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John Shackleton on Using the CGM to Make Smarter Dietary Choices

John Shackleton on Using the CGM to Make Smarter Dietary Choices
"Although I thought I was in tune with my diet, I found there were quite a few habits I could identify that needed improvement if I wanted to optimize my health for the long term."
John Shackleton on Using the CGM to Make Smarter Dietary Choices

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m the performance coach for the Villanova University Men’s Basketball team. I’m also the founder of Shack Fit, a health and fitness brand that offers online and one-on-one training for athletes and working professionals.

So, you’re already pretty knowledgeable about health and nutrition! What drew you to the Nutrisense CGM Program?

I wanted to become more educated about my body to make smarter decisions with my nutritional habits! I wanted to “check under the hood” and see how my physiology was responding to certain foods.

I really just wanted to learn. I always knew controlling blood sugar was important for overall health and performance. But I had never used a CGM before, so I went into the experience open-minded and wanting to learn so I could fine-tune my diet and lifestyle.

What were some of the things you learned?

I did the program for four weeks initially, and I decided to continue with Nutrisense because, for one, I loved the feedback you get from a nutritionist.

They educate you with the most current science, which I thought was extremely valuable.

Secondly, I want to keep experimenting with certain food combinations and meal timing.

For years I have kept my carbohydrate intake very low during the day and always had carbs such as sushi w/ white rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes for dinner. I always believed having a good portion of carbohydrates for my dinner was a great idea because it would fuel my intense workouts that would follow in the morning.

Little did I know that doing this was spiking my blood sugar. It was through the roof, and I was going to bed with high blood sugar and waking up with borderline prediabetic fasting values. I was surprised by these findings and was able to make changes to my diet right away.

During the program, there were quite a few days where I just had coffee and collagen protein in the mornings, and after my workout, around 11 a.m., I would have my first balanced meal—for example, eggs, sweet potato hash, and spinach with olive oil and garlic.

I felt like I had great energy, both physically and cognitively. I also saw that my blood glucose response to carbohydrates post-workout was not as drastic as consuming them later in the day.

John working out

Did the program and dietitian support help you with accountability?

Yes, it absolutely helped me with accountability. The real-time blood glucose data it provides makes you more mindful of your meal selection.

Personally, I did not want to see my glucose scores going above 120-130 mg/dl. If it did, I would know immediately and be able to make changes for the subsequent meals.

Exercise, sleep, and stress all affect your blood glucose, too—what are some of the things you learned about these things while wearing the monitor?

As noted, I learned that having carbohydrate-rich foods post-workout can result in blunted blood glucose values compared to eating those same carbohydrates at night when you’re less active.

I also learned that my sleep improved when I reduced my carbohydrate intake at night. I wear technology that tracks my sleep quality, and I was able to verify this finding.

What would you say the biggest takeaway from your health journey with Nutrisense is?

One takeaway from the CGM program was that although I thought I was in tune with my diet, I found there were quite a few habits I could identify that needed improvement if I wanted to optimize my health for the long term.

Another takeaway was how minor changes to your lifestyle and diet could dramatically impact your blood glucose response.

The biggest takeaway from my health journey was that I will always need time and consistent effort to reach my goals. There really are no shortcuts to health. You just get more educated through the journey, which allows you to make smarter decisions.

That’s all wonderful! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your journey?

That’s exactly how I look at it! Health and fitness is a journey that I’m on for the long term. So the longer I am on the journey, the more I experience and learn about my body. That's what it's all about!

#joinnutrisense

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