All Kidney Transplant Centers have weight requirements for potential Kidney Transplant patients because excess weight can make surgery more difficult for people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and reduce chances of Post-Transplant success. The Kidney Korner Newsletter reports that "hope can fade quickly once a patient learns that he/she is not eligible for a transplant due to excessive body weight." Often times the holiday season only exacerbates this issue as family and friends gather to share stories and EAT. In fact, the average Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner has over 2,000 calories, the equivalent caloric intake of an entire day. Needless to say, the holidays can make it difficult for CKD patients to watch their waistline and stick to their renal diet. However, there are a few helpful hints that can get you through the holidays without feeling deprived while greatly improving your chances of receiving a Kidney Transplant.
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Do not skip meals because often times you become very hungry and overeat. You may be looking forward to a holiday feast, but instead of skipping meals to "make room" for the great dinner ahead, eat a light and wholesome breakfast and lunch to avoid overeating at dinnertime. What's more, evidence has shown that larger portions of food leads to greater unused energy intake thus causing a greater risk of gaining weight.
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Substitute eating a lot of fried and fatty foods (greasy meats, creamy dishes and casseroles) which are likely high in both potassium and sodium for baked skinless turkey or chicken and other healthier choices. If you decide to eat roast beef, try to trim or completely cut off the fat.
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Fast food is a common alternative to cooking especially around the holidays. Evidence has shown a strong association between excess weight in people with CKD and fast food consumption. So, even around the holiday season try to prepare a fresh balanced meal, even if it is a small salad or light quick dish.
If you choose to eat dessert at all, make sure that it falls into your renal diet and the serving size is small. Typically renal diet appropriate desserts include fruit pie, cobbler, angel food cake, pound cake or lemon meringue pie. Having to eat dessert in small sizes may seem like a "downer" but if you eat your food slowly and savor every bit, you will feel just as satisfied as eating a much larger portion quickly.
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If you are cooking then select easily substitutable healthy ingredients such as low fat sour cream/ cream cheese for regular sour cream/cream cheese, low calorie sweetener (Splenda) for regular sugar, and fruit that is packed in juice for fruit packed in syrup. Also, the primary source of extra carbohydrates are often found in sweetened beverages which account for almost 25% of daily calories in American adults. Remember to limit your fluid intake in general, but more specifically try to avoid sweetened drinks as much as possible.
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Physical activity is anything that causes you to move your body. You DO NOT have to conduct scheduled overly exertive exercise to maintain a balanced weight. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you only need to complete 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercises including gardening, walking stairs, sweeping your house and conducting leg lifts.
Almost everyone has sleeping problems during the holidays, often due to stress. Stress and lack of sleep have direct implications on causing weight gain. A study found that those who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours a night put on more weight than those who slept for 7 to 8 hours each night. To avoid stress, poor sleeping and weight gain people with CKD should avoid eating due to "emotional stress," continue to follow their consistent bedtime (even during holiday festivities). When going to bed be sure not to be too full or hungry, and do not exercise within 6 hours of your bedtime.
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Evidence does not support the idea that some people eat little and still gain a larger amount of weight. Even during this holiday season, be sure to maintain your weight as well as a balanced lifestyle because you never know when you will be called on for your Kidney Transplant. KidneyBuzz.com encourages all CKD patients to get prepared or stay prepared for their call.
*Note: Do not forget to order your No BP/No Stick Medical Alert Bracelet!
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"Five Holiday Eating Tips for People with Kidney Disease ." Http://www.davita.com/. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.
T. Creagan, Edward, M.D. "Stress Management - How Do I Control Stress-induced Weight Gain?" Http://www.mayoclinic.com/. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
"Exercise and Physical Fitness." Http://www.nlm.nih.gov/. MedlinePlus/U.S. National Library of Medicine/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health.
"Weight Loss & Diet Plans - Obesity." Http://www.webmd.com/. WebMD, LLC.
"Waking Up to Sleep’s Role in Weight Control." Http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/. The President and Fellows of Harvard College.