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My Retirement Celebration: How I Treat Myself With Diabetes

I am living my best life. I just returned from Nassau, Bahamas. I am traveling to Montego Bay, Jamaica, next. So, I know you are probably wondering how I can eat out so often while on vacation and stay on track with diabetes. I know it sounds like going off the trail, right?

Treating myself and enjoying vacation

Going out with friends, family, and new people sounds like a lot of fun. It is fun. Keeping diabetes in control and getting myself a treat does not go in accord, or so I thought.

But now I have found a middle ground, to treat myself without getting off track with my health. Although the cravings get at me, I know how to enjoy treats in moderation.

Planning ahead for the trip

Going on vacation is becoming a tradition among me and my friends. We always plan ahead, especially when travel means dining out nearly every night. We usually stay at all-inclusive resorts which includes unlimited food and drinks.

Checking out the restaurant menus

We all vote for a destination and then decide on our restaurants at least 2 days ahead. This provides me enough time to scan the menus and decide on a diabetes-friendly meal selection. When I know we will be enjoying dinner at a restaurant, I'll be mindful of my food choices throughout the day.

My approach to ordering meals

While at the restaurant, I divide my meal into 4 components. I'll usually order water with fresh lemon for my drink. The lemon aids in digestion, and I am not adding sugar to my meal through my beverage.

Usually for the main course, I prefer a serving of grilled or steamed chicken. If there isn't a chicken dish, I'll order beef but cut the serving and eat half. I'll substitute vegetables for dishes with creamy sauces or heavy sides. I enjoy sautéed spinach and roasted broccoli. I ensure I get a balanced meal with protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.

Of course, I look forward to ending the meal with a dessert. For dessert, I will ask a friend to share a serving with me, so that I can enjoy it in moderation. I remind myself that I can still enjoy a dessert, but need to be mindful of how much. I take small bites and savor the flavors.

Enjoying the foods you want in moderation

So that is my foolproof plan to treat myself while on vacation. This helps me not lose my grip on my diabetes.

The hack is to know what you want and how much you can have. Diabetes is not about sacrificing your favorite meals. But as far as I have learned, it is about finding that ideal balance. It's between eating well and eating enough that satisfies your craving for your favorite meal.

Diabetes doesn't have to get in the way

It might sound exhausting that every time before going out, I have to plan and think through everything. But believe me, if you want to have a treat, you will eventually find it amusing. I get exhausted too, but when it comes to eating something yummy, I can plan ahead and keep my diabetes well-managed.

So, find your balance, be mindful of portion sizes, don't give up on your favorite food, go out with your friends and family, and have fun!

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