Have the Holiday Blues
Vince dreads the holiday season. He doesn’t mind shopping for gifts, but can’t stand the family dinners that he must attend. “They don’t care about my diabetes or my food needs. No matter how many times I tell them that I don’t eat certain things, they offer them to me anyway. That is so inconsiderate. I really hate when they do that.”
If you have diabetes and struggle with your emotions around holiday time, you’re not alone. The American Association of Diabetes educator recently commissioned a survey to see how the holidays affect people with type 2 diabetes. They compiled responses from approximately 1,400 Americans. Here is what they found:
- Only half (50 percent) of the participants said that their friends and family consider their diabetes needs when planning holiday meals.
- Close to half (44 percent) said that their loved ones closely monitor what they eat at family gatherings.
- About half (48 percent) said that the emotional stress of the holidays causes them to stray from their normal healthy behaviors:
- 34 percent eat unhealthy foods.
- 32 percent overeat.
- 17 percent forget to measure their blood sugar.
- 20 percent stop exercising.
This time of year is a struggle for everyone, but is particularly challenging for people with all types of diabetes:
“Tempting foods are everywhere. At work, we receive food gift baskets from companies that look amazing. They are so tempting, so I take a few samples. Then I turn myself into a nervous wreck by shopping during all my free time. I don’t get to the gym at all. I don’t do what’s right for me.” - Katie
Here are some things that you, Vince, and Katie can do to survive the holiday season:
- Call up the host of your holiday meal and discuss the menu. Let him or her know your preferences. If possible, offer to bring a diabetes-friendly dish that everyone can enjoy.
- Don’t try to do it all. If shopping in the mall is overwhelming, purchase your gifts online.
- If loved ones criticize everything you eat or do, try to ignore them or accept their comment by saying, “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.” If they urge you to take foods that you don’t want to eat, tell them that you’ll try to take a taste a bit later.
- Remember that most negative comments are said out of love. Your relative or friend cares about your health. They may not understand, but they do care.
- Get to bed at a reasonable hour. When you get enough sleep, you will feel rested and make healthier decisions.
- Take some private time for yourself. Enjoy a restful bath or put on some soothing music and find a few moments to relax. You certainly deserve the break.
- If you feel overwhelmed, post your comments on the dLife.com message board. You’ll find lots of support there!
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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