I Tried A Diet And Fitness Plan Based On My DNA And Couldn’t Believe The Results

 My name is Daysha, and I have always struggled with my weight.

Growing up, my weight fluctuated a lot. At one point in my life, I developed disordered eating habits. After recovering and practicing a lot of self-love, I found the problem then became that I never saw the same results that I did when I was starving myself.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy working out and eating healthy, because I do.

I love cooking healthy meals and I dance four to five times per week. I have always been frustrated with why it's so hard for me to lose weight. I tried all sorts of methods to lose weight and get fit, including a raw vegan diet, Weight Watchers, seeing a dietitian, doing a soup cleanse, P90X, and even getting a personal trainer. Nothing seemed to work for me.

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I love cooking healthy meals and I dance four to five times per week. I have always been frustrated with why it’s so hard for me to lose weight. I tried all sorts of methods to lose weight and get fit, including a raw vegan diet, Weight Watchers, seeing a dietitian, doing a soup cleanse, P90X, and even getting a personal trainer. Nothing seemed to work for me.

I started to believe that maybe it’s just my genetics.

Not ever seeing results discouraged me so much to the point that I wanted to just give up. It turned into a continuous cycle of embarking on a new diet or fitness plan, not seeing any real change after a few months, and then just giving up again.

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Not ever seeing results discouraged me so much to the point that I wanted to just give up. It turned into a continuous cycle of embarking on a new diet or fitness plan, not seeing any real change after a few months, and then just giving up again.

Then I found out about this thing called FitnessGenes and took a DNA test.

FitnessGenes is a genetic testing company that develops personalized fitness and nutrition plans based on an individual's DNA. I met with Dr. Dan Reardon, the CEO/cofounder, and took a DNA test. The results took one month to process. When I finally got them back, I was shocked.

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FitnessGenes is a genetic testing company that develops personalized fitness and nutrition plans based on an individual’s DNA. I met with Dr. Dan Reardon, the CEO/cofounder, and took a DNA test. The results took one month to process. When I finally got them back, I was shocked.

I sat down with Dr. Dan to learn more about my genetics and how my body works. Here’s what I learned:

1. My suspicion was correct. Genetically, I do have a slower metabolism. Dr. Dan described this in scientific terms as an "efficient metabolism," meaning that I store energy more than someone with a fast or "inefficient metabolism." 2. I also have a gene variation for the FTO gene that is linked to a hormone called ghrelin, which controls hunger. My gene variation implies that I am someone who becomes hungry very easily, therefore creating a higher risk of overeating. Dan said that eating small, frequent meals throughout the day to control hunger would be important. 3. I also have a gene variation in the APOA2 gene, indicating that I am sensitive to saturated fats, meaning that it sticks to me more easily! I asked Dr. Dan what foods have saturated fats and he said things like animal products, butter, dairy products, palm oil, and coconut oil. Coconut oil?! I ate so much coconut oil because of how often it's promoted as a healthy oil. No wonder I was having trouble.4. I am someone who would benefit from working out later in the day because my CLOCK gene variations imply that I am a night owl. This made perfect sense because I am definitely not a morning person.5. I am someone who responds well to "high-volume training," meaning high sets and reps of weight training. I always thought that lots of cardio would be the key to losing weight. It turns out that it was going to take a lot of strength training. Dan said that the more muscle I built, the more fat I would burn. 6. I am someone who does not switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat easily. This would mean that I would need to be eating the right balance of macronutrients: carbs, protein and fat.7. Dan also said that I have a gene variation that indicates I metabolize caffeine slowly. This means that I would benefit by having a cup of green tea about 30 minutes prior to a workout for optimal energy.

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1. My suspicion was correct. Genetically, I do have a slower metabolism. Dr. Dan described this in scientific terms as an “efficient metabolism,” meaning that I store energy more than someone with a fast or “inefficient metabolism.”

2. I also have a gene variation for the FTO gene that is linked to a hormone called ghrelin, which controls hunger. My gene variation implies that I am someone who becomes hungry very easily, therefore creating a higher risk of overeating. Dan said that eating small, frequent meals throughout the day to control hunger would be important.

3. I also have a gene variation in the APOA2 gene, indicating that I am sensitive to saturated fats, meaning that it sticks to me more easily! I asked Dr. Dan what foods have saturated fats and he said things like animal products, butter, dairy products, palm oil, and coconut oil. Coconut oil?! I ate so much coconut oil because of how often it’s promoted as a healthy oil. No wonder I was having trouble.

4. I am someone who would benefit from working out later in the day because my CLOCK gene variations imply that I am a night owl. This made perfect sense because I am definitely not a morning person.

5. I am someone who responds well to “high-volume training,” meaning high sets and reps of weight training. I always thought that lots of cardio would be the key to losing weight. It turns out that it was going to take a lot of strength training. Dan said that the more muscle I built, the more fat I would burn.

6. I am someone who does not switch from burning carbohydrates to burning fat easily. This would mean that I would need to be eating the right balance of macronutrients: carbs, protein and fat.

7. Dan also said that I have a gene variation that indicates I metabolize caffeine slowly. This means that I would benefit by having a cup of green tea about 30 minutes prior to a workout for optimal energy.

Instead of counting calories, I tracked my macronutrients.

Dan said it would be important to have 1,700–1,900 calories maximum per day, since I am someone with a slow metabolism. However, instead of counting calories, which had put me in a negative headspace in the past, I tracked my macronutrients every day using this whiteboard. Macronutrient breakdown Carbohydrates: 40% Protein: 30% Fat: 30% (less than 8% coming from saturated fats, and the main source coming from monounsaturated fats. This would include foods such as almonds, olive oil, avocado, sesame oil, and canola oil.)

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Dan said it would be important to have 1,700–1,900 calories maximum per day, since I am someone with a slow metabolism. However, instead of counting calories, which had put me in a negative headspace in the past, I tracked my macronutrients every day using this whiteboard.

Macronutrient breakdown

Carbohydrates: 40%

Protein: 30%

Fat: 30% (less than 8% coming from saturated fats, and the main source coming from monounsaturated fats. This would include foods such as almonds, olive oil, avocado, sesame oil, and canola oil.)

I learned how to create meals that were delicious and healthy for my body.

The 30-day plan was easy to follow, but it did take a lot of hard work.

I worked out with Dan three to four times per week doing strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I had two active recovery days and also took a brisk walk every morning. Yes, there were times when I wanted to quit, but I felt stronger and stronger as the time went by. It motivated me even more to continue.

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I worked out with Dan three to four times per week doing strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I had two active recovery days and also took a brisk walk every morning. Yes, there were times when I wanted to quit, but I felt stronger and stronger as the time went by. It motivated me even more to continue.

I couldn’t have done it without a strong support system.

I was lucky enough to have friends who were invested in me and seeing me succeed. They were even willing to work out with me!

After 30 days, I could not believe the results!

I didn't weigh myself the entire 30 days, because I didn't want to be discouraged by the numbers. Instead, I focused on how I was feeling. I had more energy than I have ever had before! In the end, it really wasn't about the numbers for me. I just wanted to be the healthiest, happiest version of myself.

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I didn’t weigh myself the entire 30 days, because I didn’t want to be discouraged by the numbers. Instead, I focused on how I was feeling. I had more energy than I have ever had before! In the end, it really wasn’t about the numbers for me. I just wanted to be the healthiest, happiest version of myself.

Although I lost weight and body fat, it was never about the numbers for me. I came out of this experience a different person on the inside, and that is what matters to me the most.

This experience allowed me to trust my body more than I ever have. I realized that I was always caught in this mindset that I was somehow "broken," and that nothing would ever work for me. In reality, I just needed to learn more about my body and how I function as an individual. We live in a culture where everyone is trying to tell you what's healthy, and this gave me the peace of mind to know what's actually healthy for my own body. This is only the beginning for me!

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This experience allowed me to trust my body more than I ever have. I realized that I was always caught in this mindset that I was somehow “broken,” and that nothing would ever work for me. In reality, I just needed to learn more about my body and how I function as an individual. We live in a culture where everyone is trying to tell you what’s healthy, and this gave me the peace of mind to know what’s actually healthy for my own body. This is only the beginning for me!

FitnessGenes is offering a 20% discount for BuzzFeed users using code BUZZFEED at checkout. Follow this link.

Special thanks to Granite Gym and Sanctuary Fitness LA for use of their facilities.

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Tried these fun workouts? (Image credit: Thinkstock)Tried these fun workouts? (Image credit: Thinkstock)
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When you’re done with your workout for the day, you can just dive into the water for a quick cool down.

Dance + Yoga = Gyrotonic

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A live-stream class, anyone?

Shelling out a bomb for zumba training session? Spending a good 30 minutes to one hour traveling to the gym? Not able to remain consistent with your workout regimen because of being away for pleasure or business trips? Switch to live-streaming videos which are becoming even more popular on social media with platforms like Facebook Live. Access the fitness regimen from anywhere in the world; all you need is an internet connection. Just hit that subscribe button and get going. Bring that in-class energy to your private fitness session at home. Currently, very few studios and instructors may be streaming live classes, but the shift is likely to happen this year, according to industry experts

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