Issue date: Monday, December 02, 2013
Stay healthy and still enjoy the holidays
Want to enjoy the holidays and the food and still stay healthy? Have a plan. This is good advice every day of the year, but especially helpful during the month of December. A month all too often associated with an overindulgence of the calorie kind. Consider these seven universal tips from the American Diabetes Association as a way of navigating around tempting foods high in calories, harmful fats, sodium, refined carbohydrates and sugar.
1. It's a party, but don't overdo it. Eat slowly, and really enjoy the foods that you may only have once a year. If the meal will be served near your usual meal time, try to eat the same amount that you normally would for a meal. If you plan to have a portion of dessert, cut back on another carbohydrate food during the main course. Make sure your portions are reasonable and resist going back for second helpings. Decide ahead of time what and how much you will eat and how you will handle social pressure ("No thank you, I'm too full.").
2. Eat before you eat. Don't skip meals or snacks earlier in the day to "save" calories for the large holiday feast later on. If you skip meals, it will be harder to keep your blood glucose in control. Also, if you arrive somewhere hungry, you will be more likely to overeat. Eating little to nothing during the day actually revs up your appetite and makes those cravings incredibly tough to control. Plus, many people justify eating unhealthy food because they hardly ate during the day. The end result is taking in far too many calories.
3. Bring what you like. Don't spend time worrying about what will be served. Offer to bring your favorite heart healthy, delectable diabetes dish to pass. Check the nutrition facts so you know how big a serving is and how many calories; carbs etc... are in each serving.
4. If you overindulge, get back on track. If you eat more than you planned don't think you have failed. Stop eating for the night and focus on spending the rest of your time with the people around you. Include extra exercise and get back on track with your usual eating habits the next day.
5. Drink in moderation. Keep it to no more than 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men. Whether it's a glass of red wine or a beer, the empty calories can add up quick, not to mention the havoc it plays on regulating your blood sugar. The liver views alcohol as a toxin and will not release glucose into the bloodstream until it has detoxified the alcohol. Normally, when blood glucose levels drop, the liver converts the body's stored carbohydrate into glucose (energy). Unfortunately, toddies interrupt this process. Keep in mind hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can mimic the effects of alcohol. So, before you drink, ask yourself: Are my blood sugars under control? Does my health care provider agree that I can consume alcohol? Do I know how alcohol can affect me?
6. Stay active. One reason that we have problems managing diabetes and weight during the holidays is our lack of physical activity. Sure, the holidays are busy, but plan time into each day for exercise and don't break your routine. Make the holidays an active time!
• Off from work or school? Use this extra time to do some physical activity. Ice-skating anyone?
• Train for and participate in a local holiday run or walk.
• Start a game of pick-up football or play other games in the yard. Go for a walk with your loved ones after eating a holiday dinner.
• Offer to help clean up after a meal instead of sitting in front of leftover food. This will help you avoid snacking on it and get you moving around!
• Is there someone else at the party who is trying to watch what they eat? Ask them to join you for a walk while dessert is out on the table.
7. Tis the season to focus on friends and family instead of food. Remember, the holidays are a time to slow down and catch up with your loved ones. Play a board game, ante up, or spend time outdoors enjoying the weather together
In need of additional support? The Karen Yontz Center staff is available. Consider visiting, calling or sending us an e-mail. We welcome the opportunity to help you ‘Have a Plan'!