Navigating the holidays, celebrations and social events when you have diabetes can be a challenging time. Sometimes they bring stress and anxiety and other times; joyous happy times together. Often it would appear that food is the main event… unless you choose to see it differently.
Now don’t get me wrong, food is an important part of adding quality to our life, but it should only be a small aspect of our life and times together. Where we can get in trouble and stumble, is when food is always the main attraction.
The people in our lives whom we know and love should actually be the main attraction. If you really think back, those quality moments in time don’t come from the food we eat, they come from the friends & family and those funny, scary, sweet moments we share together. Not to say that there were tasty treats involved, but the moments are the real main attraction. Somehow we misplace food, and put it in first place.
Just because food has always been the main attraction doesn’t mean that it has to be. You may find…it never fails…when you make a decision to focus on healthy eating; life brings about some challenging moments. But there is a way to be successful! There are two strategies you must have to be successful at sticking to your plan for healthy eating and living:
1) Focus on what and how you want to think & feel on those occasions.
2) Have a plan for navigating past old thoughts and behaviors, and applying new ones that you choose.
For example having a create a crystal clear picture of how you want to feel in your body and the thoughts you want to think, you have created a new path for your mind to focus on. This is not an easy step because our brain doesn’t really like change, and when we’ve had a habit for a long time, it takes much energy, and practice to refocus off the usual thoughts and habits. And it's always possible to change, for the best!
So let’s say that you’re at a wedding, and there is a large buffet table filled with all the foods your family has traditionally eaten. Your brain loves familiar, and if you continue to do what you’ve always done – you will most likely overfill your plate with food. However prior to seeing the food, you can purposely refocus your mind on how you want to feel after eating, and maybe even a long-term goal of feeling thinner and more energetic. When you keep those thoughts and feelings top of mind, you will likely see a change in how you handle the food, and every time you’re in that situation, you learn more about yourself, and “course correct” so that you reach your goals. As a result, your plan for navigating past those old thoughts and behaviors works well.
In addition, have a plan regarding what you choose to eat, and how you choose to socialize. Remember it’s the people in those moments you share that are most important. You may even choose to attend the event after eating a snack that fills you, and sip on water with a twist of lime as you sit and socialize with those you know, or maybe even those you don’t know.
So remember, you can successfully navigate the holidays by focusing on what and how you want to feel, and sticking to a plan to navigate past old thoughts and behaviors, while applying new ones that support your goals.
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