister: 08:15 Sure my activity traded off but I became a parent or. Well first I built my career in commercial real estate. That was a very exciting career that I love but also very stressful. So there was that to contend with. And I just was on that path where it was just kind of slow and steady weight gain no matter what I did and it didn’t seem like I was doing that much differently. But what I understand now that I never understood before was that given the way I fed myself starting in like my like as a 10 year old with a sugar is that the way that my insulin was not as effective. By the time I was in my 20s it had already been taxed and fatigued quite a bit.
Wendy Lister: 09:02 So all my friends who didn’t have the same childhood eating patterns that I did they went on to kind of stay you know more or less like with them and you know they’re their their weight patterns behave very differently than mine did.
Wendy Lister: 09:18 And I really didn’t stand it because I would watch and I would see like while I’m eating kind of more or less the same stuff. And like maybe I’m not as active but like my weight was like I mean I was on like a different trend line.
Wendy Lister: 09:31 If you are a data person and that’s because I have I had insulin resistance as an effect of eating so much sugar in my life.
Dave Sherwin: 09:43 And so now you’ve gone on and you’ve really educated yourself on this subject and defined for us insulin resistance what what does that mean. Now you’ve studied this and figured out that was a condition you’d kind of developed. What does it mean exactly.
Wendy Lister: 09:58 All right so so fast and so much of the stuff that I never even knew before I started this journey 16 months ago.
Wendy Lister: 10:05 I never knew that insulin was a hormone produced by your body it’s a chemical messenger produced for your body.
Wendy Lister: 10:11 I mean I when you tell would tell me hormones I would think a female or male hormones. So my understanding of my own physiology was limited so insulin is a hormone that’s produced by your body and that job of insulin, one of his jobs is to get the fuel out of your blood and into your cells. When you eat carbohydrates they’re broken down into glucose in your bloodstream and then the insulin comes in. And my favorite thing around this tells you to think of insulin like a key and it goes to the cells and puts the key in the lock opens the cells so the glucose can get in the cells and that’s how you feed yourself.
Wendy Lister: 10:52 That’s how your cells get fed.
Wendy Lister: 10:54 When you are constantly eating sugar and carbohydrates and you have high levels of glucose in your blood that’s toxic it’s toxic for your cells and so your cells begin to down regulate and the insulin can no longer get the glucose out of the blood and into the cells because the cells are full. They’re saying no things no room at the end. And so then your insulin can move it to your liver or it moves it to long term storage like the design of the human body is so brilliant like I am so much in awe of that. And so but it was never part of the plan to eat all the time and to eat sugar and flour all the time like I did. And what diabetes, you know diabetes there’s type 1 and Type 2 type 1 diabetics produce 0 insulin so they have no ability to get the fuel out of their blood and into the cells. People who have type 2 diabetes. Their body produces insulin.
Wendy Lister: 12:00 But they all of their cells.
Wendy Lister: 12:04 There’s no place for it to go. And so the glucose builds up in their blood and high glucose in your blood is toxic. It causes issues like all kinds of vascular disease and nerve disease because you’re constantly marinating in this high glucose environment in your body. So to understand that for me to understand that that was the underlying issue that I went into it with then the the the cure is much different than your standard diet advice which is just eat less exercise more like that. If honestly if that’s all that it took I would have figured it out. I guess. Like I’m not a genius. I am smarter than the average bear. And if it was just a question of grit I would have figured that out. I’ve had four kids by natural birth the last three in my bathroom. So it was just a matter of being determined and disciplined enough. I would’ve figured that out. But you really have to understand the physiology. And for me understanding what insulin resistance was and what I was up against total game changer.
Dave Sherwin: 13:16 Now this is fascinating stuff. And I’m sure already resonating with people especially those fighting the battle of the Bulge because a lot of people have struggled with weight loss for a long long time and not been able to figure out that key to the lock for them personally. I want to back up though to a point that you made that I thought was interesting. And that is that the the symptoms you describe that really kind of hit you over the edge. It sounded like to me with the brain fog and not feeling yourself it wasn’t so much the physical symptoms of being obese such as the activity and what you were very active as a young adult or a child. But is that brain fog you described sounds like that was really an alarm bell for for you to make change right.
Wendy Lister: 14:09 Yes. It was like being in a prison of my own making that I had no idea how to let myself out.
Wendy Lister: 14:18 And I just was trying to accept that maybe that’s just the way that it would always be and for someone like me I loved to read and I love I’m a thinker.
Wendy Lister: 14:28 Like I loved to think and to be in that mental fog.
Wendy Lister: 14:37 It I mean desperate is a word that comes to mind. It just felt like it was never going to change. And if I like I will keep this conversation, I will talk about it for the rest of my life if I can lead one person to having an intervention what their glucose data that gets them out of that fog because that is a diminished life.
Wendy Lister: 15:03 If you have diminished thinking capacity
Dave Sherwin: 15:10 Yeah yeah. And so you had that experience and that was a catalyst. And what did you do then and how did you. Go from that point to discovering a solution.
Wendy Lister: 15:22 So the first. So when I first came across this book it’s called The Obesity code by Jason Bong. He’s a nephrologist in Canada. Easily one of the most well written books that I’ve ever read. He is a genius human being and an incredible incredibly compassionate doctor. So I read that book and I learned about insulin resistance.
Wendy Lister: 15:44 And I did do things differently than I had ever tried before I began practicing intermittent fasting which is just a fancy way to say skip breakfast. And I really changed the composition of what I eat.
Wendy Lister: 15:59 So when I talk about insulin resistance I tell people to think of it like that scene from I Love Lucy when they’re at the Chocolate Factory. Have you seen that episode. I have not. Oh gosh it’s a good one. The clip is on the i it. So Lucy and they’ll have a job at a chocolate factory and they have to get the chocolates come out and a conveyor belt and they have to wrap them. And at first they’re starting really slowly and they can wrap them one at this time but then the conveyor belt keeps getting faster and faster and at the end Lucy is like shoving them in her mouth and all of our clothes. And that’s what insulin resistance is you are dumping so much glucose in your body from eating all the time eating sugar and flour that your insulin is like. Lucy she can’t she can’t like take care of all the chocolate so it just kind of gets built up and and so the cure for that when you have it that that, mind picture the cure is to change what you’re putting on the conveyor belt. So give the conveyor belt a lot more time where there is nothing on it like no chocolate at all. So intermittent fasting instead of eating you know, I’m a rule follower and I grew up in the area era.
Wendy Lister: 17:14 That said you should have three meals and two healthy snacks and instead I have gone from I eat to twice a day I eat at noon and I eat at 6pm.
Wendy Lister: 17:25 So what that means is from 6 p.m. until noon the next day my conveyor belt is off and then I’m only turning it on twice a day. That’s the first thing that I did. The second thing that I did is I became really a lot more careful about what I put on the conveyor belt to begin with and I’m not militant I am not perfect but when I am in the process of resetting my body weight I do have to be very diligent and I do have to cut off sugar and flour but once I reset my body weight usually just a few pounds at a time.
Wendy Lister: 18:03 It generally sticks there. So it’s worth the short term sort of really disciplined eating so that I can reset my body weight and that gives by doing that those I’ve given my insulin a chance to become instead of insulin resistant, I’m now insulin sensitive my insulin can go in and clear the glucose out of my blood no problem.
Wendy Lister: 18:27 Go back to its resting state and that once I learned that that that’s like that works for me. That was my underlying issue. It’s really then it makes sense to me and it’s predictable and it’s I can do it. It’s not easy I won’t ever say it’s easy but I can invest the same effort that I did before and actually like see results as opposed to I used to work so hard exercise and try to eat right and have no results and now I put in the same effort and I’ve lost 45 pounds.
Dave Sherwin: 19:06 Excellent. And so when was it that you discovered the book The Obesity codebook. In July of 2017 is fairly recent.
Dave Sherwin: 19:17 Yeah and you were about 195 pounds at that point. Correct. OK. So that’s really significant lose that much weight in that period of time. And for you it sounds like the most important thing was that we’ve used this term a couple of times on the podcast he used it and using it for the second time. But the key to the lock it was like you didn’t have that key to the lock the things you were doing before this just weren’t working. Then you read the book and it’s like you know you have the epiphany of how all this works. Start losing the weight. When did you start using a glucose monitor.
Wendy Lister: 19:58 So the first six weeks I found the book and so I gave myself the gift of a perfect six weeks like I like executed my Plan A hundred percent for those six weeks and I saw like a pretty significant weight loss and just change by like so I had so much more energy and my thoughts were clear and then because- my husband has worked for this company called DexCom that makes continuous glucose monitor for ten years. It was technology that I knew about and what I couldn’t figure out is why is anyone using this CGM.
Wendy Lister: 20:34 If they think they have insulin resistance now it’s not the same.
Wendy Lister: 20:38 Insulin is not the same as glucose but it’s kind of like glucose is kind of a proxy. So I got a glucose monitor and I started wearing it and it began to tell me the most fascinating things about my physiology.
Wendy Lister: 20:57 And the first thing that I learned I was wearing my glucose monitor and I, we were getting ready to go back return from California to Scotland and in the process of getting you know closing down one house and getting ready to move my kids back to Scotland and for the school year and transit a lot it’s about transatlantic travel with four kids.
Wendy Lister: 21:19 I was at executing my plan and over the course of three or four days I probably had about 2500 calories worth of just indulgent foods. You know some I think I had some Cheetos I had some ice cream but I like counted it all out and it was no more than 2500 calories just a little bit each day kind of with the nerves and getting ready to fly. On the. Floor on, after that after those four days of having very modest amounts of eating over eating my weight overnight increased by five pounds.
Wendy Lister: 21:59 Like I went to bed one day and like I woke up the next morning and I was five pounds heavier which sometimes happens.
Wendy Lister: 22:06 But the thing that I found so fascinating because I was wearing a glucose monitor is that my fasting glucose which had been under 100. That after four days of eating about 2500 calories of off protocol foods my fasting glucose was 120 and it stayed there for five days despite going right back to my healthy eating because I had taught myself enough skills and create the desire to be to eat the way it had been eating the previous six weeks. But it took it’s like that glucose hangover. It’s like my diet on those days didn’t count because I got no benefit for being on those plans. And at the end of five days my weight and my glucose moved in lockstep.
Wendy Lister: 23:00 I went to bed one night I woke up the 5 pounds was gone and my fasting glucose was back down to below 100 and twenty five hundred calories by the conventional like calorie model. That’s not even a pound.
Wendy Lister: 23:17 I mean it’s nothing, I mean any diet out there will tell you that you can have well you can have a moderate indulgence and be fine like I when I am trying to reset my body weight and lose weight, I cannot. I cannot have an indulgence like that because it spikes my glucose and weight. And I had another experiment this summer. If the fat burning factory is on that’s what I call if I’m in a mode where I’m resetting my body weight the smallest amount of sugar 100 calories turns that factory off and it will take me two to three days to get the fat burning factory turned back on. And I can see that with a glucose monitor.
Wendy Lister: 24:02 And for me there was no turning back from that. Like I had been taught by every diet program that has ever been sold to me that a calorie is a calorie. And don’t deprive yourself. And if you want a treat just make sure you have the points and plan ahead for it blah blah blah blah blah. But that doesn’t work for me if I am trying to sustain active weight loss and
Dave Sherwin: 24:37 That is that is fascinating and is it is that the norm. Do you think for most people you’re now out there you’ve got your podcast you are spreading the word. Do you think that your own physiology is that way or do you think that most people’s physiology is that way?
Wendy Lister: 24:50 That is such an. Excellent question David. I don’t. Now it’s funny because my first people that I recruited to try to censor because here in the UK you can just order them by mail and you can buy it says easier to use. And so I went to my friends and and and I was expecting their data to behave the same way that mine does. And so far everyone has been really individual. It’s like there’s a story that’s how and you have to interpret your own data. The first person I put on a sensor she had just, she had been naturally thin all of her life. And she was in her late 40s and in recent years there had been some stress in the family with some deaths of a family member and some stress. And what we realized after having watching her sensor is that stress was her issue. And I will never forget she sent me a screenshot of her glucose data one day and she had this really dramatic spike and I don’t, my glucose data is very boring.
Wendy Lister: 25:58 It’s very behaves differently because he had this wild Spike one morning one day you said like why did you eat. I thought you were not eating breakfast. And she said I’d not eat anything. She said I was at a conference and I had to get up and give a presentation in front of a thousand people. And that’s.
Wendy Lister: 26:21 That’s stress is what created the glucose spike so glucose marketing we are just beginning scratching the surface of all of the things that it can tell us. And of all of the uses that it could be so that each of us have like the best and fullest vitality that we can have.
Dave Sherwin: 26:44 It’s so interesting to hear you share these stories and the different examples of your friend and yourself and your reactions to the glucose. And it to- makes total sense to me. I’m currently getting my Precision Nutrition level one certification. So are you familiar with precision nutrition now. OK. Well there’s just a company I really like, I took their course as a participant and then later I wanted to get the certification and be a nutrition coach. I’m working on that now and I just really like the Ph.D. a couple of Ph.D. nutritionists from Canada and I just love their approach and their material. And so anyways I signed up. And the last chapter I just finished talks about things that touch on what you said about the difference between people and that there is sometimes no rhyme or reason from one person to another. How calories might affect weight loss or weight gain how sugars in the body can affect one person differently than another how we are all so individual and how there is no perfect diet.
Dave Sherwin: 27:56 So when someone says you know what’s the best diet the answer is the best diet for you. Because you know the best diet for someone who who’s raised in Japan where a lot of people are somewhat resistant to dairy products is very different than the best diet for someone in Greece or Russia or California. And it really there’s no such thing as a one size fits all. And the human body is so complex that the something that works on one person may not even work on another. Now that being said we again back to this battle of the bulge and the fact that we live in a society. And any first world country right now there is a lot of junk food. There’s a lot of refined carbohydrates as you as you’ve mentioned they’re easily accessible to children teens adults men and women. I mean whoever you are you’re faced with this right now.
Dave Sherwin: 28:55 What you’re saying is this a continuous glucose monitor will simply give you feedback.
Dave Sherwin: 29:05 And and so it might work differently on you than someone else. But in the end though this is simply telling you your glucose level which is a critical critical nutritional number. Right. So it’s a metric that is important. And then the fascinating part about it that I hear you saying is that when you have it on you’re getting this direct feedback from the from inside your body. What’s going on and how your body is reacting either to stress to sugar or to ice cream. And so it may play out differently in different people but in the end the underlying thing that matters for everyone is is that that number that level of glucose in your blood just matters for everyone like it might be more dramatic for yourself or your physiology may respond more to 2500 calories than somebody else. Unfortunately it is still the number matters. However it plays out we all have to keep our numbers. Is it different for men or or women. I mean is there for sure for now.
Wendy Lister: 30:15 I mean it is it’s like glucose is glucose and that is why I am really excited about this because I think it has the power to set a lot of people free from listening to well-meaning experts who are simply wrong about them. like a lot of times I would get people who cared about me in my life who were naturally thin that never struggled with over eating and never struggled with their weight. Who would try to tell me what to do. And I know they were trying to help me.
Wendy Lister: 30:50 But like, no! like three meals and two snacks snacks for me is a disaster for where my body was physiologically because one of my theories is is that I am at the cumulative effect of every single thing I’ve ever eaten every molecule of sugar every gram of fructose everything that I’ve eaten in my whole life. And that’s what makes me physiologically different from you and from my other people who wear a sensor that I work with because we’ve all had literally very different diets.
Wendy Lister: 31:25 But and so I get so frustrated. You know the headlines that come whenever a new diet studies release the owner. This is the universal right diet for humans. But no. No.
Wendy Lister: 31:37 It defies logic because that obviously doesn’t work. But what seemingly all doctors agree on is that high glucose is bad.
Wendy Lister: 31:49 So if you are then empowered to experiment with your own eating habits to find a way to develop a care and feeding manual for yourself.
Wendy Lister: 31:58 That just results in steady and low glucose than you are. That is probably the best gift that you could give to yourself.
Dave Sherwin: 32:10 You know it reminds me I’m a little bit of a human experimenter myself and I, I was getting ready to do the national championships and triathlon qualified for the Olympic distance nationals in Burlington Vermont. Super excited about it. And it was hard work just to qualify. And so I took it really seriously. And one of the things I got was a simple machine that measured body fat and a variety of other factors and I had a target weight. I wanted to be a 172 pounds. On race day and I just felt like that was my ideal body weight to be at my fastest. On that day. And so my I started measuring my body fat. Every single day now I allowed I was allowed to cheat. I had a coach and I had a diet that I was following and every Saturday night I was allowed to cheat meal or to just you know have whatever I wanted while watching a movie or whatever. And I noticed definite upticks the very next day in my body fat.
Dave Sherwin: 33:19 Every time I did these cheat meals. And yet what was amazing was I started experimenting with different types of cheat meals and if I had candy Cheetos pop that type of thing. The increase in body fat was instant. It was several ounces. And it happened you know the next day and then it took a couple of days to go away. And then I continue to improve. But my coach said it was important to do these cheap meals for sanity and and that the body is OK with having you know extra calories or simple carbs whatever. So I continue to do that. But when I cheated with ice cream it didn’t happen.
Wendy Lister: 34:04 Isn’t that fascinating.
Dave Sherwin: 34:06 I couldn’t believe it and I so I went back and forth. I would try a cheat meal with other things I try ice cream again. Yeah my body to not if I had the ice cream as a cheat meal I had no problem I didn’t get any body fat Yeah.
Wendy Lister: 34:19 It’s the fat probably it’s it’s.
Wendy Lister: 34:23 And I have I have I have watched the more things with my glucose because I collect glucose and weight data every day. And if I like the worst thing for me is cake it’s the worst, because it’s sugar and refined flour and not very much fat versus if I have solid like just chocolate that’s enough fat there and it’s like the fat to sugar ratios different. It usually doesn’t hit my glucose at all.
Dave Sherwin: 34:51 Interesting.
Wendy Lister: 34:55 that works for me versus my friend. I told you about that was that she’s on a sensor and has the stress she cannot do chocolate at all. It sends her glucose through the roof.
Dave Sherwin: 35:02 So back to the individual individual individualization of this whole thing. Let’s talk about continuous glucose monitors. You knew about them because your husband is in the industry I imagine. Is he a medical device salesperson or.
Wendy Lister: 35:22 He’s a lawyer by training and now he’s he’s just been on the business side of it.
Dave Sherwin: 35:27 OK. And so you are aware of these through his business you start wearing one. Tell us about that and how would a person here in the United States go about using a continuous glucose monitor.
Wendy Lister: 35:40 So for people in the United States you still need a prescription. So I have had people in the U.S. do do it generally they have a very good relationship with their doctor or nurse practitioner. And they have taken in a copy of the obesity code by Jason Fong who is nephrologist and have sure shared it with the doctor and explain their reasons why. And the doctor who provided the script the doctor nurse practitioners provided the script for it. It is still a very challenging road to navigate in the U.S. and that distresses me greatly because here in the UK like I said you just order it online and they deliver it to your door. Now neither of those instances will your insurance pay for it. It is still a private, cash-paid device because there is no insurance reimbursement for that technology for non diabetics. But what I tell people who are grappling with the expense. You don’t have to wear it forever. 30 days will tell you a tremendous amount of information and 90 days even more.
Wendy Lister: 36:48 What I find now everyone who I’ve ever put on a sensor has never stopped at one. They find that the information is worth the cost
Dave Sherwin: About how much are they?
Wendy Lister: 37:01 Well it depends. There are two. The two companies that I have direct experience with. The first one is DexCom the GS 6 and the other one is Lee Breay by a company called Abbott and the prices vary wildly from state from country.
Wendy Lister: 37:22 The Dexcom is quite a bit more expensive because it is technology that goes right to your phone. So the data is transmitted continuously to your phone versus the Libré both of the devices. It’s a sensor that resides on your body. The sensor is the width of about the width of a human hair and it’s inserted into your arm.
Wendy Lister: 37:45 It does not hurt. I am like not very tough when it comes to stuff like that I put them on myself I put them on other people. It does not hurt.
Wendy Lister: 37:55 And the Libris does not send it does not have a transmitter and the cost of the transmitter is what makes the Dexcom product more more expensive and the Libre what happens is you have a reader and you have to actually wave the reader over the sensor to get the data and the sensor only stores the data for eight hours which sounds like a lot of time, but you know you get busy and then you go to bed and you’re and then you missed data and it’s always this happens to me one day there was something really interesting going on and then I’m like oh I didn’t I didn’t wave my readers so I don’t have the data versus on my desk. It just goes my thought all the time and I don’t lose data in that way. But I I know that Sam’s Club sells the Libra I have someone that I work with in the US that gets their centre at Sam’s Club.
Wendy Lister: 38:51 And I hate to say prices because it literally varies state by state. But you’re probably looking you know it’s a it’s a couple hundred dollars probably for a month’s worth of Liebre, because you have to buy the sensor and the reader. But I do know that people have have gotten it cheaper at Sam’s Club. You know it’s sometimes an option some people have too many US that they’ve seen stuff come up on eBay or different things you know people who have them. But it is like that’s what’s a disappointment for me that. In the US it’s still it’s still a difficult path for non diabetics to get CGM. I think that will change and I know that there are companies working on an application for health and wellness use there’s a company out the bay area that got an investment from fitbit but my fear is that that technology won’t be as good when it eventually comes to the market and that I don’t know if there’s ever going to be an algorithm that can can really compensate for the complexity and the individuality of everybody’s unique eating profile history and therefore how their glucose profile works.
Wendy Lister: 40:08 I don’t know, it will be fascinating to watch.
Dave Sherwin: 40:12 And when you say no to last for a month’s worth what does that mean? like I was I was picturing a small device that you put on and then you kind of own the device and then you just keep measuring your glucose.
Wendy Lister: 40:25 How does it with the sensors work for anywhere from 10 to 14 days.
Wendy Lister: 40:31 There’s need to be changed. Oh OK so you’re buying sensors. Do you buy. It’s like Razorblade.
Wendy Lister: 40:39 It’s like a razor model like it like that part of it. There is like part of the products like there reader that you keep. But then like you need a new component.
Dave Sherwin: 40:51 Gotcha. So you do that for a period of time and then and then you learn what you need to learn get where you need to be and then depending on your budget you might go back to the well. I mean is this something you’re doing all the time or something you do for periods of time throughout the year.
Wendy Lister: 41:06 So a little bit of both. So I I want to do because I always want people to know where my bias is because DexCom has amazing company and I’ve been so privileged for our family to be part of their story.
Wendy Lister: 41:19 And people know where my bias is.
Wendy Lister: 41:21 So this summer I did this experiment I started a Facebook group it’s called Personal Data enthusiasts and I wore both at the same time or a Libra and a DECS com and I shot at my data every single day and then I kind of told people how I interpret what I made it me what I am how I use that how I went to the county fair one day and I had like crazy glucose spike and I couldn’t figure out why and I realized I had like a sip of my child’s lemonade. That totally set me into like turned off the fat burning factory so I went through.
Wendy Lister: 41:55 So for about 90 days I had side by side sensor comparison data which was so fun to do and I’m so glad that I have that because I think for anyone who’s interested in wearing a sensor it’s good to see what it looks like what the data output would be and how you can actually use it. And now I just wear one at a time because I am sensitive to it. There is a lot of packaging that comes with it. So I just kind of tradeoff where you know right now I’m wearing a DexCom. And then.
Wendy Lister: 42:28 But I want to kind of stay. You know I want to wear everything that’s out there so that I can help people make a decision on what’s right for them.
Wendy Lister: 42:37 Because I think that some glucose data is better than none and I have some people you know my favorite people. I am so impressed with them. We’re the ones that said hey I can’t my doctor won’t write a prescription for me for CGM. How will you work with me if I just do a finger stick.
Wendy Lister: 42:59 And I had a handful of people that did daily finger sticks several times a day. And after we read this book about a protocol established by these Israeli doctors and they were so committed and so passionate to their health that they just measured it with like a blood blood monitor kit that you get at Walgreens and i think fasting glucose even if you just did it once a day in the morning and you’re fasting glucose data is something that everybody should know for themselves and know how it changes over time.
Dave Sherwin: 43:34 Interesting interesting. So there’s the the poor person version right there. They go to Walgreens buy the kit.
Dave Sherwin: 43:41 Yeah. OK.
Dave Sherwin: 43:44 OK now you mentioned along the way that you don’t eat a perfect diet. And yet you’ve had this experience in going to Scotland where 2500 calories you know had a significant effect that lasted for for quite awhile. So tell us about that. When you don’t eat perfectly is this just kind of informed you on on what the best cheats are for you or the amount you can eat what have you learned about about that
Wendy Lister: 44:30 you know want to know something that just breaks my heart is that it defies logic for me but my body is far more forgiving of cheats. Now a hundred and forty something pounds like I’m just under 150 pounds then it was at 180 pounds.
Wendy Lister: 44:39 So I can I can have kind of a you know couple days where if I’m if I have them they offer my first go to is bread and butter always put fat on it because it blunts the carbs for me.
Wendy Lister: 44:52 But when I did that at 175 pounds like I always sat on the scale when I do that now. At a smaller weight it’s like it doesn’t affect me as much. That makes no sense. And it’s one of those things that when you are at a heavier weights like nobody believes you like they just like it doesn’t make sense of calorie is a calorie. But I was it was much more punitive. The things that I ate off plan when I was at higher weights and that makes no sense to me. I honestly it is something I still grapple with.
Dave Sherwin: 45:39 And yet it’s good news for those who are you know wanting to lose that weight that once they’ve lost their bodies is going to treat cheat meals a little bit better I suppose.
Wendy Lister: 45:50 Yeah. Yeah you lose your taste for it and you feel worse so you don’t do it as often. But my body now it’s like it because it is insulin sensitive. If I hit it with a bunch of carbs it’s like if you believe body set weight theory which is outlined in the obesity code is that what your body does in response is sort of like an influx of more than normal calories is it just ramps up the metabolism to burn it off. And I will say that I experience that feeling sometimes of having energy to burn which I have never had that feeling in my adult life until the last six months when I have consumed more carbs and I can feel my body trying to burn them off as opposed to when you are insulin resistant your body is always set to storage mode and you have no energy available to burn.
Wendy Lister: 46:43 And that was the thing for me as a highly educated person that made no sense I would eat food and it would give me absolutely zero energy.
Wendy Lister: 46:54 So I would try to eat more food because I’m so tired and my favorite thing around that is Gary Taub and he wrote the book Why We Get Fat and he explains that about Health. He says think of insulin resistance like that dial on a fuel gauge.
Wendy Lister: 47:14 If you’re set to burning your insulin is set to burning their fuel you take your burn off his energy if you’re set to storage the fuel you intake. You will just send it straight to fat production and that’s what it was like for me and it felt crazy. It felt like you, people would say oh just eat when you’re hungry. Well first of all you’re hungry all the time. And second like you would you would eat but you would never feel the benefit of that energy
Dave Sherwin: 47:46 Yeah, what a fascinating topic and there’s got to be you know you’ve got your facebook group going. You’ve got people that you’re working with directly. I imagine your story appeals mostly to people who have just struggled who who have tried a variety of things that just aren’t working and in the end this glucose glucose level could be the key to their lock as we’ve talked about before so is that who you’re finding is mostly being attracted to you and your message?
Wendy Lister: 48:21 Is it makes it so funny. There’s plenty of that but then I get a lot of I call myself an overt eater because you can be an overt eater and you can be seen right like that too wouldn’t necessarily move in correlation. I remember I first heard My podcast some of my friends who reached out to me that I just did not see that coming were people I’d always considered naturally thin. And they’re like I struggle with over eating like I do that. And I find the people that I have on my lists that want to try to censor next are all what I would call naturally thin people but they’re worried given how their eating habits and patterns are that they might develop type 2 diabetes because they just eat a lot of sugar and. That is a fascinating segment of the population.
Wendy Lister: 49:09 And so they you know it’s people who look on the outside very thin but their body physiologically internally they have insulin resistance and are like pursuing the course towards type 2 diabetes.
Dave Sherwin: 49:23 Yes so the common denominator then is not necessarily weight. It’s over-the-counter. If a person is turned overt eater whether they look healthy or they’ve gained weight that’s kind of what you’re dealing with is people that are known overeaters.
Wendy Lister: 49:43 You know and then it’s like because continuous glucose technology is still pretty new. I think the scientists and researchers are just finding new ways to use that.
Wendy Lister: 49:48 And I was listening to a podcast the other day with a guy called Richard Isaacson who runs the first preventative Alzheimer’s clinic in the U.S. So he focuses on prevention.
Wendy Lister: 50:01 That’s like he’s the only place doing it. And he said something that stopped me in my tracks he said that he considers the fasting glucose data for Brain Health at the threshold to be 95. And it’s a hundred is the cutoff for pre diabetes and he thinks it’s like that five points merits enough of a distinction that he thinks it should be lower. And so then you’ve got these super smart people in different disciplines.
Wendy Lister: 50:32 So he’s in you know brain health talking about like fasting glucose and how that impacts you know that while your brain.
Wendy Lister: 50:42 And that’s one of those things that I’ve heard that comment and I instantly believed it because I have lived that my sweet spot for my fasting glucose is when I wake up and it sound like the lower end of the 90s.
Wendy Lister: 50:57 I feel good when I wake up and I’m like closer to 100.
Wendy Lister: 51:02 I feel brain fog and the funny thing is for most of my weight loss journey. If my fasting glucose was 100. Doesn’t matter how few calories or how much exercise I had done the day before if my fasting glucose is elevated. I do not lose weight at the scale. It’s like it’s a strange like seeing those things play out.
Wendy Lister: 51:24 It’s fascinating. I call it a diet instrument panel like I just look at all kinds of different data now. Like it’s not just weight and calories like that. That’s totally ineffective.
Dave Sherwin: 51:38 Yeah this is this is really fascinating stuff. I’m sure people listening right now are intrigued and want to know more. You mentioned your facebook group. How do people find your facebook group.
Wendy Lister: 51:49 So it’s called Personal Data Enthusiasts and that’s where I have I’ve stopped posting daily in there. But the archived video is there and for all of the side by side comparison. And then my podcast is Confessions of an overeater invited it Confessions of over either dot com or you can find me on Instagram.
Dave Sherwin: 52:07 Wendy Nells Lister OK. Well this is excellent stuff. Very interesting. Very different. It’s not a message I’m hearing you know like you’re kind of talking about it probably becoming mainstream over time. I think you’re probably right. It sounds like someone that is so basic it’s kind of like you know we all we all look after our cars we all know if they have enough oil and if they have enough gas and if they’ve been serviced and it sounds to me like you consider the glucose measurement to be up there with you know keeping the oil up in your car type of thing. Right is that a fair analogy?
Wendy Lister: 52:48 Was just having dinner with a friend and I was telling her that if I could if I had to be limited to one metric for my overall health it would be my glucose because it does not lie if I based on what I have eaten the day before or not. And sometimes it doesn’t always show up on the scale like say some you know like say but it’s like if something affects my glucose it always affects the way that I feel my glucose is correlated to the physical experience of it in my body.
Wendy Lister: 53:28 And the way it’s sort of like who knows there are so many other hormonal factors other things in the way.
Wendy Lister: 53:37 Sometimes I can have a great day and feel great and amazing and I’m up two pounds whereas I never have a day when I have elevated glucose where I wake up and feel amazing when I wake up and I have elevated glucose.
Wendy Lister: 53:51 I feel awful.
Dave Sherwin: 53:55 Amazing. Well what an interesting topic. You guys listening those are the ones to follow Wendy make sure and check out the facebook group listen to her podcast. Confessions of an Overeater and Wendy. Thanks so much for taking the time. Is there any parting thoughts thoughts you on to leave with my audience today.
Wendy Lister: 54:14 You know I failed every diet I ever tried for 30 years. And in the summer of 2007 when I was actively trying to accept and make peace with where I was not and I am so glad that when I heard the new science on insulin resistance that I had the courage to try again and I will always be grateful for that me who said you know what I’m going to give it my best shot. And no matter what people face like just keep going. I don’t know if this will fix it for you. Maybe there’s another metabolic pathway that we do not understand yet.
Wendy Lister: 54:55 But if those people have the courage to keep going and figure it out and then share what they learn with someone else then it’s like we can all pave a path out for whatever that is and what the path I want is just vitality a physical manifestation or what.
Wendy Lister: 55:12 Like I’m not interested in that. What I’m interested in is having the energy to live my life and having the ability to have clear thinking and mental vitality.
Dave Sherwin: 55:26 Well that’s excellent. And I can, I can tell how enthusiastic you are about this. Obviously you’ve helped other people with this as well. It’s still shocking to me what you’re describing about you know having to have a prescription to buy the monitor. I mean and why you know, a person couldn’t just go to their doctors say hey I want this machine so I can help you know improve my health. Why a doctor would say no to that. I can’t imagine. And maybe I know I asked you for one more comment but let’s have lots of two. Is that what’s happening? There’s people that go to get this prescription. The doctor says no and why if so why?
Wendy Lister: 56:05 Yeah. Yes. I have had a number of people in the U.S. saying oh my gosh I really want to try this. My doctor won’t write a script for.
Dave Sherwin: 56:12 Why would they not.
Wendy Lister: 56:15 No I don’t always speak. Doctors don’t know. But I was sitting down with a couple of doctors a couple of months ago and I said why is this. First the one said yeah I am an E.R. doctor I don’t know. And then the other one said it’s probably a liability issue. It’s like a medical device that they’re inserting on their body that you wear for two weeks at a time. What happens if they don’t take it off and the doctor’s not going to follow up on it.
Wendy Lister: 56:40 So I mean, I could understand but it’s so funny the difference between the UK and the U.S. It’s like you know the presumption here in the UK is a little bit like you got to figure that out for yourself it says take off after two weeks take it off like if you don’t like don’t come blaming me.
Wendy Lister: 56:57 So I don’t know. I mean I’m hopeful that that will change. And every doctor that I’ve come across from the U.S. I’m always picking their brain.
Wendy Lister: 57:05 But you know so many of them are specialized and they don’t know you know they’re not endocrinologists or they’re not family GP so they don’t know anything about this space.
Wendy Lister: 57:15 And so I think the best thing is read the obesity code fine. You know if you have a good relationship with your GP do there. If you have a nurse practitioner in the practice maybe try that.
Wendy Lister: 57:27 I’ve had a few people tried that route in the U.S. and that seemed to work out pretty well. But I just think like we should all be able to be empowered. It’s not like they’re asking them to like get the insurance to cover for it. These are people they’re willing to pay for out-of-pocket but can’t get it. It boggles my mind but I think it will change.
Dave Sherwin: 57:46 But worst case you’re saying a person could just go to Walgreens buy the manual kit and if it just did it every morning for a while they’d get some fairly valuable data right for sure for sure.
Wendy Lister: 57:57 And you know if you start getting it and you know I had one person who did who did it and was regularly over 100 for their fasting glucose and from 100 to 125 is pre-diabetes. And that was a a wakeup call for them.
Dave Sherwin: 58:11 OK. Well powerful stuff. Wendy Lister thank you so much for being on the show.
Wendy Lister: 58:16 Thank you David thank you for giving the opportunity to share this message. I’m so I’m so passionate about people’s health and vitality.
Dave Sherwin: 58:23 Excellent. For those of you listening. Thank you so much for listening to the show and supporting the show. And as always your reviews on iTunes are appreciated if you’re enjoying the show over to iTunes and share that with everyone else. Until next time this is Dave Sherwin wishing you health and success.
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Note that this information is presented as educational in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure or prevent any disease.