Note: I received a complimentary blood test through InsideTracker, but all thoughts are my own! Ain't no time for lyin'!
During my weight loss journey. I've overhauled my food and exercise habits. With help from Weight Watchers and the internet, I pieced together helpful tools and tricks to use in my Batman-type utility belt to fight my battle!
Lately, however, I was noticing my weight creeping up and the amount of processed food I was eating - out of convenience - was increasing. I needed help. I am not a nutritionist nor a registered dietician. I didn't know what my body needed. I was feeling overwhelmed with the suggestions and theories from friends and blog readers.
Because you see the journey evolved after reaching my weight goal. I was no longer focusing on losing weight, but fueling as an athlete. Wow it is still a little weird for me to say that. It is true. I needed help learning what my body really needed to perform at its best.
So when I was asked by InsideTracker to check out their resources I jumped at the opportunity.
For those that don't know, InsideTracker is a Boston-based company.
InsideTracker is a personalized health analytics company founded by leading scientists, physicians, nutritionists and exercise physiologists from MIT, Harvard and Tufts University. The InsideTracker platform tracks and analyzes key biochemical and physiological markers and applies sophisticated algorithms and large scientific databases to determine personalized optimal zones for each marker. InsideTracker’s expert system offers science-driven nutrition and lifestyle interventions that empower people to optimize their markers. When optimized, these marker levels have been scientifically proven to increase vitality, improve performance and extend life.
I was skeptical, yet intrigued by what InsideTracker would find. Now with six different tests to choose from I was overwhelmed with the choices. After speaking with Jonathan, I took advantage of the Ultimate package (value $499). I was looking forward to speaking with one of Inside Tracker's dietitians about the results, which was part of that package.
Once the package was selected, the site emailed me to set up a profile and set up my order for blood work. I was able to select which Quest Diagnostics location worked in my schedule. They emailed me the order, I printed it out and headed to the site. The blood work was quick and decently painless for having blood drawn. ;)
I was sad to not have an InsideTracker bandaid like I saw some other folks share on social media. But I consoled myself with post-blood coffee! :)
Within a week I received the email that my results were in.
Boy were they thorough. With the Ultimate test, InsideTracker tests 30 biomarkers as well as your InnerAge.
I think I was most nervous/excited to learn my InnerAge. I was really hoping it would be less than my actual age.
And you know what it was?
YAY! I was pleasantly surprised to see that. I was optimistic with advice from the analysis/recommendation portion of the site I would be able to reduce that age even more.
On the analysis/recommendation part of the site, each biomarker is broken out with suggestions on how to optimize the numbers.
For example, here are my Iron group results:
While the site was easy to understand and navigate, I wanted to get further guidance from one of InsideTracker's dietitians. Jonathan set up a phone call for me with Ashley. I made sure he had someone a dietitian that was sensitive to wording when speaking with someone who has had a large weight loss. There are many in the medical field that do not have the right bedside manor when it comes to that topic.
Before we started the conversation, I set the tone of the call by informing her I was looking to 1) lose weight and 2) maximize my fitness performance. This way she would know my goals and make the corresponding recommendations.
She was personable, easy to talk to and made sure to talk in layman's terms. She gave me specific suggestions of vitamins to use when asked. She was open to following up with me through email, which was very helpful since I couldn't remember all of the specific names of the vitamins.
When discussing the low Iron count, she asked which foods I should include in my diet to help regulate the number, but was understanding when I shared there were certain food groups off limits. I liked the flexibility and personalization of the suggestions in that regard.
When you click on the "more" button (showed in the picture above), you can also taylor the food suggestions to match your dietary needs.
This was a huge help and it shows that it is something that everyone can use and benefit from.
As you can see it can be used for all of the different biomarkers tested.
I immediately put one of her suggestions in to action: a more satisfying and protein/fiber based breakfast. I have started using overnight oats (4 Weight Watchers Points) topped with 1 tbsp of Flaxseed (1 PPV) to help with my higher cholesterol level.
I think the information that shocked me the most was the final biomarker we discussed - Testosterone: Cortisol Ratio.
As you can see this tests your stress level and whether you are overtraining or not.
Seeing as how I felt stressed the entire Summer/Fall, I was expecting a wicked low number, but instead Ashley was happy with my 64.
The testosterone:cortisol score (T/C) is therefore an indicator of whether the body is in a state of increasing or decreasing muscle mass. The score ranges from 0-100, and the higher the score, the more optimal the conditions for increasing muscle mass. A low T/C score can be an indicator of over-training, high stress levels, or poor quality sleep, any of which can result in muscle breakdown and fatigue. A high T/C score can show that your body is getting enough sleep and recovery time to increase muscle mass and strength.
But even with a good number, I have been working to decrease my stress (which has been way lower the past month) and increase my sleep (which is still a work in progress).
Now many have asked how the information from InsideTracker has been working with my Weight Watchers plan. They actually pair perfectly together. The recommendations are pushing me to more natural and satisfying foods than the low point processed crap I had been falling back on.
Additionally the site has a "Food Basket" portion where InsideTracker suggests a meal plan for you based on your blood work results and your dietary restrictions. If you are someone that counts calories, it even allows you to set up your calorie goal for the day and the site adjusts the servings of foods listed to meet that.
For me, I was able to take the food and translate it into Weight Watchers Points Values pretty easily. YES!
Overall, the entire process from signing up, getting my blood work and understanding the results was easy and painless. I was able to get the information and guidance I needed quickly. There is even a live chat available on the site if you need immediate help.
Many folks will follow up routinely with another blood test to see how their stats have improved while using the information provided. I can't wait to do that to see what my new InnerAge is. I want to have a consistent month of following all of the recommendations before I do that. I had been derailed a few times this fall with travel and holidays!
Plus, I am going for that sweet InsideTracker bandaid.
If you are interested in checking out InsideTracker yourself, use code BFRDANI to get one of the best discounts out there!! Code valid through Tuesday, December 1!