Smoking and Weight Gain
You've probably heard a million reasons why you should quit smoking. Have you heard many reasons why you shouldn't? Some smokers are afraid of the weight gain that is usually associated with quitting smoking; learn why this is just another excuse, and what you can do to lose the cigarettes and keep your figure.
Weight Gain After Quitting
While it is fairly common for smokers to average a 5 to 15 pound weight gain after quitting, there are several factors that play a role here. What's important for you to remember that even a little weight gain is still far less of a hit to your health than cigarettes. Weight gain is reversible, lung damage is not.
There are a few different reasons why people who stop smoking may gain a little weight. These include:
- Slower metabolism: The nicotine in cigarettes speeds up your metabolism, so when you quit, your metabolism slows. As a result, your body burns fewer calories.
- The Senses: Smoking cigarettes impairs your ability to smell and taste food, so quitting will reinvigorate your senses and your appreciation for food. This may tempt you to eat more, which will cause you to gain weight as your metabolism slows (see previous point).
- Oral Fixation: Many people replace the cigarettes in their mouths with snacks, leading to weight gain.
Weight gain usually occurs within six months after quitting smoking, and most people will lose it as they adjust to being a non-smoker. However, there are certain things you can do to avoid gaining extra weight in the first place:
- Make diet and lifestyle changes at the same time you quit smoking
- Commit to a regular exercise routine. This will be easier since not smoking will improve respiration and cardiovascular health.
- Avoid increasing your caloric intake. Remember that your metabolism is slowing so any extra calories you take in will probably be stored as fat, unless you burn them through exercise first.
- If the habit of having something in your mouth is getting to you, resist the urge to eat. Instead, try chewing gum or eating carrots or celery.
- Remember, the money you are not spending on cigarettes can now be spent on high quality, organic foods that will keep you healthy.
An ex-smoker would have to gain 75 pounds to put the same amount of strain on the heart that smoking cigarettes does.