I thought I had healthy eating habits until I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes – the one thing I didn’t expect to get while pregnant. At the time, I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
A little over one year later, I’ve completely changed my tune. I believe it was one of the best things that happened during my pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that happens to pregnant women as a result of their placenta’s inability to correctly manage insulin levels.
Gestational Diabetes strikes healthy and unhealthy women randomly. Although some studies showing a higher risk for obese women, for the most part, doctors seem to agree, that there is nothing a woman can do to prevent the diagnosis.
My placenta was unable to process sugar’s correctly, so I got diabetes.
Most people know at least something about diabetes. However, most people erroneously assume that diabetics can’t have carbs/sugar.
Diabetics need to control their sugar consumption, but often the issue is linked to keeping their sugar levels consistent to avoid spiking. This is done by pairing carbs and proteins and eating regularly throughout the day.
On a quick side note, Type I diabetes is completely separate and is caused by the inability of the pancreas to process sugar.
Healthy eating habits are critical for women with gestational diabetes (and anyone with regular diabetes).
While pregnant with gestational diabetes I was told to eat based on the following schedule:
• Mid-morning Snack
• Mid-afternoon Snack
• Before Bedtime Snack
Snacks should have between 10-20 carbs and all meals should have 30-60 carbs (breakfast needed to be on the lower end of the range).
There were two very important directions that I always had to follow:
• Each snack and meal needed to be paired with a protein.
• I had to have at least the minimum amount of carbs with each snack and meal
My body needed at least a steady amount of carbs paired with protein throughout the day. I learned very quickly that these two requirements were critical. If I missed the protein or didn’t have enough carbs my blood sugar numbers would spike.
I ended up doing a modified Paleo diet to increase my protein consumption. I’ve had readers recommend using the Paleo Meal Plan Program by eMeals to help easily increase your protein consumption.
I wish I had known about this plan when I was pregnant with Gestational Diabetes. I have a feeling it would have made my life significantly easier.
Another option is foods based on the Keto Diet. Most of their foods are based on high fats and proteins with low carb counts. If you are looking for a quick, fun resource for Keto Meal planning check out Keto Meal Planning Made Simple. This meal planning guide links to some of the most awesome recipes. I’m not doing the Keto Diet, but some of the food on the list is amazing.
Extra Requirements included:
• All veggies were considered freebies and could be eaten anytime.
• Frequent exercise is recommended, even if it was only a 10-minute walk after each meal.
• Water, water, and more water – I was told to drink at least 8-10 cups per day. Which on a side note, is completely miserable for a pregnant woman.
• Absolutely no juices or soda.
• No fruit prior to lunch time – Ironically enough this was actually the hardest for me. I love having a banana with breakfast.
It is obviously a bit more complicated than what I’ve got listed above, but these are the basic.
When you break it down into a nice little list, it isn’t a complicated diet.
For the most part, I already did most of the stuff listed above. I was eating fairly healthy, hadn’t gained a ton of weight, and overall felt very healthy.
It wasn’t until I started digging into my regular go to meals that I realized how carb heavy my diet was. It wasn’t actually the chocolate and treats that got me, but the pasta’s, bread’s, and rice.
I wasn’t even maxing out on the carbs. I just wasn’t pairing the carbs with proteins.
This one simple change in my diet had a huge impact on my sugar levels.
During my pregnancy, I followed the diet very strictly. The side effects of inaction can be very damaging to your baby and I wasn’t about to take chances with Ella’s health.
After my pregnancy, I was curious and kept testing my blood sugar numbers. When I followed the gestational diabetic diet, my sugar levels were more consistent which is healthier for my body.
As I result, I decided to stay on the eating schedule, I wasn’t as strict, but made a real effort to continually pair my carbs and proteins.
I’ve noticed lately that my energy levels seemed to be decreasing slightly. I started reviewing my eating and realized quickly that I had gotten out of the habit of pairing my carbs and proteins.
I don’t diet – I focus on healthy eating habits
My focus is to develop healthy eating habits that enable me to feel my best while listening to and responding to my body. I’m very thankful for the wake-up call that occurred as a result of getting gestational diabetes.
I did a lot of research and know that simple dietary changes can make a huge impact on the health of my body.
I know that different body types function differently. The gestational diabetes diet may not work for everyone. However, if you are looking for a simple way of monitoring your sugar consumption this is an easy way to manage your eating.
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