Diabetes and Vacation

4 Ways to Take a Safe "Vacation" from Your Diabetes

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You've been looking forward to your vacation all year and, although you are feeling excited, perhaps a part of you is a bit anxious or nervous - what will you eat, how will you manage your blood sugars, can't you just take a vacation from your diabetes altogether? Unfortunately, diabetes is something you must manage on a daily basis, even when you're on vacation. But there are ways to enjoy yourself, too.

Taking a vacation doesn't mean you have to sabotage all your hard work and it doesn't mean you have to stress about your diabetes either.

Change Your Mindset

It's ok to take a "mini" break from your diabetes - have dessert, relax poolside and sip a cold beverage, but don't forgo your diabetes altogether (you can't just stop taking your medicines). Try not to think of all the things you can't do; instead, shift your mindset to see all the things you can do. For example, there are no forbidden foods. With some extra planning, you can take special occasions to enjoy the foods you love.

Enjoy Things You Normally Don't

Most travel locations have specialty foods that are specific to their region - take advantage and enjoy them. If you are going to Italy, for instance, it would be sinful to leave without tasting some pasta, wouldn't it? Giving yourself guidelines before you leave can help you to prepare for what is to come and can help you to stay on track.

For example, allow yourself one serving of one food indulgence daily,whether it be a piece of cake, a taste of ice cream, a frozen cocktail, a cup of pasta. If you allow yourself to enjoy some treats, then you won't feel deprived and are less likely to overdo it. Remember, though, that a treat isn't a license to eat or drink an unlimited amount.

Don't be too Strict About Your Log Book

Keeping a log book for blood sugars, food and exercise is an extremely valuable tool in managing diabetes, but it is one task you might be able to ease up on while on vacation. I am not suggesting you stop altogether, but simplify your log book when you are away. Whatever simplifying means to you - whether it be just writing down your numbers, or testing and not writing your numbers down, or cutting back to a few times per day - figure out what works for you and what makes sense with your medication regimen. This is something you may want to discuss with your health care provider or certified diabetes educator before you go.

Indulge in the Good Stuff

Indulgences can be good for you. Indulgence is defined as something that is done or enjoyed as a special pleasure. Figure out what it is that you enjoy doing and do it: treat yourself to a massage, a scenic bike ride, a yoga class, a great book, or a nap mid-day. Don't let your diabetes occupy your mind; instead, rest and do things that you never get to do.

Stress can actually increase blood sugars. Hormones, such as, cortisol can increase blood sugars; a relaxing vacation maybe a great way to give your body what it needs to get your blood sugars in check.

Resources

Napora, Joseph. Managing Stress and Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. Accessed on-line. August 5, 2014: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/everyday-life/managing-stress-and-diabetes.html

Merrium-Webster Dictionary. Indulgence. Accessed on-line. August 5, 2014: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indulgence

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