Lori’s Data-Driven Journey to Nutritional Empowerment and Wellness

Data-Driven Fasting wouldn’t be a thing if it weren’t for the amazing Lori Leeke.

I initially published a blog post back in 2018 outlining how someone could potentially use their glucose as a fuel gauge with an updated premeal glucose trigger.

A few months later, Lori contacted me and told me she had put it into practice with phenomenal results. She encouraged me to develop it further to help more people.

So I did. Now, nearly nine thousand people have used our Data-Driven Fasting app, and we’re about to kick off our 28th Data-Driven Fasting Challenge.

Throughout it all, Lori has continued to support our mission to help people find metabolic health and freedom from a diet mentality by using their glucose as a fuel gauge and telling everyone she can so they can have the same experience.

Five years on, it’s an honour to share Lori’s story.

My Why

My name is Lori Leeke, and I live in Richardson, Texas.  Since 2018, I’ve been learning from Marty Kendall’s Optimising Nutrition blog.

My initial why for seeking Nutritional Optimisation began as a way to avoid diabetes and dementia on my mother’s side of the family and to not be afflicted by hypertension and heart attacks on my father’s side. 

Then, in 1996, I was diagnosed with a genetic kidney condition that would have severe complications if I paid no attention to my lifestyle. 

All of these motivated me to try Data-Driven Fasting, which quickly improved my physical health and overall well-being.

My Journey

Through my 40+ years of trying to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, I’ve used several well-known diets, including:

I also did several ‘fad’ diets that manipulated macronutrient intake.

While searching for the right fit for myself, I was also looking for the best way to feed my family.  Some approaches helped a little, but none did everything I was searching for.  Eventually, I did seven years of vegetarianism and even toyed with veganism.  

But in the late 1990s, I did a complete 180 and began eating a diet rich in meat and non-starchy veggies prescribed to me by Dr Joseph Mercola.  My family was living in the Chicago area then, and Dr Mercola was still in clinical practice.  I sought his help because he was the only local doctor who had heard of the autosomal kidney disease I was diagnosed with.  Working with him was why I tried adhering to a low-carb approach for 17 years.

In 2013, I gave up my long-standing low-carb lifestyle after discovering Trim Healthy Mama, which promotes the separation of energy sources (i.e., carbs and fat).  THM brought carbs back into my life! 

It felt like I’d finally found food freedom because I was no longer excluding one member of the macronutrient trinity — fats, carbs, or proteins.  Eventually, I learned how to use them all.  The best part of THM was that I stopped viewing fruit as bad and off-limits.

The Trim Healthy Mama approach of fuel-separating and frequent fuelling worked well for me until I hit menopause and had to figure things out again.  It took me two long years searching for answers as I struggled to hold back a slow and steady upward tick on the bathroom scale and a thickening waistline.

In 2018, I stumbled across a posted image showing ideal glucose number ranges while searching the plethora of THM-related Facebook pages.  Seeing that infographic taught me to wait for a lower glucose value before consuming more fuel.  It was a turning point, inspiring me to educate myself about glucose. 

Before long, I discovered Marty’s blog post, How to Use a Glucose Meter as a Fuel Gauge, and I put his teaching into practice.  While I didn’t ditch THM, I waited for my glucose meter to tell me when to refuel.  However, Marty’s bio-individualised intermittent fasting techniques conflicted with THM’s promotion of frequent fuelling. 

After getting so much benefit from THM, I had reservations about jumping into an unfamiliar approach.  My biggest fear over combining Data-Driven Fasting and Trim Healthy Mama techniques was that I would slow my metabolism. 

Two resources that were very helpful in resolving that concern were Gin Stephens’ book, Delay, Don’t Deny, and a podcast she co-hosted with Melanie Avalon, where they answered people’s questions about intermittent fasting using science publications.  World-renowned nephrologist Dr Jason Fung also helped assure me that I was on the right path.  He said, “Fasting can be combined with any diet imaginable.”

When I first began using a glucose meter as a fuel gauge and trying to understand how I could manage my glucose numbers with fasting, I was VERY frustrated because I kept encountering ‘keto, keto, keto!’ evangelists.  I was not then—nor am I now—willing to return to limiting myself to a low-carb or keto-only diet!  While I still avoid mixing fuel sources, I alternate between carbs OR fat as my energy source.

I love Marty’s quote, ‘Your diet doesn’t need a name or a belief system, just enough nutrients.”  This inspired me to pay more attention to whether I was getting enough micronutrients in my THM fuel-separated meals instead of focusing so much on macronutrients. 

Consequently, I began adding more leafy greens and veggies to my diet.  While THM also teaches ‘leafy greens and veggies,’ the message somehow came through to me more clearly from Marty’s constant reiteration of ‘protein and nutrients’ and the data he uses to support it.  Maybe he bangs that drum so hard that it’s hard not to hear!

Non-Scale Victories

I’ve had a lot of wins on this program.  One of my favourite parts about treating a glucose meter as my fuel gauge is that I don’t feel the need to pay attention to the clock as my guide to eating, nor do I feel compelled to plan on eating something every three to four hours. 

If I miss a meal, I won’t hurt my metabolism.  I appreciate the flexibility of paying attention to my innate hunger cues and how much I enjoy eating one to two big nutritious meals over smaller, more frequent ones.  This also means I spend less time in the kitchen!

However, I have to say that my greatest non-scale victory from a DDF approach is that my thyroid started functioning better, and my blood work looks stellar.  In fact, my nephrologist had to keep reducing my thyroid medication until I eventually no longer needed a prescription at all!  Similarly, my A1c improved from 5.2 to 4.7, and my triglycerides were 37 mg/dL. 

The photo below shows me fitting into my daughter’s jeans from her highschool days! Quite an achievement at my age.

Yay for the Data-Driven Fasting life!

What makes me happiest about having found Marty’s blog post article back in 2018 is that I get to share my triumphs with others who want to be comfortable in their clothes and who hope to live a healthy life for what time God gives them. 

I tell whoever will listen that they can KNOW when their body needs fuel by checking their glucose values.  All the information is right there at their fingertips!  Once I saw the power of using a glucose meter to guide when and what I eat, I reached out to Marty and let him know I shared his work with all my friends.

While I love combining Trim Healthy Mama living with Data-Driven Fasting, I know that any dietary style will work with what Marty is trying to teach the world.  One of the Optimising Nutrition challenge participants shared her data and proved she could even meet her dietary needs and improve her health stats by implementing Marty’s nutrient-density teaching as a vegetarian.

Marty’s teachings and data-driven hypotheses were life-changing revelations for me.  I feel really good about sending my friends to Optimising Nutrition, knowing they’ll leave with tools they’ll have for life and won’t have their wallets drained. 

Marty says he takes pride in providing more value for FREE than others charge for – and he does!

Thanks, Lori! To learn more about Lori and her journey, you can check out my interview with her here.

You can also listen to Lori’s interview with Gin Stephens on the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, which introduced DDF to the world!