This is a holiday guest blog penned by Ginger Vieira author of "Dealing with Diabetes Burnout".
With sparkly lights and jingle bells you’ll usually find a delicious array of sweets and treats during the holiday season. For those of us with diabetes, it can be a little stressful trying to determine whether you should abstain entirely (or at least try to) or throw your cares out the window and just indulge.
One of the most challenging parts of living with diabetes, throughout the entire year, is establishing a relationship with food that allows you to enjoy treats while still making room for treats without feeling guilty. And that doesn’t get easier around Christmas.
Here are 3 simple tips for balancing holiday cheer (and treats) with sensible diabetes management:
- Use the 80/20 or 90/10 guideline! This is really simple: if you know you’d like to have a few Santa Claus cookies or peppermint bark at your sister’s holiday party, be sure that the other 80 or 90 percent of your nutrition that day comes from healthy, wholesome foods! Eat more veggies at lunch and resist the urge to snack on whatever treats are sitting in the lobby at your office...because you’re saving those “treat calories and carbs” for the holiday party!
- Increase your activity! This is easier said than done but it’s also a really straightforward method of counteracting the extra sugar coming from eggnog and chocolate fondue: get more active. Maybe your extra activity has to happen all at once on the weekends, or maybe you can add an extra 15 minutes to your already existing routine during the week…or maybe you currently don’t exercise at all and now is the perfect time to find a friend with similar goals and commit to getting active this season! It’s never going to happen effortlessly and easily, but if you make it a priority, you can make it happen. (And your blood sugars will thank you!)
- Step back and take a deep breath! It’s easy to get caught up feeling as though all those treats and sweets are totally “off-limits” which makes them that much more enticing…and thus, we can find ourselves overdoing it purely out of impulsivity or rebellion against the daily constraints of diabetes. Take a deep breath and slow down. Choose one or two treats rather than three or four. Remind yourself that the holidays aren’t all about dessert, but about family and even relaxation. So sit back, relax, and enjoy spending time with the people you love. Cookies are just cookies.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!