I have provided guidance about healthy eating and healthy living to many people living with diabetes, as well as preventive advice for those who don’t. Diabetes education, raising my three kids, and my family were my life before elected office.
As you may know, having an unhealthy diet, tobacco use, inactivity, and several other things place people at risk for Type 2 diabetes, and many other conditions. I am fully aware of how the daily behaviours of many Canadians can result in negative health outcomes, and yet I too struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle due to the busy life of a Member of Parliament.
The all-consuming schedule of being an MP means that often we grab fast food on the go, even when my team and I know it’s the not the best choice for us. Often we rush meals between meetings, which is not the best habit for eating healthy food and doesn’t leave time for proper digestion. The late work hours also means eating late at night, on occasion, which is another unfortunate choice.
This job requires early mornings, late nights, hours and hours in meetings, and lots of time away from home—all of which make it hard to live by the best practices I outlined for patients in my 18 years as healthcare specialist. Given that it is Diabetes Awareness Month and 9 million Canadians are impacted by diabetes or prediabetes—and 60 per cent of Canadians struggle with being overweight or obese—I feel it is important to highlight some tactics for healthy living:
Drink lots of water! It’s good for mental and physical health. Try to avoid regular consumption of sugar sweetened-beverages
Start your meal with a full glass of water, then your salad, fruits, and vegetables
Think about portion size before making your choice, and stop eating before you feel too full
Ask to have your meal choice prepared differently (e.g. baked instead of fried, sauce on the side)
Snack options at meetings and on the road can sometimes be unhealthy. Try to have nuts, seeds, apples or pre-cut carrots to eat while on-the-go
Say “no” to food at meetings and conferences when you are not hungry