Are you thinking about quitting smoking? It is a common goal for many- but also comes with a lot of hurdles for people.
Another frequently-repeated rationalization for the cigarette habit is: “I’d like to stop smoking, but every time I do I gain weight. And it’s worse to be overweight than it is to smoke.”
The good news is, not all smokers who stop smoking gain weight. Even if weight gain was inevitable, the average gain is only between 6 and 8 pounds. Not too much of a big deal now, isn’t it?
It isn’t the fact that a person has stopped smoking that may cause them to gain weight. It’s the fact that they substitute the habit of overeating for the habit of smoking.
In the belief that they needs something tangible to relax tension (which previously achieved by the mechanical movements of lighting a cigarette) a “reformed addict” may take to eating candy bars or nibbling on sweets . . . something to do, anything to do, in other words, to take the mind away from the pressing problems, and to get back some of those old, familiar gestures that are part of the habitual pattern of smoking.
The act of eating is an easy replacement for the act of smoking. Smokers have a powerful hand-to-mouth association and eating is a hand-to-mouth activity.
You may feel the need to substitute something for the act of smoking. The gesture of reaching for something, and picking it up, and then placing it in the mouth. The gestures and muscle movements of the lips, mouth and jaws: as many of the gestures of smoking as can be achieved, in other words, without a cigarette. You’ll soon see that this isn’t necessary either.
Other ways to avoid weight gain after quitting smoking:
- Do moderate intensity exercises on a regular routine. Examples are to go swimming, jogging, playing a sport or aerobics.
- Cut down on unhealthy snacking. If you feel like munching, grab something healthy like a diet bar or a fruit.
- Try a nicotine replacement-like gum, patches, and lozenges, make it more likely that you’ll be able to quit for good. Research shows they can help you avoid weight gain, too.
- Avoid alcohol or limit yourself to 1 drink a week. Alcohol can make you fat too.
- Instead of having 3 main meals a day, spread them out to 6 small meals throughout the day. This can help you maintain a high metabolism throughout the day and you burn more calories.
- Avoid eating past 9pm. The body’s metabolism slows down at night so food consumed past this hour will take longer to digest.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy- and you may be worried about weight gain. But with these steps- you can be on your way to stop that bad habit and living a healthier life.