The holidays are quickly approaching. My holiday season actually begins approximately two weeks before Thanksgiving withmy birthday. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, the “feasting season” would begin with my birthday and continue through New Year’s Day. Not unlike many others, my definition of celebration included an over-abundance of food and often included many food items that I would not eat until the celebration began, such as birthday cake, ice cream, candies, and fancy delicacies that were reserved for special occasions. The problem is that all of this would occur over a 6 to 8 week period and often resulted in weight gain that would remain with me long after the season of celebration had ended. As I grew older, it became more difficult to get rid of those extra pounds that would often remain until the following year when the “feasting season” would begin again. It was a never-ending vicious cycle.
This type of eating frenzy is not healthy for anyone, but it is especially devastating when you’re diabetic. For me, eating celebratory meals brings back fond childhood memories when the family would gather to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Often we yearn for that feeling again. I’m here to tell you that those feelings and the joy of holiday and birthday celebration can be experienced – even if you are diabetic. It just takes a bit of planning.
I’ve found that I get just as much pleasure from sugar-free cookies and sugar-free ice cream as I do ice cream and cake. I must read the labels because sugar free doesn’t mean calorie free. The joy doesn’t come from the food. It comes from family and friends that we surround ourselves with. I’ve also found that curling up with a good book and my sugar free goodies is pleasurable because it’s not accompanied with the guilt of over-eating – as long as it’s done in moderation.
I use the same mindset when planning my holiday meals. I cannot break every healthy rule simply for the sake of celebrating. It’s more important to maintain a healthy lifestyle because a diabetic’s life literally depends on it. It’s not easy, but it I remind myself that nothing that is worth having is easy – and that includes my health. This year, I will begin the “feasting season” with my birthday. The season will continue through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. I will not feel deprived because I’m not depriving myself of anything. Instead, I’m eating in moderation and gaining the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Living with diabetes presents the opportunity to give my body what it needs physically and mentally.
Won’t you join me in this challenge?
By Lorraine Castle