For diabetics, the holidays can be an especially challenging time of year. There is always so much food this time of year. Americans can typically gain seven to ten pounds during the holidays. By making some easy and conscious changes, you can minimize or prevent weight gain and keep your blood sugars under control. 1) Keep focused on what the holidays are really about – Family and Fun. Instead of spending time watching the big game inside, go outside with your family and play a game instead. Plan seasonal or holiday-themed scavenger hunts with the kids. These activities will not only help everyone from eating too much in front of the T.V., but can also be a fun way for families to spend time together. Instead of driving the neighborhood to see all of the beautiful holiday lights, walk the neighborhood to see them. You may meet more of your neighbors and make new friends. 2)Indulge in SPECIAL treats. There are some treats that we only get during the holidays. If it is something you love and you only get to have it one time per year then you should indulge in it. Savor the experience of having that treat and don’t feel guilty about it. If you do indulge in that special treat, you do still need to worry about the portion size– a slice of pie, not the whole pie. It is also important to remember that if you have that one special treat during the holidays, you should stay away from it the rest of the year. 3)Plan ahead. The holidays come at the same time every year, and often we go to the same events every year. This means we can plan in advance for them. If you know that the party you are going to is going to have a lot of sweets or fried foods that will cause your blood sugar to increase or will cause you to gain weight, ask the host if you can bring a dish or two. The host may appreciate the help of extra dishes and you will have foods that you know you can eat. You can also plan to fill your plate with high fiber; high protein dishes that will fill you up and leave less room for the sugary or fatty dishes that are high in calories and low in nutrition. It is also a good idea to think about ways you can tactfully turn down food if a friend or relative is trying to get you to eat something that you are really not interested in. 4)Stay Hydrated. Often, we do not recognize our bodies thirst cues. Your body is smart and if you don’t give it water by drinking it, your body will give you cues to eat because there is water in food. Fill up on water before leaving your house or work to go to an event. This will not only help to prevent your body from sending you hunger cues when you are actually thirsty, but it can help to fill your stomach so you do not eat as much at the event. You can hydrate using a beverage other than water, but it should be sugar free. If you do not like plain water, try adding some fruit to give it a subtle flavor without giving it sugar and calories. 5) Increase your physical activities. Increasing your physical activity will help to counter act some of the increased calorie and sugar intake that inevitably come with the holiday season. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym more but find ways to add activity to your day. For instance, park in the back of the parking lot instead of fighting for a spot in the front. Dance like no one is watching while you are cooking or doing the dishes! Every little bit of increased activity helps, so find something you like to do and do it.
Lead Clinical Dietitian
OakBend Medical Center Disclaimer: The contents of this article, including text and images, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a medical service. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.