Quitting smoking is always a big challenge. While one finds it easier, the other has more problems. It is particularly frustrating when quitting smoking is accompanied by unwanted weight gain and you are threatened with reaching for a cigarette again. The anger is great, especially when you’ve struggled with withdrawal symptoms. Every smoker gains around five kilos if they keep their fingers off the cigarette, spread over the entire first year. Sport, diets, and other measures may help to counteract this but can also quickly build up further frustration. In this article, we would like to report how you can successfully quit cigarettes without gaining extra kilos.
Why do we gain weight?
Nicotine is harmful to the body and health. Stopping tobacco use has a positive effect on the body and health. After just 24 hours, most of the absorbed carbon monoxide has been eliminated from the body, and mucus deposits begin to loosen and are gently coughed up. After a few days, in addition to an improvement in lung capacity and constitution, an improvement in general well-being is noticeable. After just two days, the sense of smell improves. The olfactory cells damaged by the smoke regenerate and are no longer killed. Your favorite food gets a completely new smell and taste experience. Just one day later, an improvement in breathing ability is noticeable even for a lung function test. Nonetheless, once extra pounds hit the scales, these benefits are left in disregard. To defy the unwanted weight gain, the priority should be to look for the cause.
These are the reasonsa for weight gain during nicotine withdrawal
In the end, the cause is often not found in just one factor; rather, it is a combination of various factors that can cause an increase and differ from person to person.
Nicotine stimulates metabolism
Metabolism is an umbrella term for physical processes in which, for example, food or oxygen is processed into intermediate and end products and thus made usable for the body. This consumes energy. The metabolic rate roughly indicates how much a person uses energy (kcal) during physical inactivity per day just for breathing, digestion, and the like. Nicotine often reduces weight because it increases calories burned and increases metabolism. The body then consumes the energy supplied to it more quickly. However, if you suddenly stop smoking, the rhythm changes. A weight previously held without problems quickly becomes the new desired weight; despite the same diet and physical activity, weight gain can occur. Here it only helps if you increase the daily calorie consumption or adjust the intake.
Nicotine is an appetite suppressant.
Nicotine can suppress appetite. It attaches itself to a receptor in the brain that inhibits the feeling of hunger. Smokers, for example, actively sense this because they are less or not hungry after reaching for a cigarette. Many use this as an unhealthy aid during a diet, for example. But if you stop smoking, your appetite will quickly return. This may surprise many smokers, who are unaware of the effects of their cigarettes and are unconsciously inclined to indulge their appetite. Appetite is confused with actual hunger. The consequence: weight gain.
The sense of taste improves
Not only the sense of smell improves by not using nicotine, but also the sense of taste. Cigarette smoke not only accumulates harmfully in the lungs but also leaves its mark on the nose, mouth, and throat. The taste buds on the tongue, in particular, suffer. The vaper tongue, where vapers complain of a numb feeling on their tongue for days, increases this factor. Instead of having a second helping of the bland-tasting food, you quickly reach for a cigarette. However, if you stop smoking after just a few days, you will notice enormous improvements in your sense of smell and taste, and eating becomes a real taste experience. What has been dispensed with for years can now be enjoyed to the fullest. Especially when it tastes so good, it isn’t easy to measure it up. Weight gain is often the result.
Food as compensation
Smokers are used to being busy. Because they constantly raise their hand to their mouth, giving up the fag leads to replacing exercise with another activity, such as eating. The hand then grabs a candy or small snack instead. Hand and mouth are busy for now. Putting something in your mouth satisfies this habit. If smokers do not give in to this need, they often become restless. For example, they unconsciously begin to tear up scraps of paper or play with the hems of their clothes. But just eating as compensation for the smoker’s typical movement can satisfy this desire to fiddle with something. If you don’t choose healthy options, you’ll notice it the next time you weigh yourself.
Eating as a distraction
Significant withdrawal symptoms appear, especially in the first few days after giving up a cigarette. The desire for the next cigarette is great. Many people confuse this inner desire with a feeling of hunger. At least temporarily, eating satisfies this nicotine craving. It has both a distracting and a general stimulating effect, which can help with cold-like symptoms, for example, which are particularly common in the first few days after quitting smoking.
Avoid weight gain
There are three techniques to avoid, reverse, or generally prevent weight gain when nicotine withdrawal.
Sports and exercise
The effect of giving up nicotine is that the metabolism returns to a lower mean. Instead of being stimulated by smoking, the body now consumes more slowly the calories supplied. If the same lifestyle continues to be cultivated, there will inevitably be a slow increase. However, you can keep your metabolism up or at least increase your calorie consumption in a targeted manner by incorporating regular physical activity into your everyday life. The sport also leads to other positive side effects. More exercise can also help reduce withdrawal symptoms, making quitting smoking even easier. Implementing moderate movement units does not mean you must torture yourself to exhaustion once or twice a week in the gym. Rather, you complete the simple few extra steps every day. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or getting off the S-Bahn one station earlier and walking the rest makes a difference. You can also start looking for a new favorite sport, for example, a yoga class or jogging with a fitness partner. There are so many options here that there are guaranteed great opportunities for those reluctant to exercise to declare war on those annoying kilos.
Healthy eating and dieting
Dieting is an absolute nightmare scenario for many. However, even a strict diet is not as strenuous as quitting smoking. This means that most ex-smokers, despite good preparation, often prefer to smoke again than to throw in the towel with their diet. Therefore, when it comes to recommendations for nicotine withdrawal, it is often advised to give up the cigarette first and only screw up your diet afterward. However, with this advice in mind, some healthy eating or dietary measures can help limit or prevent weight gain when quitting tobacco. For example, switching to a healthier diet can help identify even more positive side effects of quitting cigarettes. To curb hunger or nicotine cravings, try healthy snacks. Fruit or vegetables, for example, are recommended as such. Another strategy would be to reduce your portion sizes until your metabolism stabilizes slightly. Drinking a large glass of water half an hour before meals, chewing slowly while eating, and savoring each bite will help you avoid cravings for second helpings afterward. It should always be kept in mind that it takes about twenty minutes for a feeling of hunger to set in. So before another portion, a little break can’t hurt.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy not only helps to give up tobacco in the long term but also stimulates one’s metabolism and reduces cravings. There are various options on the market, from nicotine patches to nicotine gum. While e-cigarettes are not yet officially considered a nicotine replacement therapy, there is evidence that they help ex-smokers avoid relapse. In contrast to cigarettes, vapers can determine the nicotine content themselves; less nicotine is often enough to achieve the same effect. A similar sequence of movements is also used when vaping, which can limit inner restlessness and fidgeting. Studies have long proven that vaping helps smokers to quit smoking in the long term. Thanks to technology, even people who had never planned to quit smoking could find a healthier alternative. This makes vaping a functional substitute for smoking. There is no metabolic slowdown in the body while reaping all the benefits of quitting smoking. Not only does this improve lung function, but vapers do not ingest any of the toxins produced by burning tobacco that make smoking so dangerous.
We hope that with this information, we can give some current smokers a few tips to help them avoid unwanted weight gain. If you still have questions about vaping, use our contact options. For anyone interested, we have also linked a few exciting entry-level products.
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