Stop smoking without gaining weight
How to quit without packing the pounds.
By Heather Hatfield
Weight Loss Clinic WebMD – Feature
If you are a smoker, the healthiest resolution you can do is quit the habit. But kicking asses often goes hand in hand with weight gain. Is it possible to be thinner and smoke-free in the New Year?
It can be done, experts say, if you do it the right way.
First, consider this: although you are likely to gain some weight when you stop of smokingIt probably will not be as much as you fear.
"Cigarettes activate your metabolism," says Cynthia Purcell, MRS, nutritionist and therapist to stop smoking in the smoking cessation program at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "You burn around 250 calories if you smoke a pack a day. Then, when you give up and your metabolism slows down, your body has these extra calories that you have to deal with, and many people gain weight. "
Most people earn around two pounds during the first weeks after quitting, says Purcell.
"People who stop smoking tend to think, it's only been two weeks and I've gained two pounds, what will it be like in two months?" And they go back to smoking to avoid weight gain, "Purcell tells WebMD.
"If they just went ahead with that, they would realize that there will not be a pound or two each week, and their metabolism will be balanced." On average, most people only earn between 5 and 7 pounds in total after quitting. "
And when you consider the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle, both inside and out, those few extra kilos may not mean that much.
"The lungs, heart and arteries will begin to repair almost immediately after the last inhalation," says Purcell.
Not only that, but her skin lightens and begins to look softer, her nails stop looking yellow, her breathing improves and her teeth It can be bright again. All of these less obvious smoking benefits will make you look great, even if you wear a few, says Purcell.
So you're ready to quit smoking and you want to minimize the weight gain. Is it time to get cold, or is it time to plan a strategy?
The right approach
"There are people who give up for making a decision and throwing away their cigarettes, but the research says that a systematic approach is more effective," says Edwin Fisher, PhD, co-author of the American Lung Association. How to stop smoking without gaining weight (to be published in 2004).
First, plan ahead, says Fisher. Set a date to quit smoking, either the first part of the year or a couple of weeks later. Prepare for this by reserving an additional time to begin a regular physical activity, such as walking. And do your best to avoid buffets and start eating healthier.
"When you're preparing to quit smoking, improving the health of your diet will help you minimize your weight gain," says Fisher, who is also a professor of psychology, medicine and pediatrics at the University of Washington in St. Louis. "Keep in mind that it's not so much a caloric restriction, but rather a healthy diet."
Next, begin to identify which situations will make you want to smoke, explains Fisher, so that you are prepared to face them.
"The need for a cigarette tends to be more pronounced the first few days after quitting for most people," says Fisher. "After the fifth day, the number of impulses begins to decrease".
Although it varies from person to person, impulses will generally continue, albeit less frequently, for several weeks or even months, Fisher says. But they're still as annoying as when you stopped smoking for the first time, says Fisher, so be prepared to face them head-on.
Time to go
When it comes time to quit smoking, here are some tips to minimize cigarette cravings and weight gain:
Drink more water. Shoot for eight glasses of water of 8 ounces a day, says Purcell. This will keep you hydrated, help you feel full and give you something to do with your hands. Make smart decisions when eating snacks. "Quitting smoking will increase your snack," says Purcell. While you should avoid replacing food with cigarettes, you should plan healthy snacks, such as chopped vegetables, fruits, almonds, or pistachios (in limited quantities). Try to avoid sugar and unhealthy starches. If you feel you should eat sweets, opt for those without sugar and without fat, suggests Purcell. But keep in mind that fat-free snacks often have the same amount of calories due to added sugar. When you feel like smoking, get ready. "If you want to eat some snacks, make sure they are practical and healthy," says Purcell. "Have water around, take a walk, drink a soda, think about these things so that when an impulse hits you, you are prepared, it is a careful planning". Maintain physical activity and healthy eating. This will help you stop smoking, as well as trim your waist, explains Purcell. Use the tried and true method of successfully quitting smoking. "Statistics show that the best success is a combination of group therapy or support, and the use of some type of nicotine replacement, such as chewing gum or the patch," says Purcell. "And almost all types of insurance will cover at least part of the cost." Be prepared for the challenges. "You have to have the right mindset and be prepared for difficult times," says Purcell. "If he can get through the first two weeks, he's probably going to make it." The most important thing is that, even if the needle on the scale starts to rise, do not take the cigarette! "Just grab it and let your metabolism drift away," says Purcell. "It's only temporary, and you can address the weight later after you've stopped smoking."
Beyond not trying to gain weight, what are the chances of your success in losing Weight at the same time you quit smoking? It's about knowing your own limitations, experts say.
"I think people are their best judges," says Fisher. "Doing both at the same time is taking on a double challenge, and I encourage people to recognize the importance of success. If you can stop smoking in January and lose weight in April or May, when you can go out and exercise, I think that's fine. But if you want to do both at the same time, and you feel excited about doing it, then do it, but do not be heroic and end up with failure. "
Motivation and a good support system are key.
"It's about moving forward, not giving in to the first urge to use a cigarette, using your support system, whether it's talking to co-workers or friends or family or a support group, drinking lots of water, eating healthy, Be active and plan ahead. so you can handle the cravings, "says Purcell." Just keep that and take it out. "
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