Holiday Season

Hello all! It is that time of year again for FOOD, FOOD, and MORE FOOD. But what are your options? Are you going on a strict diet to eat less carbs or do you pig out and do you splurge on sweets or do you skip out?

Holiday’s used to be no biggie for me. I used to eat whatever I wanted, as long as, I counted for it. Those were the good days! Unfortunately, our anxiety gets to us and things don’t last like they should. Last year was different and this year will be the same. These days, my carbohydrate intake is 35 carbs or under for each meal and I only eat a sweet if my blood sugar is under 150.

To explain, last May (of 2018) I went through a dramatic change with my diabetes. I was taking care of it, but I wasn’t as cautious as I’ve been this past year. I had just went to the endo and everything seemed good. My Mom and I ate at Chick afterwards (which was my favorite place). My blood sugar was perfect at 112, I was hungry, and we had just ordered our food. I went ahead and took my insulin before eating, which was 52 carbs and my pump gave me 8 units. I’ll never forget this day. As I waited 5 minutes for my food, my Mom asked why I had counted for all my food instead of just half, just in case I didn’t eat it. After I thought about that question and realized it was too late to cancel my insulin, I panicked. You know what happened about that? I went into an all panic mode where I couldn’t eat my food when it arrived, made a horrific scene not only embarrassing myself, but my Mom. I also wasted my food and instead scarfed down a fruit cup and a frozen lemonade (easy when your throat closes up). Ever since that day, I have not eaten over 45 carbs per meal or even taken more than 5.30 units. I have also dealt with fear of going places with no nutrition facts, taking a huge dose of insulin, and I have not gotten over it a year and a half later. Has this ever happened to anyone else? It sucks so bad, but I don’t think I’ll ever get back to eating a lot of carbs (and dosing huge amounts) and be happy at the same time. I’ve cut out all pasta, pizza, and just REAL food! Talking about this makes me sad and hurts my heart, but I’d like to know if anyone else has experienced this and still does to this day?

With the holidays, I only eat how my blood sugar is. If it’s good, I’ll eat maybe 30 carbs with a small sweet. If it’s bad, I’ll eat only 15 carbs and more protein. I don’t know how to get over this! I know it doesn’t hurt to splurge, but I feel so depressed, especially being around people whose plates are full of carbs and mine so deserted. This is so off topic, but I didn’t even eat cake on my birthday in July because the carb ratio didn’t fit my meal.

Hi @hanstan. One thing I picked up on was that you don’t go to places with no nutrition facts. You sound very savvy and on top of things but I’m wondering if it might help to see a nutritionist who can refresh your memory on estimating portion sizes. It may not be as precise as you would like, but could give you some peace of mind. Of course there are guidelines online but it sounds like you might benefit from some in person lessons to help with your confidence.
It sounds like you’re serious about tight control, which is great. But having peace of mind is important for health too. You had such a severe reaction (No pun intended) to possibly taking more insulin than you needed for your Chick meal. We’ve probably all done that occasionally and corrected for it afterwards, perhaps with a special treat as you shared you do from time to time. And since you’re doing so well that should be okay, IMHO. I’m wondering if your body or mind was “reading” your 112 as low on that occasion even though it was a good number, and that caused you to panic ? While BG meters and CGMs are invaluable tools, I find it important to listen to what my body is telling me. While you’re working on keeping tight control maybe you could discuss with your endo the possibility of a little leeway for the sake of your mental health as it impacts the physical.
PS - I’m just curious (or nosey) - what’s your insulin/carb ratio? 8 units sounded like a lot considering your numbers. I plugged them into my pump and it calculated a little over 4 units but if course settings vary for each person.

1 Like

Hi Hannah @hanstan, not to be too judgmental, but I think your mother stepped out of line - she should know very well that once you deliver your insulin that it can not be taken-back. She also knew that it was your favorite food that was ordered and that you would eat “the whole thing” with relish.

That said, and no more preaching, I endorse Dorie’s @wadawabbit suggestion that you work with a nutritionist who knows TypeOne; your self-imposed limit of carbs per meal might indirectly not be proper for your still young body. True, I don’t know you and your activity level.

Now for your question: Yes, I will eat more “different” foods during celebrations and I will try to be aware of quantities and especially the carb content and carefully infuse insulin to prevent really high spikes in my BGL - all this while being cautious especially avoiding “insulin stacking”. If I’m enjoying myself, the company and the spirit of the holidays, so what if I go “high” for a brief period - If I’m still above my comfort level four hours after my last insulin infusion, I will administer a correction dose.
Remember, we are human and intended to lead a full and complete life so I have learned to manage diabetes around my life and not let diabetes rule my existence. Exercising caution and being more observant is essential.

Enjoy your holiday season!!!


As a 14 year old I still need carbs now and then and I try and diet very strictly but maybe still let me have chest days. And I would totally say splurge during the season! You deserve it! But I mean you only have to do a little bit like you don’t have to explode with sweets and your blood sugars go crazy! During this season I just choose wisely with what I want to pick so I don’t go terribly but I mean I’m not gonna miss out on pumpkin pie. So it’s just choices.


@EveBq I have not savored the holiday pies whatsoever. I was never a fan of those when I was younger, so even as a diabetic, I haven’t craved those. I used to love pecan pie though, but we all know how SUGARY that one is. I have tried sugar free apple pie with sugar free vanilla ice cream, but the ice cream was the worst part. Cracker Barrel actually has the sugar free pie and with theirs being homemade, it made it even better! Unfortunately, I have strayed from almost all sweets because my Dad thinks diabetics don’t need sweets and many of them worry me with highs. Are your blood sugars quite normal or do yours go crazy every once in awhile when you include sweets?

@wadawabbit I have definitely thought about seeing and talking to a nutritionist about my carbohydrate intake, my worrisome fear of more than 5 units (even if I’m eating the carbs), and just the basics of how I need to start over again. I must have missed a step somewhere on estimating carbs when it comes to eating places that don’t have nutrition facts. I’m very strict on myself and it depresses me sometimes! Sure I am on bay watch when it comes to my in-level blood sugars, but I do take it overboard quite often. Having a peace of mind is want I need, so thank you for that bit of advice!
I told my Mom the other day I wish she’d think before she spoke, especially when it comes to my eating habits. If she would have never said anything that day, do you wonder if it would be the same to this day? Or would I have not worried about it and ate everything, and if I didn’t, at least grab a quick treat to scarf down the rest of my meal? It makes me wonder sometimes, but I’d definitely never want to go back to that awful day.
I may have exaggerated just a little bit. I was 8:1 ratio for all my meals, so 52 carbs would have been 6 units. I was fairly new with the pump when this all happened too, so maybe I thought the insulin would hit me instantly like it did with the insulin pen? Who knows! I am now 9:1 for breakfast and lunch, and 10:1 for dinner. What are your ratios at mealtimes?

I have a few random thoughts to offer for people living with diabetes and for those who love us / them. Many of these thoughts are “self developed” during my seven decades living with this condition and other of these thoughts were shared with me by others living with T1D and by medical professionals; some of my home-grown methods have later been confirmed by the scientific community.

  • A person with TypeOne does NOT need to be treated with kid-gloves like a delicate figurine; we are REAL human beings;

  • All foods may be safely eaten by a person with diabetes - forethought and effective carb counting and application of insulin:carb ration rules apply;

  • The only food that the human brain utilizes effectively is glucose; people with diabetes NEED glucose;

  • All foods [except possibly a stick of celery] contain glucose; “Healthy Food” and “Sugar Free” food labels are miss-leading for PWD as these foods may actually contain more glucose than their counter-part foods;

  • Carbohydrate ratios, insulin sensitivity/correction factors, basal rates, etc. can differ significantly from person to person - we each need to find our own;

  • Carbohydrates consumed NEED insulin so that they can be used by our body and not left to accumulate in tissues and blood - when calculating an insulin dose,
    consider your activity during the previous several hours and what you intend to do, your current BGL and then look at the food, count ALL carbohydrates, then calculate dose making necessary adjustments;

  • Avoid “stacking” of insulin and over-dosing.

These thoughts are not meant as a lecture or criticism in any way, but rather as an encouragement for all to live a full, active and complete life and effectively manage diabetes. Diabetes should not hold us back in life.

1 Like

Hi again! Welcome to pumping. I don’t think I’ve noticed a difference between taking a shot and giving a straight bolus via the pump. But if you find it does hit you quickly, you may want to wait until your meal is in front of you. I used to bolus 15-30 minutes before I ate to give my insulin a head start, as it were, but my endo told me to wait until I’m taking my first bite. I do that now, unless I’m running a little high.
If you do find insulin hits your system quickly that would be a good discussion to have with your doctor. An option we have with the pump is an extended bolus. Tandem’s T-Slim has an extended bolus that let’s you deliver over a period of time that you can designate. I do that sometimes if I’m low normal and don’t want to hit myself with the entire dose all at once, but might forget to bolus at all if I wait.
Old school diabetes wisdom said “no sugar” for us. And while sugar isn’t really healthy for anyone we do have some leeway now with the technology and understanding of carbs. Your dad might feel more at ease if he went to a visit and your endo talked to him - it’s great to have family on board (at least up to a point :kissing_heart:). You sound like you’re on top of your diabetes and wouldn’t go overboard so hopefully your dad might breathe a little easier with a discussion.
My insulin/carb ratio used to be 1:15 for breakfast, and 1:12 for lunch and dinner; but I increased the breakfast recently to 1:12 since I was always going too high after that meal. The new breakfast setting is working really well now!

Hi @hanstan. It’s Thanksgiving eve and I just wanted to reach out and say I hope you enjoy your holiday with friends and family. I also hope you’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with carb counting and food choices. Hopefully you have a good app that will help you keep track (I use Mynetdiary myself).
If it makes you feel any better, I don’t eat the typical Thanksgiving plate myself! I’m not crazy about turkey​:scream: or starchy foods. And I’ve never liked gravy​:scream::scream::scream:. So while others are loading their plates with turkey, tons of dressing, grandma’s secret recipe sweet potatoes, etc, I typically take small servings and skip certain foods entirely.
There are lots of reasons besides diabetes that people choose to eat or not eat certain things: some must be gluten free; some are vegetarian or vegan; some have allergies to certain foods or spices (I have a friend whose daughter is SEVERELY allergic to cinnamon - can’t even be in the room with a cinnamon candle); some are determined to lose those last 10 pounds before their wedding so they can fit into that Pnina Tornai wedding gown - the list goes on and on. So if you chose to go low carb don’t feel bad.
If I could suggest, check out what’s being served in advance, decide as best you can what you’re going to have, and plug it into your tracker so you you’ll have the carbs calculated and won’t have to look up everything at the table. And maybe wait to bolus until you start eating. And remember, you can always correct after the fact. If you decide to have a slice of apple pie, you can bolus separately. And if you don’t eat something you bolused for, don’t panic - yes, you have a little extra insulin in your system but you can eat something else to cover.
So please enjoy your holiday. Take a deep breath - from what I gather you are new to pumping but not diabetes, so you know what you’re doing. If you use a CGM you can track yourself - just remember not to stack insulin, which is tempting if you see the arrows rising. And if you get really concerned, some health plans have 24/7 nurse hotlines that may be able to walk you through. You should check that in advance with a phone call, or see if one is listed on your insurance card.
Sorry if I’m overwhelming you. Just hoping to put your mind at ease. Let us know how things go!

1 Like

Good morning. Enjoy your day and your meal - you’ve got this!

1 Like

@wadawabbit Sorry I have not replied! I haven’t been near a computer. Thank you so much for the extra advice and happy Thanksgiving to you too!! Enjoy the turkey, ham, deviled eggs, and time spent with family, friends, or co-workers!