10 Tips to Help You Avoid Weight Gain When You Quit Smoking
You’ve finally decided that you are ready to quit smoking, however, you may be worried that doing so could cause you to gain weight. Putting on a few extra pounds when giving up cigarettes is not uncommon, especially as many ex-smokers turn to food as a replacement for the bad habit. But, whilst it’s true that some people do gain weight after quitting, it’s also good to know that many don’t. It’s easier than you think to help prevent piling on any extra pounds after giving up the cigarettes; by being careful with what you eat and making sure that you get the right amount of physical exercise, you can substantially reduce your chances of succumbing to weight gain. We’ve put together some top tips to help you quit smoking without the added side effect of going up a dress size.
Tip #1. Eat a Balanced Diet:
If you are worried about gaining weight when you quit smoking, then it’s a good idea to pay more attention than usual to your diet. Including plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet will help to keep you full, in addition, the antioxidants found in this type of food will help to detoxify your body and help it to recover from the effects of smoking. Try to cut down on foods that have a high salt or sugar content; these are the most likely to cause weight gain and other health problems. It’s also a good idea to fill up on healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocados – these can actually help you to lose weight and will keep you fuller for longer, helping to avoid cravings in between meals.
Tip #2. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks:
When you quit smoking, it’s normal to try and find another habit to substitute it with. For many ex-smokers, it’s eating that quickly takes the place of smoking a cigarette. If you feel that you’re going to turn to snacking instead when you would normally smoke, it’s a good idea to keep a supply of healthy snacks available, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, granola, fresh-popped popcorn, or sugar-free candy. Having a lot of healthy snacks in stock will help you avoid turning to unhealthy foods as a substitute for cigarettes. Many healthy snacks, such as carrot or celery sticks for example, can be eaten as much as you like, guilt-free!
Tip #3. Eat Little and Often:
Eating 5-6 small meals per day, rather than three large ones, can be an effective method of controlling your weight when you quit smoking. In addition, if you usually crave a cigarette after a big meal, eating less food in one go can help you to overcome these cravings and actually help you stick by your decision to quit smoking. You can also use a vape with e juice, if you really need a nicotine fix after you eat.
Tip #4. Always Eat Breakfast:
If you tend to skip breakfast in the morning, then this could be having disastrous effects for your health and weight. When you don’t eat breakfast, you’re more likely to be hungry throughout the day, meaning that you’re at a higher risk of succumbing to cravings for unhealthy foods. In addition, eating a healthy breakfast in the morning will also help your energy levels throughout the day; getting that fuel first thing can help to power you through the day and help you feel more alert and energized for longer.
Tip #5. Stay Hydrated:
When it comes to controlling weight gain, many of us pay a lot of attention to the foods that we eat, but forget all about the effect that our drinks can have on our weight. If you want to avoid weight gain after quitting cigarettes, then it’s important that you make sure that you are adequately hydrated always. Ideally, you should aim to drink around two liters of water per day, which usually equates to roughly around 6-8 glasses. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep you full and keep cravings at bay; did you know that a lot of the times you feel hungry, your body is actually telling you to drink, rather than eat? Along with that, getting enough water each day will also help with many other aspects of your appearance; you will have better skin, hair, teeth and nails!
Tip #6. Chew Gum:
Chewing gum can be a great habit to take up instead of smoking; it’s safe, gives your mouth something to do to distract you from cigarette cravings, and can help to curb your appetite. In addition, the minty taste that gum can leave in your mouth means that neither eating food or smoking a cigarette afterwards will taste very good, making it an effective method of avoiding doing either of these things. If you’re struggling with nicotine withdrawal symptoms, you can also get nicotine gum, that will release some nicotine into your body and alleviate any issues that you might be having as a result of withdrawal.
Tip #7. Exercise:
Whilst our diet is certainly the most important part of controlling our weight, getting the right amount of physical activity in our lifestyle is also a hugely important factor. If you’re worried about gaining weight when you quit smoking, then setting up a regular workout routine can help you to deal with this. In addition, exercise is also great for your mind – it releases ‘feel good’ hormones, that can help to relieve the symptoms of stress, anxiety or irritability that often go hand in hand with quitting cigarettes. The best part is that there’s no need to commit to strenuous long workouts; simply walking or cycling for 20 minutes per day will have great benefits for your health and improve your fitness.
Tip #8. Lose Weight First:
If you are already struggling with your weight and are worried that quitting smoking is going to cause you to gain even more, then you may get better results by giving yourself a head start and losing some weight before you make the decision to quit. If you’re planning to quit in the future, use the time that you have between now and then to drastically improve your diet and increase your exercise; by the time you come to have your last cigarette, you will likely have lost some of the extra pounds. This will make it easier for you to control your weight; a study found that smokers who quit when they were overweight were more likely to gain extra pounds than those who were not. In addition, losing weight can also make you feel a lot more confident in your willpower, which can help you stick at quitting!
Tip #9. Get Support:
Quitting smoking is a difficult process to go through, and in many cases, so is losing weight! So, if you’re trying to quit cigarettes and keep your weight under control at the same time, you certainly have your work cut out for you. But, there’s no need to go it alone; getting support is the best way to help yourself stick to your decisions and do what’s best for your health. One of the best ways to get support is to find a friend who’s willing to partner up with you when you start to eat better and work out more; a gym buddy can be a great way to motivate yourself to exercise more often, whilst if you’re comparing meal choices with a friend, you won’t want to make as many unhealthy choices. In addition, there are many other types of support that you can get from health professionals. For example, your doctor may be able to find you a stop smoking support group to join, or you could even see a therapist for behavioral therapy to help you crack bad habits for good.
Tip #10. Allow for Some Treats:
Whilst eating healthily as regularly as possible is important for controlling your weight, don’t feel like you need to give up on every treat that you love! In fact, depriving yourself of your favorite foods, even if they’re not all that good for you, can quickly cause you to feel disheartened and fed up with your new lifestyle. After all, everybody deserves a treat sometimes, and occasionally indulging in a pizza or a slice of chocolate cake isn’t going to cause you to pile all the weight that you’ve worked so hard to lose back on! One great way to keep yourself motivated is to use your treats; for example, you could allow yourself to go out for a meal after you’ve successfully managed to quit smoking for a month. This is a great way to use food to your advantage when quitting smoking whilst still being able to keep on top of controlling your weight to avoid gaining any more.
Many people are worried that quitting smoking will cause them to pile on extra unwanted weight. However, this isn’t always the case. The main cause of weight gain when you quit smoking is turning to unhealthy foods as a substitute for cigarettes. So, developing healthy habits with your diet and lifestyle will help you to control and maintain your weight.