November is a big month! Not only do we celebrate National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day, but we also celebrate Thanksgiving. Coincidence? I think not! Thanksgiving is the best holiday for people with diabetes (and everyone else), and here’s why. We all can benefit from more gratitude in our lives, it actually makes us healthier. Once, a person with diabetes told me she was so thankful she was diagnosed, because now that she has made changes to their lifestyle, she feels so much better and knows she will live a higher quality, more active, better life because of her diagnosis of diabetes. Now, I know that is NOT everyone’s initial feeling, but it was interesting to hear her perspective. When we are thankful on a regular basis, we are happier. When we focus on what we are thankful for, it’s also harder to complain. So, I know many of us get a little stressed around the holiday season, whether it’s because of social situations/events, gift giving, food, health, and so on, but I’d like to offer some tips to make your holiday season a little better. Thanksgiving is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season and can really help us close out our year right and keep our minds and hearts focused on what matters the most.
Here are 3 ways to have a Super Thanksgiving and get better blood sugar (and none of them are related to food).
- Hunger is the spice of life. This superpower that we’ve been given lets us know when it’s time to eat. We don’t have to rely on a clock or someone telling us it’s time to eat. We have this built in ability to know precisely when it’s time. These physical signs, the stomach contracting and making that rumbling noise, and feeling of energy dropping, are internal alarms to let us know fuel is needed. Some people turn that alarm off, choose to eat before it goes off (often because they forgot they have it) or have trouble trusting it. When we choose to use our superpower and respond to that internal alarm, the tasting experience at our meal is like nothing else. Hunger will help us enjoy our meal more. Choose to respond to the alarm when it goes off, try not to hit snooze too much, or before long the alarm will be blaring and eating may get out of control. Do you eat to prevent hunger? Do you eat out of habit while doing other things? Grab your superhero cape, it will give you the confidence to start trusting your body again (and you’ll look really cool too).
- Mindfulness is our other secret weapon at mealtime, to help us keep blood sugar in check. So, just as hunger helps us get the party started, mindfulness helps us to enjoy, savor, and let’s us know when it’s time to stop. The best part – no measuring cups involved! You don’t need a diet plan or a label to tell you how much you need. Mindfulness is your second super power (go ahead, go put your cape back on, I’ll wait for you). When we’re mindful about what we eat, we acknowledge what kind of nourishment will keep our body functioning at it’s greatest capacity – like that super hero we are. We will also take time to think about and enjoy food that tastes good to us. So, no need to concern ourselves with only measuring a 1/2 c of this or 2 oz of that, pick the foods that you think your body needs the most, and that you will enjoy, and start there. Hunger gets you going, mindfulness let’s you know when to stop. Again, trust yourself.
- Gratitude is the fuel for your superpowers. We all need it in our lives. Gratitude can improve sleep, lower blood pressure and A1c, and more! People who show gratitude regularly have improved self esteem, are happier and more successful in what they do. You’re thinking what I’m thinking aren’t you? Gratitude isn’t FUEL for superpowers, it IS a superpower! When you wake up, before you really get going and start your day, choose one thing that you are grateful for, take a few seconds to acknowledge it. Do the same thing before bed, take a moment and acknowledge a few things that happened in your day for which you are grateful. I’m a huge fan of brainwashing – no, really, hear me out! This act really cleans up the thoughts in your brain, here’s how to do it. Just like you “clean up” by brushing teeth or washing your face – take time at the beginning and end of your day to “clean up” any negative stories or thoughts that you have about yourself. Allow time for gratitude and focusing on the positive things you did (and you know you did some because you are a superhero). You will notice an increase in happiness, and ultimately improve overall health and well being. Happy Thanksgiving!! If you need guidance or support during your health journey, don’t hesitate to reach out. I have go at your own pace classes, and also offer 6 month programs!