Single mom lost a smoking habit but gained 40 pounds

Posted: March 21, 2013

R EADERS, I always appreciate hearing from you. Recently, I got a letter that I decided to answer in my column. I think this reader's situation and my advice to her will resonate with many of you.

Dear Kimberly: Please help me. I am the 42-year-old mom of a 14-year-old and a 4-year-old. After smoking cigarettes heavily for 27 years, I decided to quit last July. I was very proud of myself, as I had only cut down during my pregnancies. The problem is that I've gained 40 pounds. I'm also beginning to have painful heel spurs.

I don't know where to start, now that my weight is skyrocketing. I work full time but have limited funds and no health insurance, so I can't even speak with a doctor or personal trainer about healthy weight loss. I am 5 feet 9 and weigh almost 300 pounds.

And I'm so depressed!

- Hardworking Mom

A: Congratulations on quitting smoking. As a former smoker myself, I know how difficult it is to quit. I also know how challenging it is to overcome unwanted pounds. I hope you find encouragement and strength here to begin your journey toward healing and health.

Regarding weight loss, the best place to start is with portion control. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need any special diet to lose weight, but you absolutely must control your portions.

A half-cup measuring cup is your best friend, because it equals a serving size of nearly every food.

As best you can, stick with the basics - a diet of vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Initially, you may want to cut back on fruit or limit it to no more than two small pieces a day.

If you follow this simple approach, you will surely begin to slim down.

As far as exercise is concerned, just start walking. Walk for 10, 15, 30 minutes - whatever you can handle with your busy schedule.

You have to make exercise a daily part of your life. Initially, I know it will be more challenging because of the heel spurs, but do the very best you can. These are often caused by tight footwear and excess weight, so losing weight will likely help you heal.

I empathize with you. I know it is tough holding down a demanding job while trying to raise two children. For your sake, as well as the children's, I encourage you to remain strong, get organized and write out a plan for your life and health - and then get to it.

Only you can do it!

Please email me in two or three weeks and let me know what progress you have made.

Remember, small steps lead to BIG SUCCESS!

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears Wednesdays.

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