Thursday, July 21, 2011

Part of the reason I attempt to eat somewhat healthy

When I was pregnant with N, I had gestational diabetes, which I think played a HUGE role in my OCD kicking into overdrive and never quite leveling off again post-delivery.

I'm not quite sure if every ob/gyn practice is/was as Nazi-like as the one I went to during that pregnancy, but I got the impression that a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes is given a far more strict diet than a regular person of the non-pregnant variety.  I mean, I was told not to chew sugarless gum.  WTF??

Being the obedient patient who had already been told my baby might have Down Syndrome and who wanted a natural childbirth (but was warned gestational diabetes could make the baby the size of a small cow thereby making a c-section the only option), I followed the diabetes diet to.the.letter.  I never cheated.  I didn't eat cake at my baby showers.  I didn't chew sugarless gum.  If I was told to eat 2 Tbsp of butter a day, I measured out 2 Tbsp of butter and ate it (not by itself, of course, but on some bread).  My "treat" to myself was drinking a diet coke every Friday night.

OCD is a series of never-ending checks-ins.  Checking the car to make sure it is locked.  Checking to make sure you didn't hit a deer (even though you sorta think you would actually remember the impact of hitting a deer).  And gestational diabetes was a never-ending series of glucose and dietary check-ins.  Checking my blood sugar 6 times a day.  Checking my list of acceptable foods and appropriate measurements and ounces per day.  Checking in with the ob/gyn to give them my blood sugar levels for the week.

Even after N was born, I continued measuring my food and exercising for 45 minutes or more a day.  It is a wonder I was able to produce enough breastmilk for her.  In a way, the gestational diabetes kicking on my OCD actually led to a temporary eating disorder.  At 5'7" tall, 117 lbs is really not a good weight. And when I had my nervous breakdown it dropped to 112 lbs.  There is nothing attractive about nervous breakdown thin.

It has been 8 years since that pregnancy, and my A1C number puts me in the "higher risk" category which does worry me and is part of the reason I have tried over the past few months to reduce my sugar (both real and artificial) intake.

I grew up on sweet tea, but now I fix only unsweetened.  And if I get tea at a restaurant, I get half sweet/half unsweetened.  I no longer buy vanilla or fruit-flavored yogurt.  I buy plain Greek yogurt with the lowest amount of sugar grams and then add some chocolate chips and walnuts to it to jazz it up a bit.  I haven't drank anything other than diet soda in years (and I only get that if I go out to a restaurant).  I stopped buying it for home.  I do not buy cookies, except the once-a-year Oreos and Girl Scout cookies, which I put in the freezer and forget about until the following year when we get them out to eat before we purchase more to go into the freezer for a year.  I do buy ice cream, but not low-fat because less fat means more sugar.  But I usually only have a bowl of ice cream once a week.  I cut out orange juice (and all other juices) years ago because of the high sugar content.  I stopped buying dark chocolate (or any chocolate) mostly because I have had like 4 cavities in the past year but also because of the A1C levels.

I hope that these steps can bring down my number by this fall's health assessment at D's workplace.  They dropped by one point between last fall and this spring.  If I can get them into the "normal risk" category, I will feel relieved.

Diabetes is a scary disease, and for me the fear factor is because of what it might mean for my mental health.  It is bad enough to have a physical disease but when it worsens your psychological disease that really, really sucks.  

1 comment:

Mrs. Haid said...

Carrie, I was in eating disorder recovery until I became pregnant. I was at a high risk doc anyway for a genetic thing, but they were just SO GOOD at keeping my mental health needs in check, too. For instance, the second pregnancy the doc wanted to know what we could do to make it a good experience and less anxious. I told him the weigh ins made me crazy. So I made a contract with him to only be weighed 4 times. IT was great! I didn't have to have the panic that subsided only for five minutes after I was weighed and came back until the next week. My doctor said its crazy how many OBs are fixated on weight and weight gain... there are many other ways to check baby's health, especially since I had weekly ultrasounds. I do think that in the first pregnancy, being acutely aware of food and following a special diet (low car, high fish, blah blah) made me have more OCD tendencies, too. Because I was able to, we didn't do the diet the second time... he didn't ask me about my food intake and I was much looser with it. I did loose 20 lbs in the pregnancy, but it wasn't seen as a big deal. I am so happy not to have had gestational diabetes. Its so stressful thinking about the baby!
Thanks for sharing.