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Quitting smoking is often synonymous with anxiety for smokers who fear weight gain. Smoking cessation can cause food compulsions and snacks that are difficult to overcome without these famous daily cigarettes that burn calories.
Indeed, it is true that it happens that some people, when they stop smoking, are victims of a small weight gain, generally from 2 to 5 kg. Know that this change in metabolism is not inevitable. Here's how to avoid weight gain when you decide to quit smoking.
How to avoid weight gain when quitting smoking?
Secret 1: Understand the link between quitting smoking and weight gain
Cigarettes increase your metabolism, that is to say, with each cigarette you consume, you lose, on average, 10 calories.
To give you an even more telling example of the energy expenditure linked to cigarettes, know that a pack of cigarettes is equivalent to a running session of about twenty minutes.
It is for this reason that a heavy smoker is generally “skinny” and that a quarter of people who embark on smoking cessation tend to gain weight and/or notice a change in metabolism.
You should also know that nicotine acts as a real appetite regulator. Smoking tobacco regularly also causes a decrease in taste and smell, thereby depriving you of small temptations.
To go further, know that there is a study carried out by researchers at the University of Minnesota demonstrating the link between poor eating habits and quitting smoking.
The study shows us the effects of smoking cessation on the part of the body that deals with addiction and appetite regulation. We can therefore remember when we seek to understand the link between smoking cessation and weight gain: Moderate weight gain (from 2kg to 5kg) is common when you stop smoking.
Smoking cigarettes burns calories, especially when you are a heavy smoker, it is for this reason that you can gain weight without eating more during nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine stabilizes blood sugar levels which help regulate appetite.
It is also for this reason that it is common to have food compulsions when you stop smoking.
Stress and anxiety are relieved by nicotine which can have a real positive impact on some people. When we are in the middle of nicotine withdrawal, anxiety can reappear and food can become the replacement for nicotine. Moreover, when we stop smoking, our gestures are strongly impacted. No longer putting a cigarette in your mouth several times a day can be destabilizing. Some people will reproduce this gesture by replacing cigarettes with food.
After reviewing the many causes that promote weight gain after quitting smoking, it's important to remember that at least a third of smokers who quit smoking do not experience weight gain. Many factors are taken into account such as the basic metabolism, physical activities, lifestyle, balanced meals, or not.
Secret 2: Rethink your lifestyle
Succeeding in quitting smoking without gaining weight also involves your lifestyle and your habits, which must be rethought with regard to quitting smoking.
These new habits will be your best allies to avoid the dreaded weight gain when you decide to quit smoking.
- Plan your meals, and think about balanced meals! By planning and preparing your menu for the week in advance, you will be able to control your purchases and your food consumption.
- Alcohol consumption is to be avoided at all costs: it is well known, that alcohol is high in calories, especially beer! It is essential to reduce or even stop alcohol consumption, at least during the first months of smoking cessation.
- The consumption of sugary drinks should also be reduced. Energy drinks, soft drinks, or even fruit juices are generally very high in sugar and calories.
- Allow yourself smart snacks: If your cupboards are filled with small, healthy, easy-to-eat things like fruit or corn cakes. So, in case of big cravings, anxiety, or the need to fill your hands, you can find something to satisfy you while avoiding unwanted weight gain.
- Resume regular physical activity, even a small daily walk in the neighborhood is good to take! It is important to exercise and change your mind during this withdrawal period.
Secret 3: Review your balanced meals
As you will have understood, a balanced diet is an essential component that allows you to prevent your weight gain when you decide to stop smoking tobacco or other substances such as cannabis.
Above all, do not fall into the trap of skipping meals to avoid weight gain! By making your 3 balanced meals a day, you will evenly distribute your food intake and you will avoid drops in blood sugar which could give you food compulsions.
I advise you to resume good habits by starting the day with a breakfast that you will take without stress, without running. This moment must be a real pleasure for you. Remember to hydrate yourself with hot or cold drinks, preferably unsweetened such as tea, herbal teas, coffee, and of course, water (flat or sparkling, with a slice of lemon).
Prefer “good sugars” by consuming wholemeal bread or oatmeal. For vitamins, do not hesitate to consume whole fruits such as apples, oranges, or kiwis. You can also add Fromage blanc or small Swiss cheese to satisfy your satiety.
For the other meals, good practices are now well known: the evening meal must be less caloric than the midday meal, and for both, you can create your menu as follows: a fruit or a vegetable, a single source of proteins (your choice of meat, eggs, fish or cheese) and a single meal (your choice of rice, bread, potatoes or pasta).
For raw vegetables, you have free rein: do not hesitate to consume them in quantity if you have trouble satisfying your hunger. Not only are raw vegetables full of vitamins, but they are also very refreshing.
For sweet cravings, avoid cakes at all costs, and, if you really want to, prefer fruit. Thanks to this balanced diet, you can quit smoking without gaining a gram.
Secret 4: Consider nicotine substitutes
In the first weeks or even the first months of quitting smoking, it is normal to feel an increase in appetite, a transient phenomenon that you have now understood. Smoking cessation, but especially the lack of nicotine, makes you want to compensate with food.
This is why nicotine replacement therapy can really help you. We are well aware that the symptoms of cigarette withdrawal are sometimes difficult to bear. However, there are different nicotine substitutes that help prevent weight gain. The best known is the nicotine patch: This is a simple patch to stick on your skin at the start of the day and to keep for 16 to 24 hours. Good to know: it is refundable.
Nicotine substitutes in the oral form: these are tablets or lozenges/gums to be sucked and left to melt under your tongue when you feel a strong urge to smoke. You can also use nicotine sprays to spray it directly into your mouth or inhalers that allow you to inhale droplets of nicotine.
These “swallow” substitutes also allow you to distract yourself and make you forget the cravings for snacking. If nothing works for you and the weight gain is significant, do not hesitate to consult a doctor, who, in addition to helping you with a possible diet, may possibly prescribe other drug treatments.
These are treatments accessible only by prescription and whose medical monitoring must be rigorous.
Secret 5: Do not neglect physical activities
You now know that your cigarettes have had the effect of burning your calories without asking you the slightest effort. Even if it is not useful to remind you how much your body will be grateful to you for having stopped smoking, know that many changes will begin in your metabolism and it is essential to take them in hand from the start. departure.
If you are already athletic, you will have no trouble regulating your weight or losing it if necessary. If you are not, as we told you earlier, a simple daily walk can be a big help. Besides, don't neglect the power of a nice walk in the middle of nature, not only will it have an effect on your energy expenditure, but it will also allow you to evacuate the stress or anxiety that could possibly make you want to smoke.
If you can, take a daily walk of at least 20 minutes. Do not engage in intensive physical activities without the agreement of a doctor. If you're having trouble getting started, ask a more athletic loved one to accompany you in your first workouts after quitting smoking.
With regular physical activity and reduced stress, not only will you avoid more or less significant weight gain, but you will also avoid relapses in the event of difficult periods.
Secret 6: quit smoking without gaining weight with hypnosis
Many smokers turn to hypnosis to end their tobacco addiction. Hypnosis is an effective technique that often makes it possible to quit smoking from the first session.
Indeed, whether you are a very heavy smoker, whether you have been smoking since you were 15, or whether you are simply addicted to the anti-stress cigarette of the lunch break, hypnosis is recognized for its ability to help all smokers without distinction.
It is presented as a real alternative for those who wish to end their addictions, and in your case, to quit smoking without gaining weight.
Hypnosis comes to work with your unconscious to settle these addictions. The hypnotherapist will seek and find the causes and solutions of your addiction to tobacco directly within your unconscious. Finally, to help you quit smoking without gaining weight with hypnosis, he will accompany you in your search for the situations and habits that lead you to smoke. Little by little, he can also come to help you regulate your appetite.
Hypnosis is suitable for both men and women of all ages. It is effective on very heavy smokers as well as on occasional smokers. Long-time smokers with 10, 20, 30, or 40 years of smoking behind them can successfully quit smoking after just one or two hypnosis sessions.
The hypnotherapist can also work with your subconscious to prevent you from gaining weight after quitting smoking.
Secret 7: Call on a specialized psychologist
If hypnosis does not tempt you to quit smoking without gaining weight, it is essential to define your smoking profile to know what type of smoker you are and what therapy will be most suitable.
If you're an occasional smoker and smoking is a way for you to relax or release stress, brief therapy can help you quit smoking without gaining weight.
A brief therapy will allow you to put an end to your dysfunctional thoughts, that is to say, the thoughts which increase your addiction to cigarettes. This type of brief therapy, called cognitive-behavioral therapy, gives you concrete tools to deal with anxiety-provoking situations and contexts that trigger your desire to smoke.
It will be necessary to perform 5 to 10 sessions to obtain lasting results. Brief therapy does not prevent weight gain if you do not change your eating habits. Apart from cognitive-behavioral therapy, it is also possible to consult an addictologist doctor or a psychiatrist to obtain more advanced psychological support and allow you to make a more global point if you suspect your tobacco addiction to be the consequence or the cause of another addiction and your weight gain.
Indeed, it is not uncommon to see heavy consumers of alcohol develop a tobacco addiction. These interviews are generally done in 2 to 4 sessions of 30 minutes.
Secret 8: Using an electronic cigarette
This secret is not the one of which I'm most proud, but it happens that some former smokers gain weight due to an “emptiness” in their gestures, which pushes them to consume food when they feel empty-handed.
Indeed, the gesture we use to eat and the gesture of smoking a cigarette is the same.
To avoid this feeling of emptiness leading to weight gain, it is possible to use an electronic cigarette with or without tobacco to keep this "gesture" and feel less embarrassed. Do not use an e-cigarette without talking to a doctor or clinical psychologist.
An addiction doctor could help you determine the nicotine dosages if you want to make the transition to an electronic cigarette. Only use this option as a last resort!
Quitting smoking is not synonymous with weight gain. To avoid gaining weight when you quit smoking, there are many tips to help you achieve this goal.
If you want to quit smoking, weight gain should not be a hindrance.
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