At the start of the year, instead of a weight loss challenge I wanted to do something that would encourage my readers to focus on health and not a number on the scale. I called it the Sarah Fit Get Healthy Challenge, I know so creative. I partnered up with Inside Tracker to help my audience get healthy from the inside out by tracking health biomarkers for vitamin deficiencies, high cholesterol, glucose levels and more. The person who improved the most within an 8 week period would win a brand new iPad Air. Today, I’m revealing the winner who optimized four areas that needed improvement after her initial test. Congratulations, Margaret Peck! I asked Margaret to answer a few questions about her experience and was impressed as to how how she did it and that small lifestyle changes really do have a HUGE effect on your overall health which includes boosting energy levels and preventing diseases.
S: When you first took the test what was your motivation?
MP: I’m currently working full-time and working towards a masters degree, so I’ve been having a hard time eating well. I felt unhealthy and had gained some weight, but was still within “healthy” weight and BMI standards, but I knew I needed to improve to feel better and I was excited to have a better way to measure my health than just pounds.
S: What was most shocking – good or bad?
MP: I had a lot of biomarkers that needed work. There were a couple I expected, but I was shocked to find out that things I normally had no problem with were problematic. I was also surprised that some things I thought I should be worried about were in pretty good shape.
S: What was the experience like, was it hard to find a facility? Did it hurt?
MP: I live in a large city, so I was able to go by the lab facility in the same building as my doctor. I made an appointment, which saved some time checking in, but I didn’t really need to since they accept walk-ins. I went in the morning before work since you have to fast beforehand. I was in and out fairly quickly–maybe 15 minutes at the most. The staff was really careful, so it was just a little stick and then when they switched vials it was a little uncomfortable, but not bad at all.
S: After taking the tests, what did you do differently?
MP: Since I’ve tried to change my habits before and tried to do too much so instead of setting hard-core goals, I just made a list of things to try. It looks like a long list, but I really didn’t make a big, big effort. Just tried to do what I could.
Work out at the gym twice a week. There were some days I missed, but I made an effort to not skip just because I was tired.
Break my work cheeseburger habit. I eat at the cafeteria a lot and the options get boring after a while, but I tried to make sure I didn’t eat the same thing every day and eat more sandwiches or salads.
On the way home, if I get fast food, remember that I can get salads from Wendy’s or Chick-fil-a or a sandwich at Jimmy John’s. I also started ordering food to pick up from the local Thai place every couple of weeks.
Replace some of the soda I’m drinking with iced tea and water.
I also got a Jawbone Up for christmas and started using that to monitor my activity levels. At the beginning, I also entered what I ate on their app and did some calorie monitoring. I didn’t limit my calories, but it did bring some attention to things I was eating that I thought were healthier for me than they really were. I also set my JawboneUP to buzz me if I’m not active, so I don’t end up sitting at my desk for hours upon hours.
S: You optimized 4 biomarkers. I don’t know the tests but can you tell me which ones and what you think may have attributed to it?
MP: I knew my vitamin D was an issue, since it was winter and I work in a building without windows. I’d been tested for this the year before, so I was already taking a supplement, but at a much lower dosage. I bumped up my dosage based on the recommendations from InsideTracker and tried to get in some sunshine breaks at work when the weather cooperated. I still have a little ways to go, but I made major progress on this one.
The other three were cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose. I think those were just a result of me eating on the go and being more focused on time and not realizing just how badly my poor eating choices were affecting my health. I wasn’t sure that what I did was really going to have an effect on them, but I was able to optimize my triglycerides and glucose. I also made some good progress on my cholesterol, which is what I was most excited about, but I still have more work to do.
S: What was the most beneficial takeaway from the experience?
MP: For me the biggest takeaway was that I can make improvements in my health without it taking over my life. And that the little changes can make a big difference.
S: What is your next health goal?
MP: I plan to continue doing what I’m doing and looking for other small changes in my diet to keep improving my health. I’ve also signed up for a DietBet, as additional motivation to help lose some of my extra weight and make sure I keep going to the gym and keep my eye on the prize.
If you are interested in having your own blood drawn and get recommendations to optimize your health, visit InsideTracker.com.
Good job Sarah! You empowered a woman to review her lifestyle and make little changes to become healthier. As a nurse, the empowerment is very important. Keep it up, you`re doing a fantastic job with your blog. Congrats Margaret, to a new beginning!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says
This is a great story -- so positive! Congrats Margaret!