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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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by dcolbert Contributor In reply to Intense/vivid dreams are ...

I had vivid dreams UNTIL I went on Chantix and quit. Now, I can hardly remember my dreams at all.

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by Oz_Media In reply to But...

I see no correlation betwene the two.

Sometimes I have dreams where I can wake up and then go to sleep again and actually continue it as it is so vivid. Other times I just sleep as if I am dead.

A lot of it has to do with a mental state, well actually ALL of it is due to mental state. Anything in yoru life will either create or stop such dreams, even daily stress, being overly tired, a boring day etc.

the only connection I've seen, and it's is not medically proven but just user comments, is that, if anything, Chantix actually creates vivid dreams. A change in the body/mind always has some effect on the unconcious mind. It's not because a drug is good or bad or creates something in all patients. The same could be found by someone switching from taking Tylenol to Ibuprofin.

However any medication of any sort will have such effects due to a change in body chemistry, state of mind and brain wave changes.

Personally I think it's all in your head. LOL, yeah pun was intended, couldn't help that one.

Find me a medical "study" that actually proves it either way and you could have a point.

Having been on and off pain meds of every type conceivable over tha last 30 years, I have gone from vivid to no dreams and back again, it is common for a change in body chemistry and not directly related to the drug itself being good or bad.

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I blame almost every change recently...

by dcolbert Contributor In reply to Honestly

On approaching middle age. My joints ache, my eyes are going, I'm starting to get gray hairs (I've been balding since 17, so I can't blame that on old age...)

It is all a looming four-point-oh causing it all.

Seriously, the thought has crossed my mind about the dreams... "Probably just another 40 thing... my mind is too damn tired to come up with interesting dreams anymore".

Although I just recently (after the start of this discussion) woke up sweating and gasping for breath having had a dream where someone was trying to shoot me as I ran in a zig-zag pattern crouched low to the ground. Incredibly vivid.

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Just quiting is not enough

by DadsPad In reply to Quitting Smoking and Weig ...

Many, many years ago, I quit smoking cold. I slowly gained weight over the years, no all at once.

There is usually many reasons people smoke, besides enjoyment. Finding all the reasons and solving them is important. Otherwise, another habit will replace smoking. When eating replaces smoking. If there may be an underlying anxiety or frustration. Food also gives something to do with your hands and mouth, so we have "comfort food".

Personally, I think losing weight is easier than to quit smoking. You can improve you body with exercise and diet, you never recover from the damage smoking does to the lungs. You do feel better, but the damage done stays.

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Well actually

by JamesRL In reply to Just quiting is not enoug ...

The lungs do recover markedly, given enough time. Its a long time till your lung cancer risk starts to drop, but your sinus issues, and heart disease risks drop(but not dissapear) within a year.

I've never smoked, but lived with smokers. I've gained weight from lifestyle and metabolic changes.


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Here is what I am talking about

by DadsPad In reply to Well actually

Not all smokers will have permenant lung damage, but prolonged smokers espcially that get:

"Emphysema is a disease in which the walls of the fine air sacs of the lung ? the place where the lung does its business of exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide ? break down. So tiny little air sacs become bigger ones ? and they're less efficient in transporting oxygen. The lung can't grow new walls for these air sacs. The lung loses tiny blood vessels and can't grow new ones. So that's permanent."

Read more:,8599,181**44,00.html

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by JamesRL In reply to Here is what I am talking ...

As the article points out, not everyone will get COPD/emphysema. Unfortunately my father in law did, and it killed him.


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Lifestyle impact.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Quitting Smoking and Weig ...

I put on and am still carrying about 40lbs, taking me up to a whopping 170.
But I was in my forties, I no longer cycle / run to work (commuting 280 ,miles a day, made that a bit of strain ). I've stopped playing football (soccer), no longer swim etc. Never was a big fan of the gym, and seeing as I only get the weekend I can find better things to do.

So it's not just f a g s (I am so tired of this PC crap !) or fat.

After failing again like yourself and then building back up to my previous intake, I'm having a go at stopping again. I take the chewing gum to work, so that's givimng me about 15 hours a day smoke free, may be have a couple in the evening, well night really, and then conk out ready to catch worms the following day. Cutting out those last two is a problem, but I'm trying not to set myself up to fail this time.

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Cause-for-correlation errors, eh?

by NickNielsen In reply to Quitting Smoking and Weig ...

Can you say global warming?

I knew that you could. (You just knew somebody was going to bring that up, didn't you! :) )

For me, the trigger to light a cigarette is walking out of a building. (I've been smoking outside since the military kicked smokers outdoors in 1988.) It's going to be a very long time before I don't ever do that any more. I don't chew gum, so that's out, and you can only eat so many raisins or bananas. I expect, if I quit, to gain quite a few pounds because of that.

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by Oz_Media In reply to Cause-for-correlation err ...

I instantly light a cigar and will chain smoke them while driving.

I can work all day without smoking, as soon as I get in the truck, I light up.

That said, and recognizing the nature of my habit, you'd think it would be easy to resolve, THINK being the operative word of course.

In Canada, BC anyway, cigarrettes are near to or over $10 a pack. My cigars are $8 a shot and I can smoke 3 or 4 just driving across town to the studio and back.

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