Millions of Americans smoke cigarettes despite the massive risk of detrimental health effects. Smokers have a variety of reasons for avoiding quitting and one of these excuses is fear of weight gain. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to avoid the weight gain often associated with quitting.
Why Does Quitting Lead to Weight Gain?
To avoid gaining 10 pounds - the average amount gained after quitting - it is important to realize why it happens in the first place. A common reason for the increase in pounds after giving up cigarettes is due to the fact that nicotine - a powerful, addictive chemical found in cigarettes and other tobacco products - is a natural appetite suppressant and metabolism booster due to its stimulant properties.
Another of the biggest reasons former smokers tend to face a struggle with the scale is due to the desire to keep their mouth busy. Consuming food might become a replacement addiction to deal with the loss of cigarettes. Food also becomes tastier since your sense of smell and taste is enhanced after quitting.
Preventing Weight Gain After Quitting
To avoid watching the scale creep up, read on for six tips on maintaining a healthy weight after giving up smoking.
1. Move More
Exercise is an excellent way to combat weight gain, boost the metabolism, and decrease cravings. In addition, your ability to breathe, walk, and run increases after giving up cigarettes making it a perfect time to be active. Try to aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
2. Start Healthier Habits Before Quitting
If you are overwhelmed at the thought of adapting a healthier lifestyle after quitting, start ahead of time. Begin incorporating healthy habits and simple swaps into your routine while you are still smoking. Establishing a head-start will increase your chance of success upon quitting.
3. Join the Vaping Trend
Using a vaporizer is a proven, powerful way to quit smoking and avoid the costly health effects that come with it. An excellent way to enjoy this healthier alternative to smoking is by using a portable vaporizer. These lightweight vaporizers are convenient, allow you to maintain the familiar hand-to-mouth motion - this will decrease the chance that you keep your mouth busy with food, and are easy to bring along anywhere. Read this comparative review of the best vaporizers on the market.
4. Prioritize Water
Keeping your body adequately hydrated will boost your metabolism and help decrease food cravings. It may even fight off any lingering cravings you have for cigarettes.
5. Brush Your Teeth
Often, smokers end a meal with a cigarette. Upon quitting, there is no longer a cue for the end of a meal and it may be tempting to continue eating. Consider swapping out this cue for a new one such as brushing your teeth.
6. Adopt a New Habit
Forming a new, healthy habit will not only keep your mind off cigarettes if you have recently quit but it will also keep your mind off of food. Any positive, enjoyable, healthy habit can be a tool in stabilizing your weight. Consider joining a local volunteer opportunity, share your story of how you gave up cigarettes to encourage smokers who are trying to quit, or start a blog detailing your post-smoking journey.
All in all, it is possible to quit smoking, become healthier, and still maintain a healthy weight - or maybe even lose a few pounds. Consider trying one or more of the options above to help stay in shape after you quit.