Craving Busters

Experts argue about the term that most accurately describes that longing for a cigarette, that itch that cries out for scratching, but no confirmed smoker has any problem identifying the experience.  Craving, urge, desire – whatever you choose to call it – can emerge in half an hour or even less after smoking in an ongoing smoker and is the reason many attempts to quit founder within...
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Move a Little, Lose a Lot: A Review

I rely on regular attendance at aerobics classes to help keep my weight under control.  But although a recent week of babysitting my grandchildren (the reason, BTW, for no blog post last week) kept me too busy to visit the gym, the needle on the scale held steady.  James A. Levine, MD, PhD would undoubtedly call that a textbook example of NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) in action ...
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Life After Cigarettes – Beyond Quitting

I’m often asked how I came to write Life After Cigarettes. “Aren’t there already a lot of how-to-stop-smoking books already?” “Does the world really need another how-to-quit book, even one with a special focus on women and weight concerns?” Indeed there are a lot of how-to-stop-smoking books. Many of them are of dubious value – written either by charlatans or more often by...
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To Be Happy, Try Acting Happy

The link between smoking and depression is well-documented.  Smoking can relieve depression, and depressed mood can emerge as a withdrawal symptom after quitting, particularly in people with a tendency towards depression to begin with.  Severe depression is relatively uncommon and may require medical intervention; for the more mundane blues and blahs that may plague quitters, here’s something...
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Is Cessation-Related Weight Gain Temporary?

I recently blogged about the Rule of Thirds – the myth that only a third of smokers gain weight after quitting (with a third remaining the same and a third actually losing weight).  This would be nice if it were true but it simply is not.  The large majority of quitters gain weight.  Only a handful actually lose weight, and as I have suggested elsewhere, some of those who do may be suffering...
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Mother’s Day Musings

Today is Mother’s Day, the day we set aside to think about and honor our mothers, and to let them know how much we appreciate their love and devotion.  Two days from now, May 11, marks the 45th anniversary of my own mother’s death.  I miss her still.  I regard it as one of the tragedies of my life that just on the verge of forming an adult relationship with my mother, I lost the...
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Smoke-Free Michigan – Everybody Wins

Today – May 1, 2010 – my home state of Michigan becomes smoke-free, joining 38 other states that have already enacted some version of this policy.* Fittingly, the new measure is named for the late Dr. Ron Davis, a tireless supporter of this legislation and a friend to all who care about the public health. Rest in peace, Ron. For me, as for most nonsmokers, this change is cause to celebrate....
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How Sweet It Is

It tastes good and lifts our spirits.  It comforts us and quells our appetite.  Yet we know it’s bad for us and sometimes suspect we may be addicted to it. I’m talking about sugar – and the love-hate relationship many women have with it.  Unfortunately for many of us, Mother Nature didn’t provide us with brakes when it comes to consuming sugar.  In the wild, it’s probably a good...
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The Not-So-Big Meal

Most people’s lists of life-changing books focus on great works of literature, philosophy, and religion.  Prominent on mine is Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House. Susanka popularized the notion that when it comes to living spaces, bigger is not necessarily better, and showed the world how to put it into practice. She convinced us we didn’t need to duplicate functions or devote a lot of...
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Start Smoking to Lose Weight? Not on Your Life!

Yep, that’s me, age 18 or so, working hard to become a smoker.  (And in case you were wondering: No, that’s not my husband; this photo was taken long before I met him.) I was luckier than the smokers we studied in the Nicotine Research Laboratory in that I never succeeded in learning to inhale.  So I never took in enough nicotine to become addicted, and eventually I decided that...
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