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Ex-smokers' weight woes real

Web Posted: 08/06/2006 06:00 PM CDT

Amber Miles

Express-News Staff Writer

When it comes to kicking the smoking habit, fighting the urge to light up seems to be weighing more heavily on people's decision — literally.

A new study says the average person who quits smoking gains 21 pounds in the process, not 12 pounds as has been commonly reported for years, according to a HealthDay news article.

The authors of the new study, a team from the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley, re-analyzed data from the 1998 Lung Health Study of 5,887 American smokers. That study reported that those who quit smoking gained an average of nearly 12 pounds.

According to the Weight-Control Information Network, former smokers may gain weight for a number of reasons, including: feeling hungrier than usual; having more snacks and alcoholic drinks (some people eat more high-fat, high-sugar snacks and drink more alcoholic beverages after they quit smoking); and burning calories at a normal rate again (smoking cigarettes makes the body burn calories faster; when calories are burned more slowly weight gain may take place).

Fear of gaining weight is one of many reasons smokers are hesitant about quitting, but experts at the American Cancer Society say that is still no reason to keep puffing.

"Former smokers live longer than continuing smokers. For example, people who quit smoking before age 50 have one-half the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with continuing smokers," the Web site says. "Quitting smoking decreases the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke and chronic lung disease. Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first three to four months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low-birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked."

Lori L. Spencer underwent hypnosis after she stopped smoking on June 2, and has not gained weight. She says the hypnosis helped change her mind-set about successfully kicking the habit.

Meredith Skeeters, a certified hypnotist at Alamo Hypnosis Center, works on her clients' mental state to help prevent them from gaining weight.

"Individuals who smoke are used to putting something in their mouths; that's why when most people try quitting, they transfer from cigarettes to food," she says.

Skeeters says substituting smoking with eating is the same as using other methods, such as patches and nicotine gum — just another way of trying to quit. That's why she works on transferring her clients' smoking habits to healthier ones.

"One of the reasons why it's not painful or difficult to stop smoking with our method ... is that we transfer the pleasure derived from smoking to a healthier habit of your choice such as exercise, drinking more water or relaxation," she says. "This is the reason why, with us, there is no unwanted weight gain or other problems associated with kicking the habit."

Lori L. Spencer testifies that Skeeters' method works. Spencer, who smoked for 32 years, has been smoke-free since June 2, and she attributes her success so far to changing her mind-set.

"Before when I tried to quit, I told myself I would gain weight, be crabby and lose sleep," she says. "Through this program, they teach you to tell yourself that's not going to happen, and it hasn't."

Spencer, a clinical massage therapist who preaches healthy living, says for a long time she felt like a "walking contradiction," which she wasn't proud of.

"I specialize in trigger-point release therapy, working on changing people's postural deviances (such as sleeping improperly)," she says. "The hypnosis process is kind of like what I teach: You have to really want to change something to make it so."

Spencer knows all too well about trying to quit and gaining weight. She says upon trying to quit — at least 10 times before — she gained weight within the first month, which caused her to return to old ways.

"Vanity, that's not good," she says. "That was one of the reasons I forced myself to start smoking again."

Spencer believes weight gain is an epidemic in society, and although statistics show former smokers gain more weight, she says those extra pounds may be more attributed to individuals not having nutritious lifestyles.

Whether it's the fear of losing sleep or of gaining 21 pounds and not 12 as originally reported, there are some obstacles that hold smokers back. Spencer says, "You can't do it if you tell yourself you can't. You have to believe."

Take it from a former smoker who knows.

More here:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/perl/common/rs...ing.f3a07a.html

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Ex-smokers' weight woes real

When it comes to kicking the smoking habit, fighting the urge to light up seems to be weighing more heavily on people's decision — literally.

A new study says the average person who quits smoking gains 21 pounds in the process, not 12 pounds as has been commonly reported for years, according to a HealthDay news article.

Even if the "average" person puts on 12 (or 21) pounds of weight after quitting, I would think that would be healthier than continued smoking. The weight gain can be dealt with a lot easier than the effects of smoking.

For the record, I check my weight regularily and haven't gained (or lost) any thing in the 83 days since I quit. My activity level and daily routine have pretty much stayed the same as when I smoked (including still going to the bars and drinking). Guess I'm one of the ones that helps keep that "average" weight gain down !

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The point is hypnosis reduces the chance if getting fat. Pills and gum only break the physical addiction. Think of hypnosis as being custom for each person. Also one point is hypnosis if often the last resort for people, meaning all other methods have failed. One other thing not said is food smells and tastes better after you stop smoking. That is because all the crap on the tongue washes off. That does not happen so easy in the lungs.

Edited by John K

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I hope I don't get dinged for copyright issues but I just read the best little letter to a mag on this subject. "THe Sun", in the column "readers write" on the subject of Temptation. Here for your pleasure, by Deirdre Mahoney of Oakland California:

Last night I picked up a half smoked cigarette in the street and walked along twirling it in my fingers, trying to think where I could get a light. Then I threw the butt into the bushes. It was a triumph.

This is my life; I feel triumph when I don't bring home cigarrette butts I've found by the curb. I feel triumphant every time I drive a car without smoking. I am no longer a person. I am a nonsmoker. Every ounce of my physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual - is devoted to not smoking. My thoughts all lead to the fact that I cannot smoke. People talk to me and their words become little cigarettes in my head. I can't concentrate long enough to study or even to make a pot of coffee. So I dance around, pick up dog hair, sing, check my email.

I bore myself with this whole non-smoking bit. I can only imagine the effect I must have on others. How are you? "I am not smoking". How's your work? "I am not smoking". What are you doing for the holidays? "What the ###### do you think I'm doing? I am not ######ing smoking. Merry Christmas."

My head is foggy, but my lungs are clear. I am determined to prevail. In the meantime, best keep your distance.

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If I may add my twopenceworth, I (vicariously) agree with John K's comments. My wife is a registered hypnotherapist (here in London) and I have seen everything John describes. She also picks her stop-smoking clients, in her case by asking them: "on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is desperate, how much do you want to give up smoking?" Responses under 7 are told to go away and come back if and when they want to give up.

The crux of the matter, it seems, is that the hypnotherapist (my wife hits me with a wok when I say hypnotist) can only give someone the tools with which to quit, not do it for them.

Personally, I gave up years before I met my wife and, in any event, could not be treated by her for ethical reasons, but I would have no fears about using hypno to give up smoking, or any other problems, for that matter - provided the hypnotherapist was a qualified and registered/certified practitioner.

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I am posting this because I found it to be an interesting comparison. This had happened in the past with other clients but my memories of the particulars have faded a bit.

I had a 1 pack a day smoking client a few weeks ago who was stopping with her friend however only one was a client. I was fully aware that they were sharing the materials and instructions I provided as part of this 4 session program. On the second session that is day #8 my client divulged this information to me. By that time she had gone from 1 pack a day to about 6 cigarettes without any fallout. She was amazed at that fact because she fully expected it to be a rough time. Her only complaint was she was biting her nails but that is because they started to grow again. Her friend was having difficulties getting below 14 cigarettes at that point. On the third session day #15 my client had informed me she had completely stopped a few days earlier however her friend had caved in and returned to her 1 pack a day habit. By the final session day #22 my client had no desire to smoke and the mental addiction was completely removed. She was also experiencing the usual nausea and disgust non smokers have by simply being near someone who was smoking.

The only difference between the two is one used hypnosis and the other tried to follow the same program without hypnosis.

The intent of this forum is to help one another free themselves from smoking by whatever means possible. Use whatever support you have available. You can succeed if you put your mind to it.

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totally totally agree with you, thank you.

May I add:

The easy way to stop smoking by Allen Carr helped me understand this logic of thought. It is a very good book but I and all my friends managed to stop only for a month/year the most. After reading the second book, the easy way to stop smoking permanently, i realised that was the one I needed to read in order to stop. It's suitable for non-smokers too as it covers many interesting subjects and it's very pleasant reading. it makes sense and it gives u good feelings :o i was a smoker since the age of 12 and thought that i would never be able to stop by the age of 30. but i was wrong! never underestimate the power of your determination.. also another good book to read at the same time is AWARENESS by Anthony de Mello. It explains the mechanism behind the need for having needs whcih, I believe, is the key to all this wanting things and other people's emotional help.. our mind tends to find a justification to most things especially bad things that we do and when we admit our weaknesses instead of fighting them off most of us prefer to victimise ourselves and stay in the pitch pitying ourselves, waiting for something or someone to rescue us. we think we need specialists, professionals to solve our problems but the solution eventually only comes from within us. 'We' have to get active and take responsibility for what we are not happy about. Changes in our lifestyle, taking care of our body and ourselves is a start to stop. my opinion is that ultimately smoking indicates lack of self-respect. Smoking affected my personality and it made me feel neurotic and insicure. A constant feeling of failure and unattractiveness

After stopping, my addiction last longer than a month but I stayed confident and avoided comparisons with other people. it was a success, the best thing I did in my life. :D

you don't have any idea on how your body works or about biochemical, or?

Nicotine disturbs your balanced system because it works like acetlycholine and your body is used to get it every day. So the point is not when the nicotine left the body complete. The point is how long does it need till your system is working without it the same perfect like with it again.

So an addiction can be both longer and shorter than the time a substance is in your body.

But of course that is not an argument against what you tell about the mental addiction it is an add to it.

Would say most of all is the mental addiction like you tell, but your biochemical explainations are wrong.

I can tell you that the nicotine is out of your body in 100 hours or less. What you are experiencing is the mental addiction. The mental addiction is cause by triggers such as a beer goes with a smoke, or a place and time that you always smoked.

The other part of the mental addiction is more universal in that the nicotine tricks you brain into expecting nicotine.

Some people can get over it without help. Many substitute something else like food or another vice to pacify themselves. The simple fact that every person who has quit for more than 150 hours and started smoking again, simply did so because of the mental addiction.

The mental addiction is rooted in the subconscious and only the people that can deal with it there will rid themselves of it. Some can do it on their own if they know how, others go to seek professional help. The rest just continue to pacify the urge somehow. The people who seek professional help often do so only as a last resort. They have quit many times but went back. Other do so because the pacifier is having a negative effect such as overeating and is making them fat.

Seeking professional help in breaking the mental addiction weeks after giving up smoking is getting more and more common. I am starting to see this quite regularly.

If you can remember the last time you smoked, or are counting the time from your last smoke, then you are still mentally addicted. A person who has broken the addiction when asked how long it has been will need to put some effort in to remembering when. Much like when was the last time you cut your hair. It takes a while for most people to figure out when their hair was cut last unless it was within a week or so. So when was the last time you smoked?

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If you can remember the last time you smoked, or are counting the time from your last smoke, then you are still mentally addicted. A person who has broken the addiction when asked how long it has been will need to put some effort in to remembering when. Much like when was the last time you cut your hair. It takes a while for most people to figure out when their hair was cut last unless it was within a week or so. So when was the last time you smoked?

Eight years, eleven months, three weeks, four days, 16 hours, 44 minutes. Yes, I AM mentally addicted.

I am a smoker who choses NOT to smoke the next cigarette. I began smoking at age 11, and smoked a pack and a half of unfiltered menthol cigarettes for the next 43 year. And just like an alcoholic, I'll always be a smoker. I just have to choose not to smoke the next one. Just like an alcoholic in the AA program. I am a smoker. I just haven't smoked a cigarette in almost nine years.

Like most others, I tried dozens of times to quit. I used the patch. I used gum. I took Zyban. I was hypnotized, I went through aversion therapy...... Some quits lasted days, others lasted weeks or months. They ALL lasted right up until the moment that I believed that I had been successful with my quit. Right up until that point where I began thinking of myself as a non-smoker. I no longer have cravings, but I still often think about smoking. It's not every day any more, but that took about five years to reach. In fact, I wrote a poem about that:

Not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking.

I thought it would be all over and done with when I reached some magic number.

I thought I'd be ready to run marathons;

I thought I'd be free of the demon.

Not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking.

Not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking.

But I choose not to smoke again... It's my choice.

I choose a life of clearer lungs, sweeter breath, and fresher clothing.

I choose to fight the demon and win. It IS my choice. But...

Not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking.

Not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking.

But it's not like before. It's not the razor sharp insane anguish of the first 3 days.

It's not the burning need of the first three weeks.

It's not even the dull desires of the first three months.

But not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking.

Not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking.

At least I'm not smoking. I'm just thinking.

Perhaps I'll always be an ex-smoker who wishes he could smoke.

It's better than being a smoker who wishes he could quit.

Not a day goes by that I'm free of thoughts of smoking...

But I choose not to smoke. It's not easy. But it is easier... now.

And it IS easier now. But I know if the docs told me I only had another month to live, the first thing I'd do is go out and buy a carton. I don't want to smoke one. I want to smoke a lot of them. But I won't. I choose not to. I won't lull myself into thinking that I've got the addiction beat, so if I'm at a party or a bar, or some other 'trigger' situation, I won't be tempted to bum a smoke from someone, and smoke 'just one.' That doesn't work for 'me.' If I smoke one this week, I'd be tempted to smoke another next week. You know how it goes... after a month or so I'd be right back to a pack and a half a day. So I won't smoke that one today. I pray I don't smoke one tomorrow, but I won't worry about tomorrow. I just won't smoke the next one. One day at a time. :o

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Hear hear last post hit nail on the head. I have not smoked for 8 years. I will never be a non smoker. I am a smoker that does not smoke anymore. Sometimes you have to quit everyday, hour or minute. But if you keep doing it even by the munite if necessary then you won't smoke. Biggest thing is to not feel sorry for yourself and the diffaculty even if it is hard at times. Its not the end of the world, many things are harder to handle your lucky all you have to worry about is not smoking, others have alot bigger problems then that. I grew up and that helped the most.

edit forgot to add saying: One is to many and a hunderd never enough, better to have none.

Edited by RKASA

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Hear hear last post hit nail on the head. I have not smoked for 8 years. I will never be a non smoker. I am a smoker that does not smoke anymore. Sometimes you have to quit everyday, hour or minute. But if you keep doing it even by the munite if necessary then you won't smoke. Biggest thing is to not feel sorry for yourself and the diffaculty even if it is hard at times. Its not the end of the world, many things are harder to handle your lucky all you have to worry about is not smoking, others have alot bigger problems then that. I grew up and that helped the most.

edit forgot to add saying: One is to many and a hunderd never enough, better to have none.

stop smoking for 2 years and the cravings never stop ,just got further apart ,and when others around me were smoking boy did thet smell nice ,back smoking again for now ,i think i will always be a smoker trying to quit :o

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My father quit for 20 years....then started a pack a day in an instant!! Said he craved them every day for 20 years.

He quit again a week later.....it's been 20 years since......he may be due for a relapse :o

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Quote from folk guitar.

I'll always be an ex-smoker who wishes he could smoke.

It's better than being a smoker who wishes he could quit.

Totally agree stopped In June 2006 after 20 years cold turkey feel great still get cravings or lustings :o .

Have even taken up exercise to use my new feeling lungs to potential.

I had tried in the past Nicorete .patches gum etc then hypnotherapy even a retreat all bo##x for me.

When you fancy a ciggie you must remember the reasons why you stopped.Unless I develop Alzheimer's I wont be smoking in the future.

Stick with it you can do it.....easy after a while.

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Hear hear last post hit nail on the head. I have not smoked for 8 years. I will never be a non smoker. I am a smoker that does not smoke anymore. Sometimes you have to quit everyday, hour or minute. But if you keep doing it even by the munite if necessary then you won't smoke. Biggest thing is to not feel sorry for yourself and the diffaculty even if it is hard at times. Its not the end of the world, many things are harder to handle your lucky all you have to worry about is not smoking, others have alot bigger problems then that. I grew up and that helped the most.

edit forgot to add saying: One is to many and a hunderd never enough, better to have none.

I like that line; "Sometimes you have to quit everyday, hour, or minute."

My 87 yr old mother developed liver cancer. She had stopped smoking more than 40 years ago. While undergoing chemotherapy (successfully, thank God,) she, as many do, was frequently nauseas. Many people suggested that she smoke pot to reduce the nausea but she refused. Her reason? "I'm afraid it will cause me to start smoking cigarettes again!" Gotta give the old girl credit. THAT is determination! :o

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