obese woman with lungs

COPD, Obesity and Me

Last updated: May 2018

The last thing that I want to tell a group of people is that I’m overweight. I’m not just overweight, I’m obese. I’ve been dieting for years. Looking back, I have been at this weight and on the 10-20 lb. roller coaster for 6 years. I know that my weight is affecting my COPD, my asthma, my breathing, my arthritis and more. I’m coming clean, because I know there are others who are struggling with their weight as well. We are in this together.

More and more I’m seeing that excess abdominal weight can lower a person’s lung function. The excess fat can constrict the lungs and make it harder to breathe. I know that I was in denial about this, but yes, I can tell a difference.

Are you overweight? Does this affect you? What helps you and what makes it worse?

Diet or regular sodas, chips, sweets, processed foods, etc. contribute to my muffin top. Some days it seems like my abdomen is being pushed up and it likely is, it also pushes against my lungs which makes it more difficult to breathe. I look pregnant. It also makes me tired. Just thinking of it can make me tired, partially because I don’t want to think of it, I just want that weight to go away.

I make sure that I’m up and moving at least every hour. I work with small weights for upper body strength and do stretches and other exercises as well. I need to get back on my recumbent exercise bike. These things will help for a total body, burn calories and yes, help to improve lung volume. If you have an opportunity to go to Pulmonary Rehab, do go. That can make such a difference and they would help you with coordinated exercise. Your doctor would have to recommend you. If you don’t have Pulmonary Rehab where you are, talk with your doctor about an exercise program and see if there is a respiratory program or Better Breathers Club where you are.

We all know how important diet is.

I remember that when I was a 120 pound teenager, I thought I should weigh 100 lbs. I remember after my kids where born when I weighed 148 pounds and that I needed to lose weight. I got down to 106 pounds. Then, a diet was cutting out french fries, cookies or candy. Now it seems to be everything. Dieting is hard work. I have been known to say that quitting smoking was much easier than losing weight, because we have to eat. I did quit smoking 14 years ago, cold turkey. When talking about my quit, my husband will tell you that wasn’t easy… I wonder if he meant for him or for me

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