Stress. Food. Stress. No time. Stress. Family. Stress. Food. Stress. For many, I have just described the Holiday Season. I have also just described a very bad recipe for diabetics. You know it begins this Thursday…maybe you know that all too well because you might not be fully prepared and you are already feeling the stress of the Season.
It’s potentially a very bad time of the year for diabetics. Stress can kick your blood glucose up 10 to 15 points, and more. You are going to be surrounded by sweets and rich foods – who knows how high your numbers can go! And, you may not be getting the exercise it takes to keep things in line. For some, it’s not the best time of the year when fighting Diabetes.
I remember my first holiday season as a diabetic. I had turkey (you can have a lot of that), some ham (help yourself, but none of the outer sweet crust), vegetables and more vegetables (my new best friends), a small portion (one table spoon – I really had to try them) of mashed potatoes, and one half of a roll. That was it. I wanted more. I truly did, but when I thought about it I found I was more than satisfied that I was with family and friends. Heck, I had just lost my first 20 pounds and I did not want to put an ounce of it back on.
I did not have pie, cake, or any kind of sweet. Did I want pie? Of course I did. I love pie…apple, peach, cherry, berry, pumpkin…and there is always a lot around the table. But, I just had to say no. For me…for me fighting Diabetes was more important than having a small piece of pie. A month later at Christmas I had two bites of pie. Since then, I have learned if I am doing everything else – meds and exercise – I can have a very small slice of pie.
Now, I know I was taking a very aggressive stance on diet and my Diabetes. I know that not everyone can do what I did for a number of reasons. But, in order to survive the season without killing your blood glucose numbers, you are going to have to make a few little decisions and stand by them. Maybe it’s a small portion of potatoes. Or, maybe it’s just one smaller slice of pie, instead of two. I found it helps if you make those decisions before food is served; in fact, it might be easier to make them before you even smell the food!
Look, I know there is a lot of stress with the holidays between shopping and family gatherings and other ‘stuff.’ You just can’t avoid it. But, you can minimize the impact of the stress if you maintain whatever exercise you are doing. In fact, this is a time to increase it a bit, if you can, just to battle the extra challenges of the next month.
I know it’s hard. Nobody said it was easy. But, I assure you that it becomes easier and easier. There are a number of reasons why it becomes easier – like you are having success in battling Diabetes. The weight is coming off. Your numbers are coming down. Your biggest worry is being able to have clothes small enough for you to wear because of all of the weight you have lost. One great thing about those meters is that you get immediate feedback on how you are doing – even if it isn’t entirely accurate
Wouldn’t it be great to need all new clothes for Christmas. It can happen. And, it will happen when you decide to battle the Diabetes. You can win this battle. You really can. It’s fought every day at every meal with every decision. Holidays included. Always remember you can beat Diabetes. It’s not a life sentence; just a part of your life.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season. The blessings of this time of the year are not in the food, but are in the companionship of friends and family.
As always, thank you for reading.