For many people, the association between the words "quit smoking weight gain" prevents them from quitting smoking. Weight gain isn't an inevitable result of quitting smoking, provided you take a few easy precautions to prevent quit smoking weight gain.
Understanding the effects of smoking on weight is the first step:
- Smoking does burn calories, up to 200 a day in a heavy smoker.
- Smoking increases energy expenditure, or metabolism.
- Quitting smoking causes weight gain because the body begins to work more efficiently. The body's metabolism slows and food is digested more efficiently.
- Insulin levels increase, which enable the body to process more sugar for energy.
Outsmarting the Pounds
Although a modest weight gain (5 to 10 pounds) is common, you can take several simple steps to ward off those extra pounds and improve your general health:
- To burn an estimated 200 calories used by smoking, for example, walk briskly for 45 minutes or swim laps for 30 minutes each day.
- Eliminate 200 calories of food intake, and you've used up the extra calories from not smoking. What does that translate to? 2 lite beers (220 calories). 20 regular potato chips (220 calories). 4 chocolate sandwich cookies (213 calories). 2 tablespoon of butter (200 calories) 2 oz. of cheddar cheese (220 calories). 1 small order of McDonalds fries (210 calories). 1 hot dog and roll (250 calories). 2 frozen waffles (240 calories). 1/2 cup macaroni and cheese (205 calories).
- One benefit of quitting is that as your body realizes the benefits of not smoking, your energy levels will increase, and you will begin to feel better physically. A moderate increase in physical activity can keep weight gain to a minimum.
- Try not to satisfy the oral fixation of smoking by snacking. Wait to eat until the urge to smoke subsides, so that the smoking activity is not replaced psychologically by eating.
- Exercise daily. A daily moderate workout not only distracts you from smoking, but also helps reduce tension and stress. Endorphins released in the brain during exercise actually make you feel better. Exercise also increases metabolism, helping you burn more calories.
For more common questions and expert answers on smoking cessation, visit Sharecare.com.