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Getting Through the Holidays with Less Guilt, More Joy

Getting Through the HolidaysGive yourself a little leeway this season. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, just don't overindulge.

I started Thanksgiving with good intentions.

I ignored my favorite Humboldt Fog cheese to nibble on carrots and celery sticks, and diluted my wine with diet club soda. I prepared four healthy vegetable sides to ward off the buttered sour cream mashed potatoes and cornbread sausage stuffing, and offered fresh fruit along with the full complement of apple cranberry pie, plum cake and chocolate covered figs. At dinner, I ate judiciously, taking only a bite here and a bite there, and sipping lots of water.  

And, yet. Despite my best efforts, at 10 o’clock that night, while finishing the kitchen cleanup, I thought: Just one bite of the leftover pie won’t hurt. Which led to two, and then three bites. Followed by one of those luscious figs. And maybe a bit—well more than a bit—of plum cake as well.

The next day the scale and my glucose reader told the tale: Everything pointed up.

Holidays can be tricky for everyone. For those of us with diabetes who are trying to keep both weight and glucose in check, the temptations can be overwhelming.

By now you know the standard drill–drink more water, eat something healthy before going to a party, down a glass of seltzer for every goblet of wine. Fill up with veggies, protein or coffee. Talk to people rather than hanging out at the buffet table. Wear a close-fitting dress or belt to remind you that your primary mission isn’t to pack on the pounds.

But then there is that pie. Or butter cookie. Or eggnog.

What’s a person to do?

Now for the Good News

Well, for one, here’s some welcome news. Despite media reports that claim the average holiday weight gains runs from 7 to 10 pounds, the New York Times reports that the average person gains only one. And if you’ve been taking good care of your blood sugars the rest of the year, a blip or two most likely doesn’t spell disaster.

Taking all of this into consideration, I have a not-so-radical plan for this year’s holidays: I’m giving myself a little leeway. Here are my goals:

  • Don’t go hog wild. Rather than restrict myself completely, I’ll let myself have that pie or an extra serving of eggnog—at the table. By indulging judiciously and publicly, I won’t feel that I’m missing out.
     
  • No eating after 8 p.m. If possible, I plan to put a clock on my eating and try not to eat alone (no picking at food while cleaning up).
     
  • Eat mindfully. That means slowly to enjoy every bite.  
     
  • Stay on schedule. I’m an everyday exerciser, and though the holiday schedule lends itself to sleeping in now and then, I’m sticking to my exercise plan if possible. Even a walk around the block counts. I’m also going to eat three meals and not starve myself until a party.
     
  • Abandon guilt. Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. If I do overindulge, I’m not going to beat myself up. Stress doesn’t help blood sugars. If I’m eating healthily during most of the day and slip off the straight and narrow on occasion, I’m going to simply concentrate on the next meal.

 

 

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