A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Lessons learned from gestational diabetes

on May 28, 2014

I spent Memorial Day weekend 3 years crying because in my third trimester of pregnancy, I’d just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is insulin resistance and poor blood sugar control unique to pregnancy. It usually, but not always, resolves when pregnancy is over but it is considered a risk factor for developing type II (insulin resistant) diabetes in the 5-10 years following your pregnancy. While I felt physically well during pregnancy and ultimately delivered a healthy child, it was an emotionally tough pregnancy for me because I felt like I kept stacking up bad thing after bad thing in terms of risk for my baby and the gestational diabetes felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Ultimately, I delivered a healthy boy and I learned a lot from the experience.

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– With the right motivation, you can do anything. Suddenly, with this little guy to think about and his health on the line, I was able to stick to changes in my eating habits and exercise in ways I could never maintain before. Similarly, remembering finger sticks four times a day and carbohydrate counting were huge motivation for me when I was trying to make changes in my diet and exercise two years ago. My health (and particularly my fear of impending diabetes) has been a bigger motivation than size 6 pants could ever be.

– There isn’t a single diet that best for everyone. I got so frustrated with my nutritionist who kept insisting I could eat any carbohydrate I wanted so long as it fell within my carbohydrate range for the day. The truth was, 30 grams of oatmeal shot my blood sugar up sky high whereas 30 gram of other whole grains, like bread, were okay. Every body sees food differently. We are all just experiments of one so we can’t assume that what worked for our friend or our sister or whoever is going to work the same way for us.

– It’s easier to get little bits of exercise in than you think. Going for a walk after I ate, even if it was just around the block (of course, at almost 300 pounds in my third trimester of pregnancy, that waddle took a while), was a huge help in regulating my blood sugar and it didn’t take long to realize that in the time I spent making excuses NOT to go, I could have already done something.

– Banning foods completely makes them incredibly desirable. I spent the last 3 months of my pregnancy dying for brownies and pizza. There was nothing I wanted more than those foods and I absolutely inhaled a whole tray of brownies once I was home post-baby (and we won’t even talk about the pizza). There was no way I could have those things and keep my blood sugar safe for O, so they were completely off limits for me during that time period and that made them the thing I dreamed about at night. I don’t eat pizza or brownies often these days either but I don’t dream about them or crave them often because I know I could have them whenever I wanted. I’d just have to make room in my calories with good choices for the rest of the day and exercise. The fact that it is a choice makes it so much easier.

I’ve come a long way from that miserable Memorial Day weekend 3 years ago and I did at least learn a lot from the experience. Thankfully, I passed my post-pregnancy glucose tolerance test with flying colors and so for now I’m in the clear. Hopefully remembering these things will help me stay as healthy as I can for years to come.

The best motivation ever to keep me and him healthy for years to come!

The best motivation ever to keep myself (and him) healthy for years to come!

 

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11 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Lessons learned from gestational diabetes

  1. I believe in listening to the experts, an then experimenting on your own and reaching your on conclusions. Finding what works for you in terms of nutrition and exercise is the key to long term success.

  2. I am surprised your nutritionist didn’t really listen to you about how certain carbs shot up your blood sugar levels. You’d think hearing that, she would recommend something more personalized. I probably would have found a new nutritionist after that!

    This is such a great story of triumph. It is amazing how far you’ve come over the last few years and that you beat that high risk of diabetes!

    • I just asked my doctor if I could stop seeing the nutritionist and she agreed. 🙂 I got a lot more information and support from the Baby Center’s diabetes message board than I did from my nutritionist and diabetes educator I’m sad to say!

      On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 9:42 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  3. Kristin says:

    Oh my gosh, you are so beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing your inspirational story!! You’re the best mommy!!!

    • Thanks. That first weekend sticks out in my mind a lot for some reason, so I find myself thinking about it every Memorial Day.

      On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 9:48 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  4. jaime says:

    my endo wants to know the second im pregnant because she is 100% sure that i will have gestational diabetes. that really made me sad (i have since lost 25 lbs and working on another 25 lbs). not pregnant yet and i really hope i am able to solve any blood sugar issues (and the reason she said that was because my fasting blood sugars were on the higher end of normal when not pregnant).

    • I understand the stress. I worried about it going into pregnancy too, just because of my weight. I got a lot of help and information from the BabyCenter diabetes message board, if you need help when the time comes. It’s better to test early when there’s a risk for it, so you can protect the baby, but it may be normal! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

      On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 11:22 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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  5. […] screen last week (I’m okay, by the way), I’ve been thinking back over the things I learned from my time with gestational diabetes. One of my favorite things from that time period was taking a walk after dinner. I was always […]

  6. […] talk with myself before I step on it about interpreting that number with caution. I know from my gestational diabetes days just how much stress and poor sleep screw me up hormonally, so I have to remind myself of that […]

  7. […] aren’t able to efficiently process sugars. I definitely saw this when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes. If I had a bad night of sleep, my fasting blood sugar in the morning was 10-20 points higher than […]

  8. […] its food. I certainly now that for me, a little walk after dinner was a HUGE help when I had gestational diabetes. Darrell doesn’t know this yet, but I’m roping him into this goal too. 🙂 Family […]

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