Christmas is a time for family, giving, celebrating and, of course, eating! It’s no secret that the extra social events in the calendar can lead to eating more and indulging in food we don’t need every day. Whether it be the traditional Christmas roast dinner, seafood barbeque feasts, tasty canapes at the work Christmas party or Nan’s famous trifle made just once a year – the silly season is full of opportunities to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ and indulge in our favourite treats.
This can be particularly hard for people living with diabetes who need to be conscious how they are eating and exercising all year round. Carly Luff, credentialled Diabetes WA Educator, gives her advice on navigating the end of year festivities.
Dealing with diet
“We know many of the party foods we see around Christmas time can be high in sugar, saturated fats and salt,” says Carly, “These foods can contribute not only to high blood glucose levels but to weight gain and high cholesterol.“
It is important to consider how to balance eating and drinking well during this time of year. This may be by planning ahead of time, considering your goals or diabetes management plans and working out what is suitable for you. After all everyone is different. It may be worth considering which days you will have treats and what days you will stick to healthy eating. “If you know there won’t be healthy alternatives at a function it may be worth taking a share-platter or healthy snacks like fruit or eating beforehand”, Carly recommends.
Dealing with exercise
It’s important to keep physically active during the Christmas season. We know that 30 minutes of regular exercise per day can lower insulin resistance in people living with type 2 diabetes. Not only are you possibly consuming extra calories, but it is important to keep exercise habits in check. You don’t want to fall off the bandwagon and still be out of routine in February. Carly suggests incorporating exercise in your social events “Maybe plan a pre-Christmas catch up walk with a friend or have a game of backyard cricket after Christmas lunch”.
Dealing with judgements
During this time of year, there may be people that question your food choices without knowledge. The “are you sure you should have that?” and “aren’t you diabetic?” judgements could be in full swing this Christmas. “It is important to have a healthy balance and remember people living with diabetes can have treats too” says Carly, “Everything in moderation!”. The best way to answer these friends may be to remind them about your diabetes management plan and that you can treat yourself too.
If you have any questions at all regarding diabetes health, you can speak to one of our credentialled diabetes educators, like Carly, on our Helpline Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm on 1300 001 880. Read more about the helpline.
The Diabetes WA Helpline will be closed from 24 December 2018, returning to normal ofﬁce hours from 2 January 2019.