Let us introduce Dubravko, a busy manager whose first GlycanAge test showed that his biological age was 8 years greater than his chronological age. Find out how he changed his lifestyle and how he managed to bring down his GlycanAge without spending a lot of money.
Dubravko, can you share your experience with GlycanAge?
I had a feeling that there was something wrong going on with my health and my overall lifestyle. I was getting slightly overweight, my sleeping patterns changed to extremely irregular and I would wake up really tired.
I never felt energised in the morning and my work style was taking a toll on my health. I guess at that point I was just awaiting some kind of a sign that I was going in the wrong direction.
Then one morning I woke up and one of my feet was completely swollen and I couldn’t walk. The thing was, I didn’t injure my foot. I went through all the medical procedures and the only thing doctors could tell me is that this was my body’s response to the lack of movement and bad nutrition.
Luckily, I was offered a GlycanAge test and I immediately accepted it. The first test showed me the exact thing I was expecting - I was biologically 8 years older than I was chronologically.
I’m sure that was a real wake-up call for you. What type of changes did you implement after that first test?
The first thing I did was that I started walking more and moving in general. Before the test, I wasn’t walking, running, or exercising at all. So I made a specific schedule and I started using public transport more than my car.
I started biking more and I would choose to walk for 3 kilometers to the next bus station than take a bus for 2 stations and walk the rest of my commute. It was hard to start and definitely requires more planning, but I was firm with myself and that’s why I succeeded.
Secondly, I started jogging every morning. I would wake up at 6 a.m. and go for a run for at least an hour. That ensured that I got done with physical activity before 9 a.m. That’s not a huge thing to implement in your daily schedule, however, it did help me a lot with my sleeping patterns.
You cannot go to sleep at 2 o'clock in the morning and wake up at 6. You can do it for one night at my age, and that's pretty much it. I also started monitoring my sleep because I read a lot about how sleep can affect your health. For example, irregular sleep can bring in diabetes type 2 in the long run. So I bought a ring that monitors my quality of sleep, how much I slept, how much deep sleep I achieved, and what my heart rate was during the night.
Once you get interested in your own health, you’ll want to research more and more parts of your lifestyle. Besides the benefits of good quality of sleep, I learned about the benefits of walking, good nutrition, and more.
I started to lean more towards a vegetarian nutrition style. I’m not saying that I don’t eat meat, just reduced it noticeably in my diet. I did completely take out milk and I don’t drink cow milk anymore, just soy and other alternative kinds of milk.
That’s so interesting. We always hear about the effect of a good diet, but what was your diet like before?
I would say that it was like a regular restaurant diet. It wasn’t bad, I ate quality food but every now and then I would have a late-night business dinner that would take forever, like until midnight sometimes.
That means that I ate late in the day and I ate very high-calorie meals as well. Once I knew I had to make changes if I wanted to see real results, I started turning down dinners and taking lunch meetings instead. The other half of it was eating lighter dinners like salads or fish. I stopped eating bread and pastries made from white bread and I only eat rye bread now. Another thing I kicked out of my diet is butter and almost all cheese. However, I still eat cheese when the situation calls for it.
I use an app that helps me check the nutritional value of the food I’m buying, so I just scan the barcode and all the information pops up. You get surprised once you start doing that because a lot of food that gets marketed as healthy is full of calories and carbohydrates. Alcohol is a big factor that needs to be controlled, especially in males over 40. I feel like we all have a tendency to overconsume alcohol without any reason, like while watching TV, but I make sure that it’s not a daily thing to me and I only drink in social situations.
What surprised you the most during this journey?
The biggest surprise for me during this journey was actually how much you can improve in 18 months. I wasn’t just surprised, actually I was shocked when I went through with my second GlycanAge test.
Basically, in 18 months, I improved my biological age by 18 years. I went from 55 to 37 and I’m so happy to see all the changes I made paid off. I was really encouraged by the last two GlycanAge tests that I want to stay persistent in my health journey.
I also feel amazing, I feel capable and younger. Other people my age already have problems tying their shoes and I am going on runs and have an active lifestyle.
What kind of misconceptions do you feel people have about living a healthy lifestyle?
I feel like people have a big problem with persistence. People think they can get wasted or eat a bad meal and it won’t affect their life at all. I mean I’ll still go to parties and have a social life, but whatever happens in the evening, I’ll still wake up and go jogging for 10 km the next day.
People think that one time won’t make a difference and if you’re persistent about your lifestyle, that’s ok but in order to not go back into this sort of a less resistant mode, you’ll have to be strong mentally.
I think a lot of people think that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t come with any work, but in fact, you need to put in a lot of effort every day in order to stick to your routine.
Is there a spiritual element to your health journey?
I wouldn’t call it a spiritual practice, but I do meditate. My meditation is closely tied to the sport. I like to push myself and if I’m running and at a certain point my mind starts to second guess if my body can go any further, I make sure to tune out any negative thoughts or doubts I have.
I make sure that my mind doesn’t go to those places. This is especially important when you’re just starting off. Your whole body will hurt because it will be pushing back on this new regiment, but once you break that seal, you’ll see how beneficial the whole practice is.
If I’m really at a point where I can’t run, I’ll go for a walk, and sometimes I would walk double the distance of my run. It takes time, but I’m not a quitter. You just need to be persistent and set up realistic goals for yourself.
How do you measure your progress?
That’s a great question because if you can’t measure something, you can’t control it. I weigh myself every day and I have specific goals for my weight. I measure my calorie intake, I monitor my sleep and all my movements with a smartwatch and more.
There’s a lot of monitoring going on in my day, but at this point, it comes naturally to me. Technology has made all of this extremely easy and I don’t spend a lot of time on it. That’s what’s so great about GlacanAge as well. You can’t lie to yourself once you see the results of your test.
It’s a great indicator of what needs to be fixed and I strongly recommend it to everyone concerned about their health.