How Geraldine Uses Her Results To Manage Her Eating Habits
Geraldine Campbell, MSc
April 5, 2023
Currently awaiting repair of an ACL rupture, I’ve had to stop my love of football and focus on training for pre-hab but also, for long-term health. Although my focus is mostly health and wellbeing, I still like to try and challenge myself to see if I can reach new PB’s!
My FitnessGenes results have definitely been a great help in refining my training and nutrition, but also re-enforcing or explaining certain aspects of my health. Here are just a few things I’ve learnt and changed in response to my results:
1. Understanding my injury risk more
‘Well that makes sense!’ was my reaction to my Musculoskeletal soft tissue injury risk trait, as it told me I was at greater risk of injury - if only I had had this result before my ACL injury! I was even able to discuss this result with my consultant who found it particularly interesting, especially as he explained I also have hypermobile joints - another heritable trait.
Although finding out this result couldn’t help me prevent my injury, it has helped me focus on how I can minimise the chances of a similar injury occurring. The two actions I’ve adopted are:
- Increasing my vitamin C levels by eating more raw vegetables to help my collagen production
- Adding more plyometric exercises into my training such as banded jumps to work on my landing mechanics and strengthen my connective tissue
2. Taking back control over negative eating behaviours
I’m all about balance in my life so I will try and be as healthy as I can be but I also try not to deny myself things I enjoy, especially food. However, there are points in my life where the control I have over this love of food such as chocolate, biscuits and crisps can become slacker than I would like.
Two trait results helped me better understand why these periods of reduced control may be occurring and what steps I could try to take back control. The two traits were Oxytocin and overeating (OXTR) and MC4R and obesity. I was in the high risk result for both of these which told me that negative emotions are a key trigger for when I feel like I’m overeating on high sugar and fat foods, and that some of my appetite-suppressing hormones may not be as responsive.
In response to these results, I now try to do something I enjoy such as reading a book or playing with my dog, when I feel the urge to overindulge in another piece of chocolate. I also look to proportion snacks as much as possible to prevent the whole share bag of crisps being devoured in one sitting! However, I still allow myself to have that treat now and then with some dark chocolate in the evening being a personal favourite (luckily this has some heart health benefits as well as being tasty).
3. How to overcome my endurance performance limitations
It wasn’t a surprise to me to see my Endurance performance potential result was below average. Growing up, I was always more into running fast or being powerful (I built quite the reputation in the sack race over the years at school sports day!) and that carried on through to my football playing days. As I’ve got older though, I have started to run and cycle more and although I may be able to power up the hills, I still find it a struggle to keep going for longer durations.
I’ve adopted a few changes to my nutrition and training to try and help me on my way to at least boosting my chances of increasing my endurance performance. These are:
- Starting each day with a green tea to enhance fat oxidation and hopefully provide more fuel for any runs or cycles
- Adding more nitrate-rich foods into my diet such as radishes and beetroot
- Trying to make sure I do some runs or cycles at lower intensities as doing around 80% of your training at lower intensities is a key way to boost endurance (must not approach each run like a race!)
These changes must be doing something right as I have run my fastest 5 km in 5 years even with one fully-functioning knee, and I’m starting to find pushing beyond the 5 km distance much easier.
4. Improving my insulin function and blood sugar regulation
Linked into my risk of overeating, is my high risk of higher sugar consumption and reduced glucose-sensing. This seemed to explain why I do have more of a sweet-tooth but also made me take note that perhaps I need to take some actions to help keep my insulin function and blood sugar levels healthy.
The actions I’ve followed are to add cinnamon into my spice rack. My usual go-to breakfast is porridge with banana and cinnamon now to help benefit my blood sugar regulation. I also try to make sure I have at least a 12 hour fast each day, so I aim to eat my meals between 10 am and 8 pm to allow for an overnight fast. Finally, each day I try to make sure I have flavonoid-rich foods such as apples, blueberries or broccoli as flavonoids have been shown to improve insulin function.
My last blood glucose measure was within the healthy range, and I will look to get this re-tested regularly to keep monitoring the impact these changes are having.
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