Why do you gain weight after quitting smoking?
Weight gain after quitting smoking have to do with calories consumed. Simple as that. Sorry for possible disappointment. I can finish right here. Will continue only because I have to say on this topic so much more.
The wicked secret here is, you have to decrease your calorie consumption after you quit if you want to remain the same shape. If your calorie intake remains the very same as before quitting smoking, great chances are, you will gain some weight. The nastiest thing here is, your brain sabotages you. It persists on increasing amounts of food.
As your main concern at given period of life is to quit smoking, you do not pay much attention to your diet and amounts of food you eat, you end up putting on extra 10 pounds on average at the end of the year. Think creative. If you throw out all the mirrors out of your home, stay indoors forever and earn for a living as a virtual assistant, no one will notice your external changes.
But what about the rest of us, who are not so creative? Let’s analyze the situation.
Why do you gain weight after quitting smoking? Three reasons:
- Nicotine is an appetite suppressant.
- Metabolism gets slower after you quit smoking.
- You need something instead of smoking. Snacking is one of the most popular supplements.
The situation evolves as follows:
That is why you gain weight after quitting smoking, and that is how it most probably will end if you go through your quitting journey the wrong way.
The good news is, we can incorporate strategies, that lets us stay fit, into our quitting plan,
My first advice- quit smoking by reducing daily cigarettes. This is the slowest, but most effective way of quitting.
- You adapt to fewer and fewer nicotine dose.
- You have a tiny change in your eating habits.
- It is easy to control your weight, as you do not feel stress of instant quitting.
Even while reducing daily smokes, you will experience some discomfort, so you have to be prepared to deal with them.
Nicotine is an appetite suppressant.
During your quitting journey, your appetite may go up even if you reduce daily smokes only. If you choose to quit cold turkey, more than likely, you will feel hungry all the time, during the quitting period.
- Your goal is to eat less, but eat longer. After you quit smoking, your food taste better, but you do not need to eat more to enjoy it longer. Chew it longer. Control you eating process. There is a saying in Vedas, that you have to drink your solid food and to chew your liquid food. It means you have to chew your solid food until it becomes drinkable in your mouth, and vice versa- you have to chew even a water you drink several times. I tried that and will be honest, it is very hard to control yourself, especially when you are hungry, but when you do that for several times in a row only, you feel benefits immediately- better digestion, lighter body, more energy. All the things you need going through stress while quitting
- Eat smaller portions than regular. Wait for half an hour after a meal, before reaching your healthy snack. Our brain is designed in the way, that gets a signal whether you are full or not, after about 20 minutes you had a meal.
Metabolism gets slower after you quit smoking.
It is hard to stay at the same level of food intake when you quit smoking. To reduce calorie intake looks almost mission impossible. The best proactive action you can do from the very start is to stimulate your metabolism by natural ways. Besides, you will remain fit, better metabolism is such a nice to have while you age. Your body will thank you big time on the long run.
- Keep your metabolism high by exercising. If you exercise on a regular basis, increase the amount of exercise. This technique shows great results for fit people. Extra dopamine from exercise reduce cravings. Boosted metabolism allows some extra sweet treats to eat up sudden cravings while you are not in the gym. There are plenty of success stories, when people quit only with the help of increased physical activity.
Not a gym fan? Do not buy a membership than. It might sound controversial, but if you are far from sports, it is not a good idea to start it at the moment you quit smoking. Gym will give you nothing but extra stress you do not need. Sooner rather than later you will break and find yourself in a bar smoking a cigarette instead of finding yourself in a gym drinking a protein shake.
What you need is to start slowly but surely. Consistency is the key.
- Start daily walks. Track the amount of weekly, monthly walks.
- Ride your bike to work
- Download the training app to your phone and do daily 15 minutes workout in the comfort of your home.
- Incorporate one postponing technique that involves physical activity. Do 10 push ups before you light it on, for example. If you are in shape, do three rounds 20 reps each. You will boost your metabolism and think twice next time you want to smoke
Snacking instead of smoking.
You need a supplement for smoking. Snacking is one of the best alternatives in terms of reducing cravings, but calories adds up. Make sure your snacks are worth that calorie amount you consume.
- If you feel your snacking craving is winning, make it a spicy bite. Spicy foods increase metabolism a bit. This is vital, as nicotine is metabolism booster, that you just lost. In that way you will get 2 positives for 1 negative.
- Stock up with a healthy treats- veggie sticks, fruit, nuts. Take a healthy treat first of all. Wait for 15 minutes and if craving still present, consider your guilty option. In this phase, a doughnut is better than a cigarette anyway.
- Household activities. Make a list of household activities you are going to do within next week. Your house will be cleaner, and some things will be done you were postponing for weeks. Besides, you will increase your physical activity and burn some calories.
Short cartoon on this matter:
Numbers may not seem impressive, but it adds up and compensates some guilty snacks, that adds up also.
If you already gained weight while quitting
If you already at a step 9 of the chart above, there is no way you have to be sorry to yourself and go to a step no. 10. Calmly evaluate your situation. Answer to the following questions:
- What is your progress on quitting smoking?
- What is your priority at this moment? Quit smoking or fight overweight?
- What positive habits you gained?
- What negative habits you gained?
- What is your action plan for next month?
After dialogue with yourself, you will systematize all the thoughts and emotions in your head. You will regroup and create an action plan for the future. Remember, only you decide than to quit. The situation, than you have two issues in your life instead of one is definitely not the right time to quit. It shows, you had nutrition and healthy lifestyle issues before, just smoking was masking them. It is time to put your habits in order for the rest of your life, as quitting smoking is only a start, but that is a whole another story.
When people decide to quit smoking, more often than not, they do not consider side effects and consequences of their decision. Weight gain is such a frequent issue while quitting, yet people get unpleasantly surprised every time they gain weight while quitting, as if it happened to them only. Every time the same question emerges: Why do you gain weight after quitting smoking?
Knowledge and being educated is the key. Then you know what is most likely going to happen, you may craft your quitting strategy in advance, considering all possible side effects.
Once more I want to pay everyone’s attention, that quitting smoking by constant daily cigarette reduction has the smallest weight gain effect of all strategies, as body and mind has plenty of time to adapt without stress.