“We’ve got work to do,” said the doctor, peering at me from behind her spectacles.
I’d only gone to the clinic to renew a prescription. But having been ‘invited’ back for a double-appointment visit, the doctor – who previously seemed quite chummy, especially when we discovered we’d frequented the same sweaty, student-filled nightclubs at Southampton Uni – suddenly turned all serious.
“Your risk of having a heart attack in the next decade is three times that of the average person,” she told me, after tapping my blood test results into the morbidity analysis app on her computer. “Three times!” I replied. ‘Wow, that’s S.O.O.N,” I thought to myself – images of the boys making their own packed lunches and reading their own bedtime stories flashing through my mind.
Needless to say, her words scared me enough to seek help with my blood-sugar levels from a Scottish dietitian, whose boyish charm and looks were a motivating enough reason to follow his where-the-hell-are-the-carbs diet plan.
All this transpired because I had diabetes in pregnancy twice, bad enough to warrant spending months injecting insulin into my pregnant tummy. They tell you afterwards you’re at risk of developing diabetes in later life and should have a blood test every year, which I hadn’t done since LB was born.
It was on my mind, however, as my sugar levels have always behaved strangely – leading to a habit I can only describe as ‘prophylactic eating’, in an attempt to stop them crashing. Weight-wise, I’ve put on the ‘Dubai stone’ (expat weight gain is so common in Dubai it’s even got a name) and would, of course, love to shed the extra pounds – which can stop ‘pre-diabetes’, the label I now possess, from turning into full-blown diabetes.
The dietitian looked at my diet. ‘Carb-icide’ he pronounced. Then recommended I eat like a cavewoman. Berries, nuts, seeds, avocados, salmon, green veg and salad are in. Processed foods, bread, pasta, rice, even bananas are out. For added motivation, he showed me a photo of a bikini model and then emailed me a meal plan, practically devoid of carbs.
Aside from spending every waking moment either shopping for food, preparing food or thinking about it, the diet is actually great – and working well (having someone tell me what to eat and when is quite handy really – plus I’m less hungry!).
But, oh, how I miss carbs. The limit at the moment is 40-60g a day – practically nothing, as I discovered when eating a supermarket wrap. I looked at the ingredients and was dismayed to see it contained 68g of carbs. A WRAP! It rapidly became an ‘unwrap’ as I ate just the filling.
So, here it is – the meal plan for Wednesday – what I ‘should’ be eating today, in all its cavewoman glory:
25g oats made with water, add 100ml semi-skimmed milk and 50g strawberries
Turkey breasts with green salad (50g cucumber, 100g lettuce, 50g green peppers, two celery sticks, 100g radishes, 2-3 whole spring onions and a half avocado)
A very small lean steak (optional- substitute with white fish or white meat), and 100g green beans
Snacks (Thank goodness, but don’t get too excited)
100g strawberries (10am)
50g walnuts (4pm)
Wine (subsitute with gin). Ok, I added this myself. It should say 6-8 glasses of water a day (boo!)