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Thanksgiving “Vacation”?

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It is a common saying within the diabetes community that there are no vacations from diabetes. This seems to be especially true for people with Type 1 diabetes, for whom the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin means there is no way for the body to regulate blood glucose on its own — a situation that can quickly lead to a dangerously high or low blood glucose level if the normal treatment routine is disrupted. Many people with Type 2 diabetes are, of course, in a similar situation, especially if they use insulin or another blood-glucose-lowering drug that requires calibrating doses with carbohydrate intake to avoid blood glucose spikes or dips. As the title of a recent post on the New York Times blog Well suggests, these individuals are often “thinking about diabetes with every bite.”

But some people with diabetes — especially Type 2 diabetes — suffer few, if any, short-term consequences from lapses in their diabetes routine. For these people, a vacation from diabetes may be possible, even if it incrementally raises the risk of certain long-term diabetic complications. Of course, what a vacation entails will be different for every person, and ignoring diabetes completely — by not taking prescribed drugs or completely ignoring eating recommendations — can be dangerous. But once in a while, it is undeniable that many people with diabetes allow themselves some wiggle room in their routine.

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So this Thanksgiving, how much wiggle room will you give yourself? Do you think it’s important to stop worrying about what you eat every once in a while, or do you find deviating even slightly from your meal plan too risky? Do you feel guilty when you eat something you “shouldn’t,” or bitter when you skip a treat because of your diabetes? What, for you, is the right balance? Leave a comment below!

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