Christmas Kindness and Mindfulness

Guest Post from Sally Marchini, Dietitian

Christmas can be a tricky time for people with diabetes. I’d like to remind you all to be kind to yourself over the Christmas period and remember that diabetes is not a game of perfect – it’s what you do most of the time that makes the difference, especially as we’re doing it for the rest of our lives. In today’s blog I’d like to share some ideas by other dietitians and offer a few tips that will hopefully help you to be mindful of your wellbeing this Christmas/New Year period.

As we all have different types of diabetes, using different or no medications, and with so many variations in our day to day lives, I encourage you to check with your health professional before making any changes to your usual routine. These tips are meant as a guideline, so please use good sense in applying them.

Let’s start with a couple of previous blogs I’ve written on food for Christmas.

A fresh look at the Christmas meal reminds us that we can choose to provide foods that although Christmassy, do not need to be laden with fat, salt and sugar.

Colours of Christmas – enjoying the festive foods with no regrets helps us to understand about shopping for Christmas treats, and a whole lot more including these great Christmassy food comparisons that help make your choices more mindful.

Did you know that:

  • A cupful of halved fresh apricots (155g) has only 10g carb (half a serve) and 265kJ/64 calories.
  • A cupful of cherries without seeds (145g) has 15.8g carb (one serve) and 363kJ/87 calories.
  • A cupful of strawberries with no stems (150g) has only 6g carb (possibly not worth counting!) and 162kJ/39 calories.
  • A scoop of low-fat vanilla icecream (50g) has 11.4g of low-GI carb and 258kJ/62 calories.

Compared with:

  • 1 small slice of a Christmas fruit pudding (50g) has 30.4g carb (2 serves) and 785jK/188 calories (plus loads of saturated fat and sodium)
  • 1 small fruit mince pie (40g) has 26.8g carb (2 serves) and 802kJ/192 calories (plus loads of fat and sodium too)

Dietitian Christmas articles

Speaking of being mindful, these next few blogs are written by Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) that focus on choices (not diabetes choices, but healthier choices) and there are some great tips in them that I’d like to share with you.

First up, I love these mantras by APD Deb Blakley from this article in The Scoop on Nutrition. Deb reminds us that we should enjoy ourselves at Christmas. Deb says it’s all about good food and good company. Her mantras are very sensible to ensure that we remain kind to ourselves and to others.

The Australian Healthy Food Guide magazine has also shared a few Christmassy articles to help us to maintain our health while we enjoy the Christmas celebrations.  This one by APD Caitlin Reid provides 21 tips to stay healthy over the festive season. That’s a lot of tips! Have a read as even if only one or two mean something to you, then you’ll be in a better place.

This one by APD Zoe Wilson is entitled ‘Surviving the Silly Season’. In it Zoe offers 3 quick tips to help you make it through to the New Year without regrets.

And the last of the Australian Healthy Food Guide blogs is by APD Brooke Longfield who talks about managing alcoholic intake which we know adds empty calories as well as disrupting our diabetes management. Brooke has some very helpful ideas here.

Last but not least is a blog by APD Megan McClintock. I have to say this is my favourite one because its focus is on kindness and mindfulness which is something that can be so powerful when we’re managing a chronic health condition such as diabetes.  Megan shows us which questions we should be asking ourselves and reminds us that there’s no point feeling guilt or being negative with our thoughts about food. She also provides 6 very practical tips to help.

Wow! That was a BIG read. I hope you found some tips in there that mean something to you and will help you to be kind to yourself and others.  In summary it’s about choosing what you have at home and enjoying it mindfully without beating yourself up, and balancing your extra food enjoyment at Christmas with plenty of activity which has benefits of it’s own. Our main focus should be being kind to ourselves and others, enjoying the social aspects of being with family and friends and using any time off to recharge our batteries for a good start to the new year.

Wishing you and your families a wonderfully happy Christmas filled with love and laughter. Sally 🙂

Sally is owner of her private practice (Marchini Nutrition), and has had type 1 diabetes for close to 40 years and coeliac disease for many years too.