Smoking acts as an appetite suppressor. To be specific the addictive substance nicotine speeds up metabolism, affects the part of the brain responsible for hunger, desensitises taste buds and keeps your hands and mouth occupied. However, smoking is NOT a healthy weight management solution; it is an addictive habit with the potential to kill.
One of the greatest fears for quitters is weight gain. But fear not, your weight woes may be unnecessary as new research from the University of Otago , New Zealand (a.k.a kiwi land), has been published in the ‘Nicotine and Tobacco Research Journal’ and found that those who quit smoking gain little weight and more importantly the weight gain is only temporary.
The study measured the smoking habits and weight of 1000 people born in Dunedin (on NZ’s south island) and aged 15 to 38 from 1972 to 1973. The findings showed both males and females who quit smoking were likely to gain an average of 5 kg (11 pounds) compared to those who continued to smoke. Here comes the good news, the majority of quitter’s lost weight after a few months and returned to their previous weight. Furthermore being a smoker did not prevent long term weight gain, the majority of participants gained weight as they aged regardless of their smoking status.
Main reasons quitters pile on the pounds:
Hands and mouths have a new found freedom, smokers miss the hand to mouth habit, this leads to increased snacking.
For your mouth: chew gum, brush or whiten your teeth (you don’t want to stain pearly whites), drink water, chose foods that will take awhile to consume e.g. apples, celery or carrot sticks.
For your hands: squeeze a stress ball, draw or write, play an instrument or simply tap your fingers.
Miss the smokers ‘high’ from nicotine so eat comfort foods to satisfy cravings.
Eat little an often and do not skip meals, this prevents your blood sugar levels falling and cravings taking over. To get a natural ‘high’, switch smoking for exercise. Working out won’t be so hard now your lungs aren’t clogged with tar and 3999 other deadly chemicals.
After quitting your metabolism slows, therefore you burn fewer calories and put on more weight.
You guessed it, good old exercise. Not only will increasing your activity burn more calories but it leave you feeling happier and more confident.
Even if smoking does suppress your appetite to some degree, is it worth the damage to your health? The risks of smoking are far greater than those of temporarily gaining a few pounds. Be wise and quit, not tomorrow, NOW. It may be hard but as Roosevelt said “it is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed”. Make today the start of your healthier, happy and smoke free life! Good luck.