My Top 3 Summertime Struggles with Type 2 Diabetes
When summer finally peeks her lovely head out of the sky and smiles down upon us, it’s a joyous time. Sunshine makes the world go around and people tend to be happier during this time of year. Beach fun is better with cubes of cool cantaloupe. Watersports and watermelon are a slice of heaven. And, conversations under the shade with a tall glass of lemonade adds delight to the day. However, tis is also the season for a few struggles.
Fruit, celebrations, and extreme heat are three things that complicate my diabetes management routine during the summer.
Firstly, I love fruit and the summer season brings the best and freshest choices. I grew up in South Florida with two mango trees and two avocado trees in my backyard. As a child I would eat mangoes until my fingers were stained orange. As an adult living with type 2 diabetes, however, I can barely handle one mango without making sure the timing is right (usually post cardio) or I can bolus for it. I confess, resisting fresh fruit is hard for me and I often find ways to pace myself rather than restrict fruit altogether. If I purchase a bag of cherries, I ration them by the serving 1 cup of cherries is about 1.5 carb choices and I divide the servings between breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Doing this prevents me from eating the entire lot in one sitting.
Secondly, because summer often brings perfect weather with it, there are usually a million-and-one reasons to celebrate during this time of the year. Weddings, family reunions, Fourth of July, my birthday, and spontaneous backyard BBQs provide me to ample reasons to struggle with portion size. Celebrations bring their unique challenges because there’s usually pressure to eat and drink well beyond my limit. While I am ecstatic to attend these events, I am often emotionally conflicted by having to say “No” to people especially loved one. How can I turn down my aunt’s tantalizing desserts or my uncle’s famous punch? Unfortunately, I must find the ways to do it, which often means that I accommodate them by saying that I’ll take some home with me and eat or drink it later when my blood sugar levels subside.
Thirdly, the heat can be unbearable depending upon where I am. Because of all the celebrations, summer usually means traveling to various cities with varying climates. When I’m in the northeast, it’s pleasant to go bike riding, hiking, or participating in various outdoor activities from dawn to dark. However, in south Florida, the bright sun and blue-water beaches can quickly turn into debilitating heat and heavy humidity. In addition, the tropical climate is known for intense thunderstorms that quickly appear. I can’t rely on a consistent outdoors exercise routine when I’m visiting my relative.
How stressed out do you feel today?