By Nikki, Pure Matters

“No ice cream for you, pregnant lady.” What? Is this some kind of nightmare?

No, actually, it was reality for the last half of my pregnancy -- I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 24 weeks, which I touched on briefly in a previous post. I was shocked.

My activity level had definitely dropped since becoming pregnant, as had my healthy eating habits (thanks to a vomit-filled first trimester), but never in a million years did I think I would fail the glucose tolerance test.

After meeting with an endocrinologist, I was relieved to learn that I didn't cause this diagnosis -- my placenta was just blocking the insulin that my body was trying to produce to keep my blood sugar in check. Womp, womp. So what now?

I had to completely change my eating habits and ramp up my exercise. In the beginning, I had to check my blood sugar THREE times a day, an hour after eating. This would let me know if I needed to make more changes to my food consumption. Once I figured out foods that kept my blood sugar down I only had to test twice a day. Still, pricking your finger with a needle is not fun. Not to mention that I had to give myself shots of Lovenox in the stomach daily … but that’s post for another day.

So what kinds of foods did I eat and what activities did I do? Well, for starters I did a lot of walking and riding the recumbent bike. Those were two low-impact workouts that I was comfortable with. I know people who run throughout their pregnancies, but I can barely convince myself to run at my fittest let alone while carrying around 20+ extra pounds.

As far as foods, I ate small meals every couple of hours. Here’s what a typical day of eating and managing gestational diabetes looks like:

8 A.M.

  • 1 piece of whole wheat toast with Smart Balance
  • 1 scrambled egg
  • 1 piece of 2% colby-jack cheese
  • 2 cups chocolate milk (skim, no sugar)

10:15 A.M.

  • 4 strawberries
  • ½ banana

12:15 P.M.

  • ½ whole wheat peanut butter and low sugar/high fiber jelly sandwich
  • 6 cucumber slices

2:15 P.M.

  • ½ whole wheat peanut butter and low sugar/high fiber jelly sandwich
  • Part skim mozzarella cheese stick

4:30 P.M.

  • ¼ cup pistachios

6 P.M.

  • 1 slice celery with peanut butter

8 P.M.

  • Mixed green salad with tomato and avocado – olive oil & balsamic vinegar as dressing
  • Turkey burger with 1 slice colby-jack cheese and 1 tbsp ketchup – no bun

9 P.M.

  • Jello Mousse Temptations (contains Splenda so keep to minimum)

Looking back, I was a late eater! I guess because I was working so much. I also still eat that same breakfast every single day. I’m such a creature of habit. If you are looking for more variety in your meals just remember to keep your carbs and sugar low. My go-to dinner was always a turkey burger with no bun and a side of veggies. For my sweet tooth I used the South Beach Diet Cookbook -- there are so many great low-carb desserts.

As far as the future goes, I will start on this “diet” the second I see a positive sign on a pregnancy test. I can’t prevent gestational diabetes, as I have a 50/50 chance of getting it again, but I can take steps to keep my blood sugar down and my next baby safe.