Weight Loss
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Adjust Calories for Quitting Smoking?


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I've just recently quit smoking and am fearful of gaining weight.  Seeing as how nicotine is both a stimulant and an appetite suppressant, can anyone tell me how I should change my calorie intake to ward off weight gain?  According to CCs expenditure tool...I need 1500 cals/day to function-sedentarily (yes, I'm petite, but not toned).  I'm wondering how this expenditure equation might change for someone breaking a nicotine addiction. If so, for how long?  Thanks for any ideas. 
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Hey jkr congrats on quitting smoking!!!

I quit smoking cold turkey in late Dec 2006. I wish I could tell you how many calories you need once you quit smoking but I can't. Try to eat 1500 cals if you're a male, and eat around 1200 if you're a female and work-out for at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 times a week. I can tell you what happend to me...

I was determined not to gain any weight once I quit smoking, as a smoker I would say I "worked out" by doing 20 minutes of pilates 2-3 days a week so fairly inactive. About 2 weeks prior to quitting smoking I increased my workout schedule to 60 minutes of cardio 4 times a week so that I'd be in the working out habit once I quit.

Then I quit smoking and continued to workout for 60 minutes 4-5 times a week alternating cardio and resistence. I never even thought twice about adjusting my caloric intake once I quit because my weight was stable for 10 years with the way I ate and now with the great increase in activity I figured that was enough of a change.  I swear I did not replace the smoking with eating but I was shocked to see that I was gaining weight despite eating exactly the same way and working out WAY MORE than I ever had as a smoker so I didn't get it? I gained 4-5 pounds in 7 days for quitting smoking? Imagine my frustration...I do something right for my health and it backfires on me with a weight gain--it was sort of like this kick in the arse for ever having been a smoker...an idiot's tax if you will.

I didn't despair because I figured the 4-5 pound weight gain must be due to water and yet it wasn't going away and my jeans were too tight..uh-oh this was not good. I kept on working out 60 minutes , 5 days a week and started using fitday.com and then found calorie count and would you believe with all the effort I was now putting into weight loss I had only lost a mere 4 pounds in two months...so now I was at least back to my smoking weight...but boy oh boy was my patience tested, my body fought me tooth and nail and wow was the weight loss ever sloooow! But that's what happens when you suddenly take a stimulant out of your system after 10 years. If you're male then you're in luck..apparently it's way easier for guys to avoid a weight gain when they quit smoking.

Everyone has different side effects when they quit..I quit cold turkey and had no headaches, mood swings etc (should have known that there'd be a catch to my quit being soooo easy...that was the most stubborn 4 pounds I've ever lost!) But hey everyone is different.. Some people lose weight after they quit and some people gain a lot more than 4-5 pounds.

Anyways, congrats again on quitting!!
The metabolism slows down when you quit smoking. Gaining weight is just a temporary side effect.

I gained weight because I replaced cigarettes with food for a while. I craved sugar, like any recovering addict would (I smoked for 30 years!). I also had to understand why I smoked - the same reason some people have to know why they overeat.

My weight is actually stabilizing faster since I've been here at CC and have learned about nutrition and exercise, and how to implement the two properly.

I quit once in the mid-80's and gained the same amount of weight I gained now... but! It has come off quicker this time around, and I am 44, with a slightly slower metabolism than when I was in my twenties. I quit cold turkey back then, but used the patch this time.

I think the best thing to do is accept that you may very well gain a little bit of weight. My Mom is ultra thin... she quit and has gained weight. So, it happens to almost everybody.

I would stick to your usual diet and just TRY to be patient. And perhaps stock up on a lot of celery and carrots. If you have a problem with oral fixation, they have a thing you can buy on the Internet called a "Lifesucker."

Good Luck!
Even if you do gain a few pounds...and I am not saying you will...but let's say worst case scenario. The negative impacts of a few temporary pounds gained is nowhere near the damage you will do continuing to smoke. Congrats to you, this is an amazing decision you have made for yourself, stick with it!
Sometimes people put on weight because their food becomes more tasty and food is a different experience again. Just monitor your cals every day untill it becomes habit.

Well done in giving up. I have been given up for over 2 years now its the best thing i could of done for myself.

Any weight gain will be temporary. Keep with it.

Hope it goes well.
Here's a nice link on that...

http://www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/smo king.htm

i quit cold turkey last year and climbed the walls.  my appetite and sleep was disrupted significantly the first 3 1/2 weeks or so.  appetite normalized about 6 month mark...

Glad 2 hear you are quitting!  You can do it :)  Hang in!
#6  
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what a really great forum this is....thank you all for responding and encouraging. 

ps:  workoutaddict:  my idiot tax:  pneumonia!!!  4 days after i went nicotine free.... life is funny.
jkr - Im right with you. I wasnt going to quit until I lost a big amount of weight - I was fearful of gaining weight and trying to change everything at once. But after talking to my doc Mon and being reminded that my dad was 41 when he had his first heart attack (Im 35) I decided I have to do it now. Yes, I may gain weight. But i can quit smoking quicker than I can lose all the weight, so its best to get rid of one risk factor as soon as possible. My official quit date is going to be May 13! I just started taking Chantix to quit smoking (ive never been able to do it cold turkey). So I keep smoking for at least 1-2 weeks before I quit.

Good luck to us both!
I've read that smoking is the equivalent of metabolizing an extra 200 calories a day. But everyone's different, and honestly, I'm not sure I'd recommend cutting calories extra low while quitting. Your body needs the extra calories to heal your lungs, heart, bones, etc from the effects of smoking. You've done a lot of damage over the years. Definetly don't minimize the amount of fruit in your diet: your body needs Vitamin C in particular right now.

I've also read a study that showed that modest (2 mg) doses of nicotine replacement gum, along with a cup of coffee each day, can offset weight gain.

I'll share what kept me motivated when I quit, even though I gained some weight (actually I gained most of my weight *before* I quit... but quitting made it extra hard for the weight to come off). This link is not for the faint of heart. Whenever I'd get despondent about gaining weight, I'd take a look at this page and remind myself that smoking to be thin was just not worth it:

http://whyquit.com/whyquit/BryanLeeCurtis.htm l
#9  
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To Kerry:  Good Luck to you.  May 13th:  Mother's Day....a good gift for any one.  In January I decided to quit on my March birthday.  I was turning 32.  I began Pilates 4x/week, but never changed my diet.  When my birthday arrived, I borrowed a patch from my still smoking father.  He had a heart attack a few years ago from smoking and then became a Type I diabetic.  He's 59. The realization that he probably won't make it through his sixties brings me to tears daily.  I needed to quit now.  But I didn't want to.It's not a matter of wanting to though....It's not a choice, it just must be done.
    I used the patch every day for five weeks to break the psychological addiction.  Side effects from the patch included extreme nauseau, anxiety, restlessness, night terrors, shakiness, excessive thirst, dizziness and a lot of crying.  Perhaps I was on too high a dose, perhaps I was an addict going through withdrawal.  In anycase, the site that jenmcc refers you to (whyquit.com) was very helpful for me.  I realized that the nicotine patch was delaying the inevitable, which is breaking the addiction.  It did serve it's purpose for the first few weeks, as chantix will for you.  I was able to relearn how to eat, talk, wake up, fall asleep, drive, work, orgasm, exercise, drink, socialize, and live without having a cigarette to start or stop each daily activity.  I'm still struggling with many of these six weeks later.  But it's easier now...the thoughts aren't lasting as long. 
   In my 5th week of using the patch, I got pneumonia.  Of course, combine the anxiety from the patch and the chest pain from pneumonia....I thought I was dying....Internet research did not help.  I took the patch off immediately and figured:  'If I'm stuck at home with pneumonia for a week, this is probably a good time to go through the physical detox.'  I was right. It took me two really intense days of anger (almost to the point of rage), and complete mental obsession with cigarettes.  I just kept reminding myself that I'm not going to smoke for the next hour.  That's it....that's all I can do.  Each hour passed and I would again, go for an hour.  I hated my life, I hated everything...for two solid days I cried and hated. 
  Two days is not a really long time....not when you consider the bigger picture.  Two days of a sucky existence is pretty doable.  I'm still so early in my recovery.  The best thing I can share with you is that.....you have to take it one crave at a time and....it's not an option to continue smoking....really. 
 Anyway....again, good luck to you.  I've heard amazing things about Chantix.  Get your head ready...you will need to wage a personal war....full of many battles.   I wish you well.  
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