January 29, 2015

How I Think About Food

Good morning!

A lot has happened since my last post! About two weeks ago, we welcomed our second baby boy into the world. It was a wonderful day; full of joy, nerves, and a few curveballs.

I gained a lot of weight with my pregnancy... about 65 lbs. (I was all belly!!) I had gained a lot during my first pregnancy- about the same 65lbs- and after 39 weeks I had a 9lb 4.5oz healthy baby boy. This time around, our second son surprised everyone in the room when he weighed in at 11lbs 2oz!

Because of his size and other factors, the Dr. almost immediately came to the conclusion that I had probably become a gestational diabetic after the screening period was over. Not cool. I had been tested a few times and had been cleared... Unfortunately, later on in my pregnancy I had been on medication which can elevate blood sugar- and had been taking the medication during prime Christmas cookie season. (Not a good combo for someone who loves baked goods!)

So, what now? I need to be tested in 6 weeks to check my blood sugar, and will likely need yearly monitoring of my blood sugar to keep a close eye. (Women who develop gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life). I need to lose my remaining weight. I need to exercise. Most importantly, I need to be consistent. The idea of becoming a diabetic scares me... as a nurse, I have seen what diabetes is capable of, and it's not pretty. I have taken care of people who are fed up with medications, needles, and monitoring; and of those whose bodies are ravaged by the effects of the disease. As a mom, I don't want to end up with a health condition that could potentially change my quality of life and impact my children- now, or 30 years from now.

I have to do everything in my power to stay healthy.

I have to re-think how I think about food... I need to think about what I give my body.

At different points in my day and my life, I think/have thought about food differently. I, like many other people, spend New Years fantasizing about the new and improved healthy lifestyle I'm going to lead. I pledge to eliminate and restrict, then punish myself for "cheating"... I think of food as the enemy. I get busy, and think of food in terms of convenience  or pure necessity, rather than as nutrients, and I grab what I can/whatever looks good (even if it means raiding the vending machine) so that I can continue on with my day. I get lonely or stressed or cold, and think of food as comfort, often overindulging. Sometimes, I seek out food for pleasure- a new recipe, a decadent chocolate cake, my favorite dish at a restaurant... The problem is, those thoughts shouldn't be mutually exclusive.

Food isn't the enemy. Not by far. It's our friend; delicious fuel for our body and soul. Healthy food can be convenient. Comfort food doesn't have to mean cream, sugar and fat (or if it does, it can do so in small portions)... and there is pleasure to be found in all kinds of food. Some days, a dish of cold watermelon is more satisfying than that slice of chocolate cake! The trick is to find balance.

I am setting out to think about what I eat. Not just because it looks or tastes good, but thinking about what it gives my body, and what it will do for me- and my family.

To me, this means thinking about the quality of the food I eat... and I don't mean Organic vs. not. The "organic" chocolate and snacks can be just as empty calorie and nutrient wise as the others. I mean choosing lean proteins, fiber rich foods, whole grains, and less added sugar. But, I'm not going to exclude the treats that make me and my family happy- like ice cream- it just wouldn't be realistic or enjoyable... I'm just going to keep a more watchful eye on the nutritional facts and serving sizes. Everything in moderation!!! I want be realistic, and set us up for success!

For the last week, armed with MyFitnessPal, I have been keeping closer tabs on what I eat, and am making some conscious decisions to make healthier choices. (Switching from vanilla greek yogurt to plain greek yogurt is saving me about 10g of sugar!!)

Don't worry! This blog is not going to change into a diet blog, and I'm not going to attempt to teach anyone how to be healthier... I just wanted to share my story and my goals. I'll keep sharing recipes, stories and experiences, and we'll see what happens!

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