Here in the States, Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and the rest of the winter holidays are fast approaching.  And with those holidays usually comes a hearty dose of disorganization alongside all the fun.  Susan Weiner is a registered dietitian-nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She is the co-author of The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life, and today she’s written a guest post to offer up some useful organizational tips for managing diabetes and the holidays.  (My favorite tip?  Avoiding BLTs, which have nothing to do with bacon.)  

And be sure to check out the end of the post for book giveaway!

Tackling Holiday Madness

Do you feel frazzled and overwhelmed from Halloween to New Year’s Day? We seem to have endless lists of things to do, in addition to our daily activities. Diabetes doesn’t take a holiday break. Between shopping, holiday parties, get-togethers and an abundance of high calorie, high carb foods, this can be a tough time of year.

What’s the best way to handle all of these activities and still properly manage your diabetes? With some simple organizing techniques, you can continue to successfully manage your blood sugars during the eventful holiday season.  It is often said that the holidays are “the most wonderful time of the year”. But holidays may include some unwanted pressures for you if you have diabetes. Continue to make your health and diabetes management a priority. You’ll be glad you did!

Here are a few tips and tricks for managing holiday madness with diabetes:

Keep to a schedule – Do your best to stick to your healthy eating plan and exercise routine during the holidays. Always test your blood sugar (especially if you eat out more often).

Test your blood sugar – Test, test and keep testing your blood sugar. You might need to test more often if your schedule changes. For example if you shop for several hours at the mall, make sure that you test your blood sugar and remember to eat! Bring along glucose tablets or a fast acting source of carbohydrate. Scope out the food court at the mall to find some healthy options. And stay away from Cinnabon!

Be aware of BLT’s… bites, licks and tastes – Do you go to those warehouse stores around the holidays to buy some gifts or bulk food items? Pass up those free food giveaways. The calories, carbs and salt can really add up. If you decide to take a bite or two, make sure you’re mindful of what you eat.

Enjoy what you eat, but watch your portions – Do you have a special dish that you really enjoy on Thanksgiving? Of course you can enjoy a few of your favorite foods. Just remember to test your blood sugar and watch your portion size. Ask your host about the menu beforehand, so you know what to expect.

Stay physically active – Exercise can reduce stress and keep your blood sugars in check. Start a new tradition during the holidays. Play a game of tag or football outside before the meal, or sign up for a 5 K walk or run. You’ll feel energized!

Drink plenty of water, and watch your alcohol intake – Water will help keep you hydrated.  Drink water to help manage your weight. Try not to drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Drinking too much alcohol may also lower your resolve to make good decisions about food. Here’s one way to handle the eggnog (or Thanksgiving house cocktail): drink 2 full glasses of water (still or sparkling) for every alcoholic drink.

Strategy for office treats – Did you favorite vendor just show up with a great big basket of treats? Make sure you have a strategy for having just one treat, then ignore it, or better yet, have someone else distribute the goodies within your office. That goes for the open peanut brittle, the brownies your assistant baked last night and the goodies in the break room. Bring in some cinnamon and add a dash to your coffee. You can keep it at your desk, feel good and still be in control.

Lastly, don’t let cousin Martha’s or Uncle Fred’s comments about diabetes bum you out over the holidays. Some people act like they know everything about diabetes, and they can’t help but voice their opinions. Take a deep breath and let them know that you have this under control. Try to change the subject.

Hopefully they will get the hint and move on! You can enjoy the holidays and stay healthy and organized!

Thanks, Susan!!  If you’d like to win a copy of Susan’s book, leave a comment on this post with your best diabetes organizational tip, or a tip on how you keep your brain and/or glucose meter from imploding throughout the holidays and I’ll be randomly selecting the winners.  There are five copies of this excellent book up for grabs, and the giveaway is available through Friday, November 29, at 5 pm EST.  (This offer is only available for US residents.)