Friday, July 17, 2009

I refuse to call it a diet!

I hate that word. I'm going to call my plan a "healthy eating" plan, or a "healthy lifestyle" plan, but not a diet. I officially now ban that word from this blog! My whole life I've struggled with my weight, but now I'm not only getting older, and I have a son to keep up with, I know it's more important now than ever to try to get healthier.

I do believe my view of my body changed a lot when I was pregnant with Oliver. My body was doing something pretty amazing--making a person, and I had to keep it healthy to keep him healthy. During my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. At first I was mean I wouldn't be able to indulge in anything I wanted with the wonderful "I'm eating for two" excuse? I don't even get a break for pregnancy? But then I took the class on it and read the piles of literature they gave me and got started on the meal plan (see, no "d" word) they gave me. Yes it was limiting, but not as much as I thought. I even got to have ice cream! It was all about portion control, especially where carbs/sugars are concerned. And eating 6 small meals a day (or 3 small meals plus 3 snacks), to keep my blood sugar levels in a healthy range. So, for example, I could have 1/2 cup of ice cream as my evening snack. It was manageable. I was diagnosed at 28 weeks, at which point I had not gained any weight with the pregnancy at all. Following the GD diagnosis, I actually lost weight over the rest of the pregnancy. And then after I had Oliver, I lost all that baby weight too, so 2 weeks after having him, I had lost something like 32 pounds since my positive pregnancy test! [disclaimer: for some reason I am completely forgetting the numbers...exactly how much I lost during and after pregnancy....if mom or someone who knew then remembers, let me know! I know it was around 32 pounds total.]

Pretty cool, huh? I know all my other mommy friends would kill to have that outcome, but there were downfalls too. Pricking my finger and testing my blood all day long. Never ever being able to give in to cravings. So you'd think I would have kept it off, right? You'd think. But no, not all of it. I currently weigh 14 pounds less than when I got the positive pregnancy test. I could blame lots of things: caring for an infant, not being able to breastfeed (everyone loses weight with breastfeeding it seems). Or when he was no longer an infant...starting a new job and being too busy, then traveling and moving, blah blah blah. No regrets. All I can do is start now.

So all of that to say, the inspiration for my new healthy eating plan is the GD meal plan. I know that carbs are my problem. I carry my weight in my tummy, and everything I've read says this is a big sign of carb/insulin issues. I have been tested since my pregnancy, and while I don't have any form of diabetes, my numbers are high enough that I could develop it in the future. I want to avoid that!

I like the GD plan because it doesn't tell you what to eat, but how to eat. I hate diets (I can use the word if I'm talking about what I hate about them!) that tell you what you must eat at every meal. The good thing about the GD plan is you can adjust it for your tastes and for cooking for a family. So the basics:
  • 3 small meals + 3 snacks a day. Never go longer than 2.5 hours without eating.
  • Limit carbs, but have them at each meal/snack. This is important. The GD plan does not eliminate carbs/sugars, as many people assume. Carbs are important fuel for your body. There are good carbs and bad carbs, the key is to have good carbs, but regardless, limit the quantity. Having them throughout the day will keep insulin levels normal. The GD meal plan broke it down like this:
  • Breakfast, 1 carb serving (1 carb serving = 15 grams carbohydrates)
  • Snack, 1 carb serving
  • Lunch, 2-3 carb servings
  • Snack, 1 carb serving
  • Dinner, 3 carb servings
  • Snack, 1 carb serving
  • Always have a protein with a carb
  • Eat as many veggies as I want, except for corn, peas, carrots, all of which contain carbs.
  • No milk in the morning. While milk is a good carb to have and encouraged, it can mess with blood sugar levels first thing in the morning. So cereal is not a good breakfast choice on a GD meal plan.
  • Unlike the GD plan, limit fats. On the GD plan, they encourage you to eat more fat because it keeps blood sugar levels even and it is good for baby's development. But no baby, no extra fats!
  • Please note that GD diet plans vary. I had a mild case, I never had to give myself insulin. My numbers stayed very nicely controlled with the meal plan. I know other women have a lot more trouble controlling their numbers than I did. So if you've stumbled upon this blog and have GD, please consult a professional!
So, for example, last night's Shrimp Alfredo Pasta. 1/2 cup of pasta = 1 carb serving. The sauce probably was about .5 carb serving (because of the milk and flour) for the amount on 1/2 cup. I had no bread or wine with it, so to make 3 carb servings, I could have 1 cup of pasta with sauce. When I first started the GD plan, I had to measure everything, but you get pretty used to what 1/2 cup looks like. So, you find yourself making choices. If I had wine (which I would have if we'd had any in the house), I would have had less pasta. But when you have 3 meals plus 3 snacks, you aren't as hungry...a good thing! Oh, and also, I could have as much zucchini as I wanted. Except Oliver ate it all, lol!

So that's the gist of it. I'll add more info as I go along. I don't anticipate logging all my meals on my blog, but I'll make note of things I find that work for me, and resources as I find them.

Exercise is a big part of all this. More on that in another post soon!

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