Managing Your Weight Around the Holidays

During the Holiday season, between Halloween and through New Years, eating becomes a social event. This is the main reason why so many people complain about gaining a few unwanted pounds during this time of year. With all of the delicious foods all around us, and not wanting to offend anyone by not at least sampling their homemade goods, it's easy to overeat. Gaining a few pounds might not be such an issue, but overeating can be dangerous, especially when it comes to what you are eating.

If you have COPD, eating too much can even make it hard for you to breathe, and it's easy to start to feel full quickly. Don't feel obliged or pressured into eating more than you can handle – your family and friends will understand. A full stomach will push against your diaphragm and in turn put pressure on your lungs, which will become uncomfortable and make breathing difficult. Here are a few tips and tricks for avoiding the weight gain, as well as the bloat.

Don't starve yourself before dinner: Many people make the mistake of not eating all day leading up to dinner, so they can stuff themselves with all of the food to come. Eating a small meal a few hours before dinner will help prevent you from being ravenous, which easily leads to eating more than you can handle at one time.

Keep moderation and portion control in mind: Choose the things you like the best first, and put them on your plate in portions no bigger than your fist. Vegetables are less filling, so you may be able to add more, depending on how they are prepared. Go for steamed or boiled veggies with minimal butter or margarine, instead of the candied yams or green bean casserole (maybe a little bit of those!).

Pace Yourself. Eat slowly and take breaks between bites. When we eat quickly, it becomes hard for us to determine exactly when we are satisfied. If you eat too fast, you won't realize when you hit that point, only to feel stuff and ready to explode later.

Limit your desserts: There may be pies and cookies galore, but you should limit yourself to just one dessert after your holiday meal. When families get together, it's not uncommon for more than one person to bring those delicious cookies you loved last year, or your favorite kind of pie or apple crisp. You can always put a few in a paper bag and take them home for another day. This also applies to the candy dishes people like to set out during the holidays – out of sight, out of mind. We can easily eat too many while we wait for the ham to come out of the oven.

Stay active: Another big reason people gain weight during the winter is because they become more sedentary than they were during warmer weather. We tend to stay inside and watch TV, talking and eating with family members, instead of spending time outside playing games or going for walks. Do some simple aerobics and light weight lifting to some music indoors to stay active.

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