Sugar & Think Twice

Pure-Sugar

Mommy’s Corner is a weekly series exploring our journey in becoming parents, our love for our ShuGar baby, and general topics related to mommyhood.

Hello, my dear followers! I hope everyone is feeling fab. I have been under the weather and drowning in moving our house around for the wooden floors installation, so I apologize if I have not responded to your sweet comments yet. I will get to them, but it may be delayed. I appreciate each and every time you leave a comment. It warms my heart!

For this week’s Mommy’s Corner, I’d like to delve deeper into my diagnosis of having borderline gestational diabetes (GD). As you know, I like to be candid on my blog and share my journey in the hopes that someone will identify and not feel so alone. This is a safe space.

Last month, I drank that yucky orange soda and didn’t even think twice when doing it. “Of course my results will come out negative,” I thought to myself. I was floored when my doctor told me that I have high sugar and I am on the cusp of having GD.  Say what? He then proceeded to tell me that he wants me to change my diet and he will monitor my progress to see if my sugar levels go down. I then spoke with a nutritionist, who was very sweet and broke down all the details of my new diet.

The more I talked to her, the sadder I got. I mean, my eyes became full of water and those tears were slowly dripping down my face. She said avoid pasta (my drug) unless it’s whole wheat, stay away from white rice and eat brown rice, no juice, no desserts with high sugar (which don’t have high sugar?), change the cereals I am eating to only eat those with less than 5 grams of sugar (almost all have more than 5g of sugar), and exercise more. The thing is, her suggestions are completely reasonable and doable. The reason I got so depressed was because food is my outlet, my comfort, my thing. I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and my meals are one of the things I look forward to most in my day. I have lived my life sensibly and in overall good health. In fact, I pride myself in my health because I lost a lot of weight years ago and I have maintained. I am dedicated to exercising four times a week.  I have never had anyone tell me, “You can’t eat this. Stay away from that.” It hit me hard.

I admit I began to wallow. The diagnosis came right before Christmas, so you can imagine the agony I was in when I saw all these yummy Xmas goodies and I just looked at them, in a state of longing.  Every cafe we went to in Carmel was torture! If you saw all those pastries in my pics, you know what I mean. So hard to resist!

Another random fact about me: I enjoy savory foods more than sweet foods. In other words, I can indulge in ramen and forgo a bite of a chocolate cake and be in heaven. My favorite meal has always been a bowl of pasta and, no, whole wheat pasta just doesn’t taste the same. It’s true; it’s not that bad, but it’s not like the real thing. I just never realized how much sugar was in the regular “healthy” food items I digested on a daily basis. I love drinking my half a glass of OJ ever morning. Bye-Bye juice!

After about a week of letting the diagnosis soak in, I began to reflect deeper on what this means in my life. I am going to be a mother and I am preparing my life to welcome a new life. Whoa! It dawned on me: This is what it means to be a mommy – sacrificing yourself for the love of your child no matter what the circumstances may be. This is why the relationship between a mother and her child literally begins in the womb – it’s a special bond that I never knew existed. We pregnant mothers begin to care for our babies from Day One, with transforming our entire lives for them. The sacrifices are endless and our baby hasn’t even been born yet.

But, here’s the catch. The sacrifices don’t feel so bad because the love for your child is already so profound that you would do anything for him. It’s a no-brainer. As much as I adore pasta, I ain’t going near the stuff if it isn’t whole wheat. Period. No more hot chocolate? So what! I do it for love. This love is palpable, real, and powerful. I know these sacrifices will continue and this is only the beginning. A lot of my mommy friends have told me this experience is a preview of the extent of what you would do for your baby: It’s infinite. I’m practicing for his debut into this world. When I reframed my perspective, I began to release my depression. Its’ all for him and it’s all worth it.

In most cases, GD disappears after the baby is born. I hope that will be the case for me. For the time being, I am readjusting my life to keep it as sugar-free as possible. This has included adding more protein into my diet to supplement other vices. I add nuts to a lot of my food, I am eating more chicken (yuck), meat, and fish on a regular basis, and I don’t even glance at desserts to avoid feeling weak in the knees. After ShuGar boy is born, I will definitely order a bowl of ramen and sip each noodle with gusto.

This experience has taught me two things: We need to be more accountable of what we ingest and the mommy community out there are my cheerleaders and heroes.

To the first point, it is easy to complain about our health and weight, while not changing our eating and exercise habits. How many times have we said, “I don’t know why I can’t lose these last five pounds?” while we are drinking a venti Starbucks coffee with extra whipped cream? Or we complain, “I walk twice a week and I still can’t lose any weight?” Really? every mouthful we take, we should be mindful of its effect on our bodies. Sugar is one of those dangerous additives that can affect our health in so many ways. Regarding exercise, if we truly want to be healthy and we are no longer age thirteen, we have to do serious cardio at least four times a week. This exercise regimen will probably at least get you to maintain your weight.

My second revelation has been my profound admiration for the mommy tribe out there. Ever since I shared my GD diagnosis, mommies from every part of my life have come out in support of me making my lifestyle changes. It’s been incredible! Many moms have confessed they, too, had GD when pregnant. It is fairly common among pregnant women. Others still have it and have now weaved this into their life routine. They have shared recipes, tips, stories, and love with me. It’s been an overwhelming show of support. Friends who aren’t mommies have also been extremely encouraging and I am grateful.

I have discovered some rad mommy bloggers who share GD-friendly recipes and I can’t wait to make some! Trish @ Under Lock and Key also had GD and has loads of low-sugar desserts on her blog, like Strawberry Chia Pudding, Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies, Baked Apples with Ricotta, and Dark Chocolate Pannacotta. So yum! The Diabetic Alien, All Day I Dream About Food, and Gestational Diabetes Recipes all share non-sugary foods that look delicious. Reading these bloggers gets me all excited!

Ultimately, this experience has taught me the power in positive-thinking. You have the choice to feel crappy about what life has thrown at you or you can get up, dance, and make healthy choices. It’s up to all of us to choose. I choose the later. My ShuGar boy is counting on me and that’s all the motivation I will ever need.

Have any of you ever been diagnosed with something that may have been initially hard to cope with, like GD? Have you ever had to give up something you love? How did you deal with it? What did you learn?

Photo credit: Peter Shushtari

  • This was a beyond beautiful story.
    Throughout my three pregnancies, I was blessed that they were all healthy and I was never diagnosed with GD.. something I am so very thankful for. I could not imagine how I would deal with it because I am a lot like you.
    I love how you realized that this is just a part of motherhood because it is. On a daily basis we have to make a sacrifice for our child and it is a beautiful thing about life. Learning about what matters most. & you are right, what matters most is your child and your health.
    I make sacrifices every day, especially with three.
    I wish you the best on this journey! xxo

    • I appreciate you understanding the difficulty of my condition, but also the symbolism and beauty in it. Mothers are sacrificing daily for their babies and with three of your own, I know you know what I mean. It’s just a part of demonstrating love and it is all worth it no matter what. There is no limit to how far this love can go. It’s boundless.

  • shy

    sorry – am just catching up here. i had GD (not borderline but full GD) when i was pregnant. i know how you feel when you first heard the news. but you’re right. staying disciplined wasn’t so hard because the reward was growing right inside me! i was lucky in that i was able to control it just by a proper diabetes diet. and swimming/aqua aerobics helped a lot, too! i only wished i discovered yoga back then (since there’s a lot of pre-natal yoga classes available). anyway, if you need any advice, please do not hesitate to drop me a line. not only did i have GD but i now have diabetes type 2 (genetics + having had GD gave me higher risk factors). i was diagnosed just before this christmas but am now pretty knowledgeable about my disease. you have to in order to take control of it! 🙂

    • Thanks for your insight! I really do appreciate you taking the time to share your story. It was a shock at first because I do love my food and I don’t like anyone telling me what I can and can’t eat. However, I have grown to just accept it and manage it, like you said. I need to make sure I also exercise to manage the diet and lifestyle. You are right that it’s totally doable, you just have to be disciplined. I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but it sounds like you are taking control of your situation. I will def reach out with more questions. I have my extensive testing this Friday so I’ll wait to see what the results say. I just want to know more so that I can make an educated decision with my life. My family also has diabetes so I am concerned.

  • Kristen Genevieve

    I love this post (well, all of your posts, but especially this one!). It’s so great how you are able to turn one of life’s curve balls into a positive! Your attitude is already an awesome step towards your health goals. I hope you’re feeling good this week!
    Trader Joe’s brand wheat pasta is actually really good. I stopped eating white pasta about 5 years ago and TJ’s is the best I’ve found so far!
    Although you have plenty on your plate preparing for a new baby, you could try growing some of your own organic veggies to inspire you. I started gardening with my husband after reading tons of Michael Pollen’s books around the same time I gave up white pasta. Cherry tomatoes are super easy to grow, and grow well in pots. I’ve found that if you watch them grow, you’ll love to eat them and won’t want to waste them because it’s your creation! I used to hate tomatoes, now I love them. Gardening turned me into a foodie! Herbs are also easy in pots.

    I really love reading your blog, you’re so inspiring! You’re going to be such a great mama 🙂
    xo kristen genevieve

    • Thanks, Kristen! I love that you and I are going through this together. It’s kind of cool how the universe connected us in this way. I do think that having (borderline ) GD puts an additional pressure on you, but you just have to change your attitude and be strong. Ultimately, I want my baby to be healthy and that strawberry tart will just have to wait. I love your idea of growing fresh veggies to help! Yes, I have found when you invest in gardening it does make a huge difference in how you look at plants and food. I completely agree with you that life has been so busy. I feel like I have had to neglect my blog because we are doing all these home improvement projects. I feel so behind in the reading books department. I really need to catch up. I guess the mommy guilt has already started. Thank you for your support and caring!