Minimizing the Weight Gained

Physical healing of the body and mind

Minimizing the Weight Gained

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Jan 2001, 19:37 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library
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Minimizing the Weight Gained
From Quitting Smoking

You may have heard that you can't deal with weight control issues at the same time as quitting smoking. It may be fine for some people to gorge themselves while quitting smoking and deal with the weight at a later time. The health implication of a minor weight gain is negligible in comparison to the health risks posed by smoking. The average smoker would have to gain over 75 to 100 pounds to put the additional workload on the heart that is experienced by smoking, and this is not saying anything about the smoking cancer risk.

But for aesthetic and emotional reasons, allowing uncontrolled eating and the inevitable weight gain is a mistake that will often undermine the quitting process. Discouragement over appearance can cause some to return to smoking. Then the smoker has the additional problem of the extra weight combined with smoking. Sometimes the weight does not automatically disappear by simply relapsing back to smoking.

Weight gain following smoking cessation can be due to several factors. Smoking can have an effect on a person's metabolism and thus quitting can account for a small weight gain in some individuals. Gains of 5 to 10 pounds over a number of months can be attributed to metabolic alterations in some individuals. But once weight gain exceeds 10 pounds, other factors are more probably responsible.

Snacking between meals or increasing the overall size of meals, can easily result in the consuming of several hundred extra calories per day. Eating just an additional 100 calories a day will result in a one pound fat gain in just over a month, 10.4 pounds in one year, and an extra 104 pounds in ten years. 104 pounds of fat from drinking the equivalent of one extra soft drink per day. This is why you often hear, "I didn't eat that much more but gained excessive amounts of weight!" True, they may not have eaten that much more daily, but they did it everyday, and the cumulative effect can easily account for the "mysterious" weight gain.

Some ex-smokers eat more because they are just hungrier. They find themselves snacking between meals or needing to eat at times that were never necessary before. If they wait to eat too late in the day or there is too much time between meals, they may start to experience symptoms such as headaches, sleepiness or lack of energy. This can be a real side effect of smoking cessation.

The reason for the new sense of hunger is due to the fact that nicotine is an appetite suppressant. Smoking between meals seems to eradicate the need for the snacking behaviors experienced by many ex-smokers. Nicotine does this by elevating the blood sugar and blood fat levels, basically tricking the body into thinking that it has eaten more than it actually has. While that may help to control weight, it does so at a risk. Cigarettes used as an appetite suppressant can cause cancer, heart disease, strokes and a host of other illnesses.

The ex-smoker is no longer constantly administering an appetite suppressant. This does not mean he or she needs to increase caloric intake. It may be a matter of redistributing food normally eaten at single sittings at large meals into numerous smaller meals spaced throughout the day. This can allow for the snacking between meals ex-smokers are notorious for without increasing overall caloric intake. As an example, if breakfast consists of cereal, muffin, eggs, and a glass of juice, instead of eating all that food in one sitting, it can be dispersed over two or three times keeping a more even distribution of blood sugar throughout the morning hours. The same rule can apply to lunch and dinner, allowing for numerous snacking times throughout the day.

A more insidious mechanism of increased caloric intake can be experienced by unwittingly eating more at the end of meals. The smoking of a cigarette used to signify the end of a meal. With no cigarette to serve as a cue, the ex-smoker may continue to consume extra food after every meal whether or not he or she is hungry. The ex-smoker may not even know that they have eaten more in the process.

One solution to this behavior can be planning the meal out in advance. Calculate and prepare the amount of food you used to consume while smoking and acknowledge to yourself that you have finished. Another way is leave the table immediately upon completion of the meal. If you must stay at the table have a glass of cold water or a non-caloric beverage present. Don't leave a plate with scraps or desserts in easy reach.

Another very good solution is getting up and brushing your teeth. This can become the new cue for the end of the meal as well as improve dental hygiene. The clean feeling in your mouth may be a new pleasurable experience for an ex-smoker. While smoking, brushing of the teeth was often followed by a cigarette, compromising the overall cleansing process.

Besides controlling consumption, exercise is another tool to help with weight control efforts after quitting smoking. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise done every other day can offset the metabolic alteration accompanied by smoking cessation. If you are eating "a little more," then more exercise can help offset that, too. But be realistic. You have to do a lot of activity to burn off a relatively small amount of food. That is not to say it is a waste of time to exercise to lose weight; just don't eat food with a shovel and go for a short walk and expect to work off the difference.

Successful weight control while quitting smoking can be accomplished with a little extra effort and planning. If weight gain is experienced during smoking cessation, steps should be implemented as soon as possible to reverse the process. Then to maintain a healthy lifestyle, watch your food consumption, exercise regularly, and most importantly - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!



Last edited by Joel on 15 Jun 2015, 23:19, edited 1 time in total.
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mela
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:14

31 Jan 2001, 01:52 #2

Image i gained 5 lbs my first 2 wks but suddenly in the last 2 days water tasted sooooooooo good!!!!!!!! and some foods that i usually eat alot of tasted soooooooo salty!!!! needless to say i'm in the process of making better choices of what to eat and this article will help trmendously! i'm printing it and intend to get the others suggested.thanks! mela
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Feb 2001, 01:05 #3

Awesome Mela! So many quitters allow themselves to get so preoccupied with a few early extra pounds that it ends up costing them their quits and eventually their lives. I read somewhere that almost 80% of quitters experience an initial weight gain of 5 to 10 lbs. but that it's a result of multiple causes including oral satisfaction during withdrawal anxiety, satisfaction of our healed senses of smell and taste, no longer having a smoke break to tell you that a meal has ended (Joel says try brushing your teeth), a loss of the appetite suppressant qualities of nicotine, and reduced metabolism in that your heart (the hardest working organ of the body and it's biggest calorie burner) is now able to work far easier in pumping blood through blood vessels that are no longer being constricted by nicotine. Remember how cold your fingers became while you smoked? Where did your heart put the extra blood? Itt's almost impossible to determine the exact cause of our early additional pounds, as each of us are different, but there are a few simple truths that should bring us comfort. First, you are getting a new healthy body which will have far more endurance ability than your old. For example, unless you've done permanent damage to your lungs you should expect to see almost a 1/3rd improvement in lung function. It would be nice if that translated into a 1/3rd reduction in body weight but even so, you'll have the physical tools you need to tackle your modest weight gain.

Aside from the physical ability to take control of your weight, you're also developing the mental skills necessary to address your weight concerns, or any other concerns that you may have. Coping skills, attitude, one hour at a time, crave, trigger, habit, comfort, joy - these tools, skills and rewards are 100% transferrable. The secret now is in learning the lessons you'll need to get you mentally ready to tackle troubling any aspect of your life including internet addiction, drinking, weight gain, career changes, or procrastination. Just last week I gave up caffine without any problem whatsoever (except a couple of minor headaches) and last year I went without any alcohol for 6 months just to say I did. It feels good to try new things!

Some say that we don't gain weight when we quit but only return to our true unaddicted and natural weight. In that we can control what we eat and how much energy we expend, we can each live our desired weight. Take the time now to get your new body healthy, Mela, before trying to shape it. If you study hard now, you can move mountains later : )) Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, YQB

Zep - The Gold Club
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Mar 2001, 16:52 #4

Image Just wanted to bring this up to show there are definate steps that can be taken to help with weight control that don't involve doing dramatic diet alterations that may cause problems or symptoms, such as low carb diet discussed in other string this morning. This one also discusses some of the blood sugar issues.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Mar 2001, 04:43 #5

Hello Suzanne:

Blood sugar does in fact plummet in many people when first quitting. The most common side effects felt during the first three days, can often be traced back to blood sugar issues. Symptoms such as headache, inability to concentrate, dizziness, time perception distortions and the ubiquitous sweet tooth encountered by many is from this blood sugar drop. The symptoms of low blood sugar are basically the same symptoms of not having enough oxygen, like those reactions experienced at high altitudes. The reason being the inadequate supply of sugar and/or oxygen means the brain is getting an incomplete fuel. If you have plenty of one and not enough of the other, they brain cannot function at any form of optimal level. When you quit smoking, oxygen levels are often better than they have been in years, but with limited supply of sugar it can't fuel your brain.

It is not that cigarettes put sugar into your blood stream; it is more of a drug interaction of the stimulant effect of nicotine that affects the blood sugar levels. Cigarettes cause the body to release its own stores of sugar and fat by a drug type of interaction. That is how it basically operated as an appetite suppressant, affecting the satiety centers of your hypothalamus. As far as for the sugar levels, nicotine in fact works much more efficiently than food. If you use food to elevate blood sugar levels, it literally takes up to 20 minutes from the time you chew and swallow the food before it is released to the blood and thus the brain for its desired effect of fueling your brain. Cigarettes, by working through a drug interaction causes the body to release it's own stores of sugar, but not in 20 minutes but usually in a matter of seconds. In a sense, your body has not had to release sugar on its own in years, you have done it by using nicotine's drug effect to do it.

This is where many people really gorge themselves on food upon cessation. They start to experience a drop in blood sugar and instinctively reach for something sweet. Upon finishing the food, they still feel symptomatic. Of course they do, it takes them a minute or two to eat, but the blood sugar isn't boosted for another 18 minutes. Since they are not feeling immediately better, they eat a little more. They continue to consume more and more food, minute after minute until they finally they start to feel better. Again if they are waiting for the blood sugar to go up we are talking about 20 minutes after the first swallow. People can eat a lot of food in 20 minutes. But they begin to believe this was the amount needed before feeling better. This can be repeated numerous times throughout the day thus a lot of calories being consumed and weight gain a real risk.

When you abruptly quit smoking, the body is in kind of a loss, not knowing how to work normally since it has not worked normally in such a long time. Usually by the third day though your body will readjust and release sugar as it is needed. Without eating any more your body will just figure out how to regulate blood sugar more efficiently.

You may find though that you do have to change dietary patterns to one that is more normal for you. Normal is not what it was as a smoker, but more what it was before you took up smoking with aging thrown in. Some people go till evening without eating while they are smokers. If they try the same routine as ex-smokers they will suffer side effects of low blood sugar. It is not that there is something wrong with them now, they were abnormal before for all practical purposes.

This doesn't mean they should eat more food, but it may mean they need to redistribute the food eaten to a more spread out pattern so they are getting blood sugar doses throughout the day as nature really had always intended.

To minimize some of the real low blood sugar effects the first few days it really can help to keep drinking juice throughout the day. After the fourth day though, this should no longer be necessary, your body should be able to release sugar stores if your diet is normalized. If you are having problems that are indicative of blood sugar issues beyond the three days, it wouldn't hurt talking to your doctor and maybe getting some nutritional counseling.

As far as the supplements you are referring to, I am not well versed in them, or most supplements for that matter. Others here may have a little more formal background in these areas, but I don't like to comment on areas outside of my realm of experience and at the same time, don't want others to take everything being written here at Freedom as endorsed as accurate or proper information. We don't have time to research every recommendation, and again suggest that before taking any supplements that each person researches topics for themselves and talk to their doctors or nutritionists before starting any therapies that may or may not be indicated for them.

Hope this adds some clarity to the blood sugar issue.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Apr 2001, 07:17 #6

Hello Triinu:

On my way our for the evening but thought this one would give you a little insight to some of the weight issues. While nicotine is a stimulant shooting up the pulse rate, as it wears off inbetween cigarettes you actually can become physically depressed, slowed down so to say, at which point you take another cigarette to pep yourself up again. So the overall average heart demand may not be so dramatic. What is dangerous is the demand for oxygen on the heart while smoking is increased, but the oxygen levels are depleted because of large amounts of carbon monoxide taken in while smoking. Its like when exercising your heart speeds up and this is good for training the heart. But when we exercise we breath harder and we bring in more oxygen. For smokers they speed up the heart and can't deliver the oxygen because the blood levels if oxyygen are basically being poisoned from the smoke. Your body will just work more efficiently overall as an ex-smoker than it ever did as a smoker. But you may have to be careful to plan your food levels than you may have had to in the past. I will bring up a couple of other articles on this. Got to run for now. Talk to you later.

Joel
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Jona
Joined: 10 Jan 2009, 00:39

12 Apr 2001, 09:08 #7

A week ago today, I quit my nasty habit. I just want to say that, since i have quit, I have taken up a more healthy lifestyle. I have been, speed walking or jogging everyday, doing my crunches, and push up's, I drink at leasts 8 glasses of water a day and I stopped eating junk!!!! As a vegetarian, All I have is soy products and veggies. I thought I was going to be lazy after my quit, but I am more energetic now than ever. At the beginning of my quit I was 128.5 lbs. I am as of today, down to 123 lbs. I lost 5 lbs. in a week!!! So a word of advice to all who don't want to gain, just say no to junk and take a nice walk. It is worth it!!! JonaImage
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Triin (GOLD)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

12 Apr 2001, 17:26 #8

Thanks, Joel, this gave me some insight Image
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jun 2001, 19:58 #9

I saw yesterday where a member was asking what she can now do to continue to improve her health since she quit smoking. Quitting smoking is the most important change almost any person can make to improve health. Sometimes quitting does inspire the individual to realize that if they quit smoking, they can do anything.

This reasoning does further inspire some people to make other improvements. Just thought I would bring this one up to address the dietary and exercise changes that can be made. It is not saying that a person has to do these things to stay off smoking. (See crutch replacement string to address why a person doesn't "have to" exercise to stay quit.) It is saying that if a member wants to improve other areas of his or her lifestyle after quitting that is fine.

Although if a member was a couch potato as a smoker and he or she wants to be a couch potato as an ex-smoker, that can be done too. You have total choice of the matter of how you live. That is what quitting smoking did for you in regards to nicotine. It gave you choice. You can choose now to smoke nothing, or you can choose to smoke everything. There is no in-between choice though.

Making other areas of life improvements is another choice you all have now. But always remember that it comes down to the issue that to stay an ex-smoker doesn't require any special regime or lifestyle changes except for sticking to one small alteration. It is to always remember and to keep implementing the practice to never take another puff!

Joel
Last edited by Joel on 29 Mar 2009, 15:18, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Oct 2001, 22:01 #10

In that Glynda's Friday stats parade raises the issue of weight and the weekend is once again here, I thought I'd bring up my favorite weight article. As Joel teaches, it doesn't take MAJOR calorie swings or massive temporary DIETS to make very minor daily calorie adjustments that get us headed in the direction that we want to go. If fact, we can each continue to eat the exact same amount of food that we ate as smokers if we're just willing to use our new healthy bodies to burn a few extra calories each day.

This is my post to Glynda's stats parade:

Yesterday I read that the metabolism increases (increased heart rate & breathing) caused by smoking one pack a day is equal to 200 calories. They didn't quote a source and body weight is different for each of us so I'm sure it must just be an average. But assuming that it's true, Joel teaches that one pound equates to 3,500 calories.

Unless the average one pack a day quitter either begins to ask their quickly esclating lung function and healing cardiovascular system to exercise a bit more each day, or puts 200 fewer calories on their plate, they should expect to see ONE new pound of body weight every 17.5 days (3,500 calories needed to equal one pound divided by 200 extra lost metabolism calories = 17.5) Just a thought : ))) Have a great weekend!


I do have one weight question though, for anyone who may have the answer. If I picture myself carrying around an extra 10 pound bag of rocks, all day long for the entire day, it must take energy or calories to do so, correct? Instead of rocks picture yourself carrying around 10 extra pounds of body weight. My question is this - assume that a quitter makes zero calorie intake or activity (excercise) changes or corrections after quitting - isn't there a point in time or body weight where carrying around the few extra pounds each day will consume the exact amount of energy produced by nicotine's effects in increasing our smoking metabolism rate? In other words, is there an offsetting weight stabilization point?
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