This Article is About
quitting smoking
exercise regime
smoking habit
taste food
sense of taste
metabolic rate
food intake
weight gain
Quitting Smoking And Weight Gain
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Weight Gain and Quitting

In the mind of many smokers quitting is synonymous with weight gain. It is often the excuse proffered by smokers not to quit in the first place. Women in particular find this a sensitive issue and it may in part explain why women, in general, find the quit process harder than men. But is it inevitable that quitting smoking will automatically result in piling on the pounds? And what is it about the smoking habit that prevents, or at least helps, smokers from packing on the weight?

Smoking and Metabolism

Nicotine affects the smoker’s metabolism and influences how the body processes food. Smoking seems to increase the metabolic rate which means that the body burns more calories. It has been estimated that smoking may be responsible for burning up to 200 calories a day. This is roughly equivalent to eating 2oz of cheddar cheese. Not only does nicotine alter the smoker’s metabolic rate it also acts as an appetite suppressor. Smoking a cigarette leaves the smoker satisfied due to the impact of nicotine on the brain's satiation pathway. In simple terms the smoker just doesn’t feel hungry. Also smoking is an activity that occupies the hands and for some substitutes the need for snacking.

The Prospect of Weight Gain

When we quit smoking our normal appetite will return. Remember smoking dulls the sense of taste. Food will taste better and a renewed delight in eating may occur. We may also feel the need to replace the oral satisfaction provided by smoking with excessive eating. With greater food intake comes associated weight gain, this is especially the case if we don’t undertake any compensatory increase in our exercise regime. On average, most smokers will put on between 4 to 8 pounds when they quit. This is not a great deal of weight and unless the individual is already overweight should not be a cause for concern. It is important to quit smoking and stay that way. Weight gain is a secondary, and hopefully a relatively minor, issue. It is crucial to place the possibility of weight gain, following quitting, in perspective. Your weight would have to be 40kg over your recommended weight to equal the risk of heart disease associated with smoking. Ideally the best time to address the issue of weight gain is after you have become happy and secure with your new life as an ex-smoker. Although about 80% of smokers will put on weight when they quit it should not be automatically assumed that weight gain is inevitable. There are several compensatory strategies that will help maintain your weight.

Consider Low Calorie Options

It makes sense not to snack on high calorie foods. Chew on low calorie gum or candy to satisfy those oral urges. Have a selection of fresh veggie slices and chips available for munching during the day. Some ex-smokers find that brushing their teeth throughout the day helps. It will act as a diversion and leave the mouth fresh and clean. Also you are less likely to eat immediately following cleaning your teeth.

The important thing is to stop smoking. Don’t use the excuse that you may put on a few pounds as a reason not to quit. In most instances the weight gain associated with quitting is modest and can be tackled when you have overcome your primary goal to become permanently smoke free.

Street Talk

One of the hardest drugs to stop using. thanks for the great info George!

  about 9 years ago
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