on smoking & weight gain

on smoking & weight gain December 9, 2020

What do we do with fairly common problems like smoking and weight gain?  Is everything an addiction?  I’ve shared from the book The Truth About Addiction and Recovery.  What I have shared so far is part of a comprehensive engagement with the readings.

Stanton, Archie & Mary on People Facing Addictive Habits CLICK HERE

on habitual problem drinking CLICK HERE

There are a variety of ways one can integrate Christian belief and practice with the book.  For instance, we are the tabernacle of Holy Spirit or the Body of Christ.  In some mysterious way, what we do or take-in affects Christ.

Secondly, I have published many ideals on this column about the imago Dei.  We can combat a negative self-image, or negative self-talk, that contributes to weight gain.

Thirdly, I have always contended that positive psychology or strengths-based theories offer ample room for integration.  Similarly, Pneumatology recognizes the ongoing commitment of the Spirit to empower us with His virtues, gifts, and strengths.

All that said, I would rather not repeat what I have shared in previous articles.  I would simply like to offer a little hope from a perspective that is underrated in my opinion.

Smoking: The Toughest Habit to Lick?

  1. What percent of people, who have stopped smoking, have done it on their own?

According to the stats in The Truth About Addiction and Recovery, “90 percent of those who have stopped smoking have done it on their own” (p. 96).

  1. According to the research done by the Journal of the American Medical Association, what percent of persons who tried to quit on their own were successful?  What percent who used cessation programs succeeded?

The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that, “47.5% of persons who tried to quit on their own were successful whereas only 23.6% of persons who used cessation programs succeeded” (p. 97).

  1. Give 2 reasons why cigarette smoking is harder to quit than other addictions.

The Truth About Addiction and Recovery says that cigarette smoking is even harder to quit than crack because, “(a) it fits easily into an ordinary, productive life-style and (b) commercial cigarettes are an unparalleled delivery system for getting the drug into the blood and to the nervous system in the most efficacious way possible” (p. 99).

  1. According to Alan Marsh, what is the key factor in maintaining the habit of smoking?

Alan Marsh believes that adolescents smoke to control their emotions.  “When adults say that adolescents are immature they mean that they have problems with their affect control.  Their moods swing wildly…

Adolescents who take up smoking rapidly learn to attribute their growing ability to control their moods to the smoking.  A cigarette covers embarrassment, lifts depression, restores youthful cool…

But he [adolescent] passes into adulthood firm in the belief that his ability to top and tail the range of his emotional responses depends on a daily intake of nicotine.  Smoking is a learned experience” (p. 102).

  1. List the attitudes that can lead a person to give up smoking.

“Attitudes that can lead a person to give up smoking are those concerned with: health (avoidance of heart and lung disease, decreasing tension through exercise, improved stamina)… 

acceptance by others (family, friends, lovers, co-workers, strangers)… 

aesthetic values (clean clothes and body, better complexion, ability to smell and taste)… 

self-esteem (pride in having stopped smoking and in being a non-smoker)… 

saving money” (p. 104).  The change in attitudes has the two following components: “Smoking goes from being good . . . to bad . . . Not smoking goes from being bad to good” (p. 105).

  1. A person’s success in giving up smoking largely depends on what 2 factors.

The two success factors for giving up smoking are, “the strength of one’s desire to stop and the strength of one’s belief that one can stop” (p. 105).

Obesity: Are People Biologically Programmed to Gain Weight?

  1. What are the 2 ways biological theories tell us we can’t control our weight or our eating?

The first way biological theories inhibit self-control is by stating that, “weight level and fatness are inbred, and that we can’t fight the body weight we are born to” (p. 109).  It promotes the idea of a preset, or natural body weight.

The second theory attempts to explain eating disorders as, “addictive diseases,” that are out of our control (p. 109).  

  1. What 2 substances does Overeaters Anonymous encourage abstinence from?

Overeaters Anonymous stands against, “refined sugar or refined/bleached flour” (p. 111).

  1. What is the Set-Point theory?

The set-point theory, “insists that each person’s body is set to maintain a particular weight level . . . it proposes, biological inheritance determines weight level itself” (p. 114).

It purports that for certain people being, “overweight is unavoidable” (p. 114).  It encourages those who are overweight to go against the culture’s, “preoccupation with thinness . . .To resists the culture’s demands that people (especially women) conform to advertising images . . . to feel good about themselves regardless of their weight” (p. 114).

As Stanton Peele brings out, this theory is based on an, “unduly pessimistic biological determinism” (p. 114).  A person is basically doomed to be overweight.

  1. According to Dietz and Gortmaker, what is one major environmental factor for weight gain among Americans?

Dietz and Gortmaker found that television is linked to weight gain.  “Television viewing remains an independent cause of overweight in childhood . . . a passive, sedentary way of spending time that substitutes for physically active play . . . associated with eating snacks . . . an escapist response to life problems . . . an addictive involvement” (p. 117).

  1. According to the Midtown Manhattan study, how much more common is weight gain in women of low socioeconomic status compared to women of high status?

According to the study, “obesity was six times more common among women of low socioeconomic status than among women of high status” (p. 118-119).

  1. What percentage of people who are obese and try to lose weight succeed?

Stanley Schachter discovered, “that 62 percent of those who had ever been obese and had tried to lose weight had succeeded” (p. 120).

  1. According to Garn and other epidemiologists, what factors have been more influential of a person’s weight than biological inheritance?

Garn’s work has revealed other weight factors besides inheritance.  “Family environment, personal values, changes in life situation – have more influence on a person’s weight than does biological inheritance” (p. 122).

  1. The incidence of bulimia and anorexia in adolescent girls and young women ranges from what to what?

Peele studied the claims for these eating disorders.  “We can find estimates of the incidence of such eating disorders among adolescent girls and young women that range from 15 percent to 50 percent” (p. 125).  So, there is obviously some ambiguity to the prevalence of the disorders.  Peele concludes that, “research finds that very few women display the full array of symptoms” (p. 125).

Stanton, Archie & Mary on People Facing Addictive Habits CLICK HERE

on habitual problem drinking CLICK HERE


Meet Jared

[1] Jared Ingle, Study Guide: The Truth About Addiction and Recovery, presented to Department Chair, Mark Bradford D.Min., Psy.D. (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, April 30, 2002).
[2] Stanton Peele, Archie Brodsky, and Mary Arnold, The Truth About Addiction and Recovery: The Life Process Program for Outgrowing Destructive Habits (New York, NY: Fireside, 1991).

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