Avoiding Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking
Jan 05, 2017
It's a new year and that usually means resolutions for a healthier you or a lifestyle change!
While we have every intention of keeping our "New Years Resolutions" often by the time February arrives we have gone off course and go back to our old habits. Old habits really do die hard!!
One of the biggest New Years Resolutions for people who smoke is to quit smoking for GOOD! Many are afraid to quit also because of the fear of gaining weight!
It is easier said than done, but it CAN absolutely be done!!
Here are some tips to help keep you on track while you are trying to quit smoking and to help you avoid gaining weight in the process!
Tips for Healthy Snacking & a Healthy Weight - After Quitting Smoking
- Average smoker gains 4-10 lbs when they quit – but that doesn’t mean you will!
- People often replace their smoking rituals with eating because it provides oral satisfaction & due to the return of their taste buds and smell from not smoking.
- If you have a craving, wait at least 5 minutes to see if it will pass OR find another activity to do besides eating such as:
- Reading a good book/magazine
- Take your pet for a walk
- Try yoga, meditation or exercising to get your mind off of it
- Do a puzzle or crossword to keep your mind focused
- Drink a tall glass of water
- Chew sugar-free gum or sugar-free mints
- If the craving doesn’t pass then choose your snacks wisely – focus on snacks with fiber-loaded “healthy” carbohydrates & a source of lean protein:
- Examples: a piece of mozzarella string cheese paired with 5- whole grain triscuit crackers OR 1 Tablespoon of natural peanut butter a small crispy sweet apple OR ¼ cup of nuts 2 small clementines
- Ask yourself are you truly hungry?
- If you aren’t ….then try drinking a calorie free or low-calorie beverage such as sparkling water with a splash of 100% juice or a fresh squeeze of citrus
- Don’t skip meals!! If you prefer to eat 4-6 smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals to spread out your “snacking” this can help as long as you make the right choices.
- Cut back on alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages & drinks that are high in caffeine – these calories can add up (except for plain coffee) and increase your appetite, especially coffee & tea which contain caffeine.
- Exercise daily & keep yourself active – Gardening, house cleaning/organizing, picking up a new exercise like dancing, yoga or Pilates, walking the perimeter of shopping malls with friends are all great ways to keep the weight off and keep your mind off of smoking.
- Get enough sleep – If you aren’t getting enough sleep it can make it much harder to deal with stress, which can then make it harder to deal with cravings, so hit the bed earlier than you normally would so you are well rested!
- If you miss having something in your mouth try these instead – Chew on tea-tree, mint or cinnamon infused toothpicks, sugar-free hard candies, a celery stalk, a straw.
- Feel like you might cave in – Wear a rubber band on your wrist and if you think about smoking, give a snap to your wrist to remind yourself the reasons why you quit smoking in the first place!
Information in part courtesy of the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association & Eat Right.org
Melanie Kluzek, Registered Dietitian for County Market
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