We recently sat down with our diabetes health experts, and Marilou Colgan and Judy Heidenthal of our Clinical Nutrition and Glycemic Control team, to discuss their top three tips for diabetics hoping for a healthy holiday.
- Keep exercising!
As we experience more stress, we tend to eat more, but regular exercise can help mitigate our holiday stress and eating. One mistake people make, according to Heidenthal is “thinking they have to get sweaty” to burn calories. In reality, 10 minutes of exercise a day can be squeeze in around your routine; park a little further away from the door, take the stairs, or get up and walk the halls at work to get a few extra minutes of movement in your day! “You don’t have to lose weight,” Colgan claims, “you just have to try not to gain weight over the holidays.”
- Watch your portion sizes and “liquid calories.”
“There’s nothing you can’t have,” Heidenthal claims, “but you should have small portions of rich foods that may disrupt your blood sugar.” The “plate method” of dividing your plate into different food groups (1/2 for vegetables, 1/4 for grains, and 1/4 for protein) can Sugared or sweet beverages can also be laden with large amounts of sugar, so be careful how many cups of eggnog or cider you drink!
- Continue to monitor your blood sugar.
In fact, our experts recommend checking more frequently than you normally would. The seasonal celebrations can make blood monitoring and dietary restrictions seem more difficult and restrictive that usual. As such, Colgan notes that diabetics “have a fear of their test results” that may prevent them from monitoring their blood sugar levels appropriately. Symptoms of low blood sugar, such as blurred vision and hunger, can be similar to the symptoms of high blood sugar. Before eating a snack, checking your levels is “helpful to verify your blood sugar is actually low and not high,” says Colgan.
If you suspect you are suffering from hypoglycemia or if your blood sugar is consistently high, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician for a physical. If you’re a recently diagnosed diabetic who needs help managing the disease try to find free diabetes education classes near you.