Diabetes Management: Making Autumnal Adjustments

Our daily habits are naturally affected by the changes Autumn brings, but making a few behavior adjustments now can keep your diabetes management goals on track.

The primary cool-weather pitfall to watch out for is increased calorie consumption. As outdoor temperatures drop people tend to eat about 200 more calories each day, much of it carbohydrates.

This autumnal tendency to eat more may be programmed into our biology. It’s easy to imagine our ancestors packing on a few pounds in preparation for the winter months. Humans have historically eaten more when food is plentiful, as it often is at harvest time.

Fall is also when many of us put our shorts and swim suits in the storage closet, and wear more concealing fall and winter clothes. For a few months we can relax about the appearance of muffin tops, bulging bellies, or thighs, and may relax our dietary discipline as well.

Easy, Enjoyable Autumn Adjustments

Fortunately, adjusting autumnal habits to maintain good glucose control is not painful. It is mostly a matter of enjoying fall’s bounty, and tweaking the actions we already take, for instance:

  • Watching football or checking out TV’s new fall shows can lead to mindless snacking on the couch. Fall is the perfect time to stock up on healthier snacks, or to make your own—such as roasted pumpkin seeds. Also, decide to never bring a whole bag of any snack back to the couch. Put a reasonable size serving in a bowl, and put the bag back in the pantry.
  • Soon, many of us will be turning our clocks back leaving fewer daylight hours for outdoor physical activity. We can adjust for this by getting up earlier to enjoy more sunlight, purchasing a gym membership, using exercise videos, dusting off the treadmill, or taking evening walks at a mall.
  • Enjoy nutritious in-season vegetables by preparing hearty chill-minimizing soups and stews. Add a moderate amount of lean meat to get additional protein.
  • Consider making Halloween and Thanksgiving treats using stevia powder or extract instead of sugar. Stevia is an herbal sweetener that does not raise blood sugar levels. There are plenty of tips online for adjusting recipes; simply Google “using stevia in baked goods,” or something similar.
  • Make “fall” adjustments in your bedroom to continue getting a good night’s sleep. A cool room - about 65 degrees F - with layers of comfortable bedding is ideal for most of us. Consider purchasing a new mattress if yours has got “the sags.”
  • Before colder temps set in, check your diabetes supplies, making sure everything you need is present and up-to-date.

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
~ Humbert Wolfe

Source: RGI
Photo credit: Ian Sane

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