Why do people gain weight when they quit smoking?
Substituting that cigarette for a cheeseburger or a hot dog seems like a great idea at the time, especially when coupled with the rationale that a hot dog is surely the lesser of two evils! And let’s not forget that everything also tastes a thousand times better now you’ve stopped smoking and your appetite is working on overdrive.
Yep, putting down the cigarettes and picking up the excess pounds is the case for far too many quitters, except it doesn’t have to be that way.
If one of your reasons for quitting or reducing your smoking is the intent to get healthy, then don’t let your newly found taste buds sabotage your efforts.
How can you quit smoking without gaining weight?
If you’re determined not to replace one bad habit with another (over eating), here are a few simple tips that will help you keep those pounds off and your nicotine addiction kicked. Below you will just some of the ways YOU can keep those pounds firmly off your physique when you adjust your smoking habits.
Eat a low calorie diet.
If you find yourself craving and indulging in too much fast food, hold those sticky fingers and back away from the hamburger with extra large fries. Addictive behaviors can show up in our lives in a multitude of ways, but a newfound love of junk food seems to go hand-in-hand with quitting smoking. Don’t fall victim to this and use these tips to keep things healthy and slim-line at home.
- Take an inventory of the contents of your fridge and dump the unhealthy food. Take no mercy. Replace them with healthier alternatives, and that way whenever you are hungry or craving something sweet your fingers will reach for a piece of fruit and not a tub of Ben & Jerry’s!
- Get rid of every Chinese and Pizza takeout number pinned to your fridge. And while you’re at it, that Indian place that does a great chicken korma and the Mexican joint with the mean enchiladas needs to go too.
- Create a shopping list of low calorie foods. This does not mean surviving on salad and bean sprouts, but living on cheese and sodas really won’t help. People often have the excuse that they don’t know how to eat healthily on a budget, but here’s a quick gut check (pardon the pun): if it comes in a tin, box, or is frozen...you should probably avoid it!
- Tell your friends you have quit smoking and are determined not to gain any weight. This way they wont be offended if you turn down an invite to a fast food place or turn up with your own healthy meal in a Tupperware container! But all jokes aside, it’s important to get the support of your family and friends, and you never know, you may even encourage them to dine a little healthier AND quit smoking too.
- Explore healthier recipes. You’ll find the internet a never-ending resource of healthy and tasty recipes you can cook up at home, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
- Many smokers miss the action of sucking on a cigarette. Replace this action with sucking on sugar free candies or gum. Another fun substitute is fruit ice cubes
Develop a fitness program that you can stick to.
Regular exercise will also drastically control the amount of weight you put on. A commitment to working out for an hour 2-3x a week is a good idea whether you smoke or not. When you first start out, you may find it tough to establish a regimen, so keep it simple. Maybe start with a session of about 20 mins. For ex-smokers, you might find yourself lacking in stamina and lung capacity. It will get easier as the days and weeks go by, and the positive feedback loop of not only looking good but feeling great, provides a great incentive to keep going.
Now, the obvious and easy choice is to join a gym or, if you can afford it, hire a personal trainer. However, considering the closure of many gyms due to the coronavirus, that may be hard to come by. Lucky for you, there are many options for working out at home that are both free and effective, or cost significantly less than the gym.
Remember, exercise also gives you a big boost of happy endorphins coursing through your system. Many smokers say they miss the immediate relief and “feel good” buzz that comes from enjoying a toke on their regular brand, but exercise provides a far healthier and longer lasting buzz than any cigarette.
Keep yourself busy.
Now is the time to call all those friends and family members you've been promising to get in touch with for weeks and months even! Now’s the time to pack away those summer clothes and get them stored in the attic, after all... fall is here! What about finally getting around to taking that bag of your trash - destined to become someone else’s treasure - down to the goodwill.
Leaving yourself with too much free time is a sure-fire way to watch the pounds creep on when you quit smoking. So with that in mind, plan out your days with a little more care, and have an action plan of what you will do when you’re craving a smoke AND a chocolate bar – because it will happen.
Just to get you started, here are a few positive time fillers you can turn to.
- Watch your favorite movies (again)
- Read that book that’s been sitting on your coffee table all these months.
- Clean your car (you know it needs it) and while you’re at it, why not tackle the garage?
- Take up a new hobby, or try an online course.
- Volunteer your time to a charity or cause you believe in
The trick is to distract yourself until you have settled into a new routine. Healthy habits take a while to implement, but just like smoking – once on autopilot - you’ll find them hard to give up.
Keeping the pounds off when you quit smoking is not rocket science, neither do we pretend it’s easy. However, we firmly believe that with commitment and support you can do it.
Veppo Vape Team
Gina King is the brand manager for Veppo, a family run brand offering select, tested, high quality vape pen vaporizers, e-liquid and e-cigars. Over the past 12 years, Veppo has provided more than 250,000 customers a friendly alternative to cigarettes.
Gina is a mother, writer, traveler and speaker and has been featured on HuffPost, Forbes, Elite Daily and more.