Why Do You Gain Weight When You Quit Smoking?

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If you are considering quitting smoking but are concerned about weight gain, you may have second thoughts about quitting. Sometimes asking yourself the question, “why do you gain weight when you quit smoking?” may lead to a more well laid out quit plan and a more successful attempt at becoming a non-smoker. Here are some of the reasons people gain weight while quitting and what you can do to combat them:

  1. Emotional Eating
    Oftentimes quitters experience an increase in irritability and possibly depression during the first few weeks and months. While it doesn’t happen with every smoker, this may result in a tendency to eat to deal with these emotions. You can combat emotional eating by developing a plan of action when stress hits. Count to 10, pray, read, call a friend, take a walk, or have a cup of tea instead of getting a snack. It may help to write out the plan and post it in a prominent place in your house as a reminder.
  2. Regained Appetite
    Of all the bad things nicotine does to your body, it also an appetite suppressant. With most of the population overweight or obese, this may not seem like a bad thing, but actually a suppressed appetite is a reaction to the stimulant effects of the nicotine. As your body rids itself of the toxins, you may notice an increase, or rather a normalization of appetite. To deal with this simply have good fresh fruits and vegetables available that are nutrient dense. Some examples of healthy choices are carrot sticks, fresh sugar snap peas, broccoli and celery. There is a small amount of nicotine in foods from the nightshade family which could possibly help with withdrawal symptoms. The most popular of these are green peppers and eggplant.
  3. Changing Habits
    When you quit smoking, your daily rituals change. This upheaval of the daily grind may make you search for alternatives for those “relaxing” times when you used to light up. Create new habits that don’t resort to foods. You may need to get creative and try polishing your toenails or working on a hobby car to reward yourself.
  4. Adjustments in Metabolism
    A cessation of nicotine also may result in a decrease in metabolism making everything you eat seemingly stay with you. Most doctors say that a 10 to 20 pound gain is within a safe level and well worth the health strides made with quitting smoking. You can help resolve this change by increasing your activity level, but be sure to clear any exercise program, and any new symptoms, with your doctor.

References:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/quit-smoking/AN01437
http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/smoking.htm
http://www.livestrong.com/article/91383-caffeine-nicotine/
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