People living with diabetes need to pay extra attention to lifestyle issues like diet, taking medication regularly, and maintaining a healthy exercise routine. That all becomes more difficult around the holiday season, as festive disruptions start to multiply.
Dr. Ulin Sargeant provides ongoing treatment and support for new and existing patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes at Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care in Duarte, California. Here is her expert advice on staying healthy and keeping your diabetes in check through the holidays.
Maintain your diet and exercise routines
When you have diabetes, your body struggles to regulate and utilize the naturally occurring chemical insulin. Insulin helps your cells get energy from glucose, or sugar, in your bloodstream. If your body isn’t producing or using insulin in the right way, your blood sugar levels may become irregular.
Long-lasting high blood sugar or swings in your blood sugar levels can have serious implications for your whole-body health and wellness. That’s why so much of diabetes management involves monitoring and stabilizing your blood sugar levels.
Regular eating and exercising routines help people with diabetes keep blood sugar within safe parameters. But during the holidays, everyone’s routines tend to get thrown off. Family meals might be served earlier or later than you’re used to, and maintaining your usual exercise routines away from home or during travel poses challenges.
This year, do your best to keep your eating and exercise routines as regular as possible. Use snacks and portion control to give your body the usual amount of nutritious food at as close to the usual time as you can.
Watch out for carbohydrates and alcohol
Many holiday treats are mostly carbs and can send your blood sugar levels rocketing out of control. Carbohydrates turn into sugar in your blood very rapidly. That’s why, during the holidays, it’s important for people with diabetes to pay attention to carbohydrate consumption levels.
While it’s OK to indulge in some holiday treats, be sure to balance your diet. Vegetables contain the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body so desperately needs. Balancing your diet helps you effectively manage your diabetes year-round.
Alcohol is another holiday staple to handle with care. Drinking alcohol can cause your blood sugar to spike, and it may also interfere with medications you take to control your diabetes. Make sure you understand when, and if, it’s safe for you to drink alcohol, and only consume in moderation.
Find your “happy holiday” balance
Remember, the holidays are a time to be generous and thankful. Don’t cause yourself harmful amounts of stress trying to control your diet during celebrations.
Maintain awareness of how you’re eating and exercising, but don’t limit yourself too harshly. Strategies like eating more slowly and offsetting sweets with extra helpings of veggies can help you find the right balance for you.
Checking your blood sugar more frequently is a great way to ensure that you’re generally staying on track in terms of keeping your diabetes in check. If your numbers show issues, you can make changes to address potential problems.
And you can always contact Dr. Sargeant as needed for advice and support. With telemedicine appointments, accessing care while you’re away from home is easier than ever.
For comprehensive diabetes care that keeps you safe throughout the year, reach out to Dr. Sargeant and the caring team at Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care. You can call us or use our virtual office and schedule an appointment today.