Christmas, Type 2 and temptation – by Alan Russell
I was going to start by saying that this is always a challenging time of year for anyone with diabetes, but then I realised that actually there’s never a day (I’m a T2 patient myself) where I personally at least don’t think about it all through the day if I’m being honest.
Generally I manage to do ok with my blood sugar levels the majority of the time. I take Metformin twice a day and mostly watch what I eat in terms of sugar intake, and avoid cake and sweets and much as possible. However for whatever reason, mood and happiness or otherwise I guess, I do go through “up” spells as I have recently, where I know I’m eating too much of the things I shouldn’t and that my levels will be going up as a result.
Where I am persistently good though I’m pleased to say is that I do have the gym bug and happily go two or three times a week as a matter of habit (since I was first diagnosed with diabetes), doing as much as I can to keep myself fit and help with all the related complications. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone who has been diagnosed, as it is to me the best peripheral thing you can do to help yourself with your health, outside of lowering your sugar or carb intake.
Due to the gym trips (and mostly not consuming too much sugar) I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to not have to worry much if at all about carbohydrates so far, though I know I have this up my sleeve as something I can cut down and address if I need an extra leg up in the battle against diabetes!
But back to my opening words, and of course this is a terrible time of year for temptation, no matter how much this time of year can be enjoyable. I’m a big fan of coffee stop offs, helping me to read and relax while out and about and on the move and of course this is one of the worst places you can possibly go to for temptation and bad habits.
Personally I always look at the sugar content of anything I eat nowadays, but what I do find very very surprising is the lack of sugar free options still on all of the drinks you can find there. With the addition of extra drinks on the menu right now, you’ll notice that all of them are full sugar content, with quite surprisingly nothing available on the other side of the fence.
So while it is frustrating at times to be surrounded by so much good stuff looking you in the face, you simply have to find the right balance between a firm no, and giving in and enjoying yourself (but not too much). I take the attitude that for a few weeks over Christmas I know I will do things I shouldn’t, but that I will knuckle down and behave myself afterwards for some while in the New Year. I think I have that understanding (and acknowledgment) from the GP that this will happen and that it’s ok for short periods of time.
Gym up till Christmas, then a break of a week during the festive dates, then back to knuckling down again and saying no to all the things I’m currently going to have. I think glucose meters are a good idea and it’s certainly something I am considering buying myself. Not that I would need to check myself every five minutes, but particularly when you know you are being a bit less restrained than normal at certain times and having a bad spell, this would give you an indication once or twice a week as to where you are and would provide encouragement and just that nudge in the right direction, it’s certainly something I personally have chatted with the GP about a couple of times, as for periods during the three months where I have my blood checked, I don’t know whether I’m going the right way or not.
Anyway, everyone has their own ways and I hope whatever anyone is trying is working for them. I can’t recommend enough the numerous diabetes healthcare professionals who are on Twitter. Social media is a wonderful tool for learning and educating yourself about the disease, as well as allowing both patients and clinicians to communicate backwards and forwards as well.