As an ex-smoker myself, I know that giving up cigarettes is one of the best things you can do for your body, but the fear of putting on weight may hold you back. While a few extra pounds are actually healthier than puffing away, here are some ways to minimize weight gain when you quit smoking.
1. Drink lots of water. The easiest way I found to drink more water was to use my refillable water bottle and add a slice of lemon each time I filled it up. For the times when you’re on the run and can’t be bothered with lemon slices, there’s a product in most grocery stores called True Lemon. It’s pure lemon that has been crystallized and it’s 100% natural. Just pour it into your favorite water bottle and go!
2. Snack on crisp, cold veggies. Snacking can be an addiction all by itself when you’re trying to quit smoking, so if you find that it is, stick with the cold veggies like celery. Celery is an alkaline vegetable which is very good for your system. OK, so what if you add a little peanut butter now and then? It’s OK if you’re not overdoing it. Radishes, zucchini slices and baby carrots are all good as well. Much healthier than a cigarette.
3. Choose sugar-free gum and mints, but keep in mind that most of the artificial sweeteners are laden with chemicals so go easy on the gum and candy unless it’s made with Xylitol. Xylitol doesn’t spike the cravings for sugar like most artificial sweeteners.
4. Take a walk after meals, especially when you know that craving for nicotine is going to kick in. It sure did for me, especially after the evening meal. During the day wasn’t as bad because I always seemed to have things to keep me busy. So be aware of your “trigger” times and take a short walk even if it’s just around your house. The urge to smoke will go away in a few minutes. Taking a few deep breaths can also minimize the craving for a cigarette as well as reduce your stress level.
5. Buy a gym membership with the money you are saving. Keeping the weight gain at bay can be tricky without increasing your physical exercise. And having a place to go where other people are trying to improve their physical health will be an added bonus … a great support system. A monthly gym membership, in most instances, will cost you far less than a months worth of cigarettes.
6. Ask yourself if you are really hungry before snacking. A lot of times we’re not really hungry; we just think we are. That’s the best time to drink some water, chew some sugar-free gum, or get out of the house and take a walk. Then if you’re still feeling the hunger, get a healthy, low calorie snack.
7. Replace cigarette breaks with bursts of exercise or stretching. Yoga and Tai Chi are both really good stretching routines and help you breathe better and take your mind off of eating. There are some excellent videos available free online.
Do not let the fear of weight gain hold you back from quitting smoking. With the advice in this article, you can become smoke-free without sacrificing your figure in the process. Remember, all cravings, for nicotine or food, will pass in a few minutes. Hang in there!