Why is it that people gain weight when they quit smoking?
There are a few reasons. Smoking can burn up to 200 calories a day for someone who is a heavy smoker, and nicotine can act as an appetite suppressant. Not everyone gains weight when they stop smoking, although it is common to gain between 5-10 lbs within the first few months after you have stopped, and are more likely to gain weight if you have been a smoker for more than 10 years. Regardless of gaining a few pounds, remember you have traded those temporarily for a much healthier lifestyle.
What makes us want to eat more?
Quitting cold turkey can shock your body and having an increased appetite is a side effect having no more nicotine and tobacco. Food is commonly used a replacement for smoking. The urge to smoke comes frequently and to avoid this urge people will look for something else for emotional comfort. It can also act an appetite suppressant. Nicotine is a stimulant and can interfere with the release of insulin which controls blood sugar levels. If this function gets blocked, a person can become hyperglycemic resulting in the body slowing down signals from hormones that can trigger hunger. If you can understand what happens you your body when you stop smoking and the urges associated with quitting, you can take proactive measures to avoid weight gain. Here are some tips for handling quitting.
• Get more sleep. When you are well rested you can limit the cravings as they are more likely to come when your body is tired.
• Drink less caffeine. Nicotine withdraw can make you nervous and give feelings of having the jitters. This will be enhanced by the caffeine only increasing any urges you may be feeling.
• Have snacks such as fruit to satisfy a craving.
• Have a support system in place. Whether you tell you family friends or use a support group, your chances of success will be much greater by having the support of others.
• Exercise regularly. Find an activity you enjoy and start an exercise program. This will be an important step to avoiding weight gain during your first few months. You will increase your lean muscle tissue to help you burn fat, and begin strengthening your heart and lungs. This will be the best way to avoid any weight gain as you quit smoking.
• Avoid alcohol. This can easily trigger a craving, especially when you are in a social setting such as a restaurant or bar.
Quitting smoking is not an easy thing to do. Have patience as cravings usually only lat about 5 minutes or so. By adding a healthy diet and regular exercise to your life, you can also improve your overall health and avoid gaining weight that is so commonly associated with stopping smoking.