Diabetes and holiday stress: How to stay in control
As we head into the holiday season, plan a strategy now for the challenging weeks ahead. Extended travel plans, festive parties, and erratic work schedules leave little time for your usual healthy eating and routine exercise regimens. Preplanning for those holiday events now – everything from shopping lists to scheduled work outs- affords you the best chance at enjoying good health during the upcoming holiday season.
Dedicate time now to plan menus (and grocery shopping lists) for parties that you are hosting. Stock up on the nonperishable items, and write those party invitations. Removing these stressors now free up time to focus on yourself.
The typical holiday season is full of high carbohydrate, calorie rich foods. Stock up on diabetic friendly snacks to avoid impulse eating during the holiday season. At meal times, eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full. If eating at a buffet style restaurant, check out the entire buffet first beforehand, so that you can fill your plate with healthy options. The rule of thumb is to fill your plate with 50 percent vegetables (ensuring high fiber, and lower carbohydrate content). Most importantly, don’t skip meals in an attempt to save up calories for a bigger meal. It is difficult to control your blood sugar this way, and can often leave you extremely hungry and more likely to overindulge. If you have an alcoholic drink, have it with meals to lower the risk of hypoglycemia (lower blood sugar) or interaction with diabetes medication.
The holidays can be exhaustive. More activities, late night meals and frequent parties can often lead to sleep loss. This can make it harder to control your blood sugar, so aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night to reduce stress levels, and keep your energy optimized. Also, be sure and schedule activities like bike riding, leisurely walks, swimming and other forms of enjoyable exercise. Aim for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
Finally, focus on the meaning of the season. Enjoy time with family and friends, and build new memories. If you “fall off “of your routine schedule for a little bit, that’s okay. Don’t stress, just try to get back into a routine as soon as you can. Aim for improvement every day, not perfection. Happy holidays!!