A desire to give up smoking is at the back of most peoples minds, particularly at New Year, or on other occasions such as birthdays. The heralding of another year passed is a timely reminder that the longer you continue to smoke, the worse it will be for your health, not to mention your pocket.
Some people simply don’t appear to put on any weight when they stop smoking, but most ex-smokers will put on an average 5-7 pounds in the months after quitting. This is because the nicotine in cigarettes speeds up the metabolism, and burns an extra 250 calories each day in the average smoker. This means when a person gives up smoking they are left with extra calories to burn.
Plan to Avoid Weight Gain When Quitting Smoking
By far the best way of quitting smoking without putting on extra weight is to plan. Make arrangements to increase the amount of aerobic exercise you take each week which means incorporating at least three sessions of half an hour or more. Changing your lifestyle to include more activity, in general, is also recommended, and this can be easily done via simple changes: Walk to work, take the stairs – not the lift, or cycle rather than take the car.
It pays to keep your hands occupied too. When you are smoking, hands are always busy either smoking or lighting cigarettes, so that upon quitting there is a sense of not knowing what to do with them; the result is that ex-smokers tend to occupy their hands by reaching for unhealthy snacks. By finding an activity which keeps the hands busy – for example filling out crossword puzzles, doing jigsaws, knitting, playing video games or even cooking and cleaning the house – you can sideline the store cupboard.
Fill up on Health Snacks after Quitting Smoking
Nicotine is an appetite suppressant due to its effect on serotonin levels in the brain, so quitting smoking also has the additional side effect of increasing the appetite. Again this is another area where planning is essential: prepare healthy wholesome snacks in advance – foods such as chopped fruit and vegetables, or buy in some low-calorie bars – ready for times when food is craved.
Keeping a food diary and pinpointing the times when you are most likely to snack is another good idea as is altering routines to avoid these danger points.Rather than trying to cut back on food, make sure the diet overall is healthy and drink lots of water – maybe as much as eight glasses a day to help flush out toxins.
Giving up smoking is one of the hardest things to do, but the above tips, along with some serious willpower, should increase your chances of success.