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diabetes1By Terri Mendoza and Jocelyn Brault

The holiday season can be a difficult time for people who are trying to keep an eye on what they eat and how active they are.  For the nearly 28 million Americans who have type 2 diabetes, this time of year can be extra challenging.  National Diabetes Month is a yearly reminder that what we eat and how physically active we are can influence our health.  Join us in recognizing November as National Diabetes Month with the National Diabetes Education Program’s theme, Managing Diabetes – It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!  Diabetes doesn’t take a break for the winter, and neither should you!

Here are some tips for managing diabetes this holiday season:

Daily Management

  • Know your numbers. Stay on track with checking your blood sugars – good or not-so-good. Managing blood sugar can prevent long-term complications and help to keep you on track.
  • Try to cope with stress. The holidays can add stress to your already hectic schedule. Take time to relax. Talking with friends, listening to your favorite music, going for a walk or working on a hobby can be great stress relievers!
  • Plan your food “budget.” The holidays are full of temptations, but you can budget for small portions of your favorite holiday dishes.  Eat just small amounts of foods that may affect your blood sugar, and pair them with lean protein and veggies.  If you fall off track, reset with a balanced plate at your next meal.
  • Walk it out. Expect disrupted routines during the holidays, and plan ahead to fit in physical activity.  Even walking with your family after meals is beneficial for your blood sugar!

Build Your Support Network

  • Don’t go it alone! Having the support of a friend or loved one to help you remember medications, keep appointments, and just check in with you can be a key to your success!

 Prevent Complications

  • Go to your medical appointments. People with diabetes are at risk for developing complications involving the heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves and feet.  By living a healthy lifestyle and seeing your health care provider, you can help to prevent further medical problems.

Of course, it’s best if you can prevent getting diabetes in the first place!  Take the American Diabetes Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test to find out your risk and what steps you can take to lessen your chances of developing type 2 diabetes!

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Diabetes Prevention and Control Program  or the American Diabetes Association websites.

 

 Jocelyn Brault is a dietetic intern at Tufts University. 

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