Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Staying thin while getting fat: the GD diet

As some of you commented after seeing the belly shot in my last post, I am carrying all of my baby weight right out in front. Half of this is genetics, my Mom also looked like a basketball smuggler when she was pregnant with me. The other half is due to my good old friend gestational diabetes. Stomach aside, the rest of me has not been this thin since my wedding almost 8 years ago. Which of course is all kinds of awesome, not to mention surprising considering I literally get no exercise whatsoever. Obviously I am following the diet for the general health of the twins, but if I have to deny myself all of the yummy indulgences enjoyed by my preggo pals, it's nice to also have the immediate gratification of The Skinny. I have recently started waving my arms up in the air and smiling in satisfaction when they don't jiggle. (And then I look down at the new stretch marks on my belly and start sobbing.) Unfortunately, I am fairly certain I won't be able to maintain The Skinny after the birth. In fact DH has predicted that I will be the only woman ever to weigh more leaving the hospital after having twins than before I went in to deliver. I guess it depends on which is heavier -- two fetuses or a box of truffles, several ice cream sundaes, a cookie cake, and as many Cadbury eggs as I can get down before wanting to barf.

The diet is both not that bad and incredibly annoying. The meals and snacks we have come up with are pretty decent, really. The hardest parts are timing everything that I eat, remembering to test my blood exactly 2 hours after starting a meal, and obviously not being able to treat myself with any... well, treats.

A few people have asked me for tips on eating well, whether they have The Diabeetus or not. After I stopped laughing hysterically that someone was asking me for food advice that didn't involve the location of the nearest Dairy Queen, I typed up the guidelines given to me by the diabetes center at my hospital. I'll also pepper in some of the ways I have learned to eat without drawing the wrath of my testing meter. These are generally good habits to form, so even if you aren't spawning, you may find this helpful.

"They" say:

-- Avoid sugar and sweets, like cookies, ice cream, donuts, etc. Even 100% natural fruit juice should be avoided. (For some reason, this is the first bullet on their list. Apparently they want to break your spirit quickly and get it over with. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!)

-- Fat in moderation: butter, margarine, oil, mayo, and salad dressing. Too much can increase insulin resistance. (This isn't so hard... I can do moderation. Just keep your hands off my butter.)

-- Eat plenty of high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, and veggies. (Rice, bread, and pasta should only be WHOLE GRAIN -- and thus less appealing so you stick to appropriate portion sizes.)

-- Breakfast is the toughest because blood sugar tends to rise the most after this meal. You've been fasting overnight and your body reacts to this. Don't have cereal, juice or milk at breakfast. (Which leaves dog food, shrubbery, and the bumper from your car.)

-- You may consume 3 servings or less of Equal or Splenda per day. (I wish this was an option for me, but I avoid artificial sweeteners and other forms of rat poison altogether.)

-- Eat a variety of foods and don't try to lose weight. (Just make sure that none of the variety of foods are too tasty.)

-- Eat foods with carbs every 2-4 hours while awake, it helps keep your levels balanced. If you go too long without eating, your next meal could make your blood sugar shoot up. (I do appreciate a diet that requires constant carb consumption, even if it's *groan* the brown grainy stuff.)

-- Snacks should be at least two hours after meals; both snacks and meals should include protein and/or low-moderate fat. (So far I haven't had a problem working the fat in there.)

-- When people around you enjoy foods that aren't in your diet, raise your eyebrows and give them a look that says, "I can't believe you eat that crap. You are so cruel to your body." (Okay, I threw this bullet in here. But I think it's reasonable to flaunt your awesomeness now and again. You deserve to feel superior!)


Breakfast should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)
Snack should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)
Lunch should include 2-4 servings of carbs (30-60 total grams)
Snack should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)
Dinner should include 2-4 servings of carbs (30-60 total grams)
Snack should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)

Here are some examples of things that have one serving of carbs: one slice of whole wheat bread, 6-inch corn or flour tortilla, 1/4 bagel, 1/2 English muffin, 1/2 hamburger or hot dog bun, 1/2 cup potato (or peas or corn or yams or sweet potato or beans), 6-inch corn on the cob, 1 small baked potato, 1 cup carrots (or beets or pumpkin), 1 cup milk, 6-8 oz plain or light yogurt, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup bran cereals, 3/4 cup unsweetened cereal, 1/4 cup grape nuts cereal, 1/3 cup cooked pasta, 1/3 cup cooked rice, 3 cups popcorn, 1/2 cup canned fruit (light, drain juice), 1 tennis-ball sized piece of fruit, 1/2 small banana, 1 cup berries or melon, 17 grapes, AVOID dried fruit and all desserts

Here are "free" foods: lean beef, pork, lamb, chicken (w/o skin), cheese, egg, tofu, fish, peanut butter, cottage cheese, all other non-starchy veggies, green beans, diet pop, coffee, tea, sugar-free Jell-O, butter, margarine, oil, salad dressing, mayo, nuts, olives, avocado, lard, cream cheese, sour cream

Mmmmm.... lard!

These are some examples of the foods that have kept my babies healthy and inadvertently rewarded me with The Skinny. Once we identified things I like to eat that also fit the guidelines, we could just rotate them throughout the week.

Breakfast: Either low-carb oatmeal or eggs and bacon with one slice of toast; they also suggest two pieces of whole grain toast with peanut butter, or berries with cottage cheese and one slice of toast, or crackers and cheese and almonds. You can drink water, or herbal tea w/o sugar is free. (I've managed to drink milk with my breakfast and I still test low enough.)

Lunch: Grilled cheese and a small salad; baked potato and a small salad; open-faced banana/butter/peanut butter sandwich (made in reverse order and called a "skabanna nut" in my family) (and in case you remember me mentioning it, yes I do avoid peanuts while preggo/nursing so I have almond butter instead); my Mom also gives me a pickle on the side and *small* number of chips

Dinner: This is the easiest meal of the day for me. I just focus on having some protein (chicken or beef are my favorites), a veggie or salad, and not too much pasta or bread. Spices are free, thank goodness, so flavor isn't a problem and you can still have creative dishes. I like the diabetes recipe collection from, but many of my normal favorites are just fine as well.

Snacks: Various combinations of fruit, nuts, cheese, or crackers; yogurt with tbsp of grape nuts cereal; cottage cheese and fruit; they also suggest light smoothies or a Fiber One bar or 15 multigrain tortilla chips with salsa or homemade trail mix or one mini whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.

Final Snack: I like to think of my last snack of the day as "dessert" for my own sanity. I have a few Nilla Wafers (with a Girl Scout cookie or two hidden beneath -- shhhhhhhhhh!) and milk each night before bed.

So here's what it really boils down to for me.

-- Limit carb consumption based on the OVERALL MEAL PLAN guidelines. It's not that you can't have bread with your meal, but choose a small whole-grain dinner roll. Instead of a huge bowl of spaghetti, prepare a pasta dish with chicken and a small amount of whole-wheat noodles and various veggies.

-- Find ways to work protein and fiber into your diet. This is the hard part for me, but you just have to do it.

-- Be aware of what has carbs. Yes, fruit is good for you, but there are a lot of natural sugars in it as well.

-- Eat frequently, but keep portion sizes small (again, following the OVERALL MEAL PLAN will help with this). Critical!!!

Tips for sticking to the diet. My first one would be go on complete bedrest for two to three months and have your Mom serve you all your meals in bed. This way you are not tempted by no-no foods in your pantry or in the world at large. Television commercials of actors scarfing down Olive Garden's new heaping creamy pasta dishes may send you into a homicidal rage, but at least only your pillows will suffer because you can't actually get out of bed. My second tip is make a spreadsheet of all meals and snacks for the entire week and shop only from that list. It's not something that you'll need to do forever, it just helps to get you acclimated to what it feels like to eat within these guidelines. Making the initial change is hard, but it soon becomes a habit.

Whether you are eating healthy for two (or three) or just in search of The Skinny, I wish you good luck and moderately happy eating.



Jingle said...

what a rich list of meal plan...
it is almost there,
Happy Final Journey!

Jingle said...

two awards,
rather beautiful,
thank you for commenting in December when I was new...
you are the best!

Kristina P. said...

That is some "guideline." Holy cow!

Red said...

Oh, I wish I could stick to that plan! I just can't right now. Carbs (albeit the grainy ones that I prefer) are all that drives away this endless nausea! Also, I had no idea you could eat bacon while pregnant - I am off to google that as it is something I would LOVE but steer clear of because of some distant memory that I wasn't allowed it while pregnant.

I am sure it is easier to stick to it when you have someone sticky pickles on the side of the plate for you - that is just too cute! When your Mum is done there do you think she would like a trip to australia to do the same for me for a few months?

I keep thinking of you and wondering if you have popped yet, best of luck for whenever it happens!

K said...

wow! Thanks for this. I haven't lost weight on it but I haven't gained any which is amazing because I was gaining about 2 pounds a week until I got on the diet and now I've been on a standstill for about three weeks and counting. My body really didn't NEED to gain 30+ pounds since I started of 10 pounds overweight so I'm glad that at least with GD I'm not as of yet reaching the 40+ weight gain I was heading towards before GD.

I agree its easy and hard at the same time. I mean the eating stuff I'm used to but I think I'm usually about five minutes or so late testing from my "first bite" Hopefully not a big deal... I think its just missing eating when you want to... not every two to four hours and then pricking yourself.

Not too much longer for either of us though!

Good point about the peanuts. I was trying to figure this out. some people said avoid nuts alltogether while pregnant, but with GD..... its kind of necessary since I can't eat cheese with every carb snack?!

K said...

PS: Does your doc make you check your ketones every morning? THAT is highly annoying, its teeny little strip. . . just curious if everyone had to do it.

Coffeegrl said...

It's interesting to see the breakdown of carbs per meal/snack. My mom, being pre-diabetic, has a recommendation of no more than 45 g. of carbs per day which doesn't go very far. And since she likes her toast for breakfast, and a sandwich for lunch she's often used up a fair portion of her carbs before dinner. Thus, she almost always skips carbs entirely at dinner. I find this to be incredibly difficult. Personally I'd rather spread it out all over the course of the day - but to each their own. I just hope that when she comes to stay with us (right around the baby's due date) she doesn't mind that we're eating carbs in our house for dinner! (When we stayed with her at Christmas we sort of followed her lead, but I don't think I can survive it again!). Glad to hear that you're finding it manageable - at least from a big picture point of view. I'm with you though- I wouldn't leave that hospital without indulging in several of my favorite, previously withheld treats!!

MissMVK said...

You really are ALL BABY! People say that to me, but I know they are lying. But for you, it's totally TRUE! No double-chin-after-the-small-elephants-are-born picture for you! GO SUNNY!

Btw, I am sorry I didn't say so, but Bean's birthday pics are OVER THE TOP cute. I think that's where all the sugar you aren't eating lives these days. IN BEAN.

We are almost there!!!

E said...

Gestational diabetes should be colored in black not rainbow!! ;)

You do look great!! that belly looks like it could knock you down, lol (I mean that in the nicest way, since it *is* a very cute belly).

I have not gained anymore weight and keep losing a few pounds here and there but I am no where near skinny. I had gained 30 pounds already when diagnosed. I was gaining like crazy, at least 5+ every month. So, I guess in a way I am *almost, but not very* thankful for this diet. It is surprising how much I did adapt to it. I don't think I could eat a big meal now if I tried, lol. I think the biggest thing for me is chocolate!! Sometimes I find myself salivating just thinking about it. Of course, I cheat a little sometimes...a small piece of dark chocolate. Or for 1 of my carbs I sometimes eat a 100 calorie snack pack of chocolate cookies...yum.

I have recently gone back to my cup of coffee in the morning with a tsp of sugar and a little milk...I just had to do something to feel normal again.

Oh and LOL on the eating every sweet thing in site while in the hospital!! I already know I am having a sub, a mocha, a candybar....if I am hungry. I totally lost my appetite after giving birth to my son. I didn't eat for 2-3 days.

Have you had your appointment this week yet?

WiseGuy said...

You are so organized! I especially like your first tip! That one is pretty neat. :-)

Stay well.

And super-thanks for the sweet comment you left on my blog.

Michelle said...

I got this from my nutritionist after being diagnosed with PCOS. I think as she was explaining it to me I was crying. I think it went in the trash when I got home. I have a hard time when people tell me I can't have something...I automatically want it. I think it would probably happen with my most hated and dispised food peanut butter. I have found the insulin resistant diet which I am starting and it basically talks about balancing your food. My big problem is I LOVE PASTA AND BREAD!!!!!

You have done amazingly. It seems it would be harder on bedrest because you are watching all those commercials and really have nothing to distract yourself but you have done such a great job! I guess those 2 little ones are quite the incentive. You can use this for guilting them when they get older.

Glad you are still pregnant!

Nicky said...

Is it weird that the food and restrictions and everything doesn't sound like it would bother me all that much, but I would HATE to have to do math with every meal? And I started out a math major in college, so it's really not a Barbie "Math is hard!" thing. It's more of an "inability to do basic arithmetic while pregnant" thing.

AFD said...

You should be a spokeswoman on GD and bedrest. You do both so well! :) What is a "good" blood sugar for someone with GD carrying twins? I only know what my patients should be at, and they are mostly not pregnant and over the age of 65! :) You really do look great (even without a head.)

Justin said...

Started a diet of my own just recently, but yours is WAY too complicated. Maybe someone can simplify it all: "If you want it, don't eat it. Eat only the food that you don't like--chances are it's the healthy stuff."

Chad and Gena said...

You look awesome and you are doing awesome. Reading this post brought me back about 8 years. I used to do a lot of nutrition education, including diabetes training. Sounds like you have a good handle on things, and you are doing so well w/it for you and the boys. And if it makes you feel better I 'technically' gained weight after I delivered my babies. I delivered 11 lbs of baby plus whatever the amnionic sacks and placentas weighed and only went home 5lbs lighter than when I checked in. So you can tell DH you wouldn't be the first LOL.

You are getting so close, cant wait for the birth announcement!!!!!