Thursday, 13 December 2012

Coping With Christmas

This blog was first posted on the DiabetesUK website on 13th December 2012

Whilst Roy Wood famously pined for it to be Christmas every day, I sadly don't.  That's not to say I'm some Dickensian miser who can't bear the sight of a bit of tinsel or the jingle of some bells (well maybe in October - I digress).  I geninely look forward to Christmas, but I know it'll play havoc with me.

I'm a creature of habit, a person of routine, someone who enjoys certainty as much as it can ever be found.  Christmas (and I suppose I'm talking about most of December really) destroys a lot of that and makes life a little more chaotic.

Whilst there are plus points like seeing family and friends, there are the downsides like over indulgence.  Last year I was into my London Marathon training and was incredibly measured with what I ate, but that's not really the norm.  I think it's totally natural to want to unwind and indulge during your Christmas holiday and being diabetic shouldn't stop me from doing that - it just means a little extra work on my part.

With all that in mind, I've come up with a few tips for surviving the festive period (note that I'm not offering any tips on dealing with your inlaws...)

  • Don't worry.  It's easy to get sidetracked by the number on your blood glucose meter at the best of times and with mince pies and chocolates flying around, I think it's inevitable that at some stage, you'll get a higher reading than you'd normally expect.  That said...
  • Test a bit more often.  If your house is anything like mine, not only will you be eating things that aren't the norm, your mealtimes will end up being different too.  If you normally test 4 times a day, sticking an extra one in should mean you don't stray too far off course.
  • Don't deprive yourself.  A slice of Christmas cake or an extra mince pie probably won't be your downfall (unless the slice of cake is the size of a house brick) and there's nothing worse than feeling like a martyr while everyone around you is having a great time.
  • Keep the packets.  I'm terrible for throwing away boxes with nutritional information on them.  It's usually convenient to check the back of a packet for the carb values per serving (*cough* per mince pie *cough*) and adjust my dose accordingly.  It's less convenient if I've stuck the box in the recycling bin along with all the wrapping paper so try sand save them if it'll help you.
  • Take the help that's there.  As you may have caught on, I'll definitely be sneaking the odd bit of dessert over the next few weeks but I'll make sure I've got things like low fat custard or reduced sugar ice cream to go with them.  No-one else round the dinner table can tell the difference anyway.  I've convinced myself I had low-sugar cranberry sauce last year but an internet search has proved fruitless (sorry!)
I suppose the message is the same one that should really apply regardless - enjoy everything in moderation.  Of course it's a bit harder to do when you're diabetic, but all the tools are there to help you.  Being diabetic is just different, not worse.

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy 2013.  I'll be back in the new year to talk about my diabetes study and DAFNE (amongst a whole host of other things).

Merry Christmas!


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