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two plates with varying portion sizes

Portion Control and COPD

I was raised in a family of big eaters and it showed – most of us were overweight all our lives. I fought to lose weight off and on but for the most part, I accepted it. We were short on nutritional information, tall on sugars and starchy carbohydrates. The insurgence of the FAST FOOD craze did not help those of us already fighting extra pounds. Everyone knows that the best tasting food is not good for you and I was always using food as a comfort.

My biggest problem was portion control

When you go to a restaurant and order a meal, the food that is not good for you comes plentiful, like fries and sauces. It is an indulgence that is OK once in a while but if you continue to eat like that, as the old saying goes, you get to keep it on your hips! When I was first in the hospital, I realized quickly that my biggest problem was portion control.

Even though I was eating things that were good for me, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. One trick the dietitian told me was to get smaller plates, so it looks like my plate if full and that I am not missing out on anything. Another tip was to cut the plate in quarters. Three of those quarters should be full of veggie greens and nutrient-filled foods. Only one quarter should contain meat and that meat should be light like chicken and fish. Beef is heavy meat that is hard to digest and should be eaten sparingly.

What do I eat during my daily meals?

Starting with breakfast was extremely hard for me as I had never been a breakfast person. I gave it a shot and I found that having breakfast kept me full the rest of the day. I would hard boil eggs and peel them and eat them cold every morning with 2 slices of hard cheese and a banana. Breakfast covered my protein for muscle development and potassium that is so important for heart and lung function.

At lunchtime, I would fill up on veggies that were mostly raw. Cherry tomatoes, carrots, and peppers cut up with a bit of low-calorie dressing. In the summertime, a nice salad is in order. In the winter months, I would roast veggies such as beets, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, peppers, on a cooking sheet with olive oil and garlic. A piece of fruit would round up the meal.

Dinner or supper time, my main meal of the day, is the meal that I have the biggest problem with. For one thing, I rarely exercise after dinner. This means that after my main meal I am sedentary, and my stomach is full, and it appears that this affects my breathing. At dinner time I usually take a probiotic and have found that they give me some relief from the bloating feeling. Probiotics also work as a mild laxative as well so be aware of that.

The best trick I found

The best trick I found was cutting my portions in half. Now, after dinner, I am full but do not have the bloated feeling of a too-full stomach. Changing your mindset from taste and comfort to fuel for muscles helps us make educated decisions on the best choices.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi Josie and thanks for commenting. It is extremely hard to eliminate all the things you love to eat especially when you are not feeling great to begin with. Eating sugar becomes an addiction and just like any addiction getting it under control isn’t easy. Good luck on your quest. You will feel.much better once you do. Barbara Moore (site moderator/author)

  • Josie
    3 months ago

    I hear you Barbara…I am a junk food junkie. And fries are #1 on my list. Number 2 is onion rings. Number 3 through a trillion is anything sweet.
    I am a cancer patient in addition to having COPD, and when I asked my Oncologist if I needed to be on any special diet he said “Nothing white and no sugar”. I started laughing….I really thought he was kidding.
    He wasn’t. (Potatoes, rice, bread, yada, yada). And everything on planet earth has some sugar in it.
    I have cut back as much as I can….sometimes better than others.
    Sounds like you are doing great…I know how hard it is…good for you!
    Take care of yourself Barbara….and be safe.

    Josie

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi Josie and thanks for commenting. It is extremely hard to eliminate all the things you love to eat especially when you are not feeling great to begin with. Eating sugar becomes an addiction and just like any addiction getting it under control isn’t easy. Good luck on your quest. You will feel.much better once you do. Barbara Moore (site moderator/author)

  • Katt
    3 months ago

    Very good information, I’m sure it will be helpful for many many people.
    I , however, have the opposite problem…can’t keep weight on when I have an exacerbation, or even a cold……sometimes losing 10 to 15 pounds. It is hard to regain and I have started to use a prescription for a liquid derived from marijuana which seems to work better than anything I have tried. Unfortunately, when you are striving to gain weight there aren’t too many healthy choices that work. I find I have to eat cookies,cake,ice cream, etc besides my normal mostly healthy meals, to even make a small increase in my weight. If I go below 120 I get pretty weak.
    If anyone has suggestions, I am open.

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi Katt, I do appreciate your dilemma. It is very important that you gain and keep your weight at a proper level. I think you need to eat on a schedule and sometimes you have yo force yourself to eat until your jaw is sore. Eating chicken breast and rice is better than eating sugary foods but most importantly you should have access to a nutritionist who can help you through with by eating proper foods. You want to gain muscle not fat.
    Hope this helps and you can keep you weight on. Barbara Moore (site moderator/author)

  • EAT2017
    3 months ago

    Hi Barbara,

    I have had the misconception that people who have emphysema were always thin. I was always thin until the last 3-4 years, I’ve gained 25 lbs. A lot of it during this Covid. My thinking was how many calories are burned just trying to breathe.

    I have tried to keep under 1200 calories a day which I find very difficult. Lately, I crave chocolate and carbs. Thank you for reminding me how to eat a bit better as I am struggling with portions as well as food choices. Wish me luck because my extra weight gain is causing other issues like knee pain, tiredness and cost of larger clothing. Ugh

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    3 months ago

    Eat2017, I do wish you luck in your mission because I know you can do it. Extra weight makes breathing so much harder and that is the reward you get for losing weight. A bit more exercise and a bit less carbs should do the trick. Covid has had many people talking about their weight issues and they are calling it the COVID20 or COVID30, depending on how much weight they have gained. Barbara Moore (site moderator author)

  • Janet Plank moderator
    3 months ago

    Barbara, it seems like you were talking to me here. Very good info.
    Thank you,
    Janet (COPD.net)

  • Barbara Moore moderator author
    3 months ago

    Hi Janet, for those of us with heaftier bodies I was but apparently I have forgitten those that can’t gain weight. It is a problem if the same magnitude with opposite results. Thanks for saying how much my article resonated with you. Barbara Moore (Site moderator/author)

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