During the holiday season, it’s easy to overindulge while eating big meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holiday festivities. But overeating can negatively affect your health and your ability to breathe if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or another chronic lung condition. 

How Overeating Affects Your Body

It’s well known that eating too much can cause discomfort and makes people tired, but what happens when you overeat and have a chronic lung disease?
If you have chronic lung disease, you burn an average of 10 calories more than a healthy person does to breathe. Chewing and digesting food burns even more calories and requires more energy from you. When you overeat, your body must expend increased calories and energy for digestion, which can leave you feeling breathless and fatigued. 
Additionally, as your stomach fills, it presses against the diaphragm and lungs. You may feel pressure in your chest and abdomen, and you may struggle to breathe well as your organs compete for space in your body.
Overeating also has negative consequences when you eat too many high-sodium foods, simple carbohydrates and sugars and foods that cause gas and bloating. Simple carbohydrates and sugars increase inflammation throughout your body. Sodium, cruciferous vegetables, carbonated drinks and dairy products cause bloating, which makes you feel uncomfortably full and puts more pressure on your diaphragm and lungs. 

Tips to Prevent Overeating

It can be difficult not to overeat when you are sitting in front of big meals with multiple appetizing dishes. These tips can help you manage your meals during the holiday season as well as in your day-to-day life. 

  • Eat slowly. Take small bites and chew each one thoroughly. Eating slowly will help you enjoy the tastes and textures more, while also curbing your instinct to overindulge.
  • Eat multiple small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large ones. Eating several small meals can help you feel less overfull after each meal, and also provide you with a steady source of energy as you move through the day.
  • Fill your plate with the right foods. At every meal, you should have a protein, a fat and a vegetable. A balanced plate will give you the calories, energy and nutrients you need, while also helping you feel satisfied without overeating.
  • Stop after 1 plate of food. During big holiday meals, where food is served buffet-style, eat 1 plateful and then take a break. It can take up to 20 minutes for your body to realize it’s full, so pause for 20 to 30 minutes after you finish eating, and only go back for seconds if you’re truly hungry. 

Lung Health Institute Has Treatment Options for COPD 

If you have COPD or another chronic lung condition, Lung Health Institute has treatment that may be able to slow the progression of your disease. Cellular therapy uses your own cells to potentially decrease inflammation within your lungs and prevent further damage to your airways and lung tissue. Our goal is to help you Breathe Easier™ and reduce the symptoms that keep you from doing the activities you love. Cellular therapy is minimally invasive, performed as an outpatient procedure and has no downtime afterward.
If you are interested in learning more or scheduling a free consultation, contact one of our patient coordinators today.