It’s a question as old as time:
To carb, or not to carb…
For the past 22 years, the answer has been a resounding “CARB!” and believe you me, I have never held back. Of course, I’ve also only had one A1C under that golden standard 7.0% and I’m also sitting here with more than a few pounds of extra weight, so who knows if that was such a good idea after all.
Now that I’m proceeding closer and closer to getting pregnant, I’m increasingly aware that the majority of pregnant women have to go on some kind of low carb diet to maintain any semblance of reasonable control while they’re cooking a baby human. It has me thinking that perhaps I should start investigating more low-carb options for myself, seeing as how I will probably be consuming them even more once I am pregnant. In addition, I don’t think it’s any secret that people who eat a low-carb diet have faaaaaabulous blood sugars.
The kind of fabulous blood sugars that could help a mama-wannabe get her A1C down to where it needs to be. Also, maybe getting rid of some this extra chub? I mean, it would be nice if I didn’t immediately look 25 weeks pregnant.
I’ve always hemmed and hawed about what I want my A1C target to be. For most of my adult life, my goal has been pretty firmly in the 7s. If I hit the 8s, I felt badly about it, but if I was in the 7s, I thought I was doing pretty good. No one seemed to mind too much and it seemed like quite a few other people were around the same range as me (and the folks at Glu back me up on this). The ADA and AACE wholeheartedly recommend under 7%, which I am still above, so it’s not like I’m prancing around telling everyone to be just like me. But it always seemed a little unnecessary to have an A1C so super low, although I wouldn’t ever tell someone they shouldn’t “strive for five” or anything like that. It just has never been impressed up on me that I need to have an A1C in the fives. (Unless preggo.) A1C in the sixes, yes, definitely, although that always seemed to come with the requirements to test all the time, eat very few carbs, and if you did, you better pre-bolus your ass off or else.
Now that I’m getting older and, I don’t know, maturing I guess, I’m starting to reflect on those decisions and figuring out where my priorities are. I also find myself getting flustered when I tell people that my A1C isn’t low enough to conceive. I feel like I’m making an excuse when I say, “Yeah, it’s not low enough to be pregnant. I mean, my A1C is okay for me but not for a baby… I need to be in super good control when pregnant.” And I guess this is true, but doesn’t that just sound awkward? Like, why should I be in super good control for me? Is pizza really that important?
(Answer: depends on the pizza)
Yesterday, I was doing a little futzing around with the Dexcom Clarity website (Dexcom Studio for us Mac users). When I slightly adjusted my upper threshold from 140 mg/dl to 180 mg/dl, I found that my time in range jumped from only 34.8 to 67.4%. That means when my threshold is 140 mg/dl, half my high blood sugars are between 140-180 mg/dl.
This shows me that I’m not that far off from my target range, and it might only take a lifestyle changes to bring those numbers a little further down. If you look at my Dexcom graph, you’ll see that aside from that rather large post-lunch hill, my average line is pretty steady and it’s pretty steady just above my upper threshold limit.
All this has got me thinking, “If my normal everyday living has me in good control, what could I do to get into great control? What would it take?” And honestly, I don’t think it would take as much out of me as I might think. I think a few lower carb meals (especially at lunch, apparently) could start dragging that A1C down while simultaneously also helping me shed some of my unwanted poundage. I don’t think it’s in the cards for me to become a diehard LCHF proponent and never eat a high carb meal ever again, but I’m trying to think of this like how some people do those Meatless Mondays to increase their veggie intake. Sure, some of these steps might seem small to others, but I think small and steady is going to help keep me from becoming overwhelmed with ALL THE CHANGE and also make sure that I don’t feel too insanely deprived.
What are your thoughts on the low-carb diet? What changes have you made recently that have made an impact in your BG management?