Tips to planning your holiday schedule around diabetes
Tis the season for things to get busy!
Some day to day things get put on the back burner because there is an increase in gathering with friends, making food/treats, planning get togethers, traveling, gift getting and wrapping, etc. I find it hard to stay on track with all these extras that are added into my already busy schedule. “What works for you?” is what I’m often asked.
Honestly, taking a step back and planning ahead helps me a lot. Some of this relates to my strategies of planning around diabetes, but also relates to my overall aim to manage health and make it through another holiday/end of year season without struggling and dare I say actually enjoying the merriment.
Diabetes strategies around the winter holidays:
Check supplies near the end of November – ensure supplies will last through the New Year. Not great to find on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve that you are down to your last sensor!
Monthly autofill for prescription meds – pick up as soon as they are filled. Don’t put it off because other things get added to a “To Do” list.
CONTINUE TO EXERCISE. I feel this one should be the top of the list. Whatever your schedule of exercise, whether at the gym or outside or at a Cross Fit Box – make sure to stick to your routine. Look at your calendar, mark down the days/times you’ll be active and when something comes up, plan it. BUT, make sure to either reschedule your exercise for earlier or later that day. IF you have it on your calendar as a set appointment it will be easier to remember to do it. The activity will help keep BG in target as well as stress well managed.
Expect to fit in things out of the ordinary – specifically, food. Having an idea of what the week ahead looks like can be helpful. If you are trying to aim for weight control, BG management, etc. then take a look at the week of holiday happenings. Choose 1 or 2 out of the week that you’ll splurge or have things that might not be on par with your overall long term goals. Plan to do your best where it will be easier to navigate healthy choices – restaurant gatherings may have more options than a house party with food that isn’t your norm.
Evaluate holiday family fare ahead of time. If you are astounded by BGs after your holiday meal with family every year, plan ahead. Knowing that you’ll have your grandmother’s famous pie or baked dish, you can try to ask for the recipe and evaluate to come up with a better carb count (especially when you know your splurge on this will be several helpings) OR you can look at all the planned food and get an idea of what the carbs might be by looking up the nutrition facts on dishes. While it won’t be precise, it is better than a SWAG and the bolus that goes with it!
Continue to look at trends in your BG records as well as evaluate your weight. The goal is to maintain. Don’t aim to improve BG or lose weight during the holidays. It will be a success if you can maintain where you are from beginning to the end of the holiday season.
Have a hard set day that “festivity” splurges end. If it is New Year’s Day, then make it a goal to set yourself up for success. Get groceries to last through that day, and in the New Year, go shopping for all the right stuff.
Integrated Diabetes Services, Director of Lifestyle and Nutrition.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Biology from the University of Wisconsin. She is a Registered (and Licensed) Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems.