One of the main challenges that we face when it comes to quitting smoking is hunger and weight gain. This hunger proves more difficult to overcome when we don’t understand its causes or how to deal with it. So, here are a couple of different contributing factors that make us feel hungry after quitting smoking and make our weight loss journey a little more difficult. There are also a few ways to quit smoking without weight gain!
Quitting Smoking and Hunger and Weight Gain
For years, people have observed that smoking keeps the pounds off and often when quitting smoking they gain weight, but haven’t been able to understand why. After conducting various experiments and extensive research, scientists have been able to determine the cause: Nicotine activates a pathway in the brain that suppresses appetite. Generally speaking, smokers do not feel as hungry as non-smokers.
By no means should you continue smoking to avoid weight gain. By now we are all aware of the severe health hazards that come hand-in-hand with smoking. The habit dramatically increases your risk of developing cancer, respiratory conditions, and heart conditions. That’s before we even calculate the financial costs – someone smoking a pack a day spends about $177 a week on cigarettes, which is over $9,200 each year. And what of the detrimental effects that smoking can have on your appearance? Yellowing skin, darkened fingernails, dull eyes and hair are just a few problems.
Instead, let’s explore keeping hunger at bay and kicking the bad habit of smoking without gaining weight.
Identifying the Causes of Hunger and Weight Gain
Specific reasons as to why individuals gain weight when quitting smoking vary. Generally speaking, reasons for this fall into three different categories. The first category consists of individuals who crave putting something in their mouth. They have gotten into the habit of regularly putting a cigarette in their mouth and replace this movement by putting food into their mouth instead. The second category consists of those who are experiencing metabolic changes due to the cessation of nicotine in their diet. The third category is host to individuals who can now taste and smell better thanks to quitting smoking and are thus more attracted to the appeal of sugary and sweet unhealthy foods. Once you’ve identified the main problems that you are experiencing, you will be able to find the solution to quit smoking without weight gain that is best suited to your needs.
How to Quit Smoking without Weight Gain
There are various solutions to combat the causes of weight gain when quitting smoking. Different solutions will suit different individuals better, so feel free to try them all out before settling on what’s best for you. Breaking the habit of putting things in your mouth may be difficult, but until you manage to completely rid yourself of it, there are options that are healthier than smoking but also won’t make you gain weight in the same way that simply putting food in your mouth will.
The first option? Swapping the cigarette for a straw, pencil, or any other option that resembles the shape you are used to. The second (and probably more effective) is an e-cigarette. E-cigarettes look and feel like a standard cigarette, but don’t fill your body with the toxins and harmful substances that real cigarettes do.
E-cigarettes are also a good option for those in the second category whose metabolisms are effected by nicotine. That’s because the cartridges in e-cigarettes can contain nicotine, which will reduce the speed at which metabolic changes take place. Find a whole range of these handy devices at ecigwizard.com.
For the final third group, there are two solutions. Either abstain from the unhealthy snacks, no matter how appealing they may now seem. Or consume them in small quantities and exercise to burn off the extra calories. People tend to assume that snacking leads to weight gain, as the snacks are generally unhealthy. While snacking is a contributing factor to weight gain after quitting smoking, there’s a little more psychology and physiology behind snacking, hunger, and weight gain, too! Let’s explore this further.
Snacking, Hunger and Weight Gain
Have you ever noticed that once you start snacking your hunger intensifies and your body wants more and more? Who has ever opened a can of Pringles or bag of Doritos and left them unfinished? Now, there’s a reason for this insatiable appetite that comes with snacking. Believe it or not, snacking simply makes you hungrier. Why? Because before you’ve even chewed the food, taste receptors in your mouth communicate with your brain and stomach, letting them know that food is on its way. Naturally, humans should eat three large meals a day. So the theory is that when your brain and stomach get these messages, they assume a large quantity of food is coming. When a small snack arrives, they are left expecting more. This is why you often feel hungry after snacking rather than feeling satisfied.
The easiest and most effective way to prevent the weight gain associated with snacking is to cut out snacking entirely. This should be relatively simple if you ensure that your main meals have plenty enough healthy carbohydrates to give you the energy to get through to the next meal.
However, we are also aware that not all of our schedules allow for three main meals evenly spaced throughout the day. So, if you do need to snack then snack on healthy foods. Instead of sugar-filled fruit bars and snack bags of chips, consider fruit, nuts, seeds, cheese, and jerky or these 10 healthy grab-and-go snacks.
Also to avoid temptation, simply stop buying snacks when you visit the store. Stick to a strict shopping list detailing the ingredients you need for your set meals. We tend to reach for snacks in the evenings or at night. But if they’re not there and the nearest shops are closed, you simply can’t have them. Your body will grow to accept this with a little perseverance and time.
You can also keep snacking at bay by ensuring you are sufficiently hydrated. When you feel hunger between meals, simply drink some water. The majority of us confuse thirst with hunger and the majority of the time you’ll find that you were merely thirsty!
Keeping Hunger and Weight Gain at Bay
Hopefully, I have sufficiently highlighted a couple of causes for increased hunger and appetite when you stop smoking and have offered reasonable ways to quit smoking without weight gain in a healthy manner. These small changes to your lifestyle will greatly improve your health, even if they may take a little time and perseverance to implement.
Remember, too, that we all have off days — days when we will reach for unhealthy things instead of following the better way of doing things — so don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s important that if you slip up that you don’t call it quits and fall back into a completely unhealthy way of living. Instead, get back on the wagon. You will get into the swing of healthy living eventually, and your body will thank you for it.
In good health,
Content is the opinion of the author and does not constitute or is a replacement for medical advice.