Mindy Faber is the co-founder and executive director of Convergence Design Lab in Chicago. Mindy has been an avid user of Bisense since July. Here she explains how Biosense® helped her reclaim control of her health, has kept her feeling invigorated physically and mentally, and has given her a new lease on life.
What first prompted you to embark on a health improvement journey?
I never had a huge weight problem until after menopause, and like the typical thing that happens when you hit your early 50s, I saw a complete change in my body. I always ate pretty healthy, I was a spin instructor, I even trained for a marathon with my husband. But it just got to the point where nothing worked anymore. All my old bag of tricks didn’t work anymore. I thought I would just cut out some carbs, maybe decrease calories a little bit, exercise a little bit more, and that would do the trick. But nothing really worked. Then I tried to eat little tiny meals all day long, and not only did it not work, it actually made it worse. I was always around 125 to 130 lbs, but by 2019, I had gotten up to 190 lbs over the course of five years. I was feeling miserable and so unhealthy.
How did you discover the fat burn lifestyle and what it could offer?
A friend of mine was diagnosed with prediabetes and was told to go on a low-carb diet. So he went on the diet and lost all this weight. He looked amazing, so I tried it but I didn’t know what I was doing, and it actually didn’t work at all. Then I stumbled upon a keto podcast with Dr. Jason Fung and Megan Ramos and listened to see how other people did it. Pretty soon it all clicked and totally made sense. I started learning about metabolic syndrome and the role of insulin and what insulin resistance is. That’s when I realized that I had metabolic syndrome, was insulin resistant and was on my way to type 2 diabetes. I hadn’t been going to a doctor, in fact, I was avoiding it. I buried my head in the sand thinking I had control and agency over my own body. But really, I had none. It was a very disempowering and debilitating mental burden to walk around feeling like I had no control, even though I was trying so hard and doing all the things I thought I was supposed to be doing. So I bought a book about fasting called The Complete Guide to Fasting and I read it three times. I started fasting in 2019, and a year later I lost 60 lb. I was so insulin resistant and had so much stored body fat that fasting was a really great tool for me, but it was a tool that I did in combination with learning how to eat low-carb.
How did you come across Biosense®?
I heard one of the company’s founders on a podcast a few months ago. I had been pricking my finger since the beginning, measuring my ketones and blood glucose levels every day, multiple times a day. So that was motivating.
How often do you use Biosense®?
I always measure first thing in the morning, so when I get up before I have anything to eat or coffee or exercise. Then I’ll usually do it before a meal, so that just depends because a meal could be at noon or 1:00 or I might be fasting. I still do incorporate multi-day fasts into my routine as maintenance, so I would say on average I use it at least three to five times a day.
What are some benefits you’ve experienced firsthand using Biosense®?
I’m still getting the same quality data that I need to manage my metabolic lifestyle without spending so much money. It’s just an easy and low-barrier method in so many different ways. Also, it’s really improved my overall gut health. I used to take Prilosec for GERD and it’s completely gone. I no longer have any discomfort, bloating, inflammation, or pains. I had no idea that I was having such a bad reaction to eating carbs and gluten. Obviously, the weight loss is great and my skin improved in so many different ways. There’s less puffiness and inflammation across the entire body. I had arthritis in my knee, and that completely went away. I had plantar fasciitis that I couldn’t do anything about, and that completely went away. So it’s more than just weight loss. It’s just wonderful to be able to fasten a seatbelt without it hurting. The non-scale victories are amazing. Living this way also allows you to think more clearly. You have more energy. I have a more positive outlook. There’s some kind of effect that ketones have on your mood and overall positive outlook. With COVID, I saw a lot of people around me sinking into depression and using food to comfort themselves. But I was doing the exact opposite. I was fasting, doing weight lifting, getting fitter, taking walks, going outside and getting sunshine. If I wasn’t in that constant state of ketosis, I wouldn’t have had the mental positivity to be able to approach COVID in that way. So I ended the first year of COVID having lost weight. I think I was at 42 inches around my waist, and I got down to 28 inches.
What are the main diet changes you’ve made since adopting this lifestyle?
I’m a carnivore, but I still eat some vegetables and avocado. My meals are built completely around protein. I eat quite a bit of red meat, fish, and eggs which are my staples. Recently I’ve been able to increase my protein and still stay in ketosis. I went full-blown low-carb when I realized that I lost a lot of muscle mass and I wanted to regain it. So I wanted to increase my protein and change my body composition so that I could have a lot more lean mass. I wanted to feel strong enough to do harder workouts and have more endurance. The more weight you lose, the easier it is to exercise, and it builds off of each other. The first year that I was doing it, I was so focused on eating right and fasting that I didn’t exercise that much.
What do you see as the primary function of Biosense® in your life?
I use Biosense® for motivation and to monitor my biomarker responses. Just making those connections is part of my journey of regaining back control. It’s about holding myself accountable and not letting myself slip out of ketosis. There are a lot of negative warnings out there from doctors about chasing ketones, and my response is always: I’m not chasing ketones, I’m using my ketone levels as a reward. If I’m doing a fast and I’m hitting a hard spot where I have hunger waves, seeing those higher ketone levels is a reminder that I’m in a major fat-burning state. I still have fat to lose, so it is motivating. It’s not healthy to have additional fat on your body, and I still have a goal of getting down to a 21% to 23% body fat percentage.
How does using Biosense® fit into your lifestyle?
I just love the fact that I can put it in my purse whenever I’m traveling. I’m always fasting when I’m traveling, it’s just easier, so I may be hitting some really high fat-burning ketone levels. I can use it on the plane without drawing too much attention to myself, so I think that’s a huge advantage, and it’s just easy and effortless. I could never go back to pricking my finger again. I’m thinking about how invasive that whole routine was.
Have you used any other programs in the past to enhance your health or your running performance?
I haven’t, but I got my brother turned on to eating low-carb and fasting, and I bought him a ketone measurement device on Amazon. It was a waste of money, wasn’t accurate, and didn’t work at all.
How do you use the data you collect from Biosense®?
I keep a health diary, so I log my data. I track everything and then I try to look for patterns and understand what’s happening. For example, I know that when I wake up and measure my ketones and then work out, I can see my ketones go down after the workout. That’s okay because my body went into my glycogen stores and I burned up whatever was there. Then I can see later in the afternoon my ketones go right back up. So I use the data to try and understand exactly what’s happening metabolically inside my body at any particular moment.
What have you learned about yourself since using Biosense®?
I realized I’m not insulin resistant anymore. My blood sugar is almost the same all the time, even whenever I eat. I don’t have any spikes and my body is figuring out what I’m doing now. I realize that I don’t need to prick my finger and check my glucose every day and spend an extraordinary amount of money. I don’t miss pricking my finger at all.