Quitting smoking is not easy, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying quit, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. You'll find this information here.
Ready to stop smoking? Don't worry about gaining weight as you cut back on cigarettes — these tips will help you kick the habit without packing on the pounds.
Kick the HabitFear of putting on pounds shouldn't stop you from trying to kick the habit: Two recent studies show that female quitters aren't any more likely to gain weight than the general population and that repeated nicotine use may actually increase your appetite. Robin Mermelstein, PhD, a smoking-cessation researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, offers these tips:
- Use a nicotine-replacement product. Studies show that women who use patches or gum are less likely to gain weight. “Both of these will help reduce feelings of hunger as well as cravings for cigarettes,” says Mermelstein.
- Compensate for the drop in metabolism. “Nicotine causes the body to burn about 200 more calories a day,” says Mermelstein. Fight the dip by leaving a bite or two of food on your plate at each meal …
Weight gain is a common concern when quitting smoking. Some people even use it as a reason not to quit. While it's true that many smokers put on weight within six months of stopping smoking, the gain is usually small—about 5 pounds on average—and that initial gain decreases over time. It’s also important to remember that carrying a few extra pounds for a few months won’t hurt your heart as much as smoking will. Of course, gaining weight is NOT inevitable when you quit smoking. Smoking acts as an appetite suppressant. It also dampens your sense of smell and taste. So after you quit, your appetite will likely increase and food will seem more appealing. Weight gain can also happen if you replace the oral gratification of smoking with eating, especially if you turn to unhealthy comfort foods. So it's important to find other, healthy ways to deal with stress and other unpleasant feelings rather than mindless, emotional eating.