For this month's Diabetes Social Media Advocacy blog carnival, founder Cherise Shockley left it up to us bloggers to choose what to write about based on the DSMA chats from the month of November (FYI: you can participate in those chats every Wednesday at 9pm EST on Twitter).

With Hanukkah starting this evening and Christmas coming up this weekend, we were naturally drawn to the theme of "Celebrating the holidays with diabetes," so Allison and I could each share a bit about how we handle things this season.

The holidays are supposed to be a time spent with loved ones, reflecting on the year and celebrating the good things, but it can be hard to stay positive with diabetes nipping at your heels! Here's how we deal...

Allison's Deal:

The biggest obstacle I have faced in the holidays is being mindful of what I'm eating. This was a huge obstacle when I worked in an office and was constantly surrounded by cookies, candy and other treats that people would bring into the kitchen. Willpower is not something I have mastered, and I often would think, "Well, I'll just bolus for it!" Everything seemed bolus-worthy! But inevitably I wouldn't really know what I was eating and I inevitably would forget that I ate something because of grazing, and I would end up chasing my blood sugars the rest of the day.

Now that I work at home, it has been a lot easier to keep things under control. But last week we hosted a holiday party in our apartment, and guess what we have: leftovers! So that's been another hurdle. What I've been trying to do this year is just pace myself, and to realize that my life is not going to be terrible if I don't try everything, or at least not all at once! I also try to focus on my absolute favorite things. I try to avoid eating food "just to try it" or finishing food that I'm not totally crazy about. Sometimes at holiday dinners or parties, I'll just keep eating because it's on my plate — even if I'm full or don't even care for what I'm eating! How nuts is that?

I think it's also important to be sympathetic with yourself and to not ruin your holiday season because you miscalculated a bolus. As long as you're trying, I think that counts for a lot. The worst thing is to become completely apathetic and disengage from your health, which I know all about firsthand. Your diabetes shouldn't ruin the holidays for you, but make sure the holidays don't ruin your diabetes either.

Amy's Deal:

I've actually been pretty darn good at willpower all my life. Long before I had diabetes, I watched my food intake very carefully (even too carefully at times). Thus, I have never, ever had problems with gaining weight over the holidays — until last year. My aerobics instructor is still teasing me about the SIX POUNDS I gained between Thanksgiving and early January last year, despite working out fairly regularly the entire time.

It seemed so unfair! All those years of diligence, and all I do is enjoy a little extra brie and a few gluten-free goodies (I finally broke down and baked myself some desserts so the holidays didn't have to be a spectator sport, i.e. me watching everyone else enjoy treats). Afterwards, I decided the weight gain was due to two things, that I have to work on combating this year:

1) "a little bit more" too often — a few extra chips, extra cheese, extra sauce, etc. day after day adds up. No way around it!

2) "middle-age spread" — God, how I hate that term. They say it starts in people over 50, which I am not yet, Thank You Very Much. But I'm convinced that my metabolism is now slower than it used to be. I can't absorb that "little bit more" like I used to. {insert primal scream}

This year, I did pretty well over Thanksgiving, by sticking almost exclusively to the turkey and veggies. But at a party just two nights ago, a friend showed up with a flourless chocolate ganache cake. How sweet! (Err, are you trying to kill me?)

Hanukkah starts tonight, and I'm really excited to get festive with my family every night this week. On Friday, we're hosting about a dozen teenagers for a Hanukkah party. Which should all be loads of fun. And food, food, food, darn it. My luck, the traditional Hanukkah dish is about the worst thing imaginable for your diabetes and watching your weight: Latkes, aka lumpy potato pancakes fried in gobs of oil. Yum. Yikes!

My strategy is to limit myself to one or two of these rich buggers a night, while stuffing up on salad or veggies and hummus that I plan to keep around. Still, the Latkes are going in, complete with "just a little bit more" carbs and calories than I would otherwise consume.

Forget New Year's Resolutions. That's too late. I'm resolving right now to take a few simple steps to circumvent the holiday poundage: Drink lots of water, especially between all those glasses of champagne and wine we'll be enjoying. And work out every other day — at least a good run if I can't make it to the gym. Oh, and test often and dose aggressively. Those are always good moves: I just need special incentive over the holidays!

Hanukkah present to self: jeans shall fit come January.

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It's also a holiday tradition here at the 'Mine to point you to our ebook, Nuggets of Wisdom, published a couple of years ago after a very successful Holiday Tips contest series. Throughout the giveaway, we collected all kinds of advice from the DOC on how to handle holiday food, travel, stress, the Diabetes Police, and more. We compiled this advice into an ebook, beautifully designed by Gina Capone. The advice may have been inspired by the holidays, but believe us, these tips apply the rest of the year too. So take a look. We hope it helps!


Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.