Cigarette smoking is the most dangerous and deadliest thing one can do. One of the most deadly carcinogens and toxic substances is tobacco smoke. Of the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke, at least 250 are considered harmful to health and 60 of them are known or suspected causes of cancer.
“Quitting smoking and weight gain have been linked for the longest time. It is therefore not uncommon for people to put off quitting this habit because they are worried about gaining some extra pounds,” says Lalitha Subramanyam, chief nutritionist at GrowFit.
Some even tend to believe that the increase in weight might be worse than leaving this habit. However, there is some good news. Kicking this habit does not necessarily have to mean a bigger waistline. To understand this, we need to first know why quitting smoking makes a person gain weight.
-Quitting and weight gain
There are many reasons why quitting smoking can make a person gain weight.
a) Nicotine is known to raise the body’s metabolic rate. A heavy smoker tends to burn as many as 200 extra calories a day. Nicotine is also known to be an appetite suppressant, so when a person stops smoking, it is quite normal for appetite to increase.
b) Quitting smoking enhances a person’s ability to taste and smell and this encourages binge eating. It is also common for a person to develop a sweet tooth. According to studies, people crave more sweet and fatty foods once they stop smoking.
c) Smoking is a socially soothing activity for shy or anxious people. When a person decides to quit smoking, fattening, salty, or sweet snacks may become a substitute for the physical and emotional comfort provided by smoking.
-Clearing the air
While it takes a lot of willpower to stop this habit, many can falter when the craving for nicotine comes around again. The best way to stop gaining weight is to change your diet and lifestyle at the same time as you stop smoking. We give you a lowdown on some tried and tested methods to help you quit smoking without gaining weight.
Do not decide to quit one fine day. Choose a day a couple of weeks away in order to mentally prepare yourself
Start some form of physical activity. This will help increase your metabolism and stay in shape. Exercise will also distract you from cravings and restless energy.
Make a list of all the benefits you can accrue from quitting the butt. Find substitute activities that will give you the same results.
If you miss the feel of cigarettes in your mouth, try flossing with mint-flavored floss, chew on a toothpick or chewing gum, or suck a boiled sweet.
Throw out any form of tobacco from the house. This way you will not be tempted to start smoking again.
Snack sensibly. Once you stop smoking, it is natural to feel hungrier and crave some specific foods. Stocks up on low-fat, healthy food items and avoid salty, sweet, and processed foods.
Drink a lot of water as this will also help in flushing out toxins from the body. You can also opt for herbal teas to keep yourself hydrated.
Ask for support and involve your family and close friends in your decision.
Opt for some relaxation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga and meditation are a great way to fight those withdrawal symptoms and the tendency for emotional eating.