There’s no time of year quite like Christmas. But with all the food and drink around, it’s hard to find a moment where something tempting and indulgent isn’t within arms’ reach. That can put a strain on people with no dietary requirements, let alone people with diabetes.
If you do have diabetes (either Type 1 or Type 2), there’s no reason you can’t eat the same delicious food as everyone else – but, it’s especially important to be mindful about how much you eat, and how much you exercise. Everyone over-indulges a bit at Christmas. For people living with diabetes, sometimes the challenge is in overcoming an environment that doesn’t make you feel left out of the festivities. Here are a just a few ideas for dealing with that situation; if you’ve got any of your own, we’d love to hear them over on Twitter.
Stick to a plan
As humans, we like the safety of rules. Restraint seems to go out the window at Christmas, so it becomes far more likely to eat a lot, and feel the effects of it afterwards. For that reason, having a set meal plan can help to reduce overeating (at Christmas, but at any time of the year really). For instance, even though there’s a lot of little food items at a Boxing Day buffet, it’s common to keep going back for more, and lose track. By having a few rules in place, it’s a whole lot easier to keep a handle on the amount and keep blood sugar in check.
Eat a little beforehand
It’s quite common to make sure you’re really hungry before sitting down to a Christmas meal, to make up for the fact that you’ll probably eat a lot more than usual. That means you usually will eat more than usual, which can have a negative effect on your blood sugar. To help with this issue, try having a small but filling snack before you eat – like nuts, porridge or soup. It’s said that the body takes up to 20 minutes to realise how full it is. With these snacks as the foundation to your festive dinner, your body will recognise how full it is more quickly, and you’ll probably eat a lot less.
Be mindful, but don’t worry
Whether you’ve been living with diabetes for years or you’re newly diagnosed, it’s hard not to have the parameters of your diet at the front of your mind. Being mindful is always an excellent way to keep your blood sugar under wraps, and as long as you don’t drastically over-indulge, a couple of treat days probably won’t do any harm. It’s more about the general trend of your diet that’s important – so if you do have that mince pie, don’t beat yourself up over it. All things in moderation.
Exercise is a great way of keeping your blood sugar at a normal level, but over the festive season – what with the cold, and the Christmas TV, and the board games – exercise gets done a whole lot less. Just by taking 30 minutes to go for a walk, you’re doing a world of good for your blood sugar and your body. Make a festive tradition out of it, and it won’t even feel like anything’s out of the ordinary.
Send your festive ideas to us on Twitter if you’ve got them – and Merry Christmas to everyone from London Medical.