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Quitting Smoking and Weight Loss

By dcolbert Contributor ·
So, I recently attempted to quit smoking with the aid of Chantix, a stop-smoking drug. It worked amazingly effective, and after my first week on the drug, I had no desire to smoke at all. I managed to quit completely for over 6 months, 4 of which were completely drug free (I went off the Chantix early). I've now back-slid, unfortunately, and I'm smoking about 3-5 cigarettes a day - but it feels like I'm 14 or 15 and smoking again. I can go from 4 pm until 9 am the following morning without a cigarette. I'm eventually going to give it another try - and I may go on a short course of Chantix to help me out. But that isn't really the point.

When I went off, I put on weight, which isn't unusual. I'm not a huge guy, but I went from about 160 pounds to about 175 pounds, which was a noticable increase in weight for me. Now that I'm smoking again, I've shed a few of those pounds.

This got me thinking about my half-sisters, all of who are over-weight. They also all quit smoking in their early to mid 30. Although all of them come from a side of the family that is just larger - none of them were obese when they smoked. One is now probably morbidly obese. She wears it well enough that you probably wouldn't think of her as such - but she is approach morbid obesity. She quit the earliest, and she is also a very big fan of 12-Step programs, with a large circle of friends and support coming from this community. She has had significant health problems. It is arguable if her health problems are related to her weight or not, but her weight certainly isn't making her health problems more managable. She is relatively young to be facing such dramatic health issues, as well.

The thing is, it is clear to me that she has replaced her previous addictions with an addiction to food - and although this may not be a popular statement or opinion, I think that in her case, maintaining her weight but continuing to smoke might have been a more healthy alternative than replacing that addiction with food.

Obviously and ideally, she would have quit smoking, and not found something equally unhealthy to replace that addiction with - but the truth of the matter, and one hard to grasp for people with non-addictive personalities, is that this is harder to achieve than to say.

I think this is the danger with our society and issues like this in general. There has been such a push to attack smoking in our society, we've lost site of the forest for the trees. We've had a massively funded federal campaign that approaches a propaganda campaign to create an atmosphere of zero tolerance for smoking. I'm sure I could find expert advice that would say, "yes, in some cases, it would be better for someone to continue to smoke than to eat themselves into morbid obesity". But as a society we embrace the idea that smoking is always more destructive than eating. That is despite the fact that smoking has never been proven to *cause* cancer, or many of the other diseases or health issues for which there is a strong correlation, but not proof of cause, with. If you feel compelled to argue this point with me, don't bother. Smoking and disease is correlation, not cause. Otherwise we would assume that all smokers would eventually develop cancer, and they don't, and we would also assume that all non-smokers would remain cancer free, and they don't.

To try and bring this into a discussion relevant to these forums - I constantly remind clients, customers and my own staff to beware of cause-for-correlation errors. In fact, I was recently experiencing a permissions/authentication issue between my back end and front end mail server. This error occured after one of my engineers migrated our DC from W2k3 to W2k8. I felt strongly that it had to do with this migration, due to the correlation. My engineer argued strongly that he did not feel that this was the case. Today, another engineer discovered that in Control Panel, in the "Stored User Names and Passwords" control applet, a particular account associated with Blackberry Exchange Server had been stored. He removed this stored account and password, and communication was restored. Cause for correlation errors waste time, cost money, and lead to wrong conclusions, and we're all guilty of making them, sometimes as an entire society thinking with a hive mind. Sometimes they may even jeopardize our health.

Some may claim that this is an elaborate justification to continue smoking. Who knows, there may be some truth to that claim - but even if so, I don't think it invalidates the counter-claim - that giving up something bad for you and replacing it with something worse is simply a bad idea, regardless of how well conditioned we've become as a society to reject this idea. The more important lesson, is that generalizations are invariably dangerous things - regardless of if you are evaluating the dangers of smoking in your life or approaching troubleshooting what appears to be a permissions/authentication issue on a pair of mail servers after a DC upgrade on your AD domain. Correlating evidence should be assessed and evaluated, but confusing cause with correlation is something that should always be foremost in a person's mind - and there simply isn't any alternative to using those critical thinking skills to carefully analyze all evidence available for you. Just because someone tells you something (The Government telling you that you should quit smoking, your manager telling you that your DC move caused a mail server issue), doesn't mean you should take it at face value. Each case is different in some way or another, and should be carefully evaluated as an individual case.

As for me, at the moment I'm not sure what I am craving more, a few bite sized Mikly Way dark bars or a cigarette. Maybe I'll compromise, and have a little of both. :)

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Goldurn it dcolbert.

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to Quitting Smoking and Weig ...

There you go again, messing with the propaganda machine.

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by The 'G-Man.' In reply to Quitting Smoking and Weig ...

Do you know what that can do to your short / long term mental state???

I would steer clear of Chantix.

(this explains quit allot to me now)

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Trust me...

by dcolbert Contributor In reply to Chantix!!!

Vaccines save more children than they harm.
Airbags save more lives than they take.
Chantix helps more people than it causes short or long term issues for.

Vividity and risk. People over-estimate risk based on the vividity of the possible outcomes of that risk taking. That is why more people are afraid to fly than to drive, despite the fact that driving is far more risky than flying. It is a common irrational reaction to vivid risk, and that is what you're voicing here, G-Man.

Addendum. I had no nightmares, no increase in rage, a tiny bit of stomach upset at the start, but otherwise, experienced none of the potentially severe and fully disclosed side effects that are possible. I'm also on Lipitor, and haven't experienced any of the potentially life-threatening side affects that drug can cause.

But, unlike a vast number of people, I read the instructions, the side effects, and follow the steps religiously. People ignore that a drug says, "Take with food and water", and wash it down with coffee or alcohol, then complain when they have complications. I've talked to other people who quit Chantix when they had bad dreams or horrible stomach aches. Inevitably, when I asked them, "did you take it with 8 ounces or more of water and with a small meal" they all answered, "No... was I supposed to"...

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Man....Chantix made me whacko

by Forum Surfer In reply to Chantix!!!

I had such vivid and disturbing dreams that I could not sleep for days on end longer than an hour at the time. One dream involved a family trip to a park that featured not swimming with dolphins, but swimming with anacondas. (I know, disturbing.) My mind conceived this awful, deep, bass ridden hiss that the anaconda made that would send chills up my spine. My girlfriend at the time woke me up from this dream (I was sweating profusely and talking gibberish "like I was possessed")as I was stepping between the anaconda and my son. When I awoke she was on the floor. As it turns out, I gave her one **** of a right cross in my half asleep state and knocked her out cold. I had no idea what happened until I saw the bruise on her eye. Oddly enough she didn't get mad once she came to, but boy did I ever feel like a complete tool and an ***. She said that when I hit her my eyes lids were open and my eyes were rolled back in my head as I continued the chant like gibberish. She advised me to either quit the chantix or seek a catholic priest for exorcism rites.

I tried it for a few more days. Honestly I felt like I was a basket case. At times I felt paranoid delusional and other times I felt manic depressive. Situations that I was normally comfortable in suddenly caused me to break out in a nervous sweat and second guess myself. I honestly felt like a completely different person and could see sanity getting further out of my grasp. I finally quit the chantix, continued smoking for a few weeks until I felt relatively sane and proceeded to quit cold turkey.

Now I have an addiction for cinnamon mentos.

Now my best friend used chantix successfully with no issues. Me? As a normally somewhat sane, logical person I had a deeply disturbing experience and struggled to keep my mind rational. My body did not cope well with the new found chemical imbalance brought on by the chantix. Quitting cold turkey caused very harsh withdrawals, but I was at least able to keep the voices in my head at bay without the chantix!

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by cmiller5400 In reply to Man....Chantix made me wh ...

Now THAT is one f'd up dream. I thought the beta blocker that I went on caused vivid dreams

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Careful now

by JamesRL In reply to HOLY PILE OF STEAMING BOV ...

Some people make take up smoking so that they can get Chantix and have vivid dreams.


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by dcolbert Contributor In reply to Man....Chantix made me wh ...

So, I used to have vivid, cinematic dreams that I could recall in detail when I woke up. Since I went on and stopped Chantix, I haven't had any significant dreams like this, and very rarely remember more than bits of my dreams when I wake.

I once had a dream where I kicked open a door to a hotel room. A girl was sitting at a bar between the main room and the kitchenette, a woman was in the kitchen. To the left was a sitting area with a TV, and a guy stood up and started yelling at me. I reached into my coat, pulled out a gun, and shot him, which sent him flying back into the glass floor to ceiling window. As he slid down, his brains streaked across the window as his family screamed in horror. I walked out of the room, down the hallway to an elevator. There was a trash can between the two elevators, and I dropped the gun in there, pressed the button, and got on the lift. On the way down, I realized I should have taken the stairs, and went into a full panic which woke me from the dream. Like I said, cinematic - but it was all from my perspective, and I woke up wondering what was wrong with me to have such a dream and be so devoid of emotion during the act only to freak out once I got on the elevator and realized I was going to get caught.

Post Chantix, no dreams like these, yet... and you know, I kinda miss them. Some of the best movies I've ever seen have happened in my sleep. :)

Obviously Chantix is a powerful drug that can have significant impact on how your mind works. I'm not denying that.

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Try a beta blocker...

by cmiller5400 In reply to Wow.

Like Metoprolol Succinate (for high blood pressure). The dreams may not be as wild as yours, but they rank up there until you get use to the medication.

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by dcolbert Contributor In reply to Try a beta blocker...

Been on it since I was 15. Heh. Maybe that was the problem. LOL. Maybe i just now got used to the medication...

(Mitral Valve Prolapse - and migraines, so it is working double duty with me...)

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Intense/vivid dreams are common when quitting

by Oz_Media In reply to Man....Chantix made me wh ...

I've read about that on many other smoking cessation websites, drugs or not.

Even people who just quit the hard way, cold turkey with no aides, commonly experience the side effects you attribute to Chantrix.

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