I am very excited to have my first guest here on Survival Guide by The Working Mom. Today Desiree (what a pretty name, huh?) from The Miracle Momma talks about her struggles with gestational diabetes and how it led her to a healthier lifestyle. Thank you for sharing your story with us Desiree, it truly is inspiring!
Without further ado, I will turn the mic over to Desiree:
Without further ado, I will turn the mic over to Desiree:
It is. Unless you're plus size. Then it turns into a completely different story.
While I was pregnant I sky rocked to 315 pounds by the time I was 7 weeks pregnant. In my defense I was just out of the hospital recovering from my crush injury I experienced during the Joplin Tornado. A lot of that weight was swelling. 315 is still a depressing number regardless of how or why I was at that weight. I've been battling obesity since 2008 when I began Phentermine. I was originally 223 pounds. That seems forever ago. While I was Phentermine I managed to get down to 190 pounds, however once I stopped taking my medication I managed to gain even more weight: 240 pounds. I lost all motivation the last 4 years to change my eating habits. I hated myself. I hated my body. Nothing would ever change I thought to myself. I would be the same fat blob I see in the mirror every day.
My eating habits weren't the best, but they weren't too horrible either. I ate a lot healthier than what I did prior to being pregnant. My biggest issue? I was now legitimately hungry all the time. By legitimate I mean "there was a baby inside of my belly who needed to eat too." Because I was a plus size pregnant woman I had family members who would constantly get on to me when I ate. If I ate fruit I was being told I ate too much. If I had a single (and I really mean single) piece of candy I would be singled out in front of other family members. Then there were other family members who believed I was destined to develop Gestational Diabetes because I was "too big." I wondered to myself during the first and second trimesters why I was being treated differently from other pregnant women. Was my weight really that big of a difference?
When I look back to my pregnancy last year I understand that my weight had a huge difference on my pregnancy. I was a high risk pregnancy. I don't condone how I was treated by my family members who scrutinized everything I put in my mouth, but I will agree I wasn't at a healthy weight for my body. You have to decide for yourself based on your health alone if you are at the weight you need to be healthy. I didn't stay at 315 pounds for long. Before my Gestational Diabetes testing I managed to drop to 290 pounds. It's still a large number but I was proud of myself for eating "healthier." I thought I was healthy enough to not develop Gestational Diabetes. It couldn't happen to me I believed. I told myself that every night.
It was a week before I was to be tested for Gestational Diabetes when I started to show signs of developing Gestational Diabetes. When I found out I had indeed developed the complication I cried for a week. I was so mad at myself for developing Gestational Diabetes. During that time I believed like all of the scrutiny I received from family members was justified. It hurt, and it hurt a lot. Wasn't that a disease only "really big girls" got? I began to feel like even more of a failure to my son. Not only did I happen to almost have us both killed in the Joplin Tornado but now he might die because of my eating habits. The day I went to meet my nutritionist was one of the worst days in my life. I got to listen to a woman tell me how have a greater chance in developing Type 2 Diabetes and then lecture me on how all of my eating habits were wrong. My pediatrician wanted me to focus on controlling my Gestational Diabetes with diet alone first. It wasn't easy. I could have 45 carbs a meal, 1 protein, and vegetables. Each snack was limited to 15 carbs & 1 protein. The catch? I could only have 3 snacks. I wasn't allowed to eat 8 hours before my I had to test myself in the morning. The juice, the soda, the milk I was drinking... it all happened to be foods that spiked my blood sugar. Fruits and yogurt were also out of the question. Did I forget to mention I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 27 weeks? I spent the next 10 weeks on the diet from Hell. By the time I figured out what foods agreed with me and managing my blood sugar levels I ended up eating the same thing everyday. I'm not going to sugar coat it: Eating was depressing. My meals consisted of :
Breakfast: 2 eggs & 2 pieces of bacon
Snack: 16 pringle chips & 1 piece of cheese
Lunch: Michelina Lasagna & Diet Dr. Pepper
Snack: Sugar Free Jello
Dinner: 1 protein, salad, broccoli
The normal Gestational Diabetes diet has a third snack after dinner. My body's insulin couldn't break down my last snack which left my fasting number a lot higher than it should be. My pediatrician wanted me to exclude a third snack. Every day I went from 5:00PM until 6:00AM without any food of sugary drink (water was O.K.). I never thought a pregnant woman could go so long without food. I was miserable and literally cried myself to sleep from how hungry each night the first month. I began counting down the days when my son would be born just so I could feel like I could eat "normally."
After my son was born I had no signs at staying diabetic. I consider myself lucky. To this day I occasionally check my blood sugar levels just to make sure I am not becoming diabetic. As much as I hated having Gestational Diabetes I learned a lot. Remember when I thought I was eating healthy before? I really wasn't. It was such an eye opener reading the back of nutritional labels. A lot of the food I was eating was overly processed and filled with hidden sugars. I truly look at food differently. In a way Gestational Diabetes saved my life. I am learning everyday how to feed my body with the right things. The Gestational Diabetes diet was the stepping stones into saving my life. After I gave birth to my son on December 23, 2011 my weight dropped to 250 pounds. My pediatrician was proud of me. She explained that the complications I had were a sign of what I would look forward to in 15 years. I have no intention of being diabetic or having hypertension in 15 years. There was someone else who was proud too. I was proud of myself.
I managed to lose weight while on the Gestational Diabetes diet. My friends & family were amazed at how much love for my son I had that I completely changed my diet. I never had to take insulin or medication for my Gestational Diabetes. I completely controlled my complication with diet alone. If you're a pregnant woman with Gestational Diabetes: It IS possible to control Gestational Diabetes with diet alone. I also learned a very important lesson about Gestational Diabetes. Anyone can develop Gestational Diabetes. It doesn't matter if you're plus size or petite. Every pregnant woman has a chance of developing it. Gestational Diabetes isn't a problem with your body's insulin production. Your body insulin isn't able to keep up with your and your baby's placenta. Once the placenta is delivered, Gestational Diabetes disappears. If you're plus size and develop Gestational Diabetes you can be comforted knowing every pregnant woman has an equal chance. Don't let others try to make you feel bad. Pregnancy is suppose to be one of the best times of your life.
My new normal in eating consists of low carb meals filled with fruits & vegetables. I still drink soda but only in limited moderation. I mainly drink water. I am now down from 315 pounds to 239. It isn't nowhere near perfect but I already feel much healthier than what I was a year ago. I recently took a picture comparison of myself. I am losing weight by eating healthier & exercising on my own.
I'm slowly getting myself to my goal weight of 150. I'm not losing weight as fast as I did on a pill, but I am losing weight the right way. I have made a promise to myself and my family that we are going to wait until I am at my goal weight before we try for baby #2. And you know what: The next time I'm pregnant I'm not going to give in to those cravings. I'm prepared to eat healthy. I'm not going to eat healthy just to help avoid Gestational Diabetes, but I want to eat healthy for my body.