Stop Smoking—and Stay Skinny
Here’s how to kick that fatal habit—without getting fat!
-Kathryn H. Cusimano
So you’ve decided to quit smoking – congratulations! Your lungs, heart and skin will thank you. But while you’re trying to quit, you do risk putting on a few pounds, so it’s best to prepare some coping strategies as you go through the process. Otherwise, you might find yourself suddenly reaching for some cancer sticks!
According to the federal National Cancer Institute, the average person who quits smoking gains between four and 10 pounds. Says Marissa Moore, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, “This could be for two reasons: you might feel hungry during the quitting smoking process…and you might find yourself having more snacks and alcoholic drinks because it’s taking the place of the cigarettes. But probably the biggest factor is you start to burn calories at a normal rate again, because when we smoke we increase the rate at which the body burns calories.”
Moore and other experts emphasize that the weight usually goes away within weeks as you adjust to being an ex-smoker. But in the meantime, here are some tips to help keep you trim and (relatively) stress-free:
Step away from the chips
Says Moore, “One of the most important things to do is identify times when you might snack when you aren’t really hungry,” Moore said. If you’re using your old smoke break to raid the vending machine, pack a healthy snack instead to help you get over that hump. Moore suggests something crunchy, like almonds, pistachios, fruit or veggies. If you want something creamy, try a low- or non-fat yogurt.