Are you avoiding quitting smoking because you’re afraid of gaining weight? If so, we are here to help you with some handy tips to avoid this weight gain, and instead gain a healthier life.
Eat regular meals and healthy snacks
When you smoke, the nicotine tricks your body into thinking it has eaten by causing you spikes in excess sugar. Once you let go of the nicotine, your body will feel hungrier than ever, so it’s important to keep it full the right way. During meals, remember to eat mindfully: focus on your food and chewing, avoid distractions and don’t eat in front of your computer. If the hunger kicks in between meals have some healthy snacks like fresh fruits or vegetables, or even popcorn. Drink water as much as possible throughout the day. If you feel it’s too hard at first, get help through nicotine patches or gum.
Start a new post-meal ritual
The majority of smokers end their meal with a cigarette informing their body that they are done eating. When you quit smoking, try to create a new signal for your body like brushing your teeth, going for a quick walk or meditating for five minutes.
Stay busy during cigarette breaks
If you have the habit of taking cigarette breaks during the day, you will be tempted to replace the cigarette with food. Instead, try to find something that keeps your hands and mouth busy, such as playing a game on your phone while chewing gum. And if a cigarette was your excuse to go outside, keep going outside but for a stretch instead of a smoke.
Walk or exercise at least 30 minutes each day
Nicotine increases your body’s metabolic rate, so when you quit smoking it returns to normal. Engage in some physical activity every day to boost your metabolism. You will notice that after you quit smoking, your lung capacity and cardiovascular health will immediately begin to improve which will make it easier for you to be active and to stay at a healthy weight. The bonus part in quitting smoking is that you will sleep better too.
Finally… Don’t get discouraged
Even if you do end up gaining some weight, remember that the health benefits of quitting smoking are far greater than a few kilograms. Giving up cigarettes is a huge accomplishment that can only be reached by setting goals and getting support. So if you can quit smoking, you can surely commit to a weight loss plan to get rid of those few extra kilograms.
Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian