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Quitting Smoking and Weight Gain

People frequently worry about gaining weight as they are trying to quit smoking. It is as if this trend simply goes with the turf. While gaining a certain amount of weight gain is considered normal, putting up excessive weight as one tries to quit smoking can actually create several new health problems for the quitter and thereby challenge his or her will even more to stay away from cigarettes. Learning what can be done to keep one’s weight under control while recovering from nicotine addiction can actually assist one in avoiding many other health problems.

Causes of gaining weight after quitting smoking

Individuals, who have been smoking regularly for a considerable period of time, tend to gain weight after quitting smoking. This is because the habit of smoking burns nearly 200 calories per day in heavy smokers. Since a lot of calories are burnt, the body’s metabolism is slightly increased. This leads to an increased intake of food.

When a person has quitted smoking, he or she generally gains around 5 to 10 pounds of weight within the first couple of months of cessation. This is considered to be quite normal. If the person’s eating practices stay the same as before, a half an hour of brisk walking on a daily basis can shed the additional weight he or she puts up at this stage.

Why an individual’s appetite increases after quitting smoking?

Cessation of smoking initially throws the bodies of the quitter into a state of shock. Increase in appetite is a frequently occurring side effect for people attempting to get rid of nicotine addiction. The various factors that can lead to this effect are discussed below.

The nicotine content in cigarettes acts as a potent appetite suppressant. Nicotine is chemically an alkaloid and acts as a stimulant that can interfere with the smooth secretion of insulin hormone. This hormone controls the level of glucose in blood. When this important function is tampered with, a person tends to get slightly hyperglycemic. This causes the entire body and the brain to slow down hormonal functions as well as other signals which trigger sensations of hunger. On quitting smoking, the appetite is no more suppressed as before and a person’s craving for food automatically increases.

At the earlier stages of a person’s attempts to quit smoking, he or she feels a strong urge to get back to his or her smoking habits. Not being able to smoke proves to be a troublesome and uncomfortable notion for the quitter. Hence it becomes natural for the person to find something else that might ease the discomfort. At this juncture, people often settle for food as a suitable replacement. Apart from filling in the void that was creates by lack of cigarettes, food also works as a source of emotional comfort and ease the pain associated with withdrawal.

Quitting smoking and weight gain in women

Research has revealed that women are more likely to get back to their smoking habits to try and avoid weight gain.

It is very important to understand the nature of our bodies and the reactions it goes through when we are trying to quit smoking. A thorough knowledge in this regard will help us to alleviate the discomforting sensations in a constructive way as well as assist us to avoid gaining weight and stay on track.

Tips on how to quit smoking and not gain weight

There are numerous ways in which an individual can avoid gaining weight while he or she is trying to quit smoking.

Daily Exercising

As quitting smoking reduces the metabolism rate, it is advisable to get some form of regular exercise. Indulging in a 30-minute exercise regimen for 5 days in a week will help to fight excess weight. You don’t need to include high intensity aerobics in your daily exercise; just a brisk 30-minute walk around the neighborhood park will do great for your overall health. Regular exercising also helps to minimize the desire to smoke. Go out for a long walk if you are having a rough day. This will help in clearing your mind and also improve your mental attitude.

A diet consisting of healthy snacks

Arrange for your snacks beforehand so that when you have a craving for food, you have ample of choices right within your easy reach:

  • Vegetable sticks such as celery and carrots
  • Sunflower seeds in shell
  • Hot cocoa prepared with nonfat milk
  • Frozen grapes
  • 94% fat-free popcorn
  • Fresh fruits
  • Hard candies
  • Herbal teas
  • Fat free yogurt
  • Fat free fudgesicles
  • Drink lots of water

Avoid indulging yourself in high fat foods and keep them away from your home. Resist the temptation of creamy chocolate cakes. If you want to fill your mouth with a delicious hot fudge sundae, it is better that you go out to a restaurant to have one instead of having all the ingredients in your home for you to prepare one.

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