Many smokers don’t want to quit because they are afraid that they will gain extra weight. This myth has been circulating for the past years despite the lack of scientific evidence suggesting a causal effect between smoking and weight gain. While cigarette smoking provides metabolic boost, its effects are temporary, and over time, it destroys one’s metabolism, leading to weight gain problems.
There is, however, a possibility of weight gain once the smoker quits. It’s because there’s a big chance that he or she will resort to “comfort eating” to resist smoking urges. For instance, instead of lighting up, the person trying to quit may divert his or her attention to snacking, and incorrect food choice can lead to weight gain. Fortunately, by staying physically active and making simple dietary changes, you can avoid weight gain while quitting smoking.
Here are some tips for you:
- Quit smoking NOW. Quitting smoking has more benefits than side effects. Gaining a few pounds would be totally okay than reducing several years from your lifespan or contracting a serious disease.
- Make healthy food choices. Many people substitute snacks for cigarettes. So when they quit, they tend to do the opposite. There’s really nothing wrong with it. But, you must make sure you are eating the right foods. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, saturated fats and other unhealthy fats, sodium, additives and preservatives. Not only do these foods make you gain weight, they also increase your smoking urges.
- Eat smaller portions. If you think skipping one regular meal will help you lose weight while quitting, you are wrong. It will only trigger your body to store fats (as a defense mechanism). You are also more likely to binge eat when you are hungry. Instead, eat several times a day but limit yourself to smaller portions. This way, you will feel full without having to eat too much.
- Find other substitutes for comfort eating. Most smokers light up after a meal. Replace this habit with something else (that does not include food). Perhaps, instead of having an ice cream or a cake for dessert, just take a walk.
- Be as active as you can. Proper diet, when coupled with regular exercise, is the key to a healthy weight. Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Spend at least 30 minutes daily. Experts recommend 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week to stay fit and healthy.
- Eat plenty of fresh produce. One study suggests that eating fresh fruits or vegetables prior to smoking makes the taste of tobacco bitter and less pleasurable. When you munch on fresh carrots or apple, you don’t just increase your chances of losing weight, but you also help your body deal with nicotine cravings.
- Stay hydrated. When you feel the urge to eat even though you have just taken your meal, drink one glass of cold water. This hunger quencher test lets you determine whether what you are experiencing is hunger or just food craving. Staying hydrated will also help your body burn more fats. At the same time, it alleviates other symptoms of nicotine withdrawal like headache, craving, and fatigue.