Our winter holidays are a wonderful time of year, with joy in the air, perhaps soft snow falling, people exchanging gifts and gathering with families and friends for holiday cheer... and lots of good food.
Unfortunately, being overweight when you have COPD can make it harder to breathe, not to mention causing a number of other health risks and problems. I talked at length about this subject in another article.
I'm sure you'll agree that it's hard to avoid eating many tasty delights during the holidays. Whether it's those sugar-laden home-baked cookies and breads, the high fat h'or d'oerves at parties or just too large portions of meals, there's a good chance you'll pick up a pound or two by New Years.
A pound or two probably won't hurt too much, but many of us pack on 5 or 10 extra pounds during the latter part of the year! And that can have a very negative impact on your ability to breathe.
So, aside from total deprivation, what can you do to avoid holiday weight gain this year?
First off, keep drinking plenty of water. Water flushes out a lot of toxins. It also fills you up, so you're not as tempted to eat as much. Drink a full glass of water in the hour before a party or a meal to reduce your hunger.
Secondly, be sure to make time to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. People with COPD find it easiest to tolerate 4 to 6 small meals a day, so don't let the holidays get in the way of proper eating. Also, if you eat regularly, you won't be as tempted to over-indulge when tempation comes your way.
Thirdly, stay as active as you can. Exercising isn't always easy when you have COPD, depending on how far along you are in the progression of your disease, but there is always something you can do to stay active, even if it's just exercising while sitting in a chair.
Adding even 15 minutes of exercise a day to your routine can help you avoid holiday weight gain. Taking a walk around the block or even up and down the halls of your home after meals is also a good way to burn calories.
And finally, watch your alcohol intake during the holidays. Did you know that most alcoholic drinks are filled with lots of empty calories? And no, drinking rum-spiked eggnog is not a great way to get in your dairy for the day!
Besides the calories, drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions and make it easier for you to make unhealthy food choices. So, limit yourself to one drink per holiday outing, and you'll be thankful later!
In the long run, avoiding holiday weight gain isn't all that different than the efforts you make every day to maintain your weight in a healthy range. It's just that there are more tempations to take you off track. So, hold firm and make healthy choices and you'll be OK come the new year.