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Old 01-02-2007, 05:56 PM   #1
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I am a former 1 to 1/2 pack-a-day smoker for 25 years...I quit October 2005.
However, I replaced the smoking with eating. I've had a weight problem since I was 9, but now I have an even bigger weight problem. My question for those of you that have quit smoking and have lost weight...what do you do when you feel stressed out or just need a quick break and need to step away for a minute? I'm 42 years old and I have absolutely no idea how to relax without cigarettes or food...or several cups of coffee a day with tons of sugar. What do "normal" people do to decompress? I want to be "normal."
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:30 PM   #2
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You know, that's an excellent question! I quit smoking years ago, and I did gain weight, but I already was overweight. I can no longer blame my weight on quitting smoking, though, LOL! Because it was 17 years ago.

Getting regular exercise does a lot for dealing with stress. I find that if I go outside for a quick walk, that sometimes does as much or more than using "substances." One can't always do that, but if you are exercising regularly it does make a difference.

Doing a contemplative practice like meditation or silent prayer is also a good way to chill out.

Also, listening to some relaxing music or taking a moment to read a book of inspirational sayings helps.

I'm afraid our culture doesn't give us much opportunity to see what "normal" looks like. Instead food, caffeine, drugs, and alcohol are promoted. By drugs I mean sleeping medications, anti-depressants, and so forth, but it's no wonder people turn to illegal drugs.

But don't despair! You can get along without any of those "substances."

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Old 01-02-2007, 07:57 PM   #3
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I stopped smoking my 2+ packs a day on June 16, 2001. I wasn't watching my weight then, so I have no clue if I gained after that or not. I decided to lose weight and get healthy in August of 2002. At first, I substituted smoking with sugar free gum and candy until I got well past the hump. To relax these days, I like to take a nice hot bath with a book, or drink a hot cup of green tea. Sometimes even exercise can help you to relax and decompress.
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Old 01-03-2007, 08:15 AM   #4
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Jay and Almost Heaven,

Thank you for your responses. You've both mentioned exercise so I've decided to bring out the Walk Away the Pounds DVD and keep it handy for some quick breaks. I also take long hot baths with a book each day ...my skin is now screaming for a break..its so dry!
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Old 01-03-2007, 09:32 AM   #5
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This really has nothing to do with weight loss, but you guys all quit smoking. I need to quit smoking. i have done it once or twice but only for about a week each time. I just dont think i have the willpower. now im afraid that i will gain weight and i have been trying so hard to loose it. What can i do.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:00 AM   #6
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This might seem really silly, but do you need something to do with your hands? I swear, I have hyperactive hands; they always want to be doing something. They love to snack! I picked up knitting as a way to keep them busy, and it helps me keep from snacking. I've met women at the yarn store who have used knitting or another craft to help them stop smoking. Hands are busy and mind is distracted.
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Old 01-03-2007, 03:27 PM   #7
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I just wanted to a huge CONGRATULATIONS for quitting smoking AND making the decision to get healthy. Y'all are total inspirations Oh, and 50pounds, I don't have any tips to add, but feel free to PM me if you need encouragement.
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:21 PM   #8
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50lbstomuch, I'd say don't try to do too many things at once. Yes, you should quit smoking, but trying to lose weight AND quit smoking at the same time . . . well, I'd freak out! Try to cut down, that's always a good idea, but maybe focus on the weight loss first.

Quitting smoking is really a hard thing--I had to do it twice, and it wasn't any easier the second time.

Good luck!
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:57 PM   #9
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I was at 2 packs a day when I quit back in 97. I was overweight to start with and I gained more after quitting...but I prolly would have gained it anyway.

What helped me quit? I had a tooth pulled - what fun- and I couldn't smoke for 48 hours. After I made it thru that I thought "well I already made it through most of the physical withdrawal stuff"....and I never smoked again. Every once and a while a cigarette smells really good....but it has gotten easier. Every time I thought of having a cigarette I tried to remember how hard it was to quit and how old I would be before I got around to quitting again. I envisioned myself all wrinkly with a voice like a frog.

As for how to keep myself from stressing, walking works wonders for me. I work out, too...but walking mellows me like nothing else. And the dog is happy, too. Just start with a couple short walks a day....10 minutes at a time isn't too hard to fit into a busy schedule.

I find I have more of an oral fixation than needing to do something with my hands. Sugar free candy keeps my mouth busy.

As for quitting smoking and losing weight simultaniously....that's a tuff one. I would tend towards saying quitting smoking is more important than losing weight...but I guess it depends on how much you smoke....50 pounds overweight is not as dangerous IMHO...
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Old 01-04-2007, 03:15 PM   #10
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I'd say don't try to do too many things at once. Yes, you should quit smoking, but trying to lose weight AND quit smoking at the same time . . . well, I'd freak out! Try to cut down, that's always a good idea, but maybe focus on the weight loss first.
What?????????

No offense, but I would rather gain weight while quitting. I have set my quit date for the end of Jan (I am getting Zyban from Md first), but I've been doing my research on the 'net--to hurt your body the way smoking is, you would have to gain 100-150 POUNDS to equal the damage! Weight is much easier to lose--you can always do-over a diet, but you can't do-over your life!
QUIT SMOKING FIRST!!!!!
Here is my plan: I currently smoke about 10 a day (2 on the way to work, 2 on the way to lunch, 2 on the way back from lunch, 1 when I go to check the mail at the business complex, 2 on the way home and 1 later in the evening). I plan on--for now--making all of the '2's '1's. this way, when I am ready to quit at the end of the month, it won't be quite as bad, and Zyban should take care of most of it. As far as cravings go, I've quit before, and I know that Dum Dums will give me both the oral fixation (having something in my face) as well as the physical (I have a white stick in my hand). I'll walk to the mailbox at work. I don't smoke at home anyway, so I won't have the urge there.
AFTER the **** Week (when cravings and withdrawl symptoms are at their worst) I will return to the gym, to get back in the swing of things (I've been skipping because of the holidays anyway), and around the middle of Feb, I feel that I will be able to take the weight-loss thing more seriously. 1 down, 1 to go mentality--see it as a challenge, if you have that kind of mindset, and tackle that mountain!
Good luck in the quit--know that I am right here in the trenches with you, suffering, but suffering FOR A BETTER LIFE!
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Old 01-04-2007, 04:18 PM   #11
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i think that im am going to try to do both. I need to quit smoking but i really want to lose weight. I will try not to be a complete witch, but if you see me on here ranting about something, try to ignore me. So i think Monday (which is my birthday) i will start.
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:25 PM   #12
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Hi
Just thought I would add my little story here. I have been overweight for a few years and always had the intention lose weight and pack up the cigs. Neither of which I had done. Last year, diagnosed with COPD from smoking and Im only 37! I packed up smoking in Oct and have gained a stone in weight. A stone I could Well do without, but my blood pressure has dropped, I can walk 6 miles a day and feel healthier since packing up the smokes. For me I wanted to breathe and stay off oxygen, afterall, eventually the weight will come down but my lungs would not improve.
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:32 AM   #13
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Hi All,

Please dont be discouraged by my weight gain after I quit smoking. I decided to quit smoking as I was having surgery and would be in the hospital for two days...this seemed like the perfect time to quit as I would already have a two day headstart. Dr. Phil has often said that you replace a habit with a new habit and, in my case, he is correct. Unfortunately, I replaced the cigarettes with food and with heavily sugared coffee...which made my weight problem even larger!

To those of you who have decided to quit, here is what worked for me...just remember, not everyone quits smoking the same way...as long as you arrive at the same destination without creating another bad habit, you have done a very good thing!...I chose to quit cold turkey. Cutting back just did not work for me as the number of cigs I smoked each day would creep back up to 1 1/2 pack again and again. I did not use any patches or pills, etc. as they had not worked for me in the past. I played mind games with myself...."I want a cigarette......No, I don't! I'm not a smoker." I would not allow myself to dwell on the withdrawal...anytime the compulsion for a cigarette came, I would make a conscious decision to think about something else. I would not baby myself or allow myself to think "poor me" or "this is just too hard." I will not lie to you....quitting was not easy. There are times I was walking the floor and crying...basically, having a temper tantrum, because I could not have a cigarette...but, I did not give in...and each day did get easier and easier..and the compulsion to have a cigarette comes to you less often and with more time between compulsions. Today, I rarely think about having a cigarette and I cant, honestly, remember why I thought it was such an important part of my day...basically, I don't miss them at all! I smell better (after you quit, you realize how bad stale cigarette smoke smells on smokers!,) I've saved a ton of money...and I'm sure I've done major things for improving my health.

I wish the best for each of you that are trying to quit. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need encouragement or just need to have your 'tantrum.'
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:57 AM   #14
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Rhonda, thanks for your honesty--That's the part I am not looking for to. I quit for a few years back in '02 (I think!) and the physical part kicked my butt! Other than that--I AM HONESTLY LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!
I think that while you shouldn't to quit and lose SERIOUS weight at the same time, I do think that it is beneficial to watch what you do during the quit--if excercise is a good stress reliever, go for it. If it isn't (for you), why would you want to put that extra stress on yourself during this extremely stressful period? Frankly, I look forward to the day where I am no longer so stupid that I smoke before going to the gym and then wondering why I get winded so easily on the treadmill! How stupid am I? But I keep doing it, because I'm an addict.
But not for much longer!
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:31 AM   #15
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This all sounds really familiar--I started smoking as a weight-loss tool in college (really really REALLY stupid idea) and recently quit. I read the same thing someone else mentioned, that I'd have to gain 150lbs to do as much health damage as just a day's worth of cigarettes, and that put everything in perspective.

The best advice I can offer is to find something new that you really, truly love to do--something that is yours and only yours. For me it's taking care of my 2 rescued horses and spending time around the barn, even if only for 1/2 an hour a day. You could try light hiking, knitting, a quilting class, tai chi, learning a new language--anything. Try a bunch of new stuff and see what moves you.

As far as the smoking/weight gain issue, the only way I can manage to keep myself on track is to regularly see a nutritionist. She does blood panels, scrutinizes my diet and progress, and doesn't let me make excuses. Knowing exactly what your intake and lifestyle is doing to your health is the biggest motivator I've found for sticking to it. Also, seeing those blood pressure numbers creep down and knowing those are years added to my life is a big reward!
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