Q: Do you have any recommendations for managing the stress that comes along with the holidays this time of year?
A: I find that it is important to establish an exercise regimen and try to stick to it, even during the holidays. Exercise has many benefits and one that is often overlooked is that it is a great stress reducer. Exercise also helps to limit the weight gain that can accompany the holidays. It does not have to be a rigorous exercise regimen -- it can just be walking or swimming, but doing this every day is a great stress reducer. If you are a recipient of a living donor kidney transplant, remember your donor and try to spend some time with him or her during the holidays. You should also remember friends and family that help you cope with your chronic disease. We all need support from time to time, and family and friends always seem to be there to help. Holidays should be happy family time.
Q: What suggestions do you have to avoid gaining weight during the holiday season?
A: In addition to the exercise regimen noted above, you should weigh yourself daily and measure your blood pressure daily to help keep salt and calorie intake in perspective. Drink plenty of water to try and fill up prior to eating during the holiday. Also, before the holidays, if you’re a kidney patient try to visit with your kidney dietitian. A phone call or a consult with the dietitian can be very helpful to plan ahead for the challenges that sometimes accompany holiday eating.