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Mar 6, 2011

Weight Gain When You Quit Smoking

If you are one of many people who quit smoking only to then pack on the pounds, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of smoking cessation and weight gain.

The good – Congratulations, you have finally quit smoking! Be proud because this an incredible accomplishment.

The bad – It’s excruciatingly hard to free yourself from addiction with its obsessions and cravings.

The ugly – while your little lungs may be starting to look all pink and pretty again on the inside, on the outside you have gained post-smoking pounds.

People, who have had the experiences, claim that it is much harder to quit smoking tobacco than to stop using heroin. So after making such a colossal sacrifice, why is your good behavior not being rewarded and why instead, have you gained excess weight? What has gone so horribly wrong here?

Why Many People Gain Weight after they Quit Smoking

The first step to dealing with weight gain after you quit smoking is to RELAX. It is perfectly normal to gain five to ten pounds during the first months after you quit smoking. Smoking decreases your appetite and increases the amount of calories you burn. When you quit, your metabolism drops which means you burn fewer calories and as your appetite naturally returns, it brings with it an improved sense of smell and taste further adding to the attraction of food. Add to this the all too common tendency to turn to food to ease the discomforts of withdrawal and you have a ready made recipe for weight gain.

Weight Gain after you Quit Smoking

But remember, there is no hard and fast rule that says you must gain weight when you give up the cigarettes; none whatsoever. The only real way to prevent ballooning up with a successful smoking cessation attempt is a dedicated exercise plan and a healthy balanced diet. That’s it – just eat less of the bad stuff, more of the good stuff and get off your Mc-Hinny. You should commit yourself to a minimum of at least an half hour of exercise, 5 times per week. It’s not necessary to climb Mount Rainer or paddle your kayak from Vancouver to Japan, but it is necessary to get your heart pumping, whether it is with a brisk walk, a bike ride or a jog.

Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain When You Quit Smoking

Here are tips to help you avoid weight gain when you smoking:

Follow a healthy, low-calorie diet.

Get regular exercise.

Get rid of temptation; just as a recovering alcoholic might purge the house of all booze, so must you remove the food that’s abetting in weight gain. Get the frozen Sara Lee cake out of the freezer and that left over bag of Halloween candy off the top shelf of the cupboard and out of the house.

Eat healthy snacks like fat free popcorn, carrot and celery sticks, fresh fruit, and sunflower seeds in the shell, herbal teas and fat free yogurt. All those “smoke” breaks you used to take now become snack breaks, so eat accordingly.

Keep your mouth busy by sucking on a hard candy or chewing gum instead of eating.

Stay away from alcohol. Not only is alcohol loaded with calories, alcohol and smoking go together like salt and pepper.

Use smoking cessation medications some of which also curb appetite. Medications are available in pills, patches, inhalers, gum, lozenges and nasal sprays.

Don't let a little Weight Gain stop you from Quitting

Unfortunately, women who are trying to quit smoking are twice as likely as men to give up and go back to smoking if they experience any significant gain in weight. To them I say “Ladies, you can always lose the extra weight, but there might not be a spare lung around when you most need it”. To all of you out there striving to improve your health by wriggling out of the grasp of addiction, keep trying, no matter what, until you beat it, and best of luck to you.

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