appy Holidays! We are deep in the chaos of the holiday season. How is anyone able to manage their diabetes with parties, decorating, shopping, more parties, visiting with family and friends, and more shopping?
Here are a few ideas I have gathered from a variety of sources to help you as well as your patients:
Think it through and make a decision about what you absolutely must eat during the holidays and what you can live without. Once you decide on that very favorite food(s), consider modifications you can do to make it more acceptable—using sugar substitute in preparation, using fat free cream cheese, having smaller portions. My sister makes the absolute BEST ever cranberry salad but never considered using sugar-free Jell-O until I made the recommendation. Now I don’t feel so bad taking two large scoops to eat with my turkey or ham.
Focus on the people in attendance. Make it a point to meet one new person.
If you are invited to a party, here are a few suggestions to keep you from falling too far from the wagon:
- Eat a small healthy meal before you go. It sounds crazy, but do not go to a party hungry—that is a sure way to over indulge.
- Take a healthy snack with you to share. That way you know you will have something healthier to eat.
- If something looks just too yummy, have a bite or two. Enjoy it. Then step away from the table.
- Practice portion control. Pick a small plate, not the large platter size, especially at the appetizer table.
- Focus on the people in attendance. Make it a point to meet one new person.
- If you are not an extrovert type, seek out someone new and play investigative reporter. Find out all you can about their work, their hobbies, their pets. If they start looking anxious and trying to get away, let them escape and find a new subject. You might find you have more in common with someone than you think.
- Find a place to sit as far away from the table as possible. You will be less likely to mindlessly graze if you have to get up and walk over to the calorie-laden table.
- Be careful with alcoholic beverages. Some mixed drinks are extremely high in carbohydrates. Bring your own sugar free beverages—make a pitcher to share with others. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to the abandonment of healthy eating plans.
- Plan an activity for the next day. Walk in a local park, or walk around the mall. Invite one of your new acquaintances to go bowling, ice skating, or some sort of activity that keeps you up and moving.
If you find the holidays too stressful:
- Practice deep breathing when you feel overwhelmed.
- Focus on what you have and what you have accomplished. Think positive thoughts.
- Create some fun times for your self—invite friends out to go bowling, skating, or taking in the holiday lights.
- If you are alone, volunteer to help those who are less fortunate. This can help reduce loneliness as well.
Enjoy the holidays and see you next year!
About the Author
Barbara Walz is an RN, BSN and has been a certified diabetes educator since 1986. Since 2000, Barbara has coordinated a multi-site diabetes study examining the macro-vascular effects of diabetes at the South Texas Veterans’ Healthcare System under the supervision of Dr. Ralph DeFronzo.