Glucose is a simple sugar created from the carbohydrates in our diet. Any excess, unused glucose is stored in our liver and in our muscles—we call it glycogen at this point. Together, glucose and glycogen create a source of energy that fuels our activity in and out of the gym. Specifically referencing the gym, if you were to run for a longer period of time and subsequently hit a wall, you would have reached the point of fatigue where your glucose and glycogen supplies are nearly depleted. Snacking on healthy carbohydrates would, of course, bring those same supplies back up.
Glucose (from healthy carbohydrates) is a good thing. Except when it isn't—and this is what we commonly refer to as diabetes. Insulin regulates our glucose levels, making sure that there isn't too much sugar circulating within, which could essentially overload the kidneys. In the pregnant woman, this is particularly alarming because the body purposely lapses in glucose regulation in an effort to provide just the right amount of insulin to make sure that mother and baby are getting enough of it. But sometimes it gets too lapse in regulation. So it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that if a pregnant woman's body lets too much glucose flow, diabetes will result. But since this condition often goes away after pregnancy, it's otherwise referred to as gestational diabetes. Meaning, the pregnant woman might only have it while she is with child. But like any other diabetic, it needs to be treated. And today, I'm going to get tested. Which means I have to drink this, the dreaded sugar fluid:
They say it tastes like flat orange pop, only thicker. I detest orange pop, in fact, I don't drink pop save for the occasional Dr. Pepper splurge—and by "occasional," I truly mean once every three months or so. Needless to say, this should be interesting. Former preggos insist I drink it over ice with a straw. Why is it that we drink faster when a straw is involved?
I'll never know.
But I will soon know what this stuff tastes like. I have to drink it one hour before today's appointment. In all honesty, I'm a bit nervous. Not about the drinking of the orange goo, but about actually having GD. There are no true signs of gestational diabetes.
I eat as healthy as I can, I obviously exercise. According to What to Expect When You're Expecting, this cuts the risk in half. So that's positive. But still, what if I fail the test? No one likes to fail. And I certainly don't want to have to deal with the resulting treatments. Sometimes it can be regulated with diet and exercise, other times insulin (shots!) is involved. That sounds neither pleasant nor convenient.
Wish me luck.
Today's lesson: Even if you aren't pregnant, getting enough exercise while maintaining a healthy diet is essential. Not only will you feel better, you'll cut your risk of developing diabetes down the road, and you'll set your body up to be it's maximum best. Sure, we all like to splurge on things that are bad for us, but when we splurge on occasion in tandem with a regular program of physical activity and healthy meal planning...eh, it's OK. Splurging on bad things every day, not exercising at all...not OK.
Today's lesson, part two: Healthy carbs are essential. To develop a diet sans carbohydrates is to deprive your body of a key source of energy. Remember, carbohydrates = glucose/glycogen = ENERGY. That's why races supply whole wheat bagels and bananas. That's why the fitness industry is booming with "energy" bars filled with sugar. Be smart around these, but certainly be smart about carb intake before and after your workouts.
Question: What, dear readers, do you like to fuel up on before and after workouts? To all of my pregnant/previously pregnant readers...how did you handle the glucose test?
REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win an Organic Snacker Belly Bag from Happy Belly Bags! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, October 21, 2011).