There are several reasons why we have a tendency to
gain weight when we try to quit smoking. Nicotine acts as a stimulant
and appetite suppressor, so one of the effects of quitting smoking can
be an increased appetite. There are other factors involved as well.
Smokers have a tendency to skip meals. They may also eat quickly so they
can light up a cigarette afterwards. After quitting smoking, skipped
meals become less frequent and unless you eat slower you may end up
?Some people may crave an oral
substitute for cigarettes and use food to keep their mouth busy. This in
itself would not be so bad if healthy low-calorie foods are chosen, but
usually cigarettes are replaced by sweets and candies. Finally, certain
situations which are associated with smoking (like parties) may cause
you to compensate by eating more food.
It is important to
remember that quitting smoking is a difficult undertaking in itself.
Some people may be tempted to reform all their bad habits at once but
this can lead to failure in all their attempts. Focus on the task of
quitting smoking and don't worry too much if you are gaining a few extra
pounds. Eating healthy food and avoiding sweets will help to minimize
the weight gain.
If you skipped meals when you were smoking, you
will probably find your appetite has increased after quitting. Many
smokers get by with a coffee and a cigarette in the morning rather than
eating a full breakfast. If you find you want to eat a regular breakfast
after quitting smoking, make it a healthy one of fruits, eggs, and
cereal. This is good for your overall health and will allow you to start
your day on the right step.
If you developed the habit of eating
quickly so that you could finish your meal with a cigarette, you will
probably find that you finish your meals before everyone else. This may
tempt you to take second helpings. Try to lengthen the time of your meal
by chewing more slowly, cutting your food into smaller pieces, or
pausing between mouthfuls.
If you had the habit of smoking while
watching TV, substitute cigarettes with healthy tidbits like celery
sticks, carrots, broccoli or tomatoes. Using sweets or candies as a
cigarette substitute is a sure way to gain excess pounds.
good idea to keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand to help you combat
the smoking urge. Things to keep stored on your cupboard or refrigerator
include yogurt, herbal teas, fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Keep
all of the high calorie snacks out of sight at the back of the cupboard
or refrigerator so you are less tempted when looking for a cigarette
Getting plenty of exercise is always a good idea. As
we mentioned above though, making too many changes to your routine at
the same time may cause all of them to fail. It may be better to wait a
few months before instituting a new exercise routine. Exercise will make
you feel better, reinforce your commitment to stay smoke free, and shed
those few extra pounds you may have gained.