My Diabetes Story
When I was 5 months pregnant, I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes. Prior to bring diagnosed, I dealt with chronic stress, uncertainty, low self-esteem, isolation & a whole lot of identity crisis. The few days leading up to my diagnosis I was binging on ice cream & pizza. The excuse I told myself was that I was eating for two but really, I was extremely depressed (but eating for two sounds a lot better & was easier to accept). I met with a dietitian & instead of helping me try to understand what was going on with my body, she made me feel as if it were my fault, I was told I was gaining weight too fast (I had gained 12lbs in 3 months, mind you I’m growing an entire human inside of me but imagine being told that while you’re pregnant), she talked AT me instead of with me, she told me what I couldn't eat instead of helping me navigate how to eat things that would help me properly nourish myself & my unborn child, & if that wasn't enough, I now had to of course start monitoring my blood sugar after every meal. I was miserable. Here I am supposed to be enjoying this beautiful transition into motherhood, picking out baby names, taking pregnancy photos, etc & instead I feel trapped. I went from at least eating something to now not eating at all because "I was gaining too much weight," & that terrified me. EVERYTHING made my blood sugar spike which
Type 2 Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
Healthy cooking / Meal planning
made me feel completely lost & out of control. I knew what I was told to avoid but because I was mad as hell, it just made me want to eat the "forbidden" foods even more which made me more depressed because I was so confused. And then add being isolated on top of that, no social interaction, no family to talk to (it was just my husband and I in Tucson at the time & he worked 2 jobs to support us so I barely saw him) so I slept A LOT to avoid feeling anything. & for Goodness sake I just wanted to feel NORMAL for crying out loud. (also, if I had to prick my finger one more time, I was going to hurt someone... Really bad. I was over it).
I resented every other pregnant woman I saw, especially if they were bigger than me because I felt like I was cheated. Why did I end up with GD & they didn’t? They're all smiling & happy, excited about being a new mommy & here I am angry, wishing it was over & having no idea how I was going to raise a healthy child when I had no idea how to keep myself in good health.
I have no idea how, but one day something in me clicked. I began to research everything I could about diabetes, food, sugar addiction, how to reverse it, how to properly support my body etc. You name it, I was researching about it.
The day I had my son, was the day I decided to become plant-based... & it was the best decision I have ever made for both my son & I. I went to the Nutritional Therapy Association, got my certification & now I understand exactly how to help not only myself, but other people struggling as well.
Even though for most women, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born, women who have had gestational diabetes have a 3-7 times increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 5-10 years, and their child from that pregnancy has increased risk for both obesity and type 2 diabetes.
I have to be honest; I’m scared. I'm scared because although my gestational diabetes is gone, I’m still at risk for type 2 diabetes & my son is also at risk. It doesn't mean that it's inevitable, but it is something that I have to keep in mind given my history of diabetes & even my husband's history of obesity. (Diabetes is not genetically passed down. However, eating patterns can turn on certain genes that lead to diabetes & obesity) (we'll talk more about that later)
At this point in my health journey, I get tested every year for diabetes. I still struggle believe it or not (A LOT) with my blood sugar because I still struggle with binge eating & stress. The good thing though is I now know how to effectively control my stress levels. Doesn't mean I never stress, but I now know how to control it to where I don't allow stressful situations or stress in general to alter my energy or my control over it. I also truly understand the power of REAL FOOD. & how to make food work FOR me. It's the one thing I can control that doesn't make me feel out of control & that's what I have the honor of teaching others.
For so long (even before pregnancy) I felt like a dog on a leash. I couldn't go too far to the left or right before the leash would pull on me, making me get back in line. Who pulled the leash? My blood sugar, Fear, etc. What was to the left or the right? Family gatherings. Vacations, Family reunions, Date night, birthday parties, all things that although I was curious & wanted to be a part of them, I knew there would be food there that would be bad for me, or make my sugar spike, so fear kept me from going & enjoying myself. The times when I would go, I didn't feel like I could truly enjoy myself without obsessing internally about if I had gained any weight, did I look fat because I had allowed myself to eat comfort food, or feeling like I needed to eat a salad to make up for the good time I had.
Then being back in the house at least the leash would be removed... But I still had the collar on. The collar worked as a mental reminder that I was still being controlled even without the leash!
That was diabetes for me. Being constantly controlled by something to the point where I couldn't enjoy my life. & in the rare times when the collar would come off, the binge eating started because in my mind I knew it was just a matter of time before the collar was put back on & the leash was coming out again. And when it did, it reminded me that I had done something "bad" & that I knew better. & the cycle started all over again.
It's this "dog on the leash" mentality that so many people with diabetes are dealing with. Often times its silent. We're not shouting it from the mountain tops because it's depressing. It's hard, & most times we feel like failures. Like people are out here living their best lives & we don't fit in because our diabetes makes us feel out of place.
I refuse to leave people struggling in the dark. I've been there, it’s not a fun place to be. Unlike so many others, I now know what to do. I have the knowledge, power, tools, and connection to this condition, to help people overcome not only diabetes, but the feeling of no self-control, low self-esteem, & the thought that this is going to be a losing battle because believe it or not, the thought that this thing is going to beat you, crosses your mind more than anyone could ever imagine... Especially when you don't have an understanding of it.
I understand it now & I want to help so many people understand it too. Because guess what, you don't have to live with it the rest of your life. & unfortunately, the fact that diabetes & heart disease is 100% preventable & reversible is some big kept secret.
Welp. The secrets out now. Don't believe me? Do your research. There are people every day that are deciding to take their health back into their own hands. You can too.
I am here to help YOU, guide YOU, Listen to YOU, mentor YOU & help you navigate this thing in the best way possible for YOU.
Because I've been where you are. I may not have had type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure but guess what, I lost my grandpa at 50 due to heart disease after getting heart transplant at at 49. Can you imagine if he had been told that all he had to do was change his eating habits & exercise a little bit more, he may have been able to avoid that heart transplant & ultimately the heart attack that lead to his death & maybe I would have gotten a chance to meet him.
My dad, my pride & joy, has high blood pressure. & due to my family’s history of heart disease, never even thought he'd live to see 50 let alone have children. But he's doing something about it, and here he is, 57 years old, in the best shape of his life, LEARNING how to bring his body back into balance & the importance of minerals in order to control his high blood pressure.
That's where you start! You have to be willing to learn about yourself & your body & how its suppose to run so that when something is off you feel it & you know what to do about it naturally instead of going and relying on some pill in a bottle to fix you.
Like I said, I may not have type 2 diabetes or heart disease. But I do know what its like to feel out of control I know what depression feels like. I know what it feels like to want to give up on relationships because of the side effects of diabetes, I know what feeling hopeless is like, I know what not being able to enjoy life on your own terms feels like because diabetes is the life of your party. I know what it feels like to want to change, to want to be better, healthier, happier & in control but not knowing where to start because there's so much on your plate that needs to be addressed, it’s overwhelming! AND I know the reality of how it feels knowing you could potentially lose someone you love, to something that can be prevented or reversed.
I've been there. I am there. And I'm here to tell you, you no longer have to stay there.
Together we can, through nutrition we will...