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I’ll be honest, I had a hard time accepting my gestational diabetes diagnosis at first. I threw a huge pity party and felt like my life was ruined (even if temporarily). I have come a long way since I wrote this post back in December, and I have so much clarity and a totally different mindset!
See, I was not off to the healthiest start to my pregnancy. When we conceived, I was about 15 lbs lighter than where I started my pregnancy with Addilyn, but I was not eating great. Sure, it could have been worse, but I just felt very swollen and not so good about myself. I did not want to take any “bump” pictures and my clothes felt weird on me. When I took my glucose test, my weight gain was up a bit from that point with Addie’s pregnancy ( I gained about 40 lbs by the time that one was all said and done). I was anticipating being worse off by the time that I gave birth to Lilliana at the rate I was going.
After my GDM diagnosis and adjusting to the new way of life, I immediately started to feel so much better! Within a few weeks, I lost about 12 lbs of the 18 I had gained, and I never did gain them back! The day that I gave birth to Lillie, I was only up about 15 lbs total which was mostly baby, etc. So I left the hospital feeling amazing! I did not deal with the back pain that I had during my first pregnancy and I had zero blood pressure issues, which were the cause of my induction with Addilyn. At the end of the day, it was all worth it for so many reasons!
In the picture on the left, I was 34 weeks pregnant with Addie. I don’t remember feeling swollen, but looking back I sure do see it especially in my face! The picture on the right, I am 38 weeks pregnant with Lillie. I am wearing smaller clothes and noticeably healthier!
I snapped this photo a couple of days before giving birth!
And this one less than 24 hours postpartum. Compare that to the pic below where I was 48 hours postpartum with Addie and you can really see a difference!
I tell you all of this not to brag. Honestly this was some of the hardest times in my life adjusting to everything (and watching people around me eat yummy things while I couldn’t. Hello, Christmas week diagnosis!) and it was not through my own strength but rather necessity. I tell you this to encourage you and show you the silver lining! I had virtually zero heartburn after making the switch, when I had been eating 6 TUMS a day. My labor was so great, and my recovery has gone incredibly well. I have had so much more energy and felt much better physically and mentally. At 2 weeks postpartum, I am about 5 lbs from my pre-baby weight and I am so happy with that progress.
As someone who was weathered the storm and come out the other side, I feel compelled to share the things that I learned- some the hard way- to try and make your life a little bit easier! If you are reeling from a new diagnosis, or just struggling to make it to baby day, I truly hope that these few little nuggets will help you. Please always feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or Email Me. I would love to help in any way that I can!
*I must add, I am not a medical professional. These tips are based on my experiences and that of others that I know. Please consult with your doctor before making nay major changes!
1. Get over it.
I say that with the most love. I had to tell myself that for quite a while! There’s no point to wallowing in misery. Mourn it for a day or two and then accept it, learn, and move forward! There is nothing you can do about it so you might as well enjoy it! Outlook is everything.
2. Get a good support system!
There are so many great groups on Facebook, as well! This group was hands down one of the very best things for me, especially in the beginning! I learned so much and those ladies were so helpful! I was able to skip meeting with a nutritionist and simply go off of the advice in here and from my OB since I was able to control my numbers.
3. This whole thing is literally trial and error!
Not everything affects everyone the same way. You have to learn what works and what doesn’t for YOUR body. It took a few weeks of numbers that were a little bit all over the place to learn what my body processes well and what it doesn’t. I learned super quickly that simple carbs like crackers, white rice and white bread spiked my sugar very badly. Whole wheat pasta was even a no-go, but I could get away with Protein Pasta just fine!
4. Protein is your best friend!
I did have to watch my carbs far more closely than some. I was unable to eat anywhere near the suggested amount that a lot of nutritionists recommend. If I would go anywhere near 30-40g of carbs in a meal, it would put my numbers way over my maximum. However, I did find that balancing my carbs with high protein made a huge difference and virtually negated the carb ratio. For example, if I had a meal that was 20g of carbs, if I ate 15g of protein it was essentially like I only had 5g of carbs. My numbers would be great! Knowledge was power for me on this, and I always made sure my meals were high protein. This was why I liked a lot of the Keto recipes, but made sure to have some carbs in there. And hey, if I knew that I wanted to cheat a tiny bit and have a few French fries, I would just make sure I chased them with a protein shake and it seemed to help. (the chocolate Premier shakes were my go-to, but they have TONS of flavors!).
5. Speaking of- you may come to dread eggs.
Yep. I always was someone that loved eggs! Hard boiled or scrambled were my favorite. And in the beginning I told my husband that I really didn’t understand why people hated on eggs so much in these groups. Until about month 7.5. I got to the point where the thought of eating eggs literally made me gag some days. This was when I started eating more Greek yogurt and cheese, as they both really helped with the protein intake in a non-egg way.
6. The finger poke is not all that bad. Wash your hands every time!
I hate needles. I was dreading having to stick myself four times a day. But once I got used to it, it really wasn’t that bad. Just make sure to change your lancet often to keep it sharp, and rotate which fingers you stick. Also- Wash your hands! Every time you check. I did not take that seriously and one day I checked my sugar after eating a large salad packed with protein. My glucose monitor read 193 and I freaked out. I thought something was seriously wrong with me. So I stopped and washed my hands and rechecked immediately, and my monitor read 91. Turns out, I hadn’t considered that I had been feeing Addie a donut with that same hand and the sugar was all over my fingers. Residue really does affect your readings!
7. Its not the end of the world if you need to go on medication.
After about 2 months of being diet controlled, my doctor wasn’t happy with my fasting numbers, which are truly out of your control most of the time. I had tried everything and they were still a little high. So we decided that I would start on Metformin to help bring them down. At first, I was super disappointed in myself for not being able to manage things, but my doctor gently explained to me that none of this is my fault…it’s the placenta. And there is no shame in needing medication. So I took my meds and my numbers came down into range easily. Inconvenient? Sure! But it was all worth it to make sure baby girl was safe.
8. The extra ultrasounds are fun!
At first I was not a fan of having to go to the doctor twice a week for the last two months of my pregnancy (our OB office is an hour away), but once I got used to getting to see my sweet girl all the time for her biophysical profiles, I started to look forward to the visits! Addie loved seeing sissy, too, and I think it helped her excitement to meet her!
9. Your baby will be just fine, 98% of the time!
I know, the biggest concern is worry for your baby. I promise you, if you follow the diet and do what your doctor says, the overwhelming majority of the time, your baby will be perfectly fine! The scary stories that you hear are typically because people don’t listen to what they are told. Lilliana passed all of her post-birth tests and checks with flying colors, and this seems to be the norm.
10. It’s all worth it!
The literal minute that my doctor laid that sweet baby girl onto my chest, it was like all of this never happened. I totally forgot about the struggle. Every finger poke and pill and skipped cookie was worth it to ensure her safe arrival!
Moving forward, I will be taking steps to help my entire family eat better and be healthy to reduce the risks of Type 2 Diabetes. (I will say though, that piece of cake after she came out was fantastic 🙂 ). I hope that this helps give you some hope as you work through this journey yourself. You’ve got this, Mama!
Foods that worked great for me:
- Protein Pasta (This one and this one gave me some of my very best numbers! Balance with meat and cheese). Stock up, they will be your best friend! Especially if you are feeding a husband and other kids!
- Greek Yogurt. I loved buying plain, unsweetened and sweetening it myself with a zero calorie sweetener and a splash of vanilla.
- Protein Shakes! Like I said, these are a magic bullet to help bring your numbers down quickly! They are also super yummy if you freeze them and eat them like ice-cream!
- Carb Smart Ice Cream Bars. Super good and easy to find at most grocery stores! I loved these as a bedtime snack 🙂
- Peanut Butter. I just used regular ol’ PB. If I had whole wheat bread, I could get away with a PB sandwich. But it also works in a pinch when you need a sweet to just eat a big fat spoonful! I literally ate about a jar a week.
- Protein Bars. These were fantastic for breakfast when I just could not eat another egg or was in a hurry. They also make a great afternoon snack! A few favs:
- Trail Mix: Find one that is more nuts and fruits, and less candy. High protein, low carb is the game here! (I liked this one!)
- Almond Everything! I made all sorts of things using Almond Flour. It’s great to keep a bag on hand. (see my recipes archive for some great ideas! Also, my Pinterest Board). Salted Almonds were also great to have on hand to help with chip cravings!
- Quest Pizza! This was a life-saver! Some days yo just don’t feel like making a big, involved meal. I kept a few of these in my freezer and made them for myself when I fixed a normal pizza for my family. I ate the entire dang thing and consistently got my lowest post-meal numbers to date! They used to be hard to find, but most stores carry it now.