Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain

Weight Gain When You Quit Smoking

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Smoking cessation and weight gain feel as though they are unavoidably linked.  After all, aside from withdrawal symptoms, gaining extra body fat is the most common concern among people who are trying to quit.

If you are one of many people who quit smoking only to then pack on the pounds, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of smoking cessation and weight gain. It’s important to be prepared for all these points as you get started so you won’t be taken off guard. After all, if you're taken by surprise by some of the more common issues that can affect your body while you go through this process, you could end up suffering from side effects you don't want or you may make it harder on yourself to stop the habit. 

The Importance of Educating Yourself About Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain

The better you understand what you’re likely to experience, the more you can get ready for it and have strategies in place to overcome your top challenges. Some of them are quite straightforward and can make a difference in cutting down on the challenges you face.  By learning about them in advance, you can make sure you're starting on the right foot. This can make a substantial difference in keeping your motivation high. When it comes to breaking the habit, motivation is everything.

After all, smoking cessation is hard for many people – to say the least – and weight gain is certainly an unappealing drawback. Still, quitting is so important to your health as a whole that it is definitely worth doing even if you need to come up with a strategy to stop those pounds from packing on.  You can do this.  You can.  Start by being informed.

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good – Congratulations, you have finally quit smoking! Be proud because this an incredible accomplishment. 

The Bad – It’s excruciatingly hard to free yourself from addiction with its obsessions and cravings. 

The Ugly – while your little lungs may be starting to look all pink and pretty again on the inside, on the outside you have gained post-smoking pounds. People, who have had the experiences, claim that it is much harder to quit smoking tobacco than to stop using heroin. So, after making such a colossal sacrifice, why is your good behavior not being rewarded and why instead, have you gained excess weight? What has gone so horribly wrong here? 

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Why Many People Gain Weight after they Quit Smoking

The first step to dealing with weight gain after you quit smoking is to RELAX. It is perfectly normal to gain five to ten pounds during the first months after you quit smoking. Smoking decreases your appetite and increases the amount of calories you burn. When you quit, your metabolism drops which means you burn fewer calories and as your appetite naturally returns, it brings with it an improved sense of smell and taste further adding to the attraction of food. Add to this the all too common tendency to turn to food to ease the discomforts of withdrawal and you have a ready made recipe for weight gain. 

Weight Gain after you Quit Smoking

But remember, there is no hard and fast rule that says you must gain weight when you give up the cigarettes; none whatsoever. The only real way to prevent ballooning up with a successful smoking cessation attempt is a dedicated exercise plan and a healthy balanced diet. That’s it – just eat less of the bad stuff, more of the good stuff and get off your Mc-Hinny. You should commit yourself to a minimum of at least an half hour of exercise, 5 times per week. It’s not necessary to climb Mount Rainer or paddle your kayak from Vancouver to Japan, but it is necessary to get your heart pumping, whether it is with a brisk walk, a bike ride or a jog. 

How Can I Quit Smoking and Not Gain Weight?

Here are tips to help you avoid weight gain when you smoking:

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Don't let a little Weight Gain stop you from Quitting

Unfortunately, women who are trying to quit smoking are twice as likely as men to give up and go back to smoking if they experience any significant gain in weight. To them I say “Ladies, you can always lose the extra weight, but there might not be a spare lung around when you most need it”.

To all of you out there striving to improve your health by wriggling out of the grasp of addiction, keep trying, no matter what, until you beat it, and best of luck to you. Weight gain can’t get in the way of your smoking cessation goals.  You can do this.