One of the biggest issues that some people have when they decided to quit smoking is the weight gain that they experienced afterwards. This weight gain stems from the fact that your body changes the way it burns calories once you stop smoking. Because the body burns calories more slowly, you may experience weight gain even if you keep eating in the same pace as you did while smoking. At the same time, the absence of nicotine in your system may lead you to crave other things, like food for example. So, to help you avoid these problems, here are five tips:
- Replace your cravings with activities.
If you’re craving for a smoke or you find yourself getting the munchies, perform an activity instead. Go for a walk around the block until the craving passes. At work, you can go for a coffee break or do quick breathing exercises at your desk. You can distract your mind by listening to a podcast or, better yet, by taking a power nap.
- Carry a water bottle wherever you go.
The absence of something to hold makes your cravings worse. Instead of grabbing a cigarette or a bag of chips, carry a water bottle instead. Not only will this new habit help you to stay hydrated and to avoid weight gain, but you’re also helping the environment.
- Brush your teeth.
Yes, that’s right. You can help prevent weight gain as you quit smoking by brushing your teeth. What this does is it cleanses your palate, so that you don’t crave sweets after meals. “What about cravings in-between meals?” Replace brushing your teeth with sugarless gums or gargling mouthwash.
- Ask for your friends’ help.
If you’re finding it hard to hold yourself accountable, ask for your friends’ help. If you’ve done everything you can to stop a craving but still can’t get rid of it, call a friend and stay on the phone with them until the craving passes. If they are available, maybe you can meet them somewhere where you won’t be tempted to submit to your craving. Remember that you don’t have to do this alone. You can ask for help when you need it, just like Allan Carr suggests.
- Don’t completely devoid yourself of snacks.
Quitting two things at once is difficult, so avoiding snacks while you’re also trying to quit smoking is going to be very challenging. Instead of completely avoiding snacks, choose to snack smartly instead. Eat low-calorie snacks such as butter-free popcorn. Mimic the feeling of holding and putting a cigarette in your mouth by eating veggie sticks. (Dip them in guac or hummus for an extra satisfying snack!)
- Give yourself a room to change.
It’s inevitable that you’ll gain a few pounds while you’re trying to quit smoking. Don’t beat yourself about it! As you shift towards a healthier lifestyle, your target weight will soon follow.
When you’ve decided to quit smoking, you’ve already made a decision that benefits your overall health. Don’t mind the few pounds that will result from it. There’s always a way to lose those pounds—prioritize your health first.