During this time of year, we are all busy. Many of us are so overextended with demands on time and energy that we allow our usual health routines to fall by the wayside.
It is also very easy to fall into the trap of excessively celebrating over the long holiday season. Yet taking a vacation from healthy habits can mean months of struggling to get back on track in the new year. This attitude is dangerous for someone trying to manage their weight and especially dangerous for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Here are a few ideas I share with my patients to get through the holiday season.
- Review your past holiday habits. List those that no longer support your health commitment. Create healthier alternatives.
- Plan ahead for situations that you know have been difficult to deal with in the past and create strategies to make healthier decisions. If you already have a plan in mind you are more likely to be able to make a better choice.
- Stay away from even tasting foods you know you cannot control. For some of us even a little bit can hurt.
- Remember that one failure is an opportunity to get back on track immediately and not a license to give up.
- If you choose to take dietary liberties, pick and choose your moments. Not every day!
- Keep up your exercise schedule even if your time is too limited for a full routine. Do something and you’ll cope better with stress.
- Starting a food diary can keep you in better control and mindful of your food intake.
- If you keep a food diary or blood sugar diary, be sure to continue to do so even when pressed for time.
- Stock your kitchen with allowable foods, especially protein foods that can help control hunger.
- Eat regularly and don’t ignore hunger.
- Never grocery shop when hungry.
- Carry a low-carb snack with you.
- Eat before going to any social functions in case your food choices are limited. I carry a low-carb nutrition bar to such events.
- When eating at someone’s home, volunteer to bring a low-carb dish.
- There are a number of good low-carb substitutes for favorite dishes such as mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Check out the many low-carb websites or cookbooks for ideas.
- To avoid temptation for sweets when not eating at home, bring your own low-carb dessert such as a low carb chocolate bar.
- If you chose to drink alcohol, limit it and always partake with food—never on an empty stomach.
Give yourself the gift of health by being mindful of your body’s needs during the holiday season. Enjoy beginning the new year on a positive note and build on making lifestyle changes for an even healthier coming year.