RX for Readers: I wish I could...

Is there anything I can do to stop smoking without gaining weight and feeling hungry?

The flu (photo credit: Wikicommons)
The flu
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
I am 38 and had been smoking twoand- a-half packs of cigarettes a day. I quit, using electronic cigarettes without nicotine to help me kick the habit. I was doing this for a whole year, but I found I was gaining weight and was always hungry. Unfortunately, I returned to smoking, although just four cigarettes a day. Now I am not hungry and have lost weight. I felt I had no choice. Is there anything I can do to keep the weight off and stop being hungry? When I exercised, I found that I was just getting hungrier.A.T., Ma’aleh Adumim
Dr. Olga Raz, chief clinical dietitian of Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center, comments: Giving up the bad and dangerous habit of smoking often causes weight gain, but it is possible for you to overcome your feeling of hunger after giving up smoking.
First, eat small meals every three to four hours. Give up all kinds of sweets, including natural juices, and limit the number of fruits, including dried fruits.
Don’t eat halva, which is very fattening.
At every meal, eat a slice or two of whole wheat bread with a thin layer of non-sweet spread or, alternatively, a serving (one to one-and-a-half cups after cooking) of barley, whole-grain rice, lentils, chickpeas, humous or pasta from durum wheat. Fresh or cooked vegetables (using any cooking method) of all colors can be eaten without limit.
Drink a lot of water, without sugar, for a total of between 10 and 12 glasses a day; the glasses can include some coffee or tea.
Artificial sweetener or natural stevia can be used.
Once a day, eat any kind of non-fatty skinless chicken or turkey, fish, sirloin or other low-fat beef, but without fat or coating them with bread crumbs or using thick, fatty sauces. You can consume one egg a day in any form, with one or two slices of bread and vegetables.
Dorit Adler, chief clinical dietitian of the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, replies: First of all, congratulations for the huge step you took. In addition, you must have spent a lot of money buying your e-cigarette and essences.
Changing ingrained habits takes some time, but there are many things you can do, beginning with the diet composition, the variety of the foods included, your home food environment and the kinds of exercise taken. Since our life depends on what we eat, I highly recommend that you go to a clinical dietitian for counseling and treatment to avoid relapse, which you can get from your health fund as part of the basket of health service.
The way might be difficult at times, but worth walking it. It certainly is a mistake, after stopping smoking for a year, to go back to it.I am an 80-year-old woman. One year ago, I had a very large meningioma (benign tumor arising from the meninges, the membranous layers surrounding the brain). It was removed successfully. Since the operation, in the area of the scar, I have intense irritation. I have tried various creams and lotions on the advice of my GP, skin specialists and neurosurgeons, without success. Is it possible to get help? S.G., Ramat Gan
Dr. David Friedman, a veteran laser and rejuvenation dermatologist in Jerusalem, says: A post-surgical scar that is red can be associated with irritation. If the scar is elevated and is thus termed a hypertrophic or keloidal scar, the recommended treatment would be first a 5-FU/steroid intralesional injection, followed by the application of a pulse dye laser. If the scar is flat, a pulse dye laser usually will suffice.
Patients usually experience marked relief within one to three sessions.
My daughter is planning to paint her house this summer, and she read an article in a Hebrew newspaper quoting a report from the British Health Ministry that it is not advisable for expectant mothers to be exposed to the chemical fumes from the paint. Is this so or is the material used in this country different from that in Britain? S.G., via e-mail
Prof. Elihu Richter, the retired head of the unit of occupational and environmental medicine and the Injury Prevention Center at Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, comments: Without knowing whether madein- Israel paints are the same as those in the UK, the prudent thing to do is to stay away from any agent with odors, especially if the paint is solvent-based.
But paints based on latex, which have no smell, should be safe.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000; fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527; or email it to jsiegel@jpost.com, giving your initials, age and place of residence.