It’s tough enough to make it through the holidays without gaining weight. People with diabetes face a bigger challenge with holiday parties and family gatherings. An extra treat or carbohydrate food could sky rocket a blood sugar reading to a critical point.
We all need to support one anther. There is no shortage of criticism for people living with diabetes. Someone who is living with this chronic disease is policed everywhere they go, assuming people know that they have diabetes. If you find yourself the designated critic, let it go. Until you walk in someone else’s shoes, you have no idea how well they are doing considering their circumstance.
Here are five simple holiday tips for people and family members living with diabetes, and for the people that have no idea what it takes to manage the disease.
1. If you have diabetes, don’t judge yourself. Sometimes the stress of the holidays and the endless buffet of treats are hard to resist. If you find yourself giving in, test your blood sugars more often and adjust your medication as you have been directed by your healthcare professional. If you can resist the treats and stay on a low carbohydrate celebration, “ good on yah” as the Aussie’s say. If you don’t have diabetes; don’t judge people with diabetes. You have no idea what it entails. If you did, believe me, you would be much more compassionate than you are.
2. Respect other people’s differences in managing their chronic disease. The operative word here is,“their”. You have no idea what you don’t know, and it’s not simple. Not everyone manages his or her diabetes the same way.
3. When going to a party, remember to have a strategy. You need to be honest with yourself. If you decide to indulge and know you are walking into a tempting holiday gathering, re-read my first tip. If you do not diabetes, don’t hold people with diabetes to unrealistic standards. Facing and fending temptation during the holidays is a struggle for everyone.
4. Be a good example. If you don’t have diabetes, don’t stand with a plate biting into a dessert asking the person with diabetes if they are suppose to eat that. The passive aggressive comment you just made is anther way of saying you should not be eating that.
5. If you are extremely knowledgeable about diabetes, correct people when they make ignorant comments about the disease. If you have diabetes, advocate for yourself. I know it gets trying because the ignorance is abundant. Think of it as setting the ground for other people living with diabetes. If you educate one person, they will in turn educate anther person. We want the domino momentum to build; so more people are educated about diabetes.
Let’s make this holiday season special because we all now know what we need to remember, compassion and understanding.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!