Weight gain is an important withdrawal symptom when one makes the life-changing decision to stay away from the nicotine giant – cigarettes.
Obesity is one of the undesirable post-abstinence symptoms and this correlation can be attributed to the following factors:
- Eating habits change when one stops smoking. Normally when people change food consumption patterns, change in body mass index is unavoidable.
- By saying no to cigarettes, smokers are ripping their bodies off nicotine intake. Nicotine suppresses appetite by making healthy food tasteless. When you are off nicotine, you tend to taste buds find food attractive and this might lead to increased consumption.
- Secondly, nicotine accelerates metabolism rate which breaks down body fat. So, the reverse happens when nicotine intake is curtailed.
These facts establish the weighing machine displaying big numbers in the post-smoking cessation months. Following are tips to combat addition of body weight:
# Be organized and plan a healthy diet in advance
The decision to quit smoking must never be carried out overnight, since the ill-effects of obesity might force people to change their minds and fall back into the smoking trap. Diet must be reorganized with lot of options for in-between healthy snacks to be replaced with consumption of fat-laden items. Some healthy bites include:
- Shallow fried vegetable fritters
- Salads without fatty dressing
- Cut fruits instead of fruit juices
- Sugar free beverages
# Include physical activity in daily routine
There is no substitute to exercise. The disastrous effect of food cravings can be fought aggressively by exercising regularly and burning more calories. Following are simple ways to combat weight gain:
Techniques like avoiding car or bike for shorter distances, planning holidays with more of trekking and climbing etc. will help.
# Replace food cravings with productive activities
It does not mean that you can never rest, in order to avoid weight gain after you quit smoking. It all lies in how productively you organize time, so that you are left with no time to over-eat. This can be done by including the following in your time-table:
- Write down positive developments in the smoking cessation phase
- Pursue a new hobby that demands attention, like drawing, modelling, horse-riding
- Travel places, meet new people (not the ones who would use peer pressure to smoke) and make new friends
- Bring a pet home, if feasible and find the empty hours tick by without food cravings
# Changing your table behaviour
How you eat matters more than how much you eat. Small alterations and precautions over the dinner table can count a lot:
- When your meal is finished, leave the table at the appropriate moment. Lingering at the table will make you reach out for more food.
- Keep yourself hydrated. In many cases it is thirst as against hunger that makes us eat more.
- Load your plate with fruits and vegetables in a way there is very less space for meat, rice or wheat.