Today I have just returned home from the most amazing Summer holiday. I was in Paphos, Cyprus, with my family for two weeks and I had the best time.
The hotel we stayed in was absolutely gorgeous, the staff were amazing, it was by the beach, had a fabulous pool, was only minutes away from a harbour and loads of bars. The best things were the weather and of course… the food! We had both buffet breakfasts and dinner.
Obviously, as a diabetic, buffets can be difficult to navigate and can cause a bit of confusion and mess up your blood sugars at times. I just wanted to write a little blog post about how I coped with eating out and from buffets for two weeks.
I choose to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and normally count my calories and macros (which helps me to know exactly how many grams of carbohydrates are in each meal and hence how much insulin to take). However, I decided that for my holiday I would stop counting (obviously!! I am on holiday!) and just appreciate and enjoy the delicious foods.
Let’s start with breakfast… Hands down, my favourite meal of the day, and this hotel had everythingggg. Some mornings I’d have oats and peanut butter with banana, some mornings I’d have toast with eggs and smoked salmon, sometimes pancakes, sometimes allll of everything I wanted. In order for my body to cope with this, I usually worked out in the gym at the hotel before breakfast so I could refuel after. I would also take enough insulin (which I estimated from knowing things from home and learned after a few mornings at the hotel) which would even my sugars back out as they dropped already from the workout. I love going to the gym so definitely wanted to make use of the hotel facilities!
Lunch was usually a small snack of fruit and a naked bar or a smoothie, which was fine as we consumed most of our calories at the beginning and end of the day. The buffet dinners were themed to a different country each night, and every night there was a huge variety of salads, different meats, dishes from that country, etc. Although I wanted to try little bits of things, I mainly tried to eat a large plate of salad and a lot of meats for protein, and I knew that I wouldn’t need insulin for this. If I wanted some carbs, I’d need to guess just how much to take, which was difficult at times, especially when I had dessert, or found I’d taken too much insulin for what I’d eaten. On occasions I’d wake up in the morning with high sugars, and sometimes I’d need to snack on things before bed (even though I was still stuffed from dinner) because of errors made. It can be difficult to guess how many units to take when you’re eating from a buffet, but my body became more or less adjusted to it over the holiday and I decided to relax and enjoy myself despite the little errors that occurred every now and then.
There are many factors that can have an impact on your blood glucose levels on holiday. I find the heat makes my sugars higher than normal and I need to adjust my long lasting insulin. Drinking more alcohol than normal and eating more both of course cause fluctuations as well. Avoid sugary cocktails! I stuck to spirits like vodka and Malibu with diet mixers and loved the house red wine!
I would be lying if I didn’t say that I had problems in Cyprus with my sugars. On the first morning I completely forgot my long lasting injection and my sugars rocketed. I felt sick and lethargic and couldn’t understand why until I remembered the time difference and that I’d forgotten, and freaked out. However, I remembered after that and everything went back to normal in the following days. A panic at first, but a one off mistake and easily fixed.
I managed my sugars as best I could and decided to relax and enjoy myself. I didn’t over indulge too much, but I treated myself with delicious and healthy foods (and desserts!) and had a few glasses of wine now and then. I had a fabulous holiday and am so lucky to have been able to relax and enjoy amazing weather, company and food! And, my body didn’t change. I didn’t gain weight, I don’t feel guilty about letting go for a couple weeks, I had the best time and made some amazing memories with my family. Being diabetic on holiday can be frustrating and upsetting at times, but it really shouldn’t stop you living life to the fullest and enjoying every second.