Managing diabetes and diets during the holidays

6:12 PM, Nov 22, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Thanksgiving is close and the holidays are in full swing. Keeping a diet is tough during this season and managing diabetes is even harder.
In our health alert... tips from a diabetic who nearly lost his life.

See below for diabetic symptoms

Eric Ray went undiagnosed with type 2 diabetes for 6 months. A near death episode convinced him to turn his life around. 

Ray says, "I had diabetes ketosis. I ended up in ICU for about 2 weeks 
Being just over 400 pounds and having to take needle injections about 5 times a day, that wasn't the life that I wanted to live.

His determination paid off, he lost 180 pounds. In his book, Diabetes: the Silent Killer, he talks about resisting temptations. It can be especially tough during the holidays.

"There's Christmas parties, cocktail parties, this party, that party," adds Ray.

So here are a few tips. First, if you crave foods with lots of carbs and sugars like pecan pie, kill the cravings!

Ray says, "Just have a little bit of it, it's better to have a little of that to kill the craving for it, as opposed to not having it at all."

That might cause you to binge later. Next, don't get too comfortable, get out and walk.

Ray says, "Exercise, go for a walk before the meal, go for a walk after the meal."

You don't need fried, greasy foods, switch it up a bit and experiment.

"Flavor, cooking, as I always say stop using the top of the stove. Use the inside, use the oven. You can bake, you can broil, you have seasonings.  Flavor is your friend," says Ray.

Don't forget portion size, especially for those snacks.

Ray adds, "If it fits in the palm of your hand, everything that falls out, you don't need it."

And you don't have to finish the whole plate.

"Doggy bags are your friends. You can take it home. Especially Thanksgiving, that long weekend. There's football games. Have that doggy bag with all those goodies in it," says Ray.

November is diabetes awareness month, and if you have a family history of diabetes you may want to get a physical. Complications can include heart, liver, and kidney problems.


Sometimes type 2 diabetes can develop without any warnings signs. In fact, about a third of all people who have type 2 diabetes don't know they have it. That's why it's important to talk to your doctor about your risk for diabetes and determined if you should be tested.

Common warnings signs of diabetes include:

Increased thirst
Increased hunger (especially after eating)
Dry mouth
Frequent urination or urine infections
Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
Blurred vision
Diabetic coma (loss of consciousness)

If you have any of the above mentioned warnings signs of diabetes, give your doctor a call and schedule a diabetes test. With the right diabetes diet, regular exercise, and medications, if needed, you can manage type 2 diabetes and live an active, productive life.

If you have symptoms of the following diabetes complications, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. Each brief discussion links to more in-depth information. 


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