01/25/12 UPDATE: Nearly 3 years of experimentation and
here’s my summary: My Last Post on Nicotine.
It’s been about 13 days since I started the nicotine experiment, using Commit lozenges in an attempt to help me lose weight.
There is nothing on the Internet I could find that talked about this – except to say: ‘don’t do it.’ Now, I try not to be a dope about things, but this ‘don’t do it’ message didn’t seem to be evidence-based, but rather it came from a moral base: cigarettes are bad, so using nicotine lozenges to lose weight is bad, too.
The disconnect in logic here is: nicotine lozenges aren’t cigarettes.
Cigarettes are a delivery mechanism for nicotine, and there’s no doubt these suckers are bad for you. Jeez, we instinctively know not to inhale smoke, but smokers pull that smoke way down into their lungs for pleasure.
At all costs, the lungs should inhale only air. Dumb animals know this.
The guy who invented smoking had to be really, really bored. Imagine all the other stuff he tried smoking before he hit on this.
So nicotine is not tobacco – now that we’ve gotten around that mental block, we need to take a hard look at the nicotine compound myself.
Wikipedia’s entry is somewhat convoluted, needing citations, and flat out contradicting itself. It does hint at a number of things, which I recounted in my previous post, that do make it clear that nicotine is serious stuff.
I’ll use the same cop out all researchers use – more research is needed.
I’ve stumbled on some real research that says: there might be something to this – here’s a study that purports that transient nicotine lowers the body weight set point.
Ugh. Read it yourself – researchers seem to need to write in the most obscure prose possible, though their thoughts could easily be written in a more engaging and readable manner.
William Lutz, in his book Doublespeak, showed this language for what it is – an artifice to hide meaning and to inflate ones ego. You look smart when you use big words – and most people don’t have the mental energy to translate every line into intelligible English to notice that the thoughts in such writing are mediocre.
Anyway, my personal experience so far has been a mixed bag. I haven’t lost any weight that I can attribute to this – the Holy Grail of why I’m doing this. The stuff can also cause heartburn, upset stomach, an unpleasant jitteryness and headaches.
When I first started, I got a blood pressure device – precisely because I don’t want to kill myself over a few pounds – and found that even without the nicotine, my blood pressure is elevated – even on medication.
It’s from the excess weight. When I lost 80 lbs, my diastolic number went down to below 80 for the first time in 15 years of being treated for hypertension. Now that I’ve porked up to near 220, that lower number has porked itself up as well.
So concurrently with the nicotine, I am experimenting in caffeine reduction – I drink a pot every morning – and kept going throughout the day, but for maybe the past 2 months I have switched to herbal teas (ginger tea, to be exact) during the day.
While part of me sees this as somewhat effeminate, another part of me says: If my gender identity is defined by the type of tea I drink, I have bigger problems than a few pounds to lose.
So nicotine experimentation has led me to watch my blood pressure more closely – a positive side benefit to this experiment, whether or not it helps me lose weight.
As to dosing, I obvious had no clue how to do this – there’s no guidance on this at all. At first, I probably took too much. The Commit manual says that not taking enough is a major cause of failure – but I don’t smoke.
So after a lot of experimentation, I came up with a dosing plan that seems to work for me.
First, I make sure I don’t skip some kind of breakfast – usually a few pieces of cheese the past few days. I normally skipped breakfast, but the potential for stomach upset has been higher – and my past writings indicate that I lost weight better when I had some sort of breakfast, so it’s a sort of serendipity for me.
At about mid morning, I have some coconut oil as a snack (the details here are too complicated to mention now – another post someday), then, if I am hungry, I pop a lozenge for between 15 and 30 minutes – then take it out and wrap the rest in a candy wrapper. I do not suck on these lozenges, so they can last me over 2 hours, which I have found to be way too long.
15 minutes on the lozenge is all that is needed to kill the appetite – actually, I’ve found that my appetite goes away in less than 5 minutes most times. I might even be able to cut back the lozenge use even further.
This gets me to lunch, where I have a salad with greens and protein – either eggs, chicken, cheese, or whatever else is lying around that can have oil and vinegar splashed on it and tossed in a salad.
If I’m hungry after lunch, I pop the lozenge back in my mouth for another few minutes and the hunger dies down.
Late afternoon is another scoop of coconut oil, and maybe another few minutes with the lozenge if I’m hungry after.
Arriving home, I might have a small dinner, then pop the lozenge again to kill the appetite.
This notion of using a very small amount – at most 2 – 4mg lozenges a day, seems to help regulate appetite.
This is far less than the Commit recommends for smoking cessation – they recommend something like 20 a day. As I’m tkaing 1/10th the amount, I probably am doing minimal harm (the jury is still out here).
The summary to my ‘dosing schedule’ can be summarized as: ‘after meals and only until appetite diminishes’.
With this amount of nicotine, I doubt that it will ‘reset my weight setpoint’ as described in the research above, but I don’t care – I want to use as little as possible, and the appetite reduction effect does seem to be real.
Will keep you posted on future developments.