December 29, 2008

Holiday Excess is Nearly Over and Diet Season is Coming

I am seeing people all over the web posting messages blaming themselves for being weak, sinful and worthless because they have been eating all the same holiday fare everyone else eats and seeing their blood sugars soar.

In fact, they are doing exactly what everyone else does this time of year. All that is different is that they have diabetes and blood sugar meters so they KNOW what the impact is on their bodies of this season of "holiday joy."

There are a lot of factors that have nothing to do with personal worthlessness which have been driving us all to eat: It's dark. It's cold. Millions of years of evolutionary pressures have taught our bodies to store every bit of nourishment we can get this time of year because it is going to be four long months until the first green shoots appear, and unless we've packed away a good store of body fat we may not live to see that distant Spring.

And, of course, this is also the time of year when zillions of advertising dollars are put into convincing us that everyone else has a much more wonderful family and far more thoughtful friends than we do. Merchants give us the message that we can only demonstrate our love for others by showering them with perfectly chosen, extremely expensive gifts. To make it even worse, to mention our less than positive feelings this time of year risks being labeled a "Scrooge." Is it any wonder that comfort eating can quickly escalate into obsessional drownings in food and drink?

The good news is that the Season of Excess is almost over. On Friday the supermarkets will put diet food on the "Seasonal Aisle" and for a few brief weeks everyone --with or without diabetes--will struggle to undo the dietary damage they've done to themselves through the holiday season.

Most will fail. By Superbowl Sunday, the supermarkets will replace the diet food in the "seasonal" aisle with chips and dip and cheese whiz. But if you are sick of being out of control, January 2 is a great time to use the momentum of the brief Diet Season to achieve some small but useful goal.

Keep your chosen goal simple. Do not resolve to lose 100 lbs, go to the gym five times a week, get control of your spending and achieve a 4.7% A1c. Indulging in fantasy is fun, but unless you chose a goal you have a good chance of achieving in three weeks, your "goals" will remain fantasies.

My goal this January is to lose the weight I put on this holiday season--3 to 5 lbs. I was able to keep my blood sugar in range the whole time, which I'm proud of, but only by using more insulin than usual, which invariably leads to weight gain.

So I'll be cutting carbs so that I can cut my insulin dose. I'll also have to cut back dramatically on calories because that is the only way I can lose weight. I do this every January and I know that by Super Bowl Sunday I will be sick of it, but hopefully by then I will have knocked off a few pounds and gotten back into better eating habits.

Are you setting yourself any special goals for January?


tinarama said...

My main goal is to reestablish the habit of writing down everything I eat. I've gotten lazy with that over the last month or so and it's allowed me to start slipping in a lot of things I know I shouldn't be eating. A sliver of cheesecake here, a handful of chocolate covered popcorn there, a truffle or two (or three) ... I hope this stuff will stop dominating the desktops around my office now that the holidays are over, but even if it doesn't – I'm much better at reining myself in when I keep track of exactly what I'm actually eating – serving size and carb count. My second goal is to dial the carbs way back down again, to about 75 a day. One thing that's inspired me to do both of these things is your recommendation a few weeks ago to google images of diabetic feet. Disturbing, yes – and highly motivational. So thanks for the idea. And warm wishes to you for a wonderful year in 2009.

meanderings said...

Happy New Year Jenny!
Thanks for the positive thoughts and reminders.

Unknown said...

I had thought you might switch to Byetta, I was thinking about it myself.

Anonymous said...

Here in Australia, we don't have the excuse of "winter fattening" as it's the middle of a hot Summer!

I had my 'carb-free free day' on Boxing Day (26DEC) and thoroughly enjoyed eating crisps and white bread and chocolate and ice cream and... you get the idea.

My sugars actually stayed fairly reasonable (but higher than I usually allow) but it's back to the usual low-carb diet now, with no regrets.

My last HbA1c was 5.4 and that's worth a lot more than junk food to me!

Jenny said...


I gave Byetta a try, but even at 1/2 dose, my blood pressure rose to alarming heights after four days while my blood sugar was only just okay.

I have been thinking of trying an even lower dose before I give up on it. I experienced a very high blood pressure the first two times I tried Levemir. It turned out the dose I was using, while very small was twice what I ended up needing. At the correct dose, my blood pressure was fine.

That said, Byetta definitely shut off any interest in eating--rather amazingly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,
I posted on another site that weight gain is not caused by what you eat between Thanksgiving and New Years but what you eat between New Years and Thanksgiving. ;-)
Hope you have a great year in 2009.

Jenny said...

"weight gain is not caused by what you eat between Thanksgiving and New Years but what you eat between New Years and Thanksgiving. ;-)"

Wish that was true for me, but I was at my goal weight before TG and I'm up more than I want to think about now.

Some of the gain is probably salt etc. But some is definitely the result of having both my grown up kids come home for the holiday and hence giving into "I am MOM, I must FEED" instincts!

Gracie said...

First let me thank you for the site, I've learned so much! My toes love it too ;-P
I've been doing low carb for a year now, and lost 47 pounds, 40 more to goal, plus for the first time evey I'm 2 pounds lighter than I was Nov. 1! You have made such a difference in my life! Oh, latest A1c the best yet, 5.1, had a few spikes in Dec. so hope that next one is under 5.