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How to avoid weight gain after quitting smoking?

by qalfit

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. In fact, smoking kills more than 8 million people every year. We all know this and some of us genuinely try to quit smoking. While a few people are successful in quitting smoking, most of the smokers avoid stubbing out cigarettes because of the weight gain that follows. But it’s usually only a modest amount and you can easily avoid it.

So, if you want to quit smoking for good, but are concerned about the weight gain after quitting smoking. Here are a few tips to avoid weight gain after quitting smoking.

Why do you gain weight after quitting smoking?

 According to health experts, on average, people who quit smoking gain between 2 – 5 kgs of weight. This is mostly temporary and usually falls back off within the first year of quitting smoking. But, for some people, this weight gain may stay and grow. This is because when you smoke, the nicotine in cigarettes speeds up your metabolism. It increases your calorie usage of your body from 7% to 15%. When you quit smoking all of a sudden, your body may burn food more slowly as it needs only fewer calories now. Also, Smoking suppresses your appetite, so after you quit smoking, you may find that food tastes better. This leads to overeating and consuming more calories. 

It is also possible to mistake nicotine cravings for hunger or you may replace the ‘hand-to-mouth’ action of smoking with snacking. These things may make you eat more and as a result, you will gain weight after quitting smoking. 

5 tips to avoid weight gain after quitting smoking:

1. Prepare before you quit

You would have given yourself a lot of thought and prepared yourself mentally before you decide to quit smoking.  The chances are you would have already chosen your quit date too. Use this period to prepare yourself physically too. Try removing all unhealthy temptations from your eyesight. Hide the things in your home that may remind you of smoking.

2. Keep your metabolism high

An active metabolism helps you burn those extra calories you gain after quitting smoking. Include some physical activities like exercise in your daily lifestyle. Regular exercise not only helps your burn more calories, but it can also help you ward off unhealthy food cravings and helps relieve withdrawal symptoms. Even 15 minutes of exercise can improve your mood.

Millennial woman laying on the ground exercising
Metabolism Boosting Exercise

Read more: Harness the power of positive thinking for weight loss.

3. Control your food portion

Smoking messes with your senses and you may not have realized it earlier, but it dulls your taste buds. Once you quit smoking, you may find that foods may taste so good and you’ll be tempted to fill your plate to make the most of your new sensing skills. So, try to be mindful of your food portions if you want to avoid weight gain after quitting smoking.

Bowl of vegetables placed next to ingredients on a table cloth
Healthy Food in Healthy Portions

Read more: Make the perfect diet chart for weight loss.

4. Avoid sweets and snacks

Smoking is an appetite suppressant and after you quit, you’ll notice that you crave more sugary treats and sweets even after a meal. As a result, you may even end up raiding the whole snack cupboard. So, try to avoid sweets and snacks. Hiding your sugary snacks and fatty foods and stocking up on healthy foods such as fruits and nuts will help you in this situation.

A plate of a hamburger and french fries
Tempting Snack Food

Read more: 5 super healthy foods to eat every day.

5. Take it easy

Deciding to quit smoking and maintaining the same is already a big challenge. You might need your full focus on this. Don’t worry too much by obsessing on weight gain after quitting smoking. This may make you stressed and unhappy, which could lead you to eat more or even worse, you may even relapse into smoking. So, take it easy, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

Millennial South Asian woman relaxing on a ledge with cup
Take it Easy

Read more: How to practice self-compassion in these difficult days.

You need to understand that weight gain after quitting smoking is not something you have to seriously worry about. It only becomes serious if the weight gain persists for more than a year. You can easily avoid weight gain after quitting smoking by following these tips.

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