While quitting smoking is guaranteed to do your health a whole lot of good, there is one concern that does the round on every smoker’s mind – Will quitting smoking impact your waistline?
Many smokers believe that smoking generates an appetite-suppressing effect. Given the fear of body weight gain often outweighs the perception of health benefits associated with smoking cessation. Studies have shown that nicotine activates a pathway in the brain that suppresses appetite. Studies have shown that the tobacco industry has added appetite suppressants substances into cigarettes e.g. tartaric acid. Most of the actors, actresses, top models all are fans of the cigarette and you will normally notice that smokers tend to be a bit thinner than non-smokers. However, when they quit, they tend to put on weight. Courtney Cox, who played Monica Geller in the hit TV series ‘Friends’ has put her slim physique while starring in ‘Friends’ down to her smoking habit. Commenting on the role cigarettes played on her toned look in the sitcom, Cox said that “I never exercised during ‘Friends’ – I just smoked loads of cigarettes.”
Experts and researchers say that smoking and metabolism in fact have a direct correlation and it is common for people to put on some weight after they stop smoking. This is mainly because smoking spikes metabolism, to a slight degree, attributing to keeping off those pounds. This is why when you go cold turkey, your metabolism may slow down a bit causing your body to gain a few pounds. In addition, sometimes we tend to use food as a substitute to Tobacco to help curb nicotine cravings and in some cases to keep our hands busy with snacks instead of cigarettes.
Here are some tips that can help you manage weight gain post quitting:
- Opt for Nicotine Replacement aids: Controlling your Nicotine cravings can help you control weight gain. Tons of Nicotine replacement aids, like gum, patches, and lozenges, available in the market can help do this.
- Watch your portions: Cut down your serving sizes by using a smaller plate when you eat your food
- Pick foods based on their labels: Opt for food that is low in fat and high in protein and fiber while keeping in mind portion sizes.
- Up your water intake: Drinking water fills you up, thereby reducing your urge to snack as well as battling your smoke cravings
- Eat smaller meals, more often: Break down your eating pattern to 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day. In the early stage of Cessation, the urge to snack is extreme, so having snack-size meals will help you curb those food cravings while boosting your metabolism at regular intervals. All these meals must be planned according to your calorie requirement for your body.
- Go Exercise: Exercise will help you avoid weight gain. As little as a half-hour walk a day can be enough to help you keep your weight stable, as long as you’re eating well too.
- Keep Busy: Being bored can act as a big trigger for smoking and for eating. Keep yourself always busy with some activity to avoid mindless snacking.
- Embrace Support: Join a quitter’s supportive community of people who are working to quit smoking. This will help you cope by seeing how others are dealing with the issue, letting you know that you are not alone.