By By Libby Sentz
February 29, 2016

libby-hips(TATIANA SMITH)Some say that when you quit smoking, you get clearer skin, whiter teeth, etc., but all I see on Day 17 is more Libby.

Ive added five pounds to my 5-foot-9 frame. Aesthetically, thats just fine by me. Medically, its not fine. Scientifically, it seems inevitable.

Ive always heard people describe my body type as "athletic" or "a boy build" (read: un-curvy, un-girly). So I am excited to have some soft pounds rounding me out. Many dancers (ballerinas, in particular) strive to be super skinny, but thats not the case for the dancers I run with. For both Afro-Haitian dance and sassy second-line dance, the more we have to shake, the better! So I was happy to learn that my extra poundage will likely stick to my hips rather than my waist. This type of weight distribution is easier on the heart too!

There is, however, a medical issue that has cropped up. By the charts, Im at a healthy weight with or without the five pounds, but extra weight causes significant pain in my arthritic hips. It is estimated that every pound of weight gained feels like at least three pounds on one's hips. In other words, Ive just tossed 15 pounds on these fragile joints. And Im feeling it.

The weird thing is that unlike my fellow quitter Katherine Elmore, who attributes her weight gain to a new hearty appetite, I havent done anything to bring on these pounds.

My Jethro Bodine–like food consumption is nothing new: Ive always cleaned my husbands plate with gusto and Ive eaten at least 2,500 calories a day ever since I can remember. In fact, I probably shouldve lost weight since Ive added a bit more exercise in each week. Right?

I did a little checking and it turns out that smoking a pack a day (as I did for so long) increases metabolism and burns 200 to 250 calories daily. The act of quitting slows metabolism way down. If I change nothing else, I probably wont gain too much more weight in the long run, as my metabolism should up itself a little. But it seems these new pounds are here to stay.

For the sake of my hips, I think my plate-licking days are over. Ive gotta stop chowing down like a growing boy and start acting (and looking) like a lady. A nonsmoking lady!

Read previous posts:
Sparring With My Smoking Triggers (August 1, 2008)
Catching My Breath After Years of Running on Smoke (July 25, 2008)
Thank You, Wise Ex-Smokers, et al (July 18, 2008)
Can I Walk and Not Smoke at the Same Time? (July 15, 2008)
Dare Me to Quit (July 9, 2008)

Read Katherine's quitting blog