From Thanksgiving until after New Years we are faced with many temptations for those of us managing our weight and what we eat. But this time of year can be even more dangerous for someone with diabetes. There are so many opportunities to seriously set back one’s weight and health goals. For some people it can take months to get back on track. Some never get back on track. This is especially true for those who are carb addicted.
Carbs are the favorite foods we tend to overdo to celebrate this unique time of year: stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, marshmallow sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies, Christmas candy and cookies, and lots more drinking opportunities.
At HEAL Clinics we talk about a keto lifestyle, especially for people with diabetes, since controlling one’s blood sugars is a year long process. If you want to achieve your best blood sugar control and protect yourself from complications this means doing the right thing everyday. Sending one’s blood sugars soaring is dangerous.
So as this holiday stretch continues it takes some commitment and planning to stay on track. It can be done. This is the opportunity to stay in control, protect your health, still enjoy your holidays and have no regrets on January 2. And coming out of the holidays without guilt can propel you into a new year of commitment.
To help you to support your new lifestyle HEALcare® offers the following suggestions:
- There are many good keto cookbooks and recipes on the Internet offering a wide variety of tasty food selections that will allow you to stay in control. We have some wonderful recipes created by HEAL team member, Dana Carpender here. You can order one of Dana’s cookbooks here.
- Bring a keto dish when invited for dinner at someone’s home. Since potatoes are often on the menu, I like to bring cauliflower mash with cheddar cheese and sour cream.
- Eat before going to a cocktail party or to dinner. You don’t want to be ravenous when your food selection is limited.
- Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. If you are going to drink, limit yourself to one drink (no sugary mixers) to avoid a loss of resolve that can accompany alcohol. Also, don’t forget some alcoholic beverages are high in carbs (e.g, beer).
- Bring your favorite keto chocolate protein bar to dinners out so you can have dessert and stay on track.
- Be prepared for others to try to talk you into “It’s Christmas, just one won’t hurt” trap. One of anything tasty can and usually leads to more. Don’t let others vote on your health, especially if you have diabetes.
- If you are going to deviate, choose the least damaging item and immediately resume your plan.
- If you make a mistake and eat something, avoid the “I already cheated so I’ll resume my plan tomorrow” strategy. This often doesn’t work, since there is always another tomorrow. It’s easier to give in “tomorrow” when you already feel guilty and may have weakened the extra motivation you had from what you’ve already accomplished.
- You don’t want to re-establish your addictions. Accept that there are foods that you simply need to avoid. Treat carbs like alcohol in Alcoholics Anonymous, zero tolerance for even one drink.
- Keep up your exercise program. It will make you more aware of your body and the progress you have made. It also helps maintain a healthy blood sugar and insulin level.
- When dining out, have the bread removed from the table. If that’s not possible, move it away from you. Order a keto appetizer or clear soup to lessen your hunger while awaiting your entrée.
- If there are no keto entrees available, consider ordering two keto appetizers instead.
- Ask how the foods you’re interested in are prepared. Sugar? Flour? Give instructions i.e. gravy on the side.
- Ask about side dishes. If starchy, ask to substitute a green vegetable or a salad.
If you have been treating your diabetes or avoiding getting diabetes with our HEALcare program, you know how effective it can be. Under HEALcare you are off all of your medications, or have significantly decreased them, you are feeling better than ever as you are losing that excess fat while your blood sugars are looking good. It is vital for you to know that taking a holiday from your health plan is a terrible mistake. The benefits of all of your hard work can be lost quickly. Each time you resume the dietary habits that led to diabetes, you only make those unhealthy habits stronger and harder to break next time.
Give yourself the best New Year’s gift: A healthier start to 2019.