Patience in weight control issues

Physical healing of the body and mind

Patience in weight control issues

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Apr 2003, 21:09 #1

Be patient with weight control efforts. Quitting smoking is harder than losing weight, initially. But weight control is a harder process in the long term. For once you quit smoking, not smoking eventually becomes a habit. And the battle line for successfully not smoking is clear and simple to understand. You are fighting a puff. You can't administer any nicotine. There is no gray area here.

Eating is more complicated. You will have to eat the rest of your life. When are you eating a little more than you should? A little more is a difficult concept. If you eat a little more once, it is no big deal. If you eat a little more every day, there is a problem. An example, let's say as a "reward" for not smoking, you have one extra cookie, say about 100 calories. Weight yourself at the end of that day and nothing would have happened. Now lets say you do this every day for a week. Weigh yourself at the end of the week and you probably still won't notice any difference. You would have consumed 700 calories, but basically it's not noticeable. If you do it for a month, you may have increased the scale weight by almost a pound. Now you would have consumed about 3,000 calories, and 3,500 calories is about a pound of fat. But think about this too, if you step on a scale one-month to the next and had altered a pound, that would be no grounds for panic. A pound, that can be scale error. Heck, you can step on a scale a couple of times a day and seem to vary a pound. So the pattern of the extra cookie still seems unimportant.

Now the catch. If you continue this pattern of one seemingly harmless cookie for a year, 10.4 pounds of fat will be the result and if you don't catch on after that and do it for 10 years, 104 pounds of fat is the outcome! 104 pounds from the addition of one cookie a day!

Here is where substituting food becomes treacherous. You do it with the idea that it is only for the early days of quitting but it often is extended to it's own pattern. One cookie or 100 calories is probably minimal compared to the number of actual calories substituted by many people.

If you eat a little more, you can exercise to offset the difference. But you must be realistic about how much exercise is needed to offset caloric intake. You have to exercise quite a bit to burn off a relatively small amount of food.

An example, let's say you sit down at a feast. You start out with a drink before dinner. Next you have a dinner roll or two with a little butter. Followed by a salad, with croutons and a teaspoon of salad dressing. Now the main course, meats, potatoes, vegetable with cheese sauces, another helping of meat to top it off. You're pretty full now, better stop. Oh, but wait, dessert is being served. You have a pie ala mode. Boy you are stuffed now. Almost sick to your stomach in fact. You know what you decide to do? You are going out for a walk. You actually drag yourself outside and walk for 20 minutes. Your hope may be to burn off the meal. In fact, you will burn off the teaspoon salad dressing. You won't touch the calories of the appetizers, drinks, main course or dessert. You will burn the equivalent of the salad dressing. I am not saying don't go for the walk. I am saying don't eat food with a shovel, go for a short walk and expect to rectify the meal.

OK, now what's the upside here. Basically, making a little change can cause a significant weight alteration. But this process works in reverse too. If you "deprive" yourself of a cookie daily, and go for a walk, weigh your self at the end of a week and see no change, you get discouraged. If you are patient and weigh yourself at the end of the month and lose a couple of pounds, you can be furious. A couple of pounds after all that deprivation and work, what's the point? Again, even a couple of pounds could be scale error. But if you stick with it even though it seems initially futile, over the year you could lose 20 pounds and likely keep it off. Again, a little change adds up to a big difference over a lifetime. Patience is crucial. You are not starving yourself or working yourself to exhaustion, just not taking one food item and a simple 20-minute walk. Slow, but constant. By making a small modification to daily eating patterns and sticking with it over the long term, you can lose significant weight.

Take simple steps here to alter the daily patterns. A little less food, a little more activity. The reward is not immediately obvious but will be with time. Improved health, self-esteem, just overall feeling of well being. You can do this as an ex-smoker, but you must prove it to yourself. But again be patient. Quitting smoking had great benefits that are often immediately felt. Weight control efforts are a little harder to see and feel initially, but the rewards will be forth coming with time. So start today off right, watch what you eat and Never Take Another Puff!


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

24 Apr 2003, 22:09 #2

Thank you Joel. Having been active and without a weight all of my life except these last 2-3 is very demoralizing to see the results of the kind of thinking you demonstrate in your article today.

Numerous uneducated quits before finding this site complicated my weight issues, and the prescribed use of steroids made the scale explode....combine that with HRT (hormone replacement therapy) - and that one or two extra cookies or a candy bar while quitting was easy to "comfort" myself with.

It is really terrific of you to include this here - you are a heck of a guy for adding this here on a smoking cessation site. My two smoking best friends, and my smoking sister-in-law have "used" my weight to justify continuing on their own addictions - although I gently remind them none of them have to take HRT or steriodal medications (yet). The number one issue women use for continuing their habits is because they are fearful of unwanted weight gain.

The good news is having beat the addiction, I can focus 100% on my nutrition and exercise issues - and I am no longer gasping and gurgling for air like I was 11 months ago. My actual weight gain from quitting tobacco products is really only about 15 pounds. When I focus on the solution, instead of continuing to "justify" bad behaviors (eating that extra cookie for comfort) by focusing on the problem - I set myself up for failure. Quitting smoking is just one way to take your life back. The same principles that work here do work in other areas of my life and make me a healthier person.

Dos (Determined to Keep Breaking Negative Habits)
I have been quit for 11 Months, 23 hours, 4 minutes and 33 seconds (335 days). I have saved $1,511.82 by not smoking 10,078 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Month, 3 Days, 23 hours and 50 minutes of my life.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

24 Apr 2003, 22:49 #3

You are so right about the amount of excercise it takes to work off a cookie. I go to a gym and if I ride the bike for 1/2 hour at a pretty good clip I can burn off 140 calories which probably isn't even a chocolate chip cookie.

I think when I smoked I used that as a reward for cleaning, laundry, you name it. So when I quit, for a while, I exchanged smoking for a snack. And the result of that was 10 extra pounds.

I'm back on track now and am excercising and trying to get back to my correct weight. I can enjoy excercising now without the huffing and puffing I would have had before. There's also an added benefit of excercising which is the feel good effect afterwards. You don't get that from a cookie.

It's been 6 months and 17 days.

Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:55

25 Apr 2003, 03:13 #4


I really did'nt realize. Well guess I did, but (not really)...Anyway thanks for the inspiration! I really needed it today.

I kicked the nicotine addiction, now on to the "food addictions" that I keep teetering with. I really enjoy the excercising (now that I can do it)!


Nicotine FREE for 1 Month 2 Weeks 17 Hours 38 Minutes 33 Seconds! Nasty sickarettes not smoked: 686. Cash in my lovely pocketbook: $128.63.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

25 Apr 2003, 04:23 #5

I've jumped in other weight loss threads but I figured I'd jump in here too.

I was very concerned about the weight gain associated with quitting smoking--very concerned. I mentioned in my first post (and probably subsequent posts) that smoking was my method of weight control. Irrational? Maybe, but that's a lot of what smoking was for me. My line of thinking was: eat whatever I want, smoke a pack, which will up my metabolism, and so and and so forth. It was a nasty, vicious cycle which I could not seem to break. Besides the fact that I am(was? no, am) a full-fledged addict, I think what really messed up many an attempted quit was the fear of gaining weight.

I forced myself to get into the mindset that I couldn't take the EASY way out. (Bear with the probably illogical sounding train of thought that only you fellow addicts would understand--that the "easy" way out for me was to laze around and chain smoke…hey at least I wasn't beating myself up about eating that bag of doritos!) I forced myself to tell myself - why should YOU be able to sit around and smoke, and do NOTHING, in order to keep weight off? Why does everyone else who doesn't smoke have to eat healthy and work out? Why can't you just deal with your weight gain in a NORMAL, healthy, way that a normal, non-addicted human being would deal with it? Why should YOU be too lazy to get up and DO something…why should YOU lack the willpower to not take that extra cookie every day?

I can't explain, but this kick-myself-in-the-butt self-talk really helped me. I decided that smoking was no longer going to be an option - it was no longer going to be something I used to deal with weight gain. This was a huge adjustment, but a commitment I made to myself and it was the commitment that I knew I needed to make to myself in order to maintain my quit.

Now, I work out 4x/week. It makes me feel better both physically and emotionally. Even if I'm having a lazy day, I like to start by a work out. Once I work out, I feel like I can do whatever I want. It's it's own high, really. (I'm not saying it's easy to motivate to do it, but once I'm actually doing it, there is no point in stopping, and the way I feel afterward was well worth the push of motivation it took to get there in the first place. I once read somewhere that if you do not feel like exercising, force yourself to do it for just TEN minutes. Once the 10 min is up, you can stop, but you will most likely want to keep going. Works every time!)

The most beautiful thing that NO ONE at Freedom should EVER miminize for themselves is that working out, even taking a brisk walk, is POSSIBLE now that we can BREATHE!!!! It's not that bad, once you are not filling your lungs with cigarette after cigarette of smoke all day and night. If your lungs are clear, you CAN DO THIS! You can be more active… you will have the energy to do it too.

My way of thinking is also this: If I can force myself to work out for 45min to 1 hour, 4 nights/week, that's only FOUR HOURS of an ENTIRE WEEK… to feel good, and to look good. That's all it takes. Smoking a pack a day took about 100 min (1 hr 40 minutes) a DAY … to feel like complete ****. And all through those 1 hr 40 min of smoking per day, I'd be thinking about how I should stop this and just get more active, stop being lazy, find the energy and enthusiasm that smoking was zapping. What a psychological mess. But, when I'm working out, I feel GREAT - like I'm doing something I SHOULD be doing… for me….something that's healthy.

It all works out. Cherish the fact that you can now breathe! Take full advantage. And even if you still have a few extra pounds, it's hard to feel bad about yourself when you have just exercised (in any way, like I said, whether it's a vigorous workout, or an evening walk with a small dog). Those endorphins get flowing and positively affect your whole perspective.

Okay, long-winded preacher girl is signing off now.

2 months 3 days

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

25 Apr 2003, 09:21 #6

Hi Joel,
I pop in now and then, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a different post on weight. As you know, I am one of those past quitters that blamed my restarts on weight gain. Not This Time!! I truly believe patience is necessary when quitting. Everyone gains weight at first. Some more than others, but keeping it within limits is so important. Luckily, I have lost and gained the same 5 pounds over almost 6 months. I hope somebody needing a research project or thesis decides to research weight gain and cessation of smoking. I truly believe there is more to it than we initially believed. But really, never taking another puff is far more important, but eventually, don't put that in your mouth will take over. Remember both. Birky 5mths+

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:57

20 Jan 2004, 08:19 #7


Yes, smoking is a legitimate weight loss tool.

My aunt dropped about 65 pounds. She weighed 85 pounds right before she died.

Cancer has a way of doing that.

Who'd rather gain five pounds and be nicotine free than have chemotherapy take care of that "unsightly bulge".

1 month, 1 week, 6 days, and 12 hours of Freedom.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Mar 2004, 02:41 #8

I just deleted a new string that was titled, "How much weight have you gained." I took it out because the title itself is a fallacy, setting up the idea that quitting smoking is inevitably going to lead to weight gain. Believe it or not, there are some people who actually lose weight when they quit smoking. It is likely a small percent of people who quit but it does happen. Others stay the same. Of course there are people who do gain weight.

The first two weeks can see a quick weight gain but much of this is due to a bloating effect that accompanies smoking cessation. This water retention effect is normally subsides sometime by the end of the second week.

Weight gain that happens after this is more likely going to be due to a change in dietary patterns than it is from a change in metabolism. We have a number of strings addressing the weight control concerns and that talk about how to minimize the gains and how to actually establish eating patterns that are conducive to losing weight.

Freedom though is a smoking cessation site, not a weight control site. If people are interested in weight control support groups there are plenty of them on the Internet, although it is probably best to talk with your doctor have your doctor refer you to a nutritionist for dietary counseling if you are considering any major dietary changes after quitting smoking.

Our only position on weight control is that it is possible to quit smoking and to stay smoke free even if you pursue other lifestyle changes--weight control efforts being one of them. To stay smoke free even when watching your weight is as easy as sticking to your commitment to never take another puff!


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:33

31 Mar 2004, 04:49 #9

i heard somebody say today, smoking is great at making you loose weight,...... one lung at a time!!!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

29 May 2004, 21:04 #10

a line from Juvenated this morning deserves to be immortalized here:

....who needs the extra weight of a tumor huh?

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 01:39

21 Jan 2006, 04:47 #11

I just keep saying its more of me to LOVE!

-Tallmama 46 days

Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

25 Feb 2007, 05:51 #12

Last edited by Sal GOLD.ffn on 12 Sep 2009, 16:25, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Jun 2007, 21:59 #13

Title Dial Up HS/BB Length Added
Weight control concerns after quitting smoking 9.13mb 21.9mb 43:56 11/14/06

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Mar 2008, 00:24 #14

From: Sojournerxl1         Sent: 2/4/2008 4:08 PM

Hello Lucy!

My name is Cindy and I quit...well its like counting months when you have a child. At first you count by days, then weeks, then months and finally years. So I quit about 1/1/2 years ago after a history really really similar to yours. I am even in a health care profession so I know what you mean. I felt like such a hypocrite and imagined that washing my hands, perfume and mints would cover it up. Now when I see someone who smokes in my room there is no covering it up. I know who smokes and who doesn't with one whiff. I also really really REALLY did not want to gain weight and that is one of the reasons I gave myself for not quitting for so long. Well guess what?! I gained some weight when I quit but after a few months I felt so much better and had more energy and started excercising and I lost 50 pounds! I am 48 now and smoked for most of my life. Now I don't and I am getting awesomer (is this a word?) by the second. Go figure! You just stick with it cause you got the worst part beat already!!!!!

Cindy - quit April 22 2006
no nicotine/ no way / not ever again

Last edited by John (Gold) on 21 Sep 2011, 15:47, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

12 Sep 2009, 16:38 #15

Study finds quit smoking
weight gain temporary

by John R. Polito
Compared to smokers who continued smoking, a new study found that among smokers who quit smoking that women weighed an average of 2.6 kg more and men 5.1 kg more. But the good news is that nearly all of that weight gain was temporary. Among ex-smokers who had quit at least five years, their weight and body mass index was nearly the same as the weight of someone who had never smoked.

"Our finding that former daily smokers [who were five or more years since quitting] demonstrated equivalent BMI increases to never smokers is in line with evidence suggesting that the average body weight of quitters tends to stabilize over time to levels of never smokers," writes the authors of an August 2009 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

The good news is that any immediate spike in weight gain upon quitting appears to be relatively short-lived," says the study's lead author, Deborah L. Reas, Ph.D, of the University of Oslo's Institute of Psychiatry.

How to Minimize Quitting Weight Gain

"There are several tried and true things you can do immediately to prevent or minimize any potential weight gain," says Dr. Reas, who works in the eating disorder clinic at Oslo's University Hospital. "It is important to view all changes as lifestyle changes for long-term weight management, not temporary fixes to be quickly abandoned."

"Eat breakfast, walk everywhere you can and take the stairs, and build some form of exercise into your daily routine," advises Dr. Reas.

"Trash the low-nutrient, energy dense, highly processed foods and beverages in your cupboard. Have healthy snacks such as fruits and vegetables washed, cut, and in see-through, ready-to-go containers or sitting on the counter ready to grab."

"Timing is everything," says Dr. Reas. "Spacing meals too far apart puts you at risk for overeating and making poor choices, as well as signaling your body to conserve energy. Ideally, meals should be eaten about 4-5 hours apart, and it's important to consume a healthy snack in between meals."

Weight Control Consensus Developing

While many smokers fear smoking cessation weight gain, as Dr. Reas's research suggests, such fears are totally out of perspective. "Quit," says Dr. Reas, "The risks of continuing to smoke to both you and your loved ones far exceed any minor weight gain you might experience."

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, roughly half of adult smokers are losing an average of 14 years of life if female and 13 years if male.

"The health implication of a minor weight gain is negligible in comparison to the health risks posed by smoking," writes Joel Spitzer, author of the free PDF quit smoking book Never Take Another Puff . "The average smoker would have to gain 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."

It isn't unusual to see up to 5 pounds of water retention weight gain during the first week of quitting, pounds that can be shed as quickly as they arrived.

Dr. Reas nails how to avoid having to deal with over-eating in asserting that the timing of calorie intake is everything. One of the most challenging aspects of recovery is re-learning to properly fuel the body. Nicotine activates the body's fight or flight response, instantly pumping stored energy into our bloodstream. Never-smokers who get hungry can't instantly satisfy the onset of hunger. They have to eat food and then wait for digestion to turn off the body's hunger switch.

Once we become ex-users, whether we eat with a toothpick or shovel we will need to wait for digestion to satisfy hunger. By re-learning how to properly feed ourselves again we diminish the risk of adding food craves to nicotine craves, of witnessing our body's hoarding instincts kick into high gear.

As Dr. Reas advises, don't skip meals, and learn to eat little, healthy and often. If we insist on skipping meals we should fully expect to confront hunger. If in the throws of hunger, eat healthy and slowly, savoring each bite for as long as possible, so as to allow time for digestion to satisfy it.

As Spitzer notes, a cigarette may have been our cue that a meal had ended. You may benefit by adopting a new healthy cue such as tooth brushing, a toothpick, clearing the table, doing the dishes or stepping outside for fresh air.

One of the most valuable lessons taught by Joel Spitzer is that minor daily adjustments in the number of calories consumed or burned can result in significant weight change over time. As Joel puts it, "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." The same formula works in regard to weight reduction and the loss seen when burning an extra hundred calories a day or consuming one hundred fewer.

Unfortunately, most of us fell into rather unhealthy eating and exercise patterns once addicted to smoking nicotine. Free for more than a decade, I can still picture myself smoking during walks or bike rides. Why wasn't I jogging or running? Truth is, I couldn't.

One-half of the carbon monoxide inhaled with that last puff is still circulating in the bloodstream four hours later. Carbon monoxide hijacks our blood's ability to transport oxygen. It isn't that we didn't want to participate in prolonged vigorous physical activity but that we couldn't.

One of the most exciting aspects of recovery is when we're at last brave enough to venture beyond our former prison cell and attempt activities we previously avoided. It isn't unusual to discover that we can go longer with less fatigue than we've known in years. It can feel like turning back the clock. As Dr. Reas suggests, make your favorite activity a part of each day.

Why wait? The next few minutes are all that matter and each is entirely do-able. Your mind and body can become 100% nicotine-free within 72 hours, with peak withdrawal behind you. We hope you'll explore WhyQuit as we've assembled the Internet's largest array of free recovery tools.

Embrace coming home, don't fear, dread or fight it. There was always only one rule determining the outcome for all ... no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time! Yes you can!

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Joined: 19 Jan 2010, 00:53

26 Jan 2010, 23:25 #16

Thank you Joel. I am calm. I am patient. I will NTAP!