As we know, the holidays are very tough for many of our patients who have diabetes and/or obesity. They may have made some changes — big changes — in their eating habits, only to get in trouble over the long holiday season, then have a very difficult time getting back on track. The long holiday season can be a disaster to their health.
I have found that for most, having leftovers at home wreaks havoc. Many of my patients tell me it’s not just the one day of the holiday, but it’s the leftovers that get them. The leftovers seem to be “calling” them at all hours of the day and night and they can’t seem to stop eating what is in the house until it’s all gone. By then their sweet tooth or appetite have ramped back up and they have a very hard time getting back on track. Many even stop checking their glucose or weights, knowing that the numbers will be off and they don’t want to see.
I’ve found it very helpful to discuss getting rid of leftovers right away. I start the discussion even before the holiday. We talk about not keeping leftovers in the house. My first advice is to throw them away, but this does not always go over well. Some people cannot for whatever their reason throw food away, no matter how “bad” they know it may be for them. Some will give it away. I’ve asked them why would they give food they know doesn’t promote their health to others, but this usually takes a while to “sink” in. If they can give it away, at least they feel like they have done something for their health.
I have seen patients no longer tempted by leftovers, but those who are do well giving it away or throwing it out.
Message is, you may very well help avert disasters by talking with patients about leftovers. Try it! It’s never too late.
Joy Pape, FNP-C, CDE
Medical Editor, DiabetesInControl
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