How can you prevent putting weight on when you quit smoking?
Smoking is a habit as well as an addiction - it’s not just the nicotine you’re weaning yourself off of. If you were previously smoking 20 cigarettes a day you would have been putting your hand up to your mouth out of habit something like 200 times a day. Without that physical action, some people can feel a little lost so they replace it with eating snacks instead. If this is you, an inhalator might help you replace the physical habit of picking up a cigarette.
Other ways to keep your mouth busy that don’t involve smoking could be chewing gum, sucking a boiled sweet or even flossing with a mint-flavoured dental floss.
Try to eat a little bit less as your metabolism stabilises. Reduce your normal portion sizes slightly - and remember that just because your food tastes better now you aren’t masking all the flavours with nicotine, you don’t have to eat more of it.
Eating more slowly will help you recognise when you’re full as it can take 20 minutes for your stomach’s ‘full’ signal to reach your brain.
Swap high calorie and fatty snacks for healthier options, like fresh fruit, nuts, dried fruit and vegetable sticks. Snack on these if a craving strikes. If you drink alcohol regularly, you could also try cutting out one alcoholic drink a day to prevent a relapse after drinking.
Regular exercise can help to raise your metabolism and counter the effects of the drop caused by losing nicotine. Just 30 minutes a day five days a week can help to increase your metabolism and cancel out any weight gain. It also keeps you busy in those times when you could be tempted to smoke again.