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Quit Smoking! But Gain Weight?

Question: One year ago I was 58 years old, weighed 150 lbs, wore a size 12 and smoked. I had a stroke, quit smoking cold turkey and now weigh about 178 lbs! I walk every day (30 - 45 minutes) just as I did before the stroke and I really do watch what I eat, but it seems the pounds keep coming on strong. I am reading your book now, but need to know how to jump start my metabolism.

I am sorry to hear about your stroke, but I am THRILLED that you stopped smoking. It is actually fairly common for smokers who stop smoking to gain some weight -- the "oral fixation" on a cigarette sometimes offsets the oral desire to put food into your mouth. In addition, your taste bud response to food is blunted -- food can be less desirable and palatable to smokers. However, all is not lost and this is not an endorsement for smoking for weight loss!

What I will say is that you are likely eating just a wee bit more now...even if it is what seems to be healthy...and it sounds like you are exercising just about the same. Plus, there is the general proclivity to gain a pound or two a year as we age with our hormones and metabolism shifting a little.

So here is the deal. You really do need to amp up the exercise. The 30-45 minute walk is GREAT -- don't lose that! BUT, you should either increase the intensity of your walks (interval jogging, carry weights or use ankle weights) and/or change up the routine..walking is great for you, but not as efficient at burning calories compared to higher intensity work (the book is great for giving you guidance on this). Second, please pay attention to the amount of food that you are consuming. One less spoonful here and there can go a long way -- and again, the book has some great advice on some good clean and nutritious meals.