“Come on. This is a special day. Just have a little bit.”

“I made this especially for you.”

“Can’t you give yourself a break on the holidays?”

The holiday season is upon us. Celebration. Food. More food. Lots of holiday togetherness revolving around the dining room table. Lots of encouragement to eat, overeat, and otherwise give in to culinary temptations. Along with breaking your diet.

Yes, food is love. And during the holidays, you might feel like everybody wants to demonstrate their love with a platter of food. For a diabetic, giving in to all that temptation can have disastrous results. But it’s not much fun to say no when everybody else is saying yes, yes, and yes again. And expecting you to do the same.

Here are some ideas to help you enjoy the holidays and keep your healthy diet on track:

Watch your perspective. You can view the holidays as a time to feel deprived of the foods that you would like to eat but aren’t on your diet. Or you can view the holidays as a time to celebrate, to enjoy being with people you care about, to give of yourself. In other words, the holidays aren’t all about food, or at least they don’t have to be. Perception is reality!

Have a vision. How do you want to look and feel at the other end of the holiday season? With this vision in mind, shift your focus away from having to say no to the temptations that come your way, and toward saying YES to the “you” that you want to be on New Year’s Day. Empower yourself with positive intention.

Enlist support ahead of time. Be specific, even if means giving instructions like, “I am going to really stick to my diet at dinner, so please don’t encourage me to load up on the candied yams. Even though yours are the best!”

Be firm. Say thanks but no thanks. A simple, “I really appreciate the offer and, believe me, it looks tempting. But my diet just doesn’t allow it.” Repeat as needed. (Keep in mind: The person trying to talk you into that big slice of pie may be hoping to over-indulge right along with you.)

Bring your own. If you’re concerned that your willpower will be challenged, you might want to consider bringing a diabetic-friendly side dish or dessert of your own. This might help take the edge off your cravings for the not-so-healthy stuff, as well as provide an opportunity for the other guests to learn that the diabetic diet isn’t all about deprivation. Check out the recipes here on Diabetic Connect for some great ideas.

And watch out for emotional eating. The holidays can be difficult. Being overscheduled, for example. Or not so scheduled, when it seems like everybody except you has places to go and people to see. And all those family issues that seem to float to the surface this time of year. Stress, fatigue, and loneliness can be triggers for emotional eating. If that’s you, then it’s a good idea to make sure you plan ahead for the holiday season by doing an inventory of your coping skills.

If you fall off the horse, just get back on. If you slip up in a weak moment and over-indulge, get back on the horse. Self-criticism can lead to feelings of hopelessness. And more excuses to give up on your diet. Resolve to do better tomorrow. And then do it.

Food is love. Show yourself some love over the holidays by staying on top of your diabetic diet. Be the best you can be for yourself and for the important people in your life!

To Learn More about This Topic:

Surviving the Holidays without Blowing Your Blood Sugar

Diabetic Burnout? How to Talk about Your Feelings

Holiday Tip: Stay Positive with the "Diabetes Police"