Monday, March 10, 2008

The Road to Hell . . .

You know how it goes. I don't need to finish this one. We've all been here, and it's no fun because we usually have no one to blame but ourselves. More importantly, we're usually the only ones that can get ourselves out. Here's my dilemma.

I found myself here about 23 weeks into my pregnancy with the twins. I was in the hospital with some early contractions, and a standard blood test found my blood sugar was elevated. They determined I was a gestational diabetic. I wasn't completely sure what that meant for me, but immediately, I began to wonder 'how did I get here?'

I had always been a healthy 115 - 120 lbs. during college, even though that's technically on the heavier side for my height (4'11"). Yet, with my thick build, anything smaller than that would probably be a bit unhealthy. I was content to be a size 4 or 6. After James and I got married, I weighed about 130 lbs. I'm pretty sure we had a fairly gluttonous honeymoon where I packed on another 5 pounds or so (not healthy, but it was fun).

Then I got pregnant with Jameson . . . talk about using pregnancy as an excuse to eat a lot of crap. Here's where the whole "road to hell" part comes in. I think I had actually convinced myself that by eating a lot I would meet all my nutritional needs as well as the baby's. Well, eat is what I did, and I packed on 50 lbs. I did not help though that I believe I probably was a gestational diabetic while pregnant with Jameson (swelling, tingling hands, excessive fatigue & weight gain), which would explain the insatiable appetite. Diabetes is a strange beast. When your blood sugar is elevated, for some reason, you actually get hungry when you don't really need to eat.

Thinking back all the way to high school, I never USED to have to watch what I ate, but there was one major difference now. I guess I was in denial or something, but I had yet to adjust my diet to compensate for the fact that I was no longer an active kid or a collegiate athlete. I guess I kept telling myself that I would get back to playing soccer again and lose the weight later. Yeah, that never happened.

So here I was pregnant with the twins, already at about 170-some lbs. at about the halfway point in the pregnancy when they gave me the diagnosis. They had me meet with a dietician, and they made me change my diet. It was hard at first, really hard. But, as I continued with the diet, I started to feel better, and it got easier and easier.

Work, motherhood, and family life gave me a lot of good excuses for not making better lifestyle choices. All of my bad decisions in the past were now staring me in the face. What had I done to myself? I remember thinking that I was at a crossroads. I could either come to terms with the fact that I was no longer a competitive athlete (nor was I going to be) and change my eating and exercising habits, or I could regret not having done so and cut some years off my life with my family.

I made the obvious choice.

Hello, my name is Julie ____ , and I am a recovering sugarholic. It has been 8 hours since my last donut (although it was just a bite) and 2 hours since my last chocolate-covered marshmallow. I continue trying to make good food choices, but I have to constantly remind myself of my long-term goals. Despite my daily diet blunders, I try to focus on my overall diet choices.

Okay, so I'm not perfect, but I am making headway. I will say that I am at least getting my "5 a day". My overall diet has significantly improved, but breaking the sweet tooth is no small task. Everyday I find more willpower to avoid making bad choices. I have been able to find pretty good substitutes for my high-fat, high-sugar treats.

Nonetheless, like any recovering addict, I continue to be in the habit of sabotaging myself, or I can usually count on my mom to bring home something not on my list of good-for-me foods.

1. I made a Carrot Cake about 2 weeks ago, and guess who ate most of it. Yeah, well, I was able to replace most of the oil with applesauce, and I used pineapples in order to reduce some of the sugar. I used whole wheat flour, and cut the frosting sugar in half. Still not a health food, but I have to be able to eat something that feels decadent.

2. This is a Laura's Cookies from Dorothy Lane Market. They are heaven in a cookie (if you like sugar cookies). They were one of my many guilty pleasures when I was pregnant. I remember thinking everytime I ate one that I probably needed the extra calories. I was carrying a baby after all.

These days I try to avoid Dorothy Lane Market (or at least the bakery section) because my willpower is no good when I have them in the house. My mom brought Jameson a few a week ago, and she says she is not trying to sabotage me.

3. Tonight, I watched Unwrapped on the Food Network. The show is all about food (usually mass-produced junk food) and how it's made. Don't watch it if you're hungry.

Here's the treats they featured tonight. They do, of course, show you how they're produced, so it's very tempting to see tons of creamy frosting, or velvety chocolate, or worse, creamy ice cream (my absolute achilles heel).

1st Episode
Cinnapretzel - a gluttonous combination of a pretzel with a cinnamon roll set into the twist (comes with a side of cinnabon frosting)
Oregon Chai Tea
Sparx Spicy Cookies - specialty spicy cookies made with real chili peppers
Cinnamon Sugar - how it's made (duh!)
Sugar Artistry - using sugar to make art
Billy's Bakery - "a bakery with homestyle flair" (specialty is Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing)

2nd Episode
Snickers Candy Bars
Fran's Chocolates - sellers of gourmet chocolates & other sweets
Potato Chip Cookies - yup, just what it sounds like
Jeni's Ice Creams (just a short drive to Columbus) - the Roxybury Road sounds DIVINE
Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels - Chocolate covered peanut butter pretzel sandwiches (that's a mouthful, in more than 1 way)
Wolfgang Candy Company - feature White Chocolate Pretzel clusters

I think I like to live vicariously through the people I see on the show (and other Food Network shows) eating all these treats.

I have many more just like these, but this blog must come to end at some point. So now, I will do what I told James we should do to stay motivated to lose weight.

Post a couple of "skinny" pictures of ourselves to stay motivated. We don't expect to look like we're in our twenties again, but I do expect to do everything in my power to be around for my kids for as long as possible.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. I have less than 30 lbs. to go.


James said...

We need to purge the house of bad food! I'm not saying we can't have junk food around, but it's in abundance in our pantry, cabinets and refrigerator.

James said...

Man, I was one sexy bitch!