Christmas brings with it endless celebrations, and indulgence in savory foods and desserts along with fried karanjis and kulkuls on display. As fun as this holiday season may be, this high-calorie affair is no friend to the sugar-conscious. As the ‘Diabetes capital’ of the world, many people in India find themselves navigating this maze – trying to avoid syrup-laden or deep-fried treats for healthier alternatives and mindful snacking. Yet, despite planning to manage meals, this isn’t possible for everyone, with many giving into the temptation of trying a sweet or two.
Dr Mita Saha, Consultant Diabetologist, Global Hospitals, Mumbai, says, “Usually after the festival season, we witness an increase in the number of people with diabetes coming in. Some over-indulge on sweets, and others come in to check their blood sugar levels, to ensure no concerning spikes. Managing this properly is key to avoiding any longer-term complications and ensuring better health. Today, there are continuous glucose monitoring devices that people can access thereby helping them with constantly updated glucose level trends, empowering people with diabetes to make informed decisions and remain in the appropriate time-in-range (TIR).”
Here are 5 tips to keep your glucose levels in check this festive season:
1. Eat healthy: Before you get to any event, have a plan in place for what you will eat. Limit your intake of fats, sugars, and salt, and keep an eye on your carb intake. Opt for smaller meals throughout the day. To ensure your diet remains balanced and nutritious while helping manage your diabetes, talk to your doctor or dietician as well. Also note – don’t compensate for over-indulgence by skipping a meal, as this can lead to dangerous blood sugar fluctuations.
2. Watch out for highs or lows: With the changes to your lifestyle and diet during the holiday season, there is a great need to keep monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly. Keeping a continuous glucose monitoring device such as FreeStyle Libre system handy can help you track these levels. As a simple and painless alternative to finger pricks, these devices use wearable sensors, allowing you to seamlessly monitor your levels as you go about your day. This can afford you a new level of freedom and sense of control – especially to avoid or be alert to any red flag trends (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia).
3. Manage your sleep cycle: Parties often mean you’re up till late hours of the night – compromising on the duration and quality of sleep for even days on end. Make some time to regain your sleep schedule – getting a good seven to eight hours a day. Dozing can help you manage your diabetes better (too little sleep can increase insulin resistance, making you hungrier the next day and reduce how full you feel after eating).
4. Keep moving: Staying active by exercising regularly is a great way to manage your diabetes. During peak festival season, days are often filled with events and social visits from family or friends, making a regular fitness schedule hard to maintain. To recharge with physical activity, some options you can consider are walking, team sports like football, dancing (Zumba, for instance), cycling or swimming. These can have various benefits – using up energy levels, toning muscles, increasing lung capacity and blood circulation, reducing cholesterol levels and relieving stress, all while reducing your glucose levels.
5. Stay hydrated: In general, staying hydrated is key to good health. For people with diabetes, drinking water can counter feelings of dehydration and quickly lower blood sugar levels when needed. Keeping a water bottle handy is always a good idea.
By keeping these points in mind and consulting a doctor to discuss the solutions that can work best for you, you can be in control of your diabetes – to enjoy a healthy, hassle-free holiday!