So, in case you haven't heard, I have gestational diabetes. Have I mentioned that already? Well, in case I have, today I'm going to give you the cold hard truth. How I really feel about gestational diabetes.
It's pretty easy to complain about the limited diet and the finger pricking. But to be honest, I mostly have a positive attitude about this. The benefits to having (and managing properly) gestational diabetes far outweigh the cons. Here's why I see gestational diabetes as a handful of blessings rather than a punishment.
I have poor eating habits. There have been times in my life when I've been able to clean them up a little, but I sink back into bad habits. Because poor eating habits with gestational diabetes would have negative consequences for my baby, it's much easier to adhere to all the rules. I'm not just doing it for me. I'm doing it for someone else. This gives me the discipline to follow my diet exactly and not cheat because I'm not just cheating myself.
I have three full months where I have to follow these new and improved eating habits, which is more than enough time to establish real, lasting changes.
My poor eating habits didn't just include eating all the wrong things, but they also included going long periods of time without eating, then eating large meals. I have always known that it's healthiest to eat smaller meals throughout the day, but I've never been able to apply that. Now that I have to, I find that it's much more easy and manageable than I'd thought.
Murray and I also got into the habit of eating out a LOT. Especially while I was working in Salt Lake City, it seemed impossible to put together a homemade meal. Those habits that we established carried over even after I started working from home. I've always wanted to be better about making meals at home, but until now, I haven't been able to achieve that goal. Now it's much easier for me to make my own meals rather than eat out because I'm in complete control of the ingredients, so I know what I'm eating and how much of it I can eat. We are eating food that is higher quality, more healthy, and lots less expensive!
I am not good at eating breakfast. Now I have to. Every day before Murray goes to work, I throw together a little breakfast for the two of us. It's not anything spectacular. Lately it's just been a whole wheat ego waffle with peanut butter and a yogurt. But it's nice to have that time to sit and visit with Murray before he goes off to work.
I am the type of person who has a hard time controlling portions. If I make a batch of cookies, and they're all sitting in the house, I don't limit myself to just one a day. I will easily eat ten a day. I usually help myself to seconds at dinner. Now I'm learning discipline and portion control and learning that it really is okay to have just one cookie. In fact, El Senor made me these absolutely delicious cookies. He gave me two. I had one one day and saved the other for the next because I knew there would be no way for me to eat them both without spiking my blood sugar. I think I enjoyed the cookies more because now I'm not used to having sweets at every meal. So now I'm thinking that I'll need to make a batch of that cookie recipe and just freeze it all. Then, I can just make four cookies at a time (two for me, spread out over two days, and two for Murray).
I'm making time to go for walks and get in exercise. It's nice to get outside when I'm indoors all day long! Murray and I have been able to enjoy several walks together. It's nice to stroll along in the evening holding hands.
I'm learning that my happiness does not depend on food. Although I love helping myself to lots of ice cream or lots of molten lava chocolate cake or lots of cookies, I'm learning now that having more sweets does not increase my overall happiness. Right now, I feel just as fulfilled and just as happy as I did before my diagnosis when I could eat anything I wanted. I am enjoying the same quality of life. The pleasure that I get from eating food is gone as soon as the food has been devoured. And the lasting effects of those food choices actually have a negative impact on my overall health and well being (and weight!). So I'm learning now that I don't have to indulge every craving to be happy, and in fact, I will be happier and healthier if I don't indulge every craving.
Finally, having gestational diabetes for three months teaches me what life could be like for me if I don't make permanent changes now. I can lower my chances of developing Type II diabetes now by applying these positive changes. And then I don't have to deal with pricking my finger and testing my blood every day for the rest of my life. So this experience is giving me the confidence to make the right decisions for me and my health.
So how's THAT for the glass being half full? You're probably all jealous of my condition now. Also, I need to make sure that I read this post AFTER the baby arrives and I have my eating freedom back. No sense in forgetting all the good lessons I'm learning and slipping back into bad habits!