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Quitting smoking while dieting

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Old 07-10-2013, 11:39 AM   #1
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Well, I feel like I may be in over my head. I am 27 and have been smoking for about 12 years. Holy crap, in my mind, I haven't been smoking that long, but just reading that, "12 years." Wow. Well, I've been telling myself I need to quit smoking; it's not cheap, it's not healthy, and just another thing to worry about. My grandfather more or less died due to his smoking 2ish packs a day for over 50 years. You'd think watching him go through renal failure would have scared me at 18, but apparently not enough.

I made my last day of smoking the last day of last month, so it'd be easy to track how long I have been off the cigarettes. So this is day 10. I'm not sure I will make it through both of my journeys; I am still trying to lose at least 30 more lbs. It's like I have lost my mind. It's like since I quit smoking, all I have the urge to do is eat - and it's not just that, I feel hungry a lot too. My anxiety is higher, my moods are lower, my tolerance is lower. I'm less alert in the mornings as I have fibromyalgia, and my morning cigarette helped lift some of the fatigue and fog - and I can't do coffee as I can't have caffeine.

Anyone else been through this? Not sure what to do with myself. Everyone keeps telling me to get e-cigs, or chew gum... But surely there have to be more tricks than that. Help
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:02 PM   #2
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Honestly, when I quit in college, I took up running and it was awesome for weight loss, brain fog/anxiety, and I could breathe well since I wasn't smoking anymore.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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I quit smoking four months ago, on March 11, the same day I began my diet. I haven't smoked since and I no longer have any desire to smoke. In fact, I wonder why I ever smoked in the first place. I'm 56 and I smoked for over 40 years (so 12 years seems very short to me). Plus, I was a heavy smoker (up to at least 2 packs a day for the past 10 or 15 years). Since March 11, I've also lost 29 lbs. I'll tell you the things I did to help with my cravings when I first quit...perhaps some will work for you, perhaps some won't.

First, a craving for a cigarette often masks itself as hunger, explaining why many people do eat more when they quit and why people tend to gain weight when they quit. I stuck to my diet...3 healthy meals per day plus a snack. If I had a "hunger pang" (likely a cigarette craving), I drank water. That seemed to help me feel full. Often my water was flavored (Mio, Crystal Light, etc.), which also took care of my sweet tooth. I know some people have an issue with artificial sweeteners, but I figured I was dieting and quitting smoking at the same, so I wasn't going to worry about blasted sweeteners...choose your poison!

Second, if drinking water didn't get rid of the craving, then I turned to exercise. I either took a short walk, or did 20 squats, or took out my hula hoop and had some fun...basically anything that took my mind off the craving. I also found my new fitness routine helped my quit and vice versa. That is, focusing on fitness took my mind off smoking, and conversely, the fact that I quit made it much easier for me to exercise (because I no longer run out of breath all the time).

Finally, I read a book by Alan Carr, called "The Easy Way to Quit Smoking", which is a best-seller worldwide. Carr is a horrible writer, because he keeps repeating himself...but what he says made a lot of sense. He is (was) a former heavy smoker and he speaks in a way that I think most smokers will appreciate. I attribute a lot of my success to having read this book. I highly recommend it.

I used the e-cig during the first 2 weeks, although my e-cig was bought in Canada and thus had no nicotine (illegal to sell e-cigs with nicotine up here)...so it simply emulated the smoking routine. I only had perhaps 2 or 3 puffs a day when things got really bad. I weaned myself off by the end of Week 2, after reading Carr's book (which convinced me I no longer needed to stick something in my mouth).

I wish you the best of luck in your quit and your diet! I feel soooo much better now that I've quit smoking. If you find you can't do both at once, then do yourself a favor: Stick to quitting smoking. Conquer that battle first and then deal with the weight loss.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:32 PM   #4
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I started smoking when I was 17 and smoked an average pack to a pack and a half (sometimes more) for 10 years. Then I got pneumonia and landed in the hospital for a week and I'd always swore to myself if I could go smoke free for a week, I could do it for life and I can honestly tell you that was the worst quit of my life -- yes, there have been more, quite a few more in fact. After that first quit I stayed smoke free for about three years but then my marriage started to disintegrate and I started back again, took me three years before I quit that time, but the quit was easier. Same thing when my mother died except that time I only smoked for about a year and a half or so, that was nine years ago and I've picked them up at least two or three times since then, most recently I quit this past month after smoking for more than a year, but this time I was averaging less than eight cigarettes a day (a record low for me, I was smoking American Spirits which had something to do with it I think).

Quitting is literally 1% physical and 99% mental. You are over the physical symptoms in 72 hours after finishing your last cigarette, the rest is a head game (with the exception of some neurotransmitters which take a little while to get back on board).

Frankly, stay off the gum and e-cigs, you're clear of the nicotine and honestly they don't help. What you need is something to help with the anxiety, low frustration and depression, that is actually genuine (remember those neurotransmitters?) You could go to the health food store and pick up some herbs that would help the transition, or you could go to your doctor and tell them you quit smoking and you're having depression and anxiety problems -- Your choice. If you want the herbal route let me know and I can list some stuff that can help.

Eating ... see, yes, nicotine IS an appetite suppressant but the other thing is you've got an addiction coupled with certain rituals and behaviors. Your brain is wired so that A) It craves nicotine so B) You light a cigarette. Now you're no longer physically addicted to nicotine but it takes around 30 days to unlearn behaviors (or develop new habits). You're at the stage now where you have the psychological cravings and you're giving into those cravings with a different comfort. You need to address those behaviors and substitute healthy rituals, end of story. I can't tell you what to do to stop eating, you have to find something to do.

Classically, avoid all people and locations that trigger the urge to smoke, get your teeth cleaned by the dentist, start carrying gum or mints (personally I got into Altoids), start drinking water when you get a craving, brush your teeth when you get a craving, go for a walk, read a book, do a crossword or Sodoku or whatever, but FIND SOMETHING other than fixating on smoking, seriously. The harder you think about NOT smoking the worse it is and you're digging yourself into a hole you cannot get out of. Quitting cigarettes is about not thinking about cigarettes while simultaneously learning not to associate cravings with other bad habits.

Incidentally, your fibromyalgia could very well be flaring due to quitting smoking, nicotine affects both serotonin and dopamine levels, and those are directly linked to depression and exacerbated depression triggers pain, which is why you might want to discuss what you're feeling emotionally with a doctor.

Don't give up, you're over the worst of it (the first three days). You'll find that you periodically and unexpectedly hit walls, days that are just the very devil. Those are the ones you can do nothing but white knuckle it through (anti anxiety meds or herbs are your friend here). I promise you they will get less and less and easier to deal with. Three months from now this will all be a bad memory and you will be filled with a sense of pride at the courage and determination you had, I swear.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:59 PM   #5
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I was a 28 year smoker. I tried everything to quit and nothing helped. I lost about 60lbs a year and a half ago and struggled to maintain that loss. In Dec. of this year I caught a really bad cold and decided it was time to try ecigs (not the Blue but went to a local store who specializes in them). Thanks to my ecig I have been smoke free for over 8 months. I have lowered my nicotine level over those months and will get down to zero but don't know if I will give up vaping because I like it and can get my sweet fix most of the time from the various flavors to choose from. Plus it does help me keep from snacking when I am relaxing at night.

The bad - in 8 months I have gained 20 of my lost pounds back and I really did not change my diet, in fact I was actually trying to lose 10 more and dropped my calories. I believe that quitting changed my metabolism which has made it harder to lose and maintain the loss. (I am also 43 years old and not in my 20's either) People will probably disagree with that statement but for me this has been the case.

I have a gf who quite smoking using ecigs. She has several health issues and both her doctor and her pulminologist are happy with the switch and say nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine its all the other chemicals in cigs that are so bad.

All the symptoms you are suffering from are from quitting smoking. Its not only the nicotine that we are addicted to but all the other 4,000 additives put in cigs.
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