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Successfully Managing Diabetes Throughout the Holiday Season

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It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is upon us, and with all of the festivities can come the seemingly inescapable holiday weight gain, or so your patients may think. Although a research study found perceived weight gain throughout the holidays to average around 3.5 pounds, in reality, actual weight gain during the holiday season averaged just under 1 pound.² However, the same study found that individuals who started the holiday season at an overweight or obese Body Mass Index (BMI) gained more weight than those with a BMI of <25.³ This is concerning for overweight patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes, as excess weight is thought to be a significant contributor to insulin resistance.⁴

 

Although the holidays might seem like the time of year when dietary moderation is the last thing on anyone’s mind, it can actually be a great time to educate patients with diabetes on simple nutrition strategies that can help set them up for a lifetime of well-managed blood glucose levels. By showing your patients some of the factors that may lead to holiday weight gain, and providing them with simple tips, you can help them enjoy a healthier holiday season without deprivation or possible negative health consequences.

 

Mindfulness Is Key

One factor in holiday weight gain may be the abundance of food offerings within arm’s reach anywhere you turn. From candy dishes at work to cookie platters at home, the temptation can be hard to resist. For those patients with diabetes, overindulging in holiday classics can be especially damaging. Mindless eating of carbohydrate-rich foods may lead to increases in blood glucose levels, which may pose health problems in the short and long-term. To help prevent dangerous spikes in blood glucose, we can encourage our patients to minimize temptation and practice mindful eating strategies. Indeed, research shows that by simply placing goodies in opaque colored containers instead of transparent glassware, consumption can be decreased significantly.⁵ Research also shows that daily food journaling can be an effective strategy to increase awareness of food consumption among patients and help support weight loss efforts.⁶

 

Encourage Simple Recipe Swaps

Many holiday dishes are packed full of refined carbohydrates and added sugars, which can pose great challenges when it comes to effective blood glucose control. While many patients are aware of these consequences, you may find resistance in regard to altering a traditional holiday recipe. However, by educating patients on the health benefits these ingredient substitutions can offer while also maintaining the taste and texture of the original version, they might just be swayed to tweak Grandma’s apple pie recipe. Try encouraging some of the following simple swaps to help holiday favorites have less of an impact on blood glucose levels:

 

  • When preparing recipes that call for all-purpose flour, a rich source of refined carbohydrates, try substituting one half of the flour for 100% whole-wheat flour. This swap helps to increase the fiber content and may help lower the glycemic load of the recipe.

 

  • Substitute one ounce of baking chocolate with 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder to cut 105 calories from the recipe.

 

Becoming more mindful of food choices and adjusting favorite holiday recipes to reduce the overall caloric value can help your patients build healthier habits any time of the year!

[1]Boden G, et al. Excessive caloric intake acutely causes oxidative stress, GLUT4 carbonylation, and insulin resistance in healthy men. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Sep 9;7(304):304re7. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac4765. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26355033

²Yanovski, JA, et al. A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. N Engl J Med 2000; 342:861-867. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200003233421206

³Yanovski, JA, et al.

⁴NIDDK. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. NIH Publication No. 14-4893. June 2014. Retrieved from http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/insulin-resistance-prediabetes/Pages/index.aspx

Wansink B1Painter JELee YK. The office candy dish: proximity’s influence on estimated and actual consumption. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 May;30(5):871-5.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=International+Journal+of+Obesity+cornell+candy+opaque

⁶Hollis, J. (2008) News release, Kaiser Permanente. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August Vol 35. http://www.kpchr.org/research/public/News.aspx?NewsID=3

My 5-Step Painless Plan to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain… While Still Eating What You Love!

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Did you enjoy your Halloween weekend? We had so much fun seeing Joey Trick-or-Treat for the first time. He really got into it! He went as Cookie Monster this year, but I have to say, I think by the end of the night I felt much more like a Cookie Monster than he did! I have such a major sweet tooth that I always struggle with overdoing candy when it’s around. At least now we don’t have a giant bowl of sweets sitting out all night so I can control myself a bit more (although there’s still plenty left over in the pantry!)

 

How did you do with your meal plan and nutrition goals this Halloween weekend? If you got a little off track, don’t worry. I am here to help! The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of year to eat healthy and avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain. I can’t tell you how many clients I have worked with who do wonderful all year long only to get derailed over the holidays and spend the first few months of the New Year undoing the damage that they have done.

 

But you know what? There are plenty of people who are not impacted at all by the holidays. They can go through the entire season without gaining an ounce (and some even lose weight during this time!) What’s their secret? Well after working one on one with clients for more than a decade, I discovered the specific traits that these seemingly lucky people all have. But it isn’t just luck- these individuals all follow a common path throughout the holiday season (and the whole year) that allows them to successfully lose weight and keep it off no matter what life throws at them.

And guess what? I’m about to share all of these secrets with you! I am going to be hosting a FREE LIVE ONLINE TRAINING: My PAINLESS 5-STEP PLAN TO PREVENTING HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN WHILE EATING THE FOODS YOU LOVE.
 

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FREE Live Online Event: 5 Step Painless Plan to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain … Without Giving Up the Foods You Love!

 

In this one-hour live webinar, I will show you #1 reason most people gain weight during the holidays, and why it has nothing to do with food or exercise. I will also lay out my simple five-step formula for avoiding holiday weight gain without deprivation to allow you to start 2016 healthier and happier than ever. You’ll learn exactly how to avoid becoming a holiday weight gain statistic, while making sure you still get to enjoy all of your favorite holiday foods. I’ll even be including a live Q&A session at the end of the event so you can ask all of your holiday health related questions!

Even if you have been struggling with yo-yo dieting or gained weight during the holidays last year and have been unable to lose it, guess what? I’m going to show you some incredibly easy yet effective strategies to overcome these challenges so you can start the New Year off healthier and happier than ever.
 
I am so excited about this FREE training that I will be offering it twice, but space is very limited, so make sure to sign up today! I am offering both a daytime and an evening training so everyone can make it!
 
CLICK HERE to register for either live event on:
Wednesday November 11th at 12pm EST
OR
Thursday November 12th at 8:30pm EST
 
If you want to finally enjoy the holidays guilt-free and not feel like you have to waste the first half of 2016 undoing the damage from 2015, then make sure to join me! And don’t forget to share this invite with your friends and family who may benefit as well!

 

I also want to send out a special invitation to all of the Costco Diabetes Club Members (@CDiabetesInfo). Living with diabetes can be challenging, especially during the holiday season. But I want you to know that it is possible to enjoy your holidays, without guilt, while still keeping your health in check. Deprivation isn’t the answer. You can eat what you love and still keep blood sugar levels and weight in a healthy range. Make sure to join me LIVE on 11/11 or 11/12 and find out how!

 

And to hold you over while you wait for the training to start, check out some of my tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight while preventing or managing diabetes that I have shared with C Diabetes Magazine:

Eating Mindfully for Successful Weight Loss

Surprising Foods that Can Improve Blood Glucose

 

I can’t wait to see you LIVE at my event!
 

I am a member of the Diabetes Influencers Network. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Have Fun with Your Food this Halloween!

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Happy Halloween!

 

Wishing you and your family a happy & healthy Halloween! As you celebrate today, don’t forget to have fun with your food. It’s amazing how much nutrition you can pack into your family when their food becomes artwork. And don’t worry, I have very limited artistic abilities, so if I can pull this off, you can too! All of these ‘food art’ ideas took less than five minutes to create and were a major hit. Please make sure to share your favorite ways of having fun with your food too 🙂 

 

Banana Ghost, Cheesy Pumpkin, and Peanut Butter & Apple Witch

Peanut butter & apple witch, cheesy pumpkin, and banana ghost

Peanut butter & apple witch, cheesy pumpkin, and banana ghost

High Protein Ghosts with Antioxidant Packed Pumpkins

Cottage cheese ghost with clementine pumpkin

Cottage cheese ghost with clementine pumpkin

Stuffed Pepper Jack-o-Latern

A carved jack-o-lantern bell pepper stuffed with scrambled eggs

A carved jack-o-lantern bell pepper stuffed with scrambled eggs

Peanut Butter Ghostly Graveyard

A peanut butter 'ghost' sandwich on whole grain bread

A peanut butter ‘ghost’ sandwich on whole grain bread

 

Yes, it’s a little but of work. But it’s also a lot of fun! And just look at the reaction it gets 🙂

He just loves to be surprised with food art!

He just loves to be surprised with food art!

Not only did he love it, but he ate it too!

Not only did he love it, but he ate it too!

 

What food art creations do you and your family love?

Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingIt’s that time of year again. In just a little over two weeks, Halloween will be here and with it comes the piles of candy and temptation. Then, just when you think you can finally say goodbye to the last Reese’s, Thanksgiving pops up. Yup, it’s that time of year that we all love celebrating, but dread the results that it has on our waistlines. So what can you do to avoid this inevitable weight gain? Well first, stop thinking it’s inevitable! You don’t have to gain weight over the holidays, but if you decide in advance that you will, well guess what – you definitely will!

 

I’ll tell you a secret- I love sweets! Yup, I have chocolate chips and cookies in the house right now. If it were up to me, these foods wouldn’t be in my house at all because I have no willpower. If I’m around candy for too long, I eat it. Sound familiar? I know there are some people who could care less about sweets and desserts (and I hate them just a little for it), but I think sugary treats really do tempt most of us. So what’s the solution? Definitely don’t ban yourself from them. That’s actually the WORST thing you can do. Why? Think about it this way – imagine I just told you that you could NEVER have ice cream again. Were you thinking about ice cream a minute ago? Probably not. But let me guess, now you feel like raiding your locally grocery store and stock piling every pint of Ben & Jerry’s you can get your hands on, right? Deprivation does that. So don’t deprive yourself or you will definitely go overboard and gain weight during the holidays.

 

So what can you do? Treat yourself! Yup- go ahead -indulge, but before you do, just give your favorite treats a little bit of a makeover. I’ll tell you a quick little story – one of my favorite holiday treats used to be a Cinnabon. This was before I learned how to read a food label and the horror that I experienced when I discovered what was really in my favorite Christmas morning breakfast. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have eaten an occasional one since that sad, sad day of revelation, but it hasn’t tasted quite the same knowing the reality of how much sugar and fat it really contains.

 

As sad as that story I just told you is, it that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave an ooey-gooey warm cinnamon roll. I’d eat one everyday if I could. So that’s why this holiday season I decided to find a better way to enjoy my favorite treat. With a little research and experimenting, I came up with a version I think is on par with the mall food court version with a quarter of the calories. And the best part- no added sugars! What?! Yup- no added sugar- even in the icing! So this recipe is even perfect for those trying to lose weight or control blood sugar with diabetes. And it gets better- you can make it in minutes in the microwave! Yes! This is actually a mug cake recipe. If you don’t know what that is, you are missing out on a big, delicious trend (and don’t worry, I only discovered this trend like a week ago myself). To sum it up, you can make individual serving size cakes in a coffee mug – in the microwave! So amazing! I will definitely try to come up with more of these little cakes, but today, I share with you my very first mug cake recipe – Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Get ready to get excited about breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or any meal really- it’s healthy enough you can enjoy it anytime you want!)

 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 2 Tbs rolled oats
  • ¼ cup mashed banana
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup lowfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp Truvia

 

Filling

  • Medjool dates, 1, pitted (you can get these right in the produce section of any grocery store)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt

 

Icing

  • 2 Tbs fat free cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs low fat Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • ½ tsp Truvia
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla

 

Directions:

Spray a large mug (or two small mugs) with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together oat flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and Truvia. Add in mashed banana and yogurt to form dough. In a separate bowl, mash the date and add in cinnamon and salt (you can also do this in a food processor and add in a bit of water for a thinner textured filling if desired).

 

Place ½ of dough into the mug. Pour ¾ of date filling on top and then add remaining dough. Cover with the remaining filling. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds or until cooked throughout.

 

While mug cake is baking, mix together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and Truvia in a small bowl or food processor. Top cinnamon roll with icing when warm. Remaining icing can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

Makes 2 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

186 Calories 32 gm Carbs, 3 gm Fiber, 8gm Protein, 2 gm Fat

 

I can’t wait to hear what you think!

 

Disclosure: I work as a spokesperson for Truvia, however I have not been compensated to create this recipe or write this post. My opinions are entirely my own.

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