I’ve never been great at dieting. I wish I was one of those skinny, sexy women who complain about not being able to diet but it doesn’t really matter because I look fantastic anyway. Nope. I’m one of those fatties who has tried so many times to get rid of the fat but a) loves sweets too much and b) didn’t grow up with a good example of healthy eating, so finds it hard to kick old habits in the butt.
When I got pregnant with Little Miss, I was in denial for the first two months and missed out on most of my first trimester. I think if I’d gotten morning sickness I probably would’ve caught on faster, but since I didn’t, two-thirds of my first trimester was gone before I finally peed on the stick and got the blue plus sign. And then did it again with the kind that says “PREGNANT” outright because I didn’t trust the first one.
It’s really too bad that I missed out because I could have been enjoying indulging cravings for that much longer before being irritatingly restricted.
Near the end of your second trimester or the beginning of your third, most women are asked to take the most disgusting test of their entire lives: the glucose test. First of all, you’re not allowed to eat for 12 hours. Then you go to the doctor’s office and drink an 8-ounce glass of thick sugary syrup that supposedly has a pleasant fruity flavour. An hour later, your blood is drawn, you pee in a cup, and then you go back to whatever it is you wanted to be doing for the last hour. Probably eating.
When your doctor calls with your results you want to hear that your glucose levels were low and that everything looks good. What I heard was, “Well, your levels are below what we consider gestational diabetic, but they’re close enough that we’re going to treat you as though you are.”
What does that mean? Well…it means you’re pregnant, hungry enough for at least two, hormonal, hot, and cranky…and unable to satisfy your cravings unless they happen to be for peanut butter, carrots, or eggs.
Okay, I’m generalizing, but essentially you’re reduced to a low-carbohydrate diet, similar to what diabetics are expected to follow unless they have pumps that regulate their insulin for them on a regular basis. And, if you are at risk for diabetes, a low-carb diet can probably drop that risk to a manageable level and keep you from having to deal with giving yourself insulin shots regularly.
So, for my last trimester I was allowed two servings of carbs for breakfast, one serving for a morning snack, four servings for lunch, one serving for an afternoon snack, and four servings for dinner. Why so low for breakfast? Your body produces natural blood sugar every morning when you wake up as a way of getting you moving. Since you likely haven’t eaten in several hours (since you were sleeping), your blood sugar is naturally low in the mornings, and your body fixes that by giving you a boost to get you going until you eat breakfast. This boost pushes your blood sugar high enough that if you’re paying attention to carbohydrates in your diet, you’re forced to limit your carb intake in the morning.
This is particularly frustrating because, well, think of any common breakfast food you can: Waffles. Pancakes. Fruit. Hashbrowns. French toast. Cereal. Biscuits and gravy. Bagels. Toast. Orange juice. Crepes. O’Brien potatoes. ALL CARBS. So you’re limited to eggs, cheese, milk, and meat (or, if you’re vegetarian, soy “meat” products). Essentially, you fill your breakfast with protein and allow yourself a “treat” of a cup of fruit, two pieces of toast, a quarter of a bagel, a small serving of hash browns, or a small glass of juice.
During my pregnancy with Little Miss I found this diet particularly disheartening because she was born at the end of July, which meant I spent my last trimester attending summer BBQs, picnics, and patio dinners, which typically involve chips, pizza, cookies, ice cream, soda pop, popsicles, fruit salad, potato salad, watermelon, and even hot dog or burger buns. All carbs. I got pretty good at choosing my evils; a couple bites of potato salad, a couple bites of fruit salad, and a burger, and I could still have a popsicle.
This time around, the doctor told me from the get-go when I got the green light to start trying to get pregnant again that when I did, he’d start me on the low-carb diet as soon as I got pregnant. So, being the dutiful patient that I am, I’m trying really hard to follow that diet now, even though I haven’t seen my doctor yet (that’s next week), and don’t have the test strips to start officially testing my blood sugar four times a day (that will probably start next week, too).
What makes this particular go-round rather inconvenient is that right now, eggs really turn my stomach.