Overeating on Thanksgiving: A Questionable Habit

by | Nov 26, 2014 | Emphysema, Lifestyle

It’s Thanksgiving and everybody is ready to eat their own body weight in perfectly baked turkey, fabulous side dishes and heartwarming desserts. The smell of turkey wafts through the air. There comes a time when you can no longer restrain yourself from consuming the stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. As it sits just oh-so-perfectly on the dining room table, you can feel the impending food coma, but tossing your cares to the wind, you dive in. The first plate always go down so easy. Tasting the variety of flavors with each bite of savory goodness. In, what feels like, the blink of an eye, the first plate is cleared, but you are not ready to say goodbye to the harvest-filled flavors of turkey day. The second plate is easier to fill; you know what came out good this year, so you grab extra stuffing and hold on the dinner rolls. Ten minutes later, you peel yourself from your dining room chair for plate number three. It feels so effortless to keep eating, but eventually everyone hits their wall. The grandchildren have already hit their lull and can be found sleeping on the couch; except for Little Timmy, of course, he always pulls the short stick and lands on the floor for the after-dinner nap.

Halfway through plate three, you feel plate one really filling up your stomach. It feels like you can’t take another bite. A short minute later, your daughter offers up her famous pumpkin pie (your recipe, of course). It is an offer you can’t resist; a piece and a half later, you are officially stuffed. You do it every year. Now you’re nauseous and a little bit dizzy. Reaching for your oxygen tank, you hope that will make this moment a little easier, but you know that this time isn’t because of the emphysema; it’s all the food. Your body feels like it’s shutting down organ by organ, but you can’t help but relish in the beautiful aftertaste of whipped cream and pecan topping.

Looking back, you regret plate three. The calories from the carbohydrates are slowing you down. You can feel the mashed potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, sweet potato bites, apple pie, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie grating on your digestive system. Like many people on Thanksgiving, it’s possible that you just consumed around 3,000 calories in one meal. That is more than a full day’s worth of recommend caloric intake.

After a short while with your good friend, O2, you begin to feel normal again. You aren’t sure if you dozed off or your body kicked itself into overdrive to compensate for the painful overeating you just endured. With a refreshed mind, you promise yourself that you will not overeat on Thanksgiving again. You vow to never stuff yourself like you stuff the turkey, and you will never stuff yourself like you just did again. No food is worth that feeling, and no taste is worth that pain.

From the kitchen, you can hear your son rustling about. Moments later, you hear the one word that could replace every promise you just made to yourself: leftovers.


This Thanksgiving consider not overeating. Make a plan of what is an okay amount to eat as a large spike in calories can be problematic for individuals with a chronic lung disease. If you or a loved one is suffering from a chronic lung disease, contact the Lung Health Institute or call us at 888-745-6697 to learn how you could bring life within reach.

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