I don’t know if this is a common view but I’m viewing pregnancy as the existence of two separate entities – me and not-me. So me, I’m reasonably healthy and so is baby not-me but baby not-me does stuff that pushes my body into less healthy zones (ie GD). It’s like a weird dichotomous existence for a while.
Sometimes I wonder what baby is doing. Like, how is he ok going upside down so much? God knows I get dizzy fast. Doesn’t he? Or does size make the gravitational/BP difference irrelevant? And what does it even mean that he’s awake? Does he observe things? Like what? Muffled sounds of the shitty TV shows I watch? Can he see? I know this has been happening for millenia but somehow it’s new and weird and fascinating.
I have to say, all this diet and exercise control is teaching me so so much about how to eat for my body. My mom (who has diabetes) was inspired by my determination and is doing the same thing (testing glucose, monitoring diet and exercising). I won’t follow it this strictly but post-pregnancy, I probably will follow a more lightweight version of this diet. And I’ve learnt a ton. Like:
- 15 min walk post meal does a lot to lower blood glucose. Endo: “basically exercise acts like a shot of insulin”. Also the closer to the meal it is, the more effect it has.
- Total carbs per day matter less than per sitting carb consumption. Obviously total carbs still matter but if you are allowed a max of x carbs/meal and y carbs/snack while leaving an hour between each thing, there’s only so much you can eat.
- Nothing is really bad. Carbs are good. Protein is good. Fats are good. Hell, sugar’s good too. But everything in moderation.
- There isn’t that much difference between the whole grains and more refined ones in terms of glucose. But the whole grains have a bit more protein and tons of other healthy stuff so they’re still preferable. Ditto fruit sugars vs refined sugar.
- Resistance training is importance because it builds muscles helping decrease insulin resistance.
- Eating small meals + lots of snacks really works for me. Tbh, even pre-pregnancy, that’s sort of how I used to eat. Just even smaller meals now with more snacks.
- Processed food in this country is ridiculously unhealthy by.. most metrics.
- Eating out is a bitch. I ate brunch outside a few weeks ago which was amazing and perfect for glucose. But it takes a lot of mental work. We’re going to a friend’s place this weekend and I just said ‘sorry, but I’m bringing my own food’. It’s too hard to calibrate/measure someone else’s food.
- A version of this diet might be an easy way for me to lose weight (in the future)
- And with some luck, I might end this pregnancy in better shape than I started just based on the amount of exercise I’m doing.
Anyways, after taking what the dieticians said with a pinch of salt and basically following my body/blood tests more, I seem to be hitting a decent midway point. I’m probably a bit on the low side on calories but on days I’m hungrier, I add more cheese/fats, on others, less. The dietician kinda looked at my meals and was like ‘well, if you go on insulin, you can have more than salads’. But honestly, I like salads. And I’m fine with having them, maybe not everyday but most days. Plus mine are pretty hefty. Actually this diet isn’t massively different from my usual. Just.. adjusted a bit. And consciously adding more calories.
So yesterday was a perfectly calibrated day (for me). Food for the day:
- Breakfast: Think Thin Oatmeal (ok so for some reason, this is the only oatmeal that works for me. Normal unflavored Quaker Oats spikes up sugars.)
- 15 min brisk walk right after
- Morning Snack 1: Homemade smoothie (frozen berries + almond milk + spoon of peanut butter + avocado + spinach)
- Morning Snack 2: ~10 pistachios
- Lunch: Nachos w/ beans and cheese and veggies (ok, not the healthiest but I wanted a change. I counted out the nachos to make sure I was ok carb wise. And after 10 loaded nachos, I was surprisingly full).
- Walked between labs schlepping a lot of weight
- Standing desk for ~30 min
- Afternoon Snack 1: Greek yogurt (I need to sub this out with plain greek yogurt with fresh fruit + nut add-ins)
- Afternoon Snack 2: Cucumber + hummus + homemade pesto
- Afternoon Snack 3: A tiny amount of chai (which is homemade so the only carbs come from the milk itself) + pumpkin seeds. And by tiny, I mean like 4oz of which only 2oz is milk and the rest is water.
- 10min barre-ish workout
- Afternoon Snack 4: Seeded cracker + mascarpone cheese + sliced strawberries (this is currently my favorite snack!)
- Dinner: Salad (it’s really filling because I put beans and chickpeas and cheese. And croutons. Because if it’s not spiking with them yet, might as well).
- 30 min of moderate speed biking (its at like 6-7mph most of the time)
- Bedtime Snack: Glass of milk (I need some carby night snack or my ketones don’t do so hot)
Another thing I’ve learnt is while this sort of diet/lifestyle takes too much energy for most people to follow (hell, even for me for longer stretches of time), this country really really eats unhealthily. Ok, so maybe I’ve been watching too much of diners, drive-ins and dives. Mostly I’m shocked at the amount of fat, salt and calories in each of the meals shown. I mean, unless you’re a construction worker or an athlete or something where you need 4000 cal/day I cannot see why portion sizes are that big. Especially since most of these places seem like regular places to eat. Honestly, I’m coming to believe that taxing the hell out of sodas/fast food/processed food would do a lot for public health. And supplementing that with subsidies for local small-scale farmers/other way to make fresh food cheap.