About 3 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a disease which can develop in pregnant women given the cocktail of hormones in their body blocking the way in which insulin reacts in the body. If unmanaged, many complications can arise for both mother and child, including early birth and a large birth-weight for baby.
In the space of a week, I got given a blood glucose monitoring system and sat down with about 8 other women to learn how to manage this disease on a day-to-day basis from now until the end of our pregnancy. Basically, proteins, vegetables and (some) fruit are encouraged, you count carbohydrates and watch your fat intake.
As I sat in the information session, I got really angry. I don’t have an athletic or supermodel body, but I have a slender build (excluding my baby bump!), I do lots of walking per day thanks to my current job, eat lots of vegetables at lunch and dinner and I would have a sugary treat of a night time. I genuinely believed and even the nutritionists had commented, that my lifestyle habits weren’t to blame for me getting this disease. It was one of those things that happened.
You are not Entitled
As a person who had never counted calories or carbohydrates, in the space of week, I had to now pace my meals, read packet labels on all my food and prick my finger 2 hours after every meal and test my blood glucose levels. I also have to test my urine each morning to make sure I’m not burning fat or muscle when I should be burning energy from my food intake. Needless to say, it was a big adjustment! Before I knew it, I was simmering in self pity and anger. This felt unjust and I was annoyed and made sure I stewed in those feelings at least once a day.
I get commented on how good I eat, why did this happen to me?
I shouldn’t have to explain to people why I can’t eat their food when it looks amazing because it’s basically carbs on plate.
I hate waiting. I shouldn’t have to wait 2 hours before I eat again after dinner.
It was a conversation with my sister that made me realised I needed to change my thinking. For years I had felt that my body had ‘entitled’ me to the choice of what I should eat and not think of the consequences. I had accepted that eating what I want -even if I had a good opinion on what I ate- automatically meant that I should and could have it and that eating what I wanted, when I wanted, was equal to giving my body what it needed.
It’s not about deprivation, it’s about choice
I’ve been saying ‘no’ many times over the last 3 weeks to where now, it has lost it’s connotation of ‘deprivation.’ It’s not about deprivation, it’s about choice. I remind myself that I am making a choice for my health and for me. In saying no, I am looking at things in my life that I did before and being conscious on how I choose to interact with them -beyond food!
How do you interact with money? Drinking? TV? Are you making conscious decisions in your life about how you interact with these things? Do they rule you? Do you think about them? Are they helping you move forward in your life? If not, what needs to change?
No one owes you anything and we should never expect that people should. In life, the sum of our choices are the reason we are where we are today. That means, the act of refusing is just as important as the act of accepting. I refused to buy a product yesterday, not because I didn’t have the means to do so, but because it would enforce in my mind would that I have self control. I can refuse to do something if I have to. It doesn’t mean that I will never buy this product or that with food I will never touch a dessert again. It’s about realising that we each have areas in our life where we need to more balance.
Balance Acceptance & Refusal
Our culture tends to want more of everything that the act of refusing seems strange and foreign. People want immediate gratification rather than long term gain. Then those same people will complain about their low bank account, how they’ll never get a house/car or be able to afford X or do Z, all the while never once thinking that their situation has anything to do with their mindset, habits and choices on a day-to-day level.
An ‘overnight success’ is actually someone who has slogged hundreds, if not, thousands of hours in private, before we see their achievements publicly. The key to success is balancing both acceptance and refusal while keeping the bigger picture of your goals in mind.
So say no to temporary pleasures if they don’t serve you now, and say ‘yes’ to choices which contribute to the ultimate lifestyle and goals you’re dreaming. It will be hard. For me, it is hard, but it will help me grow and it will help me be successful.