If you have Type 2 diabetes enjoying Easter can seem an impossible task with its many sugary treats. But we’re here to help you enjoy it, without blowing your blood sugars out of the water. With the plan below, you’ll reach the other side with your health in check.
Easter and its food associations
The truth is that for many of us, we’re over-eating on a normal day, so it is indeed a challenge to keep it in check at Easter. Even if this year with the pandemic isolation it doesn’t have the luxury of social catchups, it still has the Easter food associations of chocolate eggs and Easter buns. We use the word ‘associations’ deliberately, because that’s what they are, but we also therefore have the ability to change them.
We invite you to take on the challenge of doing food differently this year whilst still enjoying Easter, by making some new associations, for the numerous benefits to your health. Your body actually does not care that it’s Easter time. It would like everything to stay the same – or improve! It is already working very hard each day to cope with diabetes so let’s go easy relieve the pressure.
Plan, participate, prioritise to enjoy Easter with Type 2 diabetes
Having a plan prepared early for how you’re going to handle Easter, will help you enormously. Remember that high insulin drives cravings and hunger (and weight), so having a plan or a goal will help you stay focused and committed. That goal might be to not drive insulin higher over Easter than it already is (testing is your friend here), or to perhaps maintain your weight.
Some of the planning you can do now is to ask yourself:
- Are you hanging out with food pushers, food lovers or food piglets? Who will help you the most to stick to your goal? (a virtual buddy might help during this unique 2020 Easter)
- Have you got some support around you from people who want you to be healthier?
- How can you minimise social pressure? Remember that willpower runs out so save it where you can
- Planning to do something different with your time off is potentially refreshing
Plan how will you take part in Easter foods:
What decisions can you make prior to eating or socialising – what will satisfy you and let you enjoy Easter with Type 2 diabetes? Perhaps it’s:
- One small easter egg – on Sunday only
- One Easter bun – on Friday for example
Just a small taste of these might do it for you!
Plan ahead for whether you feel there really is a reason to drink, appreciating that this adds a load to your body.
How to Participate
Now for the fun part! Here’s one important tip on how to enjoy Easter with Type 2 diabetes – always add protein and natural fat to the Easter carbs to minimise the blood sugar spikes. It is the constant spikes that cause damage.
It’s interesting that we call the artificial or unhealthy foods ‘treats’ when they have the potential to cause such harm in our bodies. It is time to change our thinking about ‘treats’.
Do you feel you are ‘missing out’ or ‘deserve a treat’? Get creative about what a ‘treat’ can be. Be aware of what drives you to poor food choices. If it is simply ‘habit’, then awareness can intercept this issue.
As you participate in Easter, maintain a focus on achieving positive treats for you, such as:
- Reversing diabetes
- Better overall health (therefore happiness)
- Less pain and inflammation
- A longer life for grandkids
- Less risk of diabetes complications
- Feeling in charge of good food choices
- Less medicines
- Less weight problems
- Less despair and other strong emotions
- Employment opportunities
What else can ‘fill you up’ during the Easter period?
The enjoyment of Easter doesn’t need to be solely focused on food. Consider ‘filling up’ with resting and relaxing (rather than worry), seeking nature before winter comes for fresh air, watching some favourite movies, or maybe some exercise and finishing those jobs on your to-do list around the house. These activities might also feed our souls during this difficult time we find ourselves in.
Get creative with some non-food options that tie in with Easter such as making coloured Easter eggs or planting bulbs in the garden for ‘new life’.
What helps get through the discomfort of change?
The feeling of saying no and declining food opportunities we associate with Easter, is not natural or comfortable to most of us. It is a human condition to eat food whenever it is around, in case it runs out. The ‘dinosaur brain’ that we often refer to in our programme, does not know there is now a plethora of calories on every corner and easily available (current 2020 events withstanding).
So expect discomfort, but let the desire pass. Sit in the discomfort for a short time while the dinosaur brain settles down the nervous system. Say to yourself ‘It is OK to not have to have everything I want, every time I want it’.
Eating through Easter
When you are socialising with your family and friends (at a distance of course) through the Easter period, try to keep your eating to within a one hour window, then create a no-food gap for resting and digesting. Your body and blood sugars will thank you for it.
If there is excess food consumed, don’t panic! You have 24 hours to burn it off the next day before it heads to the fat stores of your body. Participate knowing you have a plan and strategies for success.
How to Prioritise
Keep the helicopter view
We’re sure that you do not want your diabetes to progress, and surely want to reverse it instead. Keeping that at the forefront of your mind will help you make better decisions as they present themselves over the Easter period and still allow you to enjoy Easter with Type 2 diabetes.
Remember that diabetes is a disease of too much sugar. You could say it is a ‘carb intolerance’ disease and those carbs make us hungry, tired and create the desire to eat more… and more….
If you’re living with diabetes then you may already understand many of its impacts on our health. It is silent and invades all areas of the body, every organ, tissue and cell. If left with just medicines to ‘manage’ it, its progress has the power to erode quality of life and shorten life. Easter time isn’t a reason to progress the disease.
‘Without health, what else matters
With health, much is possible’
Imagine …. an Easter that is enjoyed AND your blood sugars remain stable.
An Easter where you eat enjoyable food that also serves your body and mind…where balance is found so that you feel GOOD and on the right path.