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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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You're onto the fact that I'm onto something!

by Forum Surfer In reply to The thing you may be onto ...

I have become addicted to that rush you get when you're getting into your peak. I love working out to "point of failure" during strength training. It is such a tremendously great feeling (along with a psychological feeling of accomplishment) it is very hard not to do it on a regular basis. I already have joint pain and some arthritis developing in areas from a semi-brutal motorcycle accident in my youth...along with some other adrenaline rush related activities from back in those days.

Overall, I'm just not happy sitting around without getting in some intensely physical activities from time to time. Sex, yard work in the heat of summer and the gym seem to accomplish this. I think smoking was my way of replacing physical activity in my life once I reached mid 20's, which would explain my recent addiction to strength training.

Thanks for the keen observation!

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Just got another 30 day script for Chantix...

by dcolbert Contributor In reply to Quitting Smoking and Weig ...

I'll start tomorrow. 30 days ought to do it.

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good luck :)

by PurpleSkys In reply to Just got another 30 day s ...

we're both on day 12 here...he did the lazer accupuncture thing and I did patches...funny thing is, we're both still alive lol...keep in mind, i've fallen off the "wagon" a few times in the last 25 yrs, but i'm gonna keep trying darn it, so don't get discouraged if you take a step back a couple of times

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