You know what’s not a good idea?
Trying to fit two holiday meals into one day. Yet for years, that’s what my husband and I did every Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve, and Christmas. After flying across the country to Virginia, where both our families live, we’d try to distribute holiday time evenly. So we’d sit down with one family for an early holiday meal, then hop in the car and drive 30 minutes to the other family to do it all over again. It was exhausting and hectic. And there was way too much food.
After a few too many years of groaning at the sight of a second turkey, we wised up and went out on a limb: We invited our families to celebrate together. It took some uprooting of tradition and a few more leaves in both of our parents’ tables, but we joined forces and started alternating hosts. And it worked: our combined holiday meal is now a tradition of its own. Sure, half the family has to drive a little farther to get to the table, but our meals are more leisurely, conversations unrushed, and no one has to eat two servings of ham.
As much as the holidays are a time for celebration and joy, they are also a time for creative problem solving. Routines are thrown off. Family takes priority over habits. But if we lose sight of our own needs, we can quickly derail our health goals. It took years for me to see it, but trying to keep up with two family traditions meant that I wasn’t taking any time for myself. Now, I fit in a Thanksgiving run with my brother in-law. I take a Christmas Eve walk with my parents. I have time to grocery shop and cook, and can prepare a few dishes to my liking.
We’ve worked hard to pack this issue with strategies to help you put yourself first during the busy holiday season. Caron Golden’s holiday survival guide on page 22 helps you navigate tricky social gatherings. Our 10-minute workout on page 26 is designed for even the busiest of days (recruit the whole family!). And our Nourish section, starting on page 64, is packed with low-stress, inexpensive, and healthy recipes for the whole season. We also look ahead, with ways to put yourself first well into the new year: You’ll find a guide to planning for next year’s health care costs on page 54, tips to help you advocate for better care on page 48, and ideas to help you strengthen your support network on page 12.
From all of us at Diabetic Living, we wish you a healthy, happy holiday season, and a wonderful start to the new year.
Take a knee: Lauren Lastowka with her in-laws (her father-inlaw is dressed as Santa)
firstname.lastname@example.orgYours in health,