November is Diabetes Awareness Month. It’s a very important commemoration to make, but let’s be honest: the fact it comes right as the holiday season is revving up serves as a bit of a wet blanket.
You know how crucial it is to keep your blood sugar in check, both for your general health and the lasting health of your feet. And that includes making certain choices over others.
However, while Diabetes Awareness Month should be about recognizing the challenges of diabetes, it should also be about celebrating the ways in which those challenges are overcome. Every time someone accomplishes their goals or does what they love in life despite having diabetes is something worthy of commemorating!
You don’t have to let having diabetes make you sit out of celebrations. A little forethought can keep the party rolling, and even let you indulge some.
Make Some Preparations Before the Party
When you know a celebration is coming up, you can make arrangements in your diet to allow yourself to indulge in a dish or dessert you love.
Now, what this does not mean is trying to stock up all your allowed carbs intake in a day to spend it lavishly at the event. Playing with extremes that way can make your blood sugar plummet while you’re fasting and rise too high if your starving self gorges on too much food when you allow it.
You will have much more overall success if you take a broader picture of your situation. Let’s say you love the pie your co-worker always brings to the office holiday party. Instead of drastically cutting your food intake on that day, make more reasonable cuts during the days before or after. That pie can take the place of the scones you tend to have at the café each weekend, for example.
Don’t Wallow Solely in Sugar-Free Foods
There are some sugar-free options that are delicious. Let’s be honest, though: many of them can leave something to be desired.
When you focus entirely on being sugar-free, it can distract from keeping track of carbs and calories, which are also very important. Sugar-free options aren’t always available at all celebrations, either.
Instead of being laser-focused on these sometimes disappointing options and overdoing them, shift a bit more focus on evening out your sugar intake, as mentioned earlier. You might think you can chow down on a bunch of a sugar-free options, but a small amount of the real thing might be much more satisfying and better for you in the long run.
Live Outside the Moment
Attending an event doesn’t necessarily mean you are locked into enjoying their spread only during the event window.
If there’s something you’d like to have but it just doesn’t feel like it’s going to work that day, politely ask to take some of it home with you. Hosts tend to be a bit flush with food after most parties, so they’ll likely be more than happy to oblige you. Then you can enjoy things when it’s the best time for you.
Mind Your Drinks
Soft drinks and alcohol are quick ways to amass a ton of carbs and calories. Keep a tight check on how much you’re drinking, and stick with water for the best option.
If you want to have an alcoholic drink, the American Diabetes Association suggests limiting it to one for women and two for men. Drink with food to slow the processing of sugars, and make light beers and spritzers a preferred choice over anything heavy or made with syrup.
Fill Your Plate Section by Section
When it’s time for a main meal, it can be a big help to think of your dinner plate divided into sections, and filling each section accordingly. Half your plate should contain veggies, one-quarter should have protein, and the rest should be your carbs station.
If you’re at a buffet style dinner, you could make an early sweep and decide on what you want on your plate and what you might choose to skip. That way, you don’t get to the end of the line and experience the crushing defeat of not fitting that one thing you love on your plate.
Don’t Punish Yourself if You Eat Too Much
If you end up eating more carbs than you planned, it’s not something you should beat yourself up about.
The best response is to adjust. Cut carbs on meals over the next couple days or, if the party’s not over, cut what you had been planning to eat carb-wise, right there.
Another great response is to make up for it with some extra exercise. You can do so the next day, or even take a small break from the party for a quick walk with a friend.
Of course, if it’s a big party, there might be a dance floor, too…
Keep that Celebratory Mindset
It can be difficult at times to feel like a well-followed diabetic diet is restrictive and disappointing, but there’s a very real truth that tends to get overlooked:
A good diabetic diet is a good diet for just about everyone.
Managing your carbs and calories is something everyone should be doing, and you are benefiting your whole body in many ways when you eat right. Trust us; we’ve seen how dietary choices have had both positive and negative effects on the foot health of many—and that’s just one part of you!
Diet is just one of many steps in living your best life with diabetes. When it comes to managing and preventing foot problems that can threaten to impede your progress, Berkeley podiatrist Yuko Miyazaki is here to help.
Call our office at (510) 647-3744 to schedule an appointment. If you have any questions or prefer to interact with us through email, simply fill out our online contact form.