Smoking carries several health risks both for the smoker and those around them. Smokers who quit smoking successfully avoid these risks and the health benefits are many. Some of these health risks from smoking are the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, etc. But most smokers are reluctant to quit smoking despite the improvements to their health since they are concerned about the weight they will gain afterward.
Even though the health benefits for someone who quits are many. Along with regular exercise, a new healthy diet and eating right, many people can prevent putting on the pounds when they quit.
Most of them experience weight gain the first few months after they quit which is usually harmless, but there are exceptions. There are also certain rules which can help prevent gaining weight when someone tries to quit cigarettes.
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How to Lose Weight After Quitting Smoking
The biggest question asked by those who want to quit is “why do I gain weight when I try to quit smoking?” Weight gain in relation to smoking cessation can be due to one of these reasons:
- The slowed metabolism due to lack of nicotine;
- Unhealthy snacking by people who are attempting cessation could lead to new, extra pounds as they eat sugary things that become substitutes for cigarettes;
- Serotonin levels increase the first few days or weeks after leaving cigarettes behind leading to mood swings. Sweet foods are said to improve the mood swings that people get.
A good vape can also help with nicotine cravings that come after stopping smoking if you do not want to fill the void by snacking.
How to Quit Smoking Without Gaining Weight
All hope is not lost for ex-smokers who gained some pounds after stopping smoking. There is something that can be done to deal with extra pounds gained after quitting smoking and nicotine:
Keeping the Pounds Off After Quitting
When it comes to smoking cessation and weight gain, there are things people can do to prevent it, as well as to improve their health:
- Seek help from a dietician and physician
- Healthy Foods
Water is very essential when it comes to weight management. When a person is dehydrated, the craving for smoke will increase that can lead to relapsing. Drinking plenty of water will give the body’s metabolism a boost and keep smoking cravings at bay. One can carry a water bottle that will help keep hydrated during the day.
If a person is overweight while smoking, it might be a good idea to speak to a dietician and physician once making the decision to quit, to see what foods to eat, and avoid. The dietician will give personalized weight management support while the physician will recommend an exercise regime that can be used to cut the extra pounds. After a while, the person will notice that the weight is getting better and will be motivated to work harder.
An unhealthy diet and irregular eating times is a major cause of gaining weight. Once a person stops smoking their overall health improves, and their senses become more active. The smell and taste of food are better that can lead to overindulging. To prevent this, people can substitute those sugary snacks for healthier ones like fruits. Diet plays a big part in controlling weight gain. People can increase their vegetable intake and minimize carbohydrates and processed foods.
The Right Diet to Quit Smoking
Giving up cigarettes is also a chance to improve health in other ways. Along with giving up cigarettes, a lot of ex-smokers begin exercising. They also try different diets that increase the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Some ex-smokers experiment with going vegetarian during cessation. Others go in the other direction and try a high-protein diet that can have many positive effects.
Vegetarian Diet to Quit Smoking
Switching to a new vegetarian diet opens the door to an overall healthy lifestyle, while also stopping smoking. Vegetarian means a substantially lower intake of calories by limiting your food intake from plant-based products such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, dairy products, and eggs. A semi-vegetarian diet adds fish and chicken meat to the menu.
It is vital to know that vegetarian is different from a vegan diet, the latter being strictly confined to plant-based food sources, without the eggs, dairy, and anything that is derived from animals.
Among the two, a vegetarian diet may be easier to develop and practice due to the wider options that it offers. Nutrition-wise, it is also less complicated to make sure that you are getting the right amount of the required nourishment every day if you eat dairy, eggs, and white meat. Vitamin B is known to be found in animal products and is an example of a vital nutrient that keeps us from weakness, exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety, and nerve problems.
High Protein Diet and Smoking
A high protein diet consists of protein-rich foods such as eggs, dairy, meat, nuts, and legumes. It steers away from carbohydrates and fats. To be considered as high in protein, a diet must have at least 1.2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For people who are working out and into bodybuilding, a high protein diet should at least consist of 1 gram of protein for every pound of weight.
A few well-liked examples of high protein plans are the Paleo and Atkins Diet. Among others, these high protein diets are known to sustain the production of the IGF-1, a growth hormone that promotes the build-up of muscles and regeneration of tissues and cartilages after being torn down due to weight lifting and other forms of physical exercise. In previous studies prior to the high protein scare, high levels of IGF-1 have been associated to the increase of cancer risks, which some claim and describe being about the same rate as smoking 20 sticks of cigarette per day.
Quitting Smoking and Weight Gain: Is It Real?
There is a small risk that smokers trying to quit smoking will experience weight gain, which is not as much of a health risk as continuing to smoke. This is due to many factors like the stress of withdrawal, substituting sugary or salty snack foods for nicotine, or changes in the body.
This possible weight gain is no reason to put off quitting though. The health benefits of stopping smoking outweigh the slight chance of gaining weight because of cessation. Smoking cessation can also lead to diet and lifestyle changes that can help keep off the weight, or help obese smokers get healthier.