If you’re considering quitting smoking – congratulations! It’s a big decision, and one of the most important choices that you can make for your health. You may have heard that some people who quit smoking gain weight. While it may be common, it’s not inevitable. The more you know about why it happens, the better equipped you are to avoid it.
Why do we gain when we quit?
There are a few possible reasons: Your sense of taste and smell usually become sharper, which may cause an increase in appetite. Some people seek comfort in unhealthy foods to help suppress nicotine cravings, and the stress of withdrawal may cause you to overindulge.
Remember to satisfy your basic daily nutritional needs whether you have recently quit or not. If you’re concerned about gaining weight, make sure that the majority of the food you eat comes from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy, natural sources of fat, such as avocado or olive oil (and as few as possible from trans-fats and simple sugars). You may want to consult a nutritionist or other health professional to advise you about your diet.
The right snack foods can help you deal with nicotine cravings after you’ve quit smoking, so stock up and consider carrying them with you when you leave your home. Take small bags of trail mix, celery sticks, apple slices, or another nutritious snack with you. Having these readily available will help you avoid junk food and cigarettes.
Exercise is an important step to maintaining good health and getting through nicotine withdrawal. It may help keep your weight under control and help reduce cravings. If you’re not currently exercising regularly, start slowly and work up to exercising several times a week. It’s important to try to have fun while you’re exercising, so pick an activity you already doing like, playing tennis, swimming, or bike riding. Over time you may find that your body craves physical activity just as it craved nicotine.
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Smoking. National Cancer Institute.
Quit Smoking Timeline. Healthline.com.