Getting a gestational diabetes diagnosis was definitely overwhelming, but I took to Google to get me through it. Some of the information I came across was scary, like what could happen to my baby-to-be if I didn't control my blood sugar levels, but everything I read from reputable sources assured me that if I managed my GD, my baby would be just fine.
The wealth of information I found made my experience with GD one I look back on with pride, and even a little fondness.
The first thing I discovered was that exercise was a great way to keep my blood sugar from getting too high. Because it was the dead of winter when I got my diagnosis, I took to the treadmill, and Netflix became my new BFF. I wasn't in good enough shape to start running, but I found that interval training worked well for me. I never ran or even jogged, but I would alternate between walking as fast as I could uphill for 5 minutes and walking for 5 minutes at a more comfortable pace. I found that if I took the time to do this workout for one hour every day, my blood sugar never got too high...as long as I controlled my diet.
I learned quickly that diet is key in controlling blood sugar soon after my diagnosis. I ate what I thought was a healthy meal of corn and rice, and my blood sugar was still in the 200s an hour afterwards. This was a great lesson to me that I could still eat carbs, but only in extreme moderation, and only if they were paired with protein.
I actually found lots of meals I thoroughly enjoyed. I am including an example of what I ate for three days below. I searched high and low to find things I could eat other than cottage cheese and it took me a good month to come up with a variety of foods I liked, could stomach with my ever-looming nausea, and that kept my blood sugar nice and low.
Breakfast: 2 eggs cooked with spinach and tomatoes, 1 slice cheese, 1 slice buttered wheat toast, 1/2 cup of 1% milk
Morning Snack: 1 small apple, 10 almonds
Lunch: 1 grilled chicken sandwich, 1 square dark chocolate (Yep, my blood sugar stayed low...even with chocolate! Lifesaver midday!)
Afternoon snack: 12 grapes, 1/2 cup cottage cheese
Dinner: 1 cup of Cheerios and 1 cup of 1% milk
Evening snack: 1 cup Greek yogurt with 5 strawberries and 1/2 banana chopped
Breakfast: 1 slice grilled ham, 1 fried egg, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1/2 butter croissant (This was my splurge breakfast and all the protein allowed me a few delicious bites of croissant. Amazing!)
Morning snack: 1 string cheese, 1/2 banana
Lunch: Mixed green salad with grilled chicken, pineapple, and sunflower seeds, 1 square dark chocolate
Afternoon snack: Arctic Zero frozen dessert. (Mint chocolate is my favorite flavor. Disclaimer: This is very expensive. It's about six dollars for a pint, but it was a godsend when I wanted something sweet, cold and refreshing. Plus, you can eat the whole pint in one sitting if you want and your blood sugar will stay low because it has so much protein. Hallelujah!)
Dinner: 2 slices meat lover's pizza with thin crust
Evening snack: 2 protein cookies and 1/2 cup 1% milk (I made my own protein cookies every week and they were delicious! There are many different recipes for them that can be found online.)
Breakfast: German pancakes or Dutch babies with 1 cup 1% milk
Morning snack: 2 Baby Bell cheese wheels and 1 Snickers ice cream bar (This awesome and unexpected combo worked for me when I couldn't go any longer without a little treat. This is a great snack on a hard day.)
Lunch: Open face turkey sandwich with Swiss cheese and tomato
Afternoon snack: 1 small baked potato with chilli and cheddar cheese
Dinner: Homemade English muffin pizza (Put your favorite pizza toppings on two halves of an English muffin and bake until cheese is melted. Make sure to include some type of protein. I usually used pepperoni.)
Evening snack: 1 cup popcorn and one strawberry Chobani Greek yogurt (The yogurt is extra delicious and satisfying if you put it in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes before eating.)
Along with eating healthy and exercising daily, I took to forums to find other moms-to-be who were currently dealing with GD, or who had dealt with it in past pregnancies. Having people to talk to who understood what I was going through was probably the main thing that got me through my GD journey.
You can do this! Just think, your baby gets the added benefit of you eating right and taking the very best care of both of you. You are a beautiful rock star pregnancy ninja and if you are careful about your diet you and your baby are going to be just fine. Trust me, I'm a mom.