Weight loss program tailored to your DNA

Posted at 7:59 PM, Jul 05, 2017

TULSA -- What if your DNA could tell you about how to lose weight, or what foods and exercise are best for your health?

2 Works for You's Chera Kimiko followed 98.5 KVOO's Sunny Leigh for two months  after she took the DNAFit test to see if knowing her DNA helped her shed the pounds for food.

Leigh, the bubbly morning personality on KVOO has no trouble getting people through their morning drive. But she does have trouble navigating her own health and weight loss goals.

"I weighed 130 pounds when I moved here," Leigh said. "I still had a big butt and big legs and I always fought that…"

Dr. Mark Sherwood with Functional Medical Institute said the answer could be in her DNA.

"DNA makes up more than 20,000 genes, each carry instructions for a single protein," Sherwood said. "Together they determine how we look and how our bodies function."

First things first, Leigh went to see Dr. Sherwood, where doctors got her health information and sent if off to a lab.

Life-changing information for her was revealed on live radio.

"I've got to be honest, I am absolutely horrified because it seems like I have every possible bad thing against me," Leigh said. "But you said it is really not as terrible as I'm making it?"

"No, look at this as a standpoint of empowerment," Sherwood said. "Just because the genes say 'X' does not mean that is your destiny.

The DNAFit test let Leigh know what workouts are best for her DNA.

"You are a dominant endurance person," Sherwood said. "You don't need to go hard, you need to keep your heart rate below about 120-135, where you can carry on a conversation."

So Leigh hit the gym four days a week, doing 20 minutes of cardio and 40 minutes of leg, arm, abs and back exercises. Next, she changed up her eating habits to cut out things she doesn't metabolize. 

"Red meat, sugar, dairy, alcohol and caffeine, all a big no-no," Sherwood said. 

 "I am wondering what food there is left for me to eat," Leigh said.

Now, it's all about berries and lots of greens.

"According to my genetics, I need to be eating a whole lot more fruits and vegetables," Leigh said.

Halfway through the program in June, she checked in with Dr. Michelle Sherwood. 

"It is going to tell us quite a few things," Sherwood said. "Your weight, it is going to tell us about your lean body mass, the percentage of fat you carry on your frame and your cellular health."

In one month, Leigh lost eight pounds of fat and gained four pounds of muscle. But the changes haven't come easy.

"Coffee has been really hard," Leigh said. "One of the big challenges, according to my DNA, is I don't process caffeine so I have gone to half calf. Eating healthy has been a lot more expensive than eating junk food so that has been a hit to my wallet. Having to buy all the fresh fruit and produce and fresh vegetable and fish, but in the long run it is a lot cheaper than having diabetes."

The payoff was worth it.

By July, she lost nine to 10 pounds of fat, and went up about eight pounds in lean body mass.

The DNAFit test at the institute costs about $380, but it can be paid for with a health savings account. The test can also show how people metabolize minerals and vitamins.

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