Controlling Your Diabetes During the Holiday Season

Controlling Your Diabetes During the Holiday Season

You know this time of year is crucial when it comes to your diabetes management. Yet, like the majority of those who struggle with their care, you rarely take the necessary steps to keep your health (and your blood sugars) balanced.

One of the issues is that habits are typically set early in life, and for those with type 2 diabetes, those habits are not easily changed. Whatever the reasons, finding a solution so you live happy and healthy is absolutely necessary.

As a quick guide, here are some habits you should work on incorporating daily into your routine if you live with diabetes and which you should pay special attention to during the holiday season.

  • Check your blood sugars more often - always before a meal or snack.
  • Eat the best, most wholesome foods for your body.
  • Exercise more if you are eating more. Always exercise!
  • Check your feet every single day for cuts or scrapes that could lead to infection.
  • Monitor and manage your mental health. Your diabetes educator or physician can help you find the appropriate resources.
  • Plan where you will go for medical care, if needed.

Deciding how to stick to more attentive personal care, especially during the holidays, is crucial. Find out what your personal hurdles are and try to find a way around them.

Do you want to take care of yourself? This should be a yes or no question!

If you are not ready to make changes, figure out why.

Is it because you are afraid?

Is it because you think it's too much trouble?

Is it because you don’t like the idea of someone else knowing more about your health than you?

Write the reason(s) down because it is quite likely the reason(s) make very little sense when put down on paper. We have a lot more difficulty justifying bad thoughts when they are tangible than when they are floating around in our heads.

Eating the very best is one of the toughest hurdles and can vary greatly from person to person. Depending on the diagnoses a person has in addition to diabetes can prompt significant changes in the diet. For example, if following a diet to keep Vitamin K intake at 80 mcg/day, then having unlimited vegetables may not be practical. Work with a healthcare professional to find the diet and foods that are right for you.

Checking one’s feet every single day is incredibly simple, but easily skipped or overlooked. The rushing around we all do during the holidays is the perfect time for a bump or misstep that might lend to a bad spot on a toe. Setting aside a few minutes every single day to focus on one’s feet and legs can ensure early identification of injury that can lead to a very quickly growing wound. Those who take out these few minutes to check the feet can ward off serious issues.

Check your blood sugars more often this time of year - and doing so with a purpose can give you a surprising amount of knowledge about your body. This purpose may be to learn what foods are causing highs at certain times of the day. Or, you might learn you need an extra snack between lunch and dinner. Knowing your blood sugars will also help you moderate food intake and develop patterns.

Keep in mind, professionals in the field of diabetes education learn every single day. If you are not learning something new, you're missing out!

Check in with yourself often. Take time out to relax and see how you are feeling. Be mindful of your emotions. Sometimes, simply stopping and taking time out allows us to determine if things are indeed going well or not. If not, write down what is not right and establish a plan for fixing it. A journal is much better than vague thoughts and to-dos that can keep you unaccountable.

Most of all - enjoy the holidays! Being aware of your health can feel like more work than it is, but establishing a routine helps keep you safe and happy and can ward off temptation, extra pounds, and a number of other heavy-duty holiday consequences you won't want to deal with come the New Year!

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

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