Tonight I will detail for you the history of my 3 major weight loss attempts.
For my first big attempt, I joined Weight Watchers. This was the first time I had ever recorded what I ate. I found it very time consuming and challenging to measure everything I was eating so that I could write it down. This was back in the old days of the points system--I don't think Weight Watchers even uses points any more. The points for a certain serving of food are calculated using three values...I was going to tell you what these are, but I can't even remember any more. Anyway, it is relatively easy to figure out how many points something has if it has a nutrition information label printed on the side of it. But I found it very difficult, if not impossible, to figure out how many points one of my homemade soups or casseroles had. I did lose weight on Weight Watchers--I know this because I still have the blue ribbon I received for losing my first ten pounds--but lets just say I "recovered" my losses.
Weight loss attempt number 2 officially began on New Years Day of 2004 at my mother-in-law's house in Springville, Utah. This time it was the South Beach Diet, recommended to me by my father, of all people (not the dieting type). This diet was much easier than Weight Watchers in many ways. I did not have to record or measure anything. I did not have to find time to attend weekly meetings. And I did not have to pay to join. The hard part about this diet was that everything I normally eat was on the list of forbidden foods (sweets, bread, rice, pasta, fruit). Within a day or two, I felt dehydrated and on the verge of a nervous breakdown as I paced the kitchen trying to think of something to feed myself. I also lost weight on this diet. And once again, I was able to recover all that I had lost when South Beach was "temporarily" put on hold in order to celebrate our wedding anniversary and my birthday.
Weight Loss Attempt Nubmer 3 began today. It is South Beach again, but easier this time. Why? Well, between South Beach Attempt #1 and #2, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. This occurred in March of this year, while pregnant with Esther, when I failed the 28 week blood glucose test. I received a prescription for a blood sugar monitor, which I filled by going to my friendly neighborhood medical supply store. There I was instructed in how to punch a tiny hole in my fingertip with a needle four times a day, squeeze a big drop of blood out of said hole, and smear it onto a strip that would tell me what my blood glucose level was. A few days later I had my first meeting with the dietician, who explained to me the diet I would be following for the rest of my pregnancy. Here is the diet:
Wake up and test blood sugar (ie poke finger with sharp "lancet")
Eat 15 g Carbohydrates, but no fruit or milk
Re-test blood sugar exactly one hour after taking first bite
Eat 30 g Carbohydrates, fruit or milk okay now
Wait no more than 2.5 hours, and then eat 45 g Carbohydrates
Test blood sugar exactly one hour later
Eat 30 g Carbohydrates within 2.5 hours of last meal
Eat 45 g Carbohydrates within 2.5 hours of last snack
Test blood sugar 4th time, exactly one hour after dinner
Eat 30 g Carbohydrate snack before bed.
Repeat EVERY DAY for way too many days.
In spite of the fact that I followed this diet very carefully, recording every bite I ate in my old Weight Watchers food journal, I was not able to consistently keep my blood sugar within the right range. So in April I began giving myself a big belly shot of insulin each night before bed. This wasn't enough, and I increased to three shots of insulin a day. By the time Esther was born in May, my tummy was covered in swollen red welts from all of the places I'd inserted the needle. The nice thing about Gestational Diabetes is that it goes away as soon as the baby is born. For my efforts, I am pleased to report that Esther was healthy and I had lost 20 pounds. I had also experienced first hand what a drag it is to have Diabetes.
I saw my dietician for the last time at six weeks post-partum. I was surprised when she started writing out a menu for me that looked very similar to the one I'd followed during the pregnancy. Although I knew that I had a higher likelihood of developing diabetes later in life than someone who had not had gestational diabetes, I was under the impression that regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight were the keys to prevention. She handed me the menu and said, "you should try to follow this the rest of your life."
That night I went to Target and bought (and ate) three bags of Pepperidge Farms cookies.
Now I am 7 months post-partum. I have regained 10 of the 20 pounds I lost during my pregnancy (I was supposed to LOSE 10 more pounds, not gain them). Two nights ago I had ANOTHER serious talk with Dan about getting a dog. I've been badgering him for a long time about this, and he has consistently said that I am welcome to get a dog as soon as he is dead. So I explained to him how a dog is part of my diabetes-prevention plan--to give me a walking companion. Dan actually asked if we could just move back to Idaho instead so that I could go walking with my dad. Anyway, the next night, Dan pulled out my old copy of The South Beach Diet and started reading it to me. "Wait a second" I said. "You're doing this so we won't have to get a dog, aren't you?" Sly smile, but he kept reading. As I listened to the opening chapter it occurred to me that this diet was a lot easier than having diabetes. So this morning I woke up, back in the saddle again.