At the time of my birth, I had the distinction of being the heaviest baby ever born in Sydenham Hospital in Harlem, New York City. No small feat, since Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar) was born before me in the same hospital. My father used to remark, in all seriousness, that when he came to visit me in the nursery, I was sitting up and reading ‘War and Peace”. LOL, very funny, Dad!
But it was actually no joke. I weighed in at 11 lbs., 9 oz. because my mother had gestational diabetes. The American Diabetes Association defines gestational diabetes is high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It also says that gestational diabetes can result in the birth of a “fat” baby, who will be at risk for obesity and Type 2 diabetes later in life.
I can testify to that.
Many studies have found that a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes as an adult is affected by her/his birthweight. The Black Women’s Health Study which has been following 59,000 black womens health since 1995, reported the same findings in its Summer 2016 newsletter. But it was the OPPOSITE for most women who participated in the study. Lower birthweight was associated with higher risk of diabetes in adulthood. According to the studies, the relationship was present whether or not a woman had a healthy weight or was overweight or obese in adulthood. Clearly, more research needs to be done to find an explanation for the birthweight-diabetes relationship. Other factors must be in play–for example, genetic, nutritional, environmental or hormonal conditions of the mother.
So, as we used to say in the neighborhood: “What it Mean??”
It means “We don’t know”.
That’s the good thing about science and the bad thing about science. One study will tell us one thing, and the next day another study will tell us the opposite. But it leaves all confused and wondering what the best thing we can do to improve our health, avoid diabetes and other conditions, and manage diabetes better if we happen to already have the diagnosis.
Since I have tried everything under the planet to lose weight and avoid diabetes, I can say one thing for sure–everything does not work for everybody. And figuring out what is going to work for you is going to take time, experimentation and patience. This is where I start talking about handling your business, so don’t turn the channel.
- Research: There is a lot of information out there on diabetes. Yes, lots of it is about selling you something or asking you to pester your doctor to give you a drug that will be free for one year. But a lot of it is from people just like you who write blogs (ahem), have tried different eating plans, worked at fitting exercise into their busy lives, and are responsible for caring for a person with diabetes. Talk to other people with diabetes, find out what they are doing and try to find something, just one thing, that you can do to address your condition.
- Keep up with your numbers: The only way to know if something is working or not is by how you feel and how your numbers look over time. Get a little notebook and write down your weight, and what your blood sugar numbers look like in the morning and after meals. If you need help figuring this all out, many communities have Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) who can help you. Ask your doctor or visit http://www.ncbde.org/living-with-diabetes/findcde/ to find a CDE near you.
- Be patient: Change takes time. Making changes and expecting instant results will definitely result in disappointment most of the time. Be kind to yourself and ignore anyone who is not helping you feel better or manage your disease.
We had no control over whether we were a skinny baby or a fat one. We may not even feel like we have much control over our weight or our diabetes. What we can control is how we respond and react to our condition and take action to do something about it.
Until next time…