Most people are understandably worried excessive weight gain when quitting smoking when quitting smoking. All the doctors will tell the quitter, ‘It’s far better to gain a few pounds than to put yourself at risk of all the deadly health hazards of smoking’.
But for the smoker wanting to quit, the thought of gaining excessive pounds is enough to put the quit date on hold.
The good news is…
NOT Everyone Gains Weight
When Giving up Smoking – You could well be one of the ones that doesn’t put any weight on, or one of the ones that puts very little weight on – eg: 2-4 kilograms, that is easy enough to lose once you have quit smoking.
Most people that gain excessive weight while giving up smoking, replace the cigarettes with regular snacks of starchy, fatty or sugary foods and nibbles. Ensure you follow a healthy diet avoiding excessive amounts of these.
Nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant, so when you no longer have the nicotine entering your body, you may also get a bigger appetite.
To minimize your chances of putting on weight, having an action plan to get you through this part of the quitting journey is crucial.
TIPS to Combat Excessive Weight Gain when Quitting Smoking
Use Nicotine replacement therapy – This can be quite beneficial in the first few weeks. By the time you have worn off this drug, you are better able to think about and cope with your eating habits.
Start an Exercise Routine – Regular exercise such as having a gym work-out or doing an exercise routine from a DVD will help to speed up your heart and metabolism rate, as well as help to keep your mind off any hunger or withdrawal pangs you may experience.
Brisk walking, swimming or exercises in the water are good for those that are unable to do rigorous exercise. If you already have an exercise routine, do it more often or for longer duration times.
Exercise is known to release your feel-good endorphins and will help to release any stress and anxiety that is also often experienced when quitting the smokes.
Eat breakfast each day – As this will help jump start your metabolism for the day and get it burning calories. Even though you’re being careful of the number of calories you’re eating, make sure you get enough calories. Too few calories will cause your body to go into starvation mode and actually slow your metabolism.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with your meals – If you notice your usual sized meals are no longer filling you up, add extra vegetables rather than more fatty items. Include a glass of water with your meal, as water helps to give a feeling of fullness.
Learn the Difference between Natural Hunger and a Craving – There is more than one type of hunger. If you are craving for something pacific, particularly within an hour or so of having a meal, the chances are this is just a craving.
If you are really hungry you would settle for anything edible, your stomach would be rumbling, and you may even begin to feel a bit of brain fogginess and fatigue.
Sudden desires for particular foods are often triggered by boredom, stress, anxiety or restlessness – all of which you are more susceptible to when giving up smoking. So next time you randomly crave for that bag of pretzels or big dish of ice cream – try refocusing on something else to occupy your mind or hands.
craving should subside in 5-10 minutes.
Snacks – Many smokers not only get hunger pangs when quitting, but can also fall into the patterns of binge eating, as boredom and an urge to do something with their hands takes hold.
If you really need to snack – Keep it healthy.
Sugar-free sweets and gum help to keep the mouth busy. Having healthy raw vegetable or fruit/ice cubes/sticks on hand at home is also beneficial.
Sipping on a glass of water, preferably iced water will also help to dampen the hunger pangs and give you a sense of feeling full. You may also find Tips from leading Trainer/Nutritionist Mike Geary very helpful – Discover The 5 Best Foods That MELT Stubborn Fat.
Relaxation – Relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation will help you to cope with stress and help take you mind off the food and cigarette cravings.
Participating in a creative visualization class will also give you skills to be able to focus your mind on other things, more easily.
Drinks – Avoid alcohol as it often triggers the urge to smoke. Have a bottle of water with you to sip on when out and about. The benefits of adding lemon to your diet or drinking a fresh lemon drink daily will raise your vitamin C levels, as well as help to balance your metabolism to help prevent weight gain.
The sour acid taste of a lemon is also known to give a strong pang to the back of your throat, similar to what inhaling a cigarette does.
Giving up smoking is a huge task for many smokers. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t manage to fully quit the first time round, just take note of what triggered you to smoke again so you will be better prepared next time you try to quit. For more quitting tips view – Helpful Tips to Help You Quit Smoking
Be sure to seek medical advice from your health care professional before adding extra exercise to your schedule.
Article written by Wen Dee
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