You want to kick cigarettes, but are worried that you’ll get overweight – or you’ve tried quitting before, but get discouraged by the risk of weight gain that usually accompanies quitting. Sound familiar? Actually, 4 out of 5 smokers have similar concerns.
When you still hesitate to quit, first of all, you should realize all of the advantages and health benefits you get when you quit smoking. You should also understand that they considerably surpass the risks of putting on a few pounds. In spite of this, many smokers, especially women, are reluctant to quit because they are seriously concerned with the problem of weight gain.
Fewer cigarettes = more pounds? Not necessarily.
Of course, sudden weight gain is nothing that would make you happy, but you should note that most ex-smokers lose the extra pounds and get back to their original weight within around half a year after quitting smoking.
You should realize that quitting smoking is possible and that it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get overweight once you stop. Yes, it’s true that quitting can be a bit painful, but all the efforts you make will pay off!
When you want to control your weight efficiently, it is important to understand why ex-smokers have a tendency to put on some weight. In fact, this side effect of quitting can force people who are trying to kick the habit to go back to smoking, because they want to get slim again. But this is obviously not a healthy way how to control your weight. Being slightly overweight is much less harmful for your health than being a smoker.
Overweight and obesity are caused by the imbalance in caloric intake and output. Other factors influencing the weight gain include the smoker’s age, sex, speed of metabolism, physical activity, genetic predisposition to obesity etc.
Main effects of smoking
Nicotine can slightly boost the metabolic rate in smokers, which means that people who smoke can afford higher caloric intake without the fear of getting overweight. However, this way of caloric consumption represents a serious health risk. After smoking only 1 cigarette your heart rate goes up by 10-20 beats per minute. This is also one of the reasons why smokers have a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than non-smokers. When you cut your body off its regular nicotine supply, your metabolism returns to normal, but as a result, your metabolism will get slower. This is the basic mechanism behind the weight gain.
Change of eating habits
People who stop smoking tend to compensate for the pleasant feelings they were getting from smoking by having food. Many ex-smokers experience constant sugar cravings and they clearly notice their change in preference for more sweet-tasting foods. A stressful situation can be another trigger for overeating, as it is in human nature to think we need to reward ourselves somehow and eating something delicious is an easy way that evokes these pleasant feelings.
10 tips to lose weight the healthy way
You don’t need to torture yourself with drastic fasting diets or necessarily do any long-term dieting. You do need to change unhealthy eating habits and start eating healthier. Here are a few tips:
- Avoid refined sugar, desserts, chocolate, cookies, cola and other soda-type drinks with high sugar content, as well as ice cream and ketchup. If you cannot suppress your cravings for something sweet, treat yourself to dried fruits or try to mix grated carrots, raisins, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut. Cinnamon is also very efficient in controlling your blood sugar levels.
- Try to replace white rice, white flour bread and pasta with whole meal products, such as brown rice, whole grain baked goods or pasta made of amaranth flour.
- Watch the salt intake in your diet. Salt retains water in your body, which contributes to weight gain. Also, after eating salty food, your cravings for something sweet may become more intensive. Be careful about the hidden salt in smoked meat products, cheese and instant food products. Don’t eat fried food and cheese with a high fat content.
- Ideally, every meal you take should be combined with a simple vegetable salad seasoned with apple vinegar and cold pressed olive oil. Vegetables contain a lot of useful enzymes, minerals and vitamins that will improve your digestion. Olive oil helps to release oil soluble vitamins from the vegetables, and apple vinegar works like a detoxifying agent that can boost your metabolism.
- Include some physical activity in your daily schedule. If you have no time to play any sports, try at least to climb stairs or get your workout by pedaling a stationary bike or jumping on a mini-trampoline while watching TV.
- You can try to clean your body of toxins that were piling up in it for many years – drink detoxifying teas, aloe vera juice drinks, and yucca, natural products that improve liver function, one-day fasting detox, or go to a sauna.
- But don’t expect food supplements to have miraculous effects. No product has the power to turn you into a skinny person in 14 days. However, supplements can improve your digestion, remove toxins from your body and restart your metabolism.
- You should also keep in mind that supplements are supposed to supplement your diet which should consist of healthy food combined with suitable physical activities.
- Eat every meal slowly, chew it well and eat only until you’re half full. You don’t to finish everything that remains on your plate.
- Think positively. Every night before going to bed try to imagine that your body is slim and firm. The power of your subconscious mind is tremendous.