Even though a study recently revealed that smoking cessation leads to higher weight gain than previously thought, I still believe you can quit smoking without gaining a lot of weight. I still believe there are little things you can do to avoid weight gain after dropping off cigarettes. But if you do them and gain some weight, don’t bother because quit smoking is more important than the few extra pounds you gain when you stop smoking.
Smoking is life threatening but moderate obesity is not. I’m however not suggesting we substitute food addiction for our smoking addiction. It just does not pay to substitute an unhealthy habit for an unhealthy habit. Rather, substitute your smoking habit with a healthy habit like daily exercise. Your body, heart and lungs will be the better for it.
Will I Gain Weight if I Quit Smoking?
If you’re one of those asking the above question, just know that you may or may not gain weight. Some smokers gain weight after cessation, while others don’t. On average, those who gain weight put on less than 10 pounds. Approximately 10 out of every 100 people who quit smoking add a huge amount of weight—as high as 30 pounds.
What Causes Weight Gain after Smoking Cessation?
* Nicotine suppresses the desire for food and effects the release of glycogen from the liver. This elevates the blood sugar level to some extent. With cessation and the absence of nicotine in your system, you may feel like eating more often.
* Smoking artificially lifts up your heart rate and boosts your metabolism. When you stop smoking, you burn about 100 fewer calories per day. After quitting, it can take weeks or even months for your metabolism to return to normal and if you eat the same food as you did when you were smoking, your body will end up using less and storing more (as fat) of the food.
* Smoking also dulls the taste buds, probably because the tongue is covered by smoke. It’s only after cessation that food starts to taste better in the mouth of ex-smokers; this can boost food consumption.
* And then there’s oral obsession. Some ex-smokers may want something to take the place of cigarettes. They just want to hold something with their hands, just like they used to hold cigarette sticks before cessation. They find themselves munching sweets, candies, etc endlessly.
* Nicotine excites and makes you feel good by increasing the levels of dopamine; a chemical that produces pleasure in the brain. High-calorie treats, like cookies and candies, produce a similar effect, so after cessation, you may be enticed to substitute cigarettes with food.
Don’t Obsess Too Much About Your Weight Gain
Obsessing too much about your weight gain while quitting smoking can be counter-productive on both ends, so, take it easy on yourself. Experts suggest you concentrate on the quitting process first and getting to the issue of your weight later on.
Instead of dwelling on your weight gain, feel proud of your moves to improve your health. Smoking cessation benefits you in more ways than one: you get more energy, fresher breath and white teeth, healthier-looking skin, tip-top metabolism system, excellent lung health, no dry coughs, etc
Tips for Quit Smoking without Weight Gain
* Replace your bad habits with good ones. This habit-substitution should start few weeks after cessation when your body has settled down. Instead of smoking, take a walk down the road, instead of consuming a high-calorie snack, choose a delicious fruit. I could go on and on but all I’m saying is: make healthy and good choices; ditch bad habits, they do you no good.
* Engage in consistent, light to moderate-intensity physical work outs. Engaging in consistent, moderate-intensity exercise benefits smoking cessation in more ways than one; it eases nicotine withdrawal symptoms, boosts metabolism, relieves stress and boredom, makes smoking detestable, helps reduce the chances of relapsing after quitting, etc.
You may not believe it but moderate exercise, such as a walk during lunch, will actually decrease your appetite, because as you exercise fat breaks down and enters your bloodstream. The extra muscle mass you gain by exercising will also help increase your metabolism, not to mention that exercise helps you deal with stress, boredom, and tension.
It would really help if you get into the exercise mode before you quit smoking. Try to also exercise consistently and moderately after consulting a medical doctor.
* Avoid alcohol and limit snacking.
Alcohol enhances the taste of cigarette and chances are, if you drink, you’ll smoke, so, avoid alcohol at all costs. Healthy snacking would help you get over cigarette cravings but try and limit it. Too much of every good thing is bad.
* Eliminate that oral addiction. Experts suggest chewing carrots, celery, sugar-free gum or candies, or playing with a straw or toothpick, just to satisfy the habit of holding something which you have cultivated as a result of smoking.
* Eat smaller, more frequent meals to boost your metabolism and avoid getting so hungry that you eat too much.
* Overpower your smoking triggers. Think about what triggers your desire to smoke and when you usually smoke and plan what you’ll do instead. Decide this in advance; a sort of planning for the evil day. For example, if you always smoke a cigarette while having coffee, plan to have something else on hand. If you also find that you smoke after a great meal, get up and start moving right away – do the dishes, take a walk, or brush your teeth. Just make sure you do something…anything to keep you from falling to the temptation to smoke.
If you find that not smoking makes you eat more at meal times, gulp a glass of water before and during the meal. It makes you full. Also, chew your food well, eat slowly, and concentrate on how much better food tastes now.
* Eat high-protein, high-fiber foods because they fill up your stomach more (and because they’re best for you). Fruits and vegetables also help quit smoking. Consume five servings daily. Following a well-balanced, healthy diet will assist you keep your weight under check while quitting. But, if you consume a candy bar each time you desire a cigarette, you will add weight; too much weight, as a matter of fact. Eating a low-calorie diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and engaging in exercise, will certainly prove effective in watching and keeping your weight under check.
* Don’t use any medication to control your weight while quitting. Relying on nicotine replacement therapy or smoking cessation drugs to maintain your weight while quitting is inadvisable. The issue of weight gain during cessation can be erratic and short-term. It’s better to wait and see if your weight returns to normal after a while. Also be wary of programs that promise you can drop off cigarettes without gaining weight. They’re probably too good to be true.
* Consider getting professional advice about weight control. After reading this, if you still feel the need to talk to a professional because your weight problem is getting out of hand, please go out there and consult.
These tips for avoiding weight gain after quitting will work, no matter the situation. Engage them for a testimony today!