Tag Archive for 'smoking metabolism'

How can I quit smoking without gaining weight

Question: I have been a smoker for almost 15 years now and smoke a pack a day. I really want to quit smoking but I am super conscious about my weight and am so scared that I will get fat. Is there any way I can quit smoking cigarettes without gaining weight, or better still, lose weight?

Answer: This is probably the biggest fear for the majority of smokers. It is also one of those questions where the answer may not be what we would have wanted but where it is important to consider the longer term consequences rather than short term results. On average, most people gain approximately 5-8 pounds when they stop smoking in the first 6 months, which is probably less than is generally believed. It is also surprising how many ex-smokers very soon lose all the weight gained and more by enjoying an active and healthy lifestyle, unconstrained by cigarettes.

It is true that smoking cigarettes increase your metabolic rate. Your metabolism gets faster for all the wrong reasons of course, since you are in effect poisoning your body. Your body reacts to these toxins by going into a defensive state and releases more adrenaline which in turn speeds up your metabolism. It is estimated that you burn approximately 200 extra calories per day if you are a heavy smoker, so when you stop smoking you need to adjust your calorie intake to compensate for the reduction in caloric requirements. The other option of course is to increase your activity levels.

A number of factors play a role in the weight people gain when they stop smoking. Firstly, when you stop smoking your body becomes healthier and with it your digestive processes, allowing you to get more benefits from the food you are taking in. Also, many people find that it is only too easy to overeat when they stop smoking because food suddenly tastes and smells so much better. Lastly, many people need a new crutch and often replace food for cigarettes which (depending on what you are nibbling on) can account for many unnecessary calories.

To minimize weight gain when you quit the cancer sticks, make sure that you stick to natural, healthy and non-processed foods. Steer well clear of any processed foods, i.e. anything that comes in bags, cans, bottles bags or tins. If you do this and have plenty of water every day, you may even find that you eat less (and better) than you did before you stopped smoking. It is very hard to overeat on a diet of lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables.

As soon as you quit smoking, you body will start getting rid of all the toxins smoking brought with it. In doing so, you are not only reducing your risk for cancer and all sorts of heart and lung disease, but you are also giving your body the opportunity to re-balance your hormones and speed up your metabolism in the long run. Your energy levels will go up and if you switch to a healthier lifestyle you may well soon realize that you are fitter, healthier and more in shape than you ever were before you stopped smoking.

The key to success is to be patient, choose a stop smoking strategy that can help you minimize the weight you do gain, and to switch to a healthier and more active lifestyle early on. Do not start smoking again the minute you see an increase on the scales. Realize that any increases are temporary and that you are going to be much better off in the future.

As with anything in life different strategies work for different people, but one strategy to quit smoking that does not rely on replacing the cigarettes with anything else and as such reduce the chances of weight gain is Allen Carr’s Stop Smoking The Easy Way.