Statistics show a correlation between smoking and weight gain in that people gain an average of five to ten pounds after they quit smoking. However, this weight gain is often temporary. Smoking suppresses your appetite, thus you tend to eat less which is not the case when you quit smoking. You might notice that after a meal you’re not as full as you would have been had you lit up afterward. The reason behind the weight gain is that cigarettes increase metabolism, thus, smokers burn calories at a higher rate than non-smokers. However, when your body adjusts to a smoke-free lifestyle, your metabolism rate begins to stabilize. If you watch what you eat and stay physically active, you can avoid the short term weight gain altogether. Here is how you can avoid adding on some weight after you quit smoking.
Don’t overload yourself with too many expectations instead work on your weight concerns before you quit smoking. This gives you time to mentally and physically prepare yourself on the challenges you might face after quitting which include weight gain. Additionally, you can take this time before the quitting date to stock up your kitchen with healthy food and snacks such as fruits, veggies, and any other nutritional food.
Nicotine replacement therapy such as gums, patches, inhalers, and lozenges aid with the process of cessation by providing a clean, FDA-approved form of nicotine that is safer than cigarettes. Plus, people who use pharmacologic help are less likely to add weight.
Remember these products don’t make you quit smoking rather they make you feel better. Thus, it becomes easier to quit the smoking habit. There is proof that it’s easy to quit smoking when you use a proven method like doctor’s non-nicotine prescription.
Learn to Be Mindful of Portion
Practice early to downsize serving sizes. Avoid eating on the run or in front of a screen, even if it’s a snack. Pay attention to your food, slow down, avoid distraction and focus on the act of chewing. You can use a lunch size plate instead of a dinner plate to avoid overeating. You stop after one full plate and top up with a glass of water.
Taking up new physical activities can be beneficial if you are trying to quit smoking and also to help control your weight. According to studies, people who exercise before they quit smoking and after quitting are less likely to gain weight than those who don’t. Practice fitness regime like aerobics and running so as to raise your metabolic rate.
Alcohol contains no nutritional value but it can lead to weight gain and most importantly it can trigger smoking. Some alcoholic drinks are made of sugars and fatty ingredients hence high calories count. Additionally, alcohol can make you indulge in the behaviors you are trying to avoid such as overeating or eating junk food.
Drink More Water
Whenever craving strikes either for food or cigarette, drink a glass of water to help keep you full and avoid smoking. This way you eat less and also beat smoke cravings. Also, water or any other plain seltzer with lemon is more preferable to sugary soda, thus avoiding extra calories.
Take a Break
Avoid overwhelming your body to an extent of getting depressed. Stress can make you eat more or even relapse into smoking. You are already taking a step by deciding to quit smoking. Therefore, give your body time to process these changes and adapt to the new routine. Furthermore, the amount of weight gain we are talking about is very minimal and can be shed off once you’re at a stable point after quitting smoking. The health benefits linked with quitting weigh more than adding a few pounds. Just take a step at a time which all begins with the decision to quit cigarettes.
Quitting smoking is a process that requires planning, maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise and avoid circumstances that can lead back to unhealthy behavior. After quitting you need a replacement for the act of smoking and you might find food tasting better since there is no cigarette tar clogging taste on your tongue. All you have to do is limit your food eating to the satisfaction level. Nutrients help us to be at our best both physically and emotionally which in turn make it easier to maintain the daily efforts necessary during the first months of smoking cessation. Eat food that makes you stay full to avoid uncontrolled eating which is a marker for weight gain.
All images via Pixabay