I was recently (in the last couple of months) diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or, diabetes when pregnant. I knew there was a potential risk for me, as I am over 3o and have diabetes in my family history.
This means that while I’m pregnant, the hormones are wrecking a little havoc. They have decided that my body will have more difficulty controlling blood sugar levels because I’m having trouble producing insulin, or my tissues are having trouble absorbing it. Pregnant women need extra insulin to help produce a baby, and so guess who gets first dibs?
Since finding out the diagnoses, I’ve been on a pretty serious adventure, and this adventure will continue for me. Here’s the order of events I’ve been through so far.
It was far too important to me that my baby was healthy. If I had too much sugar it was going to travel through the placenta to my boy … and no, I wasn’t having that. Also, I had a family member with diabetes and saw what they had to go through, as well as the sister of a childhood friend. It’s a hard yakka disease. I knew if I didn’t change, the chances of me getting it later in life would increase dramatically.
Firstly, I threw out everything in my cupboard that had more than 10 grams of sugar per serve. WOW! This was a huge eye-opener for me. The thing that shocked me most was MILK.
Yes, my beloved milk, even the ‘light’ stuff contains 12.5 grams of sugar per serving. Truly, check your fridge.
Now, if I calculate this correctly, it meant that I was consuming A LOT of hidden sugar. I’d have cereal, a glass of milk, milk in my coffee, maybe a milo … all this sugar I didn’t know I was having on top of the other stuff has been killing me! No wonder I’ve struggled on and off with my weight. I’ve only ever looked at fat consumption. Not only that, but I honestly thought I was choosing healthy food for my family. ARGGH!!!!
Even the honey got thrown out. Now don’t get me wrong, I know honey is good for me, especially my gorgeous Manuka, but I can’t have it my house … at least for a while.
But oh dear, then I kept looking, and I was so shocked to find sugar in the strangest of places. I had to throw out half my cereal (supposedly good cereals from the health food section) fruit and nut bars, all sorts of things. There’s so much sugar in the pasta sauce I was using, I almost went into a sugar coma reading the nutritional panel.
Never before had I realised that Australians consume so much sugar on a daily basis (and more than likely don’t realise). No wonder we suffer from obesity in this country.
The first thing I noticed after the purge was that I had been an addict and didn’t even know it. I started craving sugar.
I looked at the big signs at the service station ‘pushing’ their sugary treats. Chocolates, fizzy drinks, and donuts, all of a sudden looked so good. THESE were things I didn’t even notice before because I had been getting my sugar in other places. Now they were screaming at me!
How could I live my life without sugar?
It was futile.
I might as well give up now.
No, it really wasn’t that hard. Luckily for me, I have a little baby to think about. The choice between his health and a candy bar hasn’t been a choice at all.
Now, it’s really easy. I don’t even have sugar in my coffee anymore. And truth be told, I don’t miss it too much. Give me another few months and I don’t think I’ll miss it at all. In fact, I had a taste of hubby’s White Chocolate Fusion from Zarrafas the other day (something I used to spoil myself with once a fortnight or so) and it tasted like sugary puke.
After the purge and the realisation that I was an addict, came the understanding that knowledge is power in this situation.
A friend offered me the book “Sugar Dreams” by Gold Coast author, Monica Colmsjo. SEE IT HERE.
It confirmed many things for me. Mainly that SUGAR IS A DRUG.
It comes from a plant and is made into the form of little white crystals, like many other drugs. It behaves the same way as a drug, and kills you slowly. Some people are easily addicted, others not so much.
Oh and take a look at who is running the show: http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/crops/sugar
Ha! Why doesn’t this surprise me?
No wonder they changed the name from Sugar Diabetes to Type one and two.
Now I’m on a bit of a mission to educate myself about health. If you can recommend any good books, or clean eating recipes, please do so below!
THE OTHER SYMPTOMS
At my last obstetrician appointment I had a huge realisation. He asked me about all of my ‘other’ symptoms and we noticed that many problems I had been having (some all my life) had disappeared, after a few short months of ‘sugar watching.’
I’ve lost weight, despite being pregnant. I had some to lose, so this is a positive. Could this mean I’ve finally found the key to a healthy, normal weight? That would be good. Thanks, Universe.
Dramatically reduced. I’ve had migraines since I was 8. I have always known they had a connection to sugar because if I ate too much obvious sugar, I’d get one. Now, about that not so obvious stuff, well, I just didn’t know.
My poor kidneys have suffered since I was little. No one has ever figured out why I had to urinate like crazy some days TMI, I know, but this is a health blog. I’ve been peeing in a cup since age 7 with doctors shaking their heads with no idea what was wrong with me. I even had an infection and ended up in hospital when I was 15. Now? I pee like a normal person. Well, a normal PREGNANT person.
There are more things I could add to this list, but I don’t want to embarrass myself any further with a medical history. Let’s just say, sugar had such a negative effect on my body. I’m sorry, body, please forgive me.
THE LOVE and THE POWER
For me, Gestational Diabetes has been a blessing in disguise. It’s changed my life, and I’ll never look back. For the love I have for myself and my family, these changes will be forever. There’s a certain power you get back from kicking a habit, any habit at all; a feeling of gaining back control. There’s something healthy and rewarding about saying no.
I’m sober 2 months now.
For those of you struggling with weight, or other illnesses, I suggest looking to see if you’ve formed a habit of your own. It’s easy to do, especially when the whole world tells you that ‘sugar is natural.’ My response now is, ‘so is heroin, darling.’
I’d love to hear your stories, so please feel free to comment!
Hayley M Clearihan