Let’s be honest, living with Diabetes is hard enough but now add in the holidays and all that goes along with it, you might be thinking, how am I going to stay on track with my Diabetes plan and still enjoy the season’s festivities. Some of you may even be considering giving yourself a little early holiday gift called a “diabetes vacation” and then buckling down after the New Year.
As a Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, CDC DPP lifestyle coach and more importantly a cancer survivor and someone who lives with a chronic disease I totally get it. I have felt the same way at times but then I remember my “why” and used it to motivate me to accept the challenge and look for healthy ways to still enjoy all the holiday happenings while not compromising all my hard work I’ve been doing throughout the year to stay healthy. You too can CHOOSE to do the same by taking the time to determine your “why”, formulate a holiday plan and follow these simple tips I’ve provided for you. Don’t let the holidays become a barrier to living a longer, happier, healthier life with Diabetes.
1. Follow your usual meal and snack schedule. Avoid skipping meals to save “appetite or carbohydrates” for later. Eat a healthy, low carb snack with protein and fiber at usual meal time to prevent blood sugar swings and overeating on unhealthy choices later.
2. Eat balanced, “nutrient dense” meals being mindful of portion sizes. Use a smaller plate, fill ½ with fruits and vegetables, ¼ with lean protein, ¼ with whole grains and add low fat dairy choice. When craving your favorite dessert, share it with someone or take a smaller piece to avoid feeling deprived and overindulging.
3. Offer to bring a healthy version of your favorite dish to ensure you have a delicious choice you enjoy lowering temptations for “empty calorie” foods such as those containing higher fat, cholesterol, added sugar foods. Try making new recipes using healthier substitutions and less sugar.
4. If drinking alcoholic beverages, limit to recommended 1 drink for women, 2 drinks per for men. (12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine, 1.5 oz. liquor) Consume with food and keep a close eye on blood sugar to monitor lasting effect and increased risk of low blood sugar, especially prior to bed.
5. Fit in time for aerobic exercise and physical activity. It’s a great way to offset the extra calories and keep your blood sugar in control. Make it fun, safe and include others. Aim for 30” of aerobic exercise 5x/week or break it down into 10” periods 3x/day and get the same benefits. Include a “movement break” when sitting for more than 30-60”.
6. Continue to monitor and log your blood sugars. It’s the key to determining how well your medications are working, the effects of food, exercise and stress and the best way to prevent and reduce risks of developing both acute and chronic Diabetes complications. Make sure to report any abnormal findings.
Lastly, no matter what time of year it is, you CAN live a happy, healthy, long life with Diabetes. Start today to change your tomorrows.
Wishing you and your family a very happy, joyful holiday and a very healthy New Year.