Want to lose weight? Take a closer look at your DNA.
For the record, I am not trying to lose weight (right now). After four months of eating clean and doing Pilates just about every day, I’m in a great place physically and mentally. I can actually see muscles I’ve never seen before, I’m definitely less jiggly and my flexibility has increased exponentially. But as someone who truly believes that knowledge is power, I jumped at the chance to try Arivale, a new approach to weight loss and wellness that uses specific genetic markers to tailor the ideal diet and fitness program for your unique body—but they don’t stop there. You also get a dedicated “coach” who helps you stay on track, meet your goals and provide all the support you need along the way.
I did the “entry level” saliva-based DNA test (the full monte provides A LOT more genetic insight and requires a blood draw), and about six weeks after sending them my spit, I finally got the email that my results had been posted to my personal dashboard and scheduled a phone call with my coach, Lisa.
My test provided eight key insights that effect how (and why) I gain weight—and help me lose weight when necessary. Frankly, I was a bit surprised at the results since I’ve basically been going about dieting the wrong way (for my body) for as long as I can remember. In a nutshell, the low-carb, high-protein/fat approach actually makes it harder for me to lose weight.
Weight gain from saturated fat: I have an increased predisposition for weight gain if I eat too much fat from meat, eggs and dairy. I almost started crying when I heard this solely because of my love for cheese. Lisa quickly quelled my distress by reminding me that if I’m not trying to lose weight, it’s OK to keep eating it—but that I should keep this in mind if I ever want to drop a few pounds.
Weight gain from dietary fat: In addition to the fat mentioned above, I’m also more likely to gain weight from healthy fats found in avocado, nuts and plant oils. Bummer.
Weight gain with low activity: This might seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve never been a workout person. However, according to my DNA, I have an above average propensity to gain weight if I don’t exercise. If I had made a commitment to fitness all these years, maybe I wouldn’t have had to be so restrictive with my eating to stay slim. At least I know now, right?
Weight gain from carbohydrates: This one was the shocker. I’m actually at a reduced risk of weight gain from carbs. That doesn’t mean I could have been eating bread and pasta all these years (which I haven’t), but I don’t have to feel guilty about eating whole grains like oats and quinoa—and if I want to lose weight, I should actually keep these in my diet.
Obesity: Considering my family’s tendency to be overweight, I was also surprised to learn that I’m pretty average when it comes to my predisposition for obesity. And with a current BMI of 20.4, I’m on the low end of the “ideal” zone.
High waist circumference: We all know belly fat can be a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and more. Apparently I’m at a lower that average risk for a high waist circumference, so wise lifestyle choices should help keep me healthy for the long term.
Bitter test preference: This is an important marker for weight loss, because if you’re a “super taster” who’s sensitive to bitterness, you’re probably less likely to enjoy vegetables, and likely to fill your diet with less healthy options. I’m an “intermediate taster,” right in the 50th percentile on this one.
Sugar taste sensitivity: Similar to the bitterness marker, the lower your taste sensitivity to sugar, the more you crave to satisfy your sweet tooth. This explains why some people are good with a single square of dark chocolate for dessert, while others may throw down a pint of ice cream before calling it. I’m amongst the 81.4% with a typical sugar taste sensitivity (although I’ve never met a pastry I didn’t like).
When I take all of this information into consideration, it definitely helps me better understand the relationship between my diet, lifestyle and weight all these years. I can now say that there’s no need to try fad diets (keto is obviously out for me) and that balance—and exercise—are really key for maintaining my health. And even though I’m not actively trying to lose weight, if I have a beach vacation coming up and want to slim down a bit, now I know cutting back on fat and NOT cutting out the healthy carbs is the way to do it.
So many people struggle with losing weight, basically because they don’t know where to start—and your DNA can actually work against you. If you’re looking to get your health on track and need a little help doing it, I highly recommend trying Arivale, because knowledge really is power!