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5 Tips to Managing Insulin Resistance Over the Holidays

Every Holiday season, so many of my clients express anxiety about how they will manage their insulin resistance with all the treats and busy schedules. If you can relate, I want you to know that you can enjoy the Holidays without sabotaging your insulin resistance. And on the flip-side, you do not need to throw all progress out the window in order to enjoy the season. There can be a happy balance.

Here are five tips for managing your insulin resistance (while still having fun) over the Holiday season.

1. Make a Plan to Manage Stress

Yes, the Holidays are a joyful and fun time, however they also can be a source of stress for many people. Maybe you don't have the best relationship with your family or a certain family member. Maybe your Holiday plan has you driving all over the place for every family Holiday gathering. Or maybe there's something else entirely that causes you some anxiety.

Believe it or not, stress can spike your blood sugar. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline to handle the stress, which in turn raise blood sugar. This physiological response is normal and natural, however staying in this high-stress state is not good for our bodies and blood sugar.

If you know the Holidays will be a bit more stressful, make a plan to manage that stress. First, decide what stress-reducing activity or activities you are going to do. Then make a specific plan of when you will do these activities. Make it easy and accessible to ensure you actually do it. You could even do it while putting on your makeup!

One of my favorite ways to reduce stress is through meditation. I know meditation can seem intimidating, but know that it doesn't have to be done a certain way. Find a simple guided meditation to follow to take the stress out of it. Here are some of my favorite meditation apps and playlists:

  1. Daily Meditation Podcast on Spotify (free)

  2. Meditation Minis Podcast (free)

  3. Calm (free 7-day trial then $14.99/month)

  4. Headspace (free 14-day trial then $12.99/month)

  5. Insight Timer ($9.99/month)

Even if it's five minutes, doing a little meditation every day can go a long way to reducing stress.

Some of my other stress-reducing activities are: being in nature, moderate exercise, doing a craft, listening to music, lighting a candle, reading, laughing, and deep breathing.

2. Bring a Dish You can Enjoy

If you're celebrating at someone else's house, offer to bring a dish that you know will honor your insulin resistance. This isn't to say you can't enjoy the dishes others have made, but at least you will have one dish that won't spike your blood sugar. Here are some insulin resistance friendly dishes you could try!


Side Dishes

Additional Insulin Resistance Friendly Holiday Foods

3. Enjoy Dessert

Enjoying a special dessert is usually a part of a Holiday meal, and just because you have insulin resistance doesn't mean you need to miss out. Skipping dessert can leave you feeling deprived and left out. Many of my clients with insulin resistance cannot have dairy or gluten, which unfortunately a lot of holiday desserts have. So, bring your own dessert to share!

Here are some dairy-free and gluten-free desserts you could try!

Also check out this post about 10 dessert ideas without added sugar.

4. Have an Exercise Routine

It's so easy to get out of your routines during the Holidays, however maintaining some semblance of a routine will help you manage stress, keep your blood sugar balanced, and feeling healthy both mentally and physically.

Exercise is one routine that so often gets pushed to the wayside during the Holidays. However, moderate, consistent exercise (plus managing stress) is such an important habit for managing insulin resistance. If you know you know your Holiday season will be busy, instead of setting the expectation to completely maintain your exercise routine, make a plan that fits your schedule. Maybe you normally work out 5 days a week with equipment at the gym or at home, but during the Holidays you commit to working out 3 days a week with equipment-free workout videos you can do anywhere (I love pilates and yoga!) or go for a walk, hike, or light jog. Or make it a family event - invite everyone to go on a walk after your holiday meal or do a Turkey Trot as an activity. If you're in a new city, check out a local fitness studio and try something new (and bring friends and family along)

Make it fun and set yourself up with realistic expectations. Something is better than nothing!

5. Take Time Off

If you can, take some time off during the Holidays to rest, relax, and refresh. We live in a fast-paced, go-go-go society and rarely take time to slow down and just be. Taking time off is so important for managing stress, which in turn helps you manage your insulin resistance. If you can't take a ton of time off, at least find part of a day or even a few hours just to be. Find a cozy spot and read a book, play a game with family, snuggle up and watch a movie, or whatever sounds restful to you. You deserve it!

I hope these tips are helpful for you as you enter this Holiday season. And above all else, that you enjoy yourself and have fun!


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