Stop Smoking without Gaining Weight
As part of our New Year’s resolution get fit tips, we turn our attention to our readers who have the additional challenge of trying to stop smoking on top of losing weight. While it’s true that the average person gains about 10 pounds, you can beat those odds. Try these strategies to tackle the two main challenges when quitting smoking: oral cravings and a slower metabolism.
Tips to Help You Resist the Urge to Eat More
- Drink more water. Plain water is the best thing you can reach for when you experience oral cravings. It’s free of calories and keeps you hydrated. It will also suppress your appetite naturally.
- Create a pleasant ritual by keeping a pitcher on your desk and carrying along a water bottle wherever you go.
- Chew gum. Sugar-free gum is another good friend to have around. The chewing action can help substitute for the satisfaction you got from cigarettes. It’s even good for your teeth because it stimulates saliva, which breaks down bacteria.
- Eat slowly. If you spend more time eating the same amount of food, you’ll avoid packing on pounds and may even improve your digestion. Chew slowly. Put your fork and spoon down in between each bite.
- Seek out distractions. Even if your cravings are intense, you’ll feel better knowing that the hardest part will be behind you within a few weeks. Meanwhile, take your mind off your discomfort by having a refreshing nap or playing with your kids.
- Give yourself non-food rewards. Look forward to all the money you’ll save on cigarette purchases. Try spending some of that on movie tickets or a good book to avoid feeling deprived.
Boost Your Metabolism
You may feel frustrated if you find yourself gaining weight even though you’re eating less. This can occur because your metabolism will slow down once nicotine is withdrawn. However, there are some simple things you can do to increase your basal metabolic rate, or how fast you burn calories.
- Do aerobics. Aerobic exercise is an effective method for burning more calories. Take a brisk walk or go for a morning swim. Find a variety of activities that you enjoy.
- Increase your muscle mass. Even a modest gain in muscle mass will help you burn more calories all day and night. Try lifting weights or toning your body with Pilates or yoga.
- Eat frequently (snacks and small portions). Eating food actually stimulates your metabolism because calories get burned in the process of digestion. Most of the action takes place in the first hour after dining, so try eating smaller meals with some healthy snacks in between.
- Forget about overnight solutions. All foods have about the same effect when it comes to burning calories. You might as well enjoy a cup of coffee rather than waste money on fat burning pills whose only active ingredient is caffeine.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
- Remember the benefits of giving up tobacco. Take pleasure in what a great thing you’re doing for yourself and your loved ones.
- Improve your lifestyle in advance. It can sometimes help to lose weight or start a regular exercise program prior to giving up tobacco. That way, you can focus your energies on one challenge at a time.
- Avoid temptations. Once you know your individual triggers, you can avoid them. Take a walk after dinner if that’s the time you’ll want to eat a heavy dessert and smoke.
Congratulations on making the decision to stop smoking! You’re on your way to better heath and a longer life. These suggestions can help you give up cigarettes without gaining weight, and the end result will be a happier, healthier you.