Stop smoking is a difficult decision. And it will be more difficult when you actually implement it.
There are many reasons that make people go back to smoking again. One of the most common is that when you decide to quit smoking, you may end up gaining some pounds. While this doesn't happen all the time, it is common. The truth is that most of the weight gain tends to come in the first three months.
So, how can you quit smoking if you want to keep your weight as it is?
Why Do You Gain Weight When You Quit Smoking?
We all know that ditching tobacco is a healthy choice. In fact, you will see the results almost immediately.
After 24 hours, your lungs start eliminating the mucus and your body starts eliminating carbon monoxide. Just after 2 days after quitting, you will notice that your sense of smell is already improving. In three days, you will notice your energy levels increasing as well as you should already be able to breathe better.
So, why do you gain weight when you quit? There are mainly 5 reasons:
#1: Nicotine Can Suppress Your Appetite: In case you haven't noticed, you usually feel less hungry after smoking a cigarette. This is because nicotine tends to reduce your appetite.
#2: Nicotine Increases Your Metabolism: Simply put, your metabolic rate is the amount of energy that you use in a specific period of time. When you ingest nicotine, your resting metabolic rate increases which means that your body uses energy faster. So, when you stop smoking, your body will need fewer calories. So, if you continue to ingest the same calories (or maintain the same diet), you will end up gaining weight.
#3: Food Can Be Used As A Replacement For The Smoking Action: As a smoker, your body is used to nicotine but your brain and mind are always used to the "hand-to-mouth" smoking action. So, when you quit smoking, you may get the bad habit of replacing a cigarette by food.
#4: Food Tastes Better After Quitting: Since your senses will not be so affected by nicotine, food will not only taste better as it will also smell better. So, you may end up eating more than what you need.
#5: Food Can Act As A Distraction: You know that sometimes you just grab a snack because you need a break from work. For smokers, the snack is usually the cigarette. So, when you quit smoking, food can help you get distracted from smoking, especially sugary foods.
How To Avoid Gaining Weight When You Quit Smoking
When you are trying to lose weight, you already know that you need to have a healthy diet as well as you need to exercise. When you are a smoker who is looking to ditch this old, bad habit, you will need to add nicotine replacement therapies to the previous two.
#1: Healthy Diet:
While dieting can be tough, it will be even tougher when you are quitting smoking. As a rule of thumb, if you are dealing with difficulties to quit, it is fa better to focus all your attention on quitting first and only then worry about your diet.
Nevertheless, there are things that are extremely easy to do when you are quitting smoking and that can help you prevent weight gain. Whenever you are dealing with nicotine cravings, you can grab some healthy snacks, for example. You should also consider eating smaller portion sizes at a time and chew your food well.
Exercise is crucial when you are looking to lose weight. And the truth is that when you are quitting smoking, your body metabolism will decrease. This means that your body will start to burn fewer calories which can lead to weight gain in case you don't do anything about it.
One of the best things you can do is to take advantage of one of the positive things that smoking gave you: a fast metabolism. When you exercise, you will be able to maintain the same high metabolism.
#3: Nicotine Replacement Therapy:
While the main goal of a nicotine replacement therapy is to help you quit smoking, the truth is that it can also help you satisfy your cravings as well as boosting your metabolism.
The reality is that you have a wide range of options when you are looking for nicotine replacement therapies. You can opt for special lozenges, nicotine gums, nicotine patches, and even some smoking cessation medicines.
While e-cigarettes are not considered as one of these therapies yet, the reality is that most vaping products contain different levels of nicotine and there are already many former smokers who ditched tobacco with the help of vaping devices.