Weight gain is a common result of smoking cessation. The good news is that it’s not inevitable. There are several things you can do to reduce it or prevent it entirely. Read on to learn why it happens and how you can avoid it.
Why It Happens
Nicotine commonly acts as an appetite suppressant, and it has also shown to speed up your metabolism. When you quit smoking, your appetite and metabolism returns to normal, which means you may eat more but burn fewer calories, leading to weight gain. Additionally, the longer you stay smoke-free, the better your sense of smell and taste becomes, which may also lead to more food cravings.
Being mindful of how much you put on your plate can reduce the amount of food you eat. Avoid serving meals family-style. Instead, fill a small plate with a reasonable serving and wait 15 minutes after eating before having second helpings. It takes 10-15 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that it is full, so waiting long enough to know if you’re really still hungry is vital in preventing overeating.
Drinking a lot of water before, after, and during meals can help you feel fuller faster and longer. Staying hydrated can also keep you energized and improve your mood and focus!
Eat More Often
This one may sound contradictory, but eating more often can help you prevent or reduce weight gain. The key is having smaller, more frequent meals. A common reason smokers gain weight when they first quit is because they replace smoking with food consumption to satisfy their powerful hand-to-mouth association. When eating more often to satisfy this association, it’s vital that you eat smaller portions to prevent rapid weight gain. Eating more frequently will also help speed up your metabolism!
Keep Temptation out of the House
If you keep unhealthy food choices out of your home, you’re less likely to consume them when you’re hungry or bored. During your next shopping trip, stock up on healthy snacks like baby carrots, celery sticks, peanut butter, nuts, cheese sticks, and fruit. You can find a full list of healthy snacks to help curb your cravings in one of our previous blog posts.
When trying to reduce weight gain, it’s important to set realistic goals. It’s not realistic to avoid eating unhealthy food option all the time. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind. If 80% of your meals are healthy, you can allow yourself a few treats with the remaining 20% without sacrificing your entire diet.
Exercising can provide several benefits. Firstly, it will prevent weight gain. It will also lead to more energy, better sleep, an improved mood, and a reduced risk of heart problems associated with weight gain.
Quitting can be overwhelming, and it can be tempting to turn to eating to cope. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there are other ways to deal with the stress that comes with quitting. Talking to your friends and family about how you’re feeling is important. They can help distract you, and they might even share helpful tips too! If you feel that it would be easier to talk to a stranger, know that there are several private and free online options for support. Read our last blog post for a list of resources!
If you’ve gained weight during your smoke-free journey, don’t despair. There are ways to return to a healthy weight, and the few extra pounds will impact your health a lot less than continuing to smoke would. To lose weight or prevent more weight gain, it’s important to maintain a diet rich in nutrients. Our Libertas four-part program can help you get all the vital vitamins and minerals your body needs to be at its best, both physically and emotionally. Learn more about our products today!