February Habit: Gestational Diabetes and a January Habit Recap

+ Yay! It’s the last post of the month (well, two days ago) which means a new monthly habit and a recap of last month’s. These monthly experiments help me build healthy habits, break unhealthy ones or just learn more about myself so I can figure out what’s really essential!

Womp. I was going to have my February habit relate to meal preparation for the freezer for once the baby arrives. Planning! But instead, last month, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and honestly, it has become a job in itself. So that’s where I’ll be focusing my growth/experiment/new habit efforts. Survival!

I was incredibly disappointed after being diagnosed and unsure of how to handle it. I had to wait two weeks for an appointment with the specialist and although I tried not to panic and read the internets, I couldn’t help it. Not helpful. I did however find a blog post about one gestational diabetic’s meal plan that gave me some hope. The diet wasn’t a great fit for me but the tone and reassurance were valuable.

This post is irrelevant to most people but I’m writing it in case it helps one person in the way that post helped me. I’m experimenting this month and will have a set meal plan for the recap at the end of the month. First, some notes:
+ I’m obviously not a doctor so this is all based on my experience and what works for me.
+ Gestational Diabetes is not my fault or because I ate poorly during morning sickness or wasn’t able to exercise. I most likely would’ve gotten this diagnosis even if I was living the healthiest lifestyle possible.
+ Thanks to annoying hormones, this illness is due to increased insulin needs during the third trimester of pregnancy. The needs are three times that of other adults!
+ Every diagnosis is different as every body is different. What affects my numbers can be very different from someone else.

Even before I got pregnant, I doubted my body’s ability to carry a child. It hasn’t always been my ally. So while the terrible morning sickness that wouldn’t end and this diagnosis have been frustrating, it’s not surprising to me that my body is having a hard time supporting both myself and the baby. I’ve always been sensitive to blood sugar (usually too low), blood pressure (same) and hormone changes. And pregnancy is the craziest time for all of these! But I’m doing it and of course it’s all going to be worth it.

There are a few constraints I’m working with while figuring out my ideal meal plan:
+ I’ve been told to eat 175g of carbs a day, spread out over six (yep, six!) meals. Along with getting enough protein and my supplements, I have to record everything I eat, counting carbs and protein.
+ I need to record my blood sugar four times a day: fasting and after each larger meal.
+ My fasting numbers and numbers in general are pretty low as-is so I’m fortunate that I have fewer changes to make than some. I also was on the low end of weight gain so I don’t have to worry about that.
+ I can have the same fasting number and the same breakfast and then end up with a post-breakfast number way higher than the day before. This hasn’t happened often but it shows how complicated the tracking can be.
+ Diet has the biggest effect but so do stress (in a bad way), walking (in a good way), headaches, sleep, and meal timing.
+ The recommended nutrition guidelines seem a little crazy to me so I’m avoiding sugar-free versions of foods, nonfat dairy and a low-calorie diet. I also don’t eat gluten. I’m pregnant! My body needs real food, fat and calories!
+ And man, I wish it were summer. Most winter fruits and veggies are higher in starches and it’s annoying to buy organic berries in February!

Okay. That’s where my focus will be this month. Ugh, I hate having to be so vigilant about my diet. There’s way too much to say about it so I’ll try to keep it simple ;) At the end of the month, I’ll recap the more helpful things I learned as well as a meal plan that worked for me.

Reflections on my January Habit: Cut the Cable:
I’ve adjusted to Cut the Cable January pretty well! As a reminder, my goal was to change (again!) my relationship to tv by:
+ Returning the cable box. (This not only saves at least $50/month but also the crazy cost of added electricity which can be around $10/month.)
+ Giving up any screens for entertainment after dark unless Greg and I have predetermined plans to watch something together. (Greg doesn’t love watching tv.) Oh, with an exception for football playoffs.
+ Continuing to go to very few movies and watch very few movies at home.
+ As a replacement, I was going to read more, sleep even a little bit more, and play some puzzles/games.  

This was all successful! Cable is gone, I watched zero movies this month, Greg and I did watch some X-Files and playoff football but it was intentional, and I read and slept more! I probably go to bed an hour earlier with no screens on in the evening. And I read four books plus a few reference ones versus my normal two books a month. Not bad. We’re definitely going to keep the cable cut for the time being. I’ll have to reevaluate once Peanut comes and for the Olympics. Until then… to cozy nights!

+ Tv is my thing, I don’t spend time on social media or browsing the internet. Those would be good substitutions if tv isn’t your thing ;)