I thought a lot this week about what to write and researched several great topics. However, I kept coming back to the holiday season and all the delicious foods we eat during this time. I know it can be difficult to control eating everything at the office, at home, or the amazing feasts from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
During this time, I try to be mindful of portion control and remember it is fine to sample a little of everything. I also tend to worry about loved ones who suffer from diabetes and wonder how they control their urge to eat sweets during the holiday season.
My father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few years ago and follows a strict program to keep his sugar levels low to avoid insulin shots. He takes Metformin to help control his sugar cravings, exercises regularly, and watches what he eats. He does a good job following his program by cutting out sodas and avoiding the sweets he used to indulge on.
I visited him to see his progress with his new lifestyle to be healthier and avoid the daily blood checks and insulin shots. I was concerned as the holiday season is when I can go into a sugar coma and I am not diabetic. I asked how he manages to get through this time of year and he responded, “You know it's discipline in watching what you eat and making sure you are exercising.” He loves his cookies, so finding sugar-free cookies, to satisfy his cravings, helped with his weight loss and keeping his sugar levels under control. As for the other holiday dishes, he can have a little of something sweet as long as he doesn’t go overboard.
This conversation with my father made me realize how we can make healthier lifestyle changes by limiting our sugar intake. I started watching the amount of sugar I eat or drink. I gave up my normal Dr. Pepper for a Cherry Coke Zero instead. My new favorite treat is sea salted dark chocolate covered almonds that curb my chocolate craving. Through these changes, I am making choices that will benefit my health, even if they are baby steps!
There are many choices we can make during the holiday season. You do not need to deprive yourself of your favorite holiday treats as long as it is in moderation. Keep to your exercise routine and drink lots of water. Do not make a healthier lifestyle a New Year’s Resolution, but a habit! This year, make your New Year’s Resolution a bucket list item instead!