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Quit Smoking & Gain Weight: Myth or Reality?

Smokers are convinced that quitting smoking causes weight gain. So, myth or reality, does quitting smoking equal weight gain?

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October 15, 2018

You have the motivation to quit smoking and you are worried about weight gain ? It’s normal ! Because advertising has kept telling us smoking makes us eat less and get a nice body for years. The fact is, is quitting smoking really makes us gain weight ?

Myth : quit smoking makes you gain weight — Reality : nicotine changes your metabolism

Stefan Zweig said “Half-truth is nothing, only the whole truth is worth telling”. It’s not necessarily a myth, but data is incomplete. Reality is nicotine into cigarettes reduces appetite by slowing significantly fat accumulation. It increases the amount of calories burned as well, from 7% to 15%. However, if you want to increase your calories burnt after quitting smoking, why not do sports again?

Thereby, according to an American research, smokers weigh approximately 3kg less than non-smokers. This same research adds after quitting smoking, weight gain would be only 3 to 5 kg, and would affect only two-thirds of smokers.

Is nicotine the only responsible for weight gain ?

Cognitive and behavioral psychology specialists proved other than nicotine, other factors have to be taken in consideration for the analysis of weight gain after quitting smoking. Among them, sense of taste and smell are restored 48h to 72h after the last cigarette. Former smokers rediscover some forgotten tastes and may have tendencies to become greedier. Consequently, after-lunch or coffee break cigarette is quickly replaced by a dessert or a snack.

Some researchers also said anxiolytic effects of food slow the sense of lack and bring some comfort. Instead of seeking refuge in food, do you know you can how to manage your stress when quitting smoking?

So, is the correlation between quitting smoking and weight gain a myth or a reality ?

When you stop smoking, weight gain is not unavoidable and it depends on each individual. A certain research relayed by British Medical Journal (BMJ) has proved a former smoker is, statistically speaking, more likely to have his weight stabilized — and can even be reduced — rather than increased by more than 10kg. It’s necessary to emphasize that one-third of people quitting smoking don’t gain weight.

Kwit’s tips

Because weight gain apprehension may have a negative effect on smoking cessation, Kwit suggests you to change some of your habits:

  • Plan something for moments where you used to smoke. A craving for a cigarette lasts approximately 5 minutes. By keeping your hands full, you reduce the risk to eat and you prevent the risk of relapse.
  • It’s totally okay to replace a cigarette with a snack. The main point is, the snack has to be healthy and in a reasonable amount. Did you know: according to a research, eating fruits could reduce the risk of relapse because fruits make the cigarette taste disgusting. Please keep in mind you’ll take more time to eat an apple than a cake, which is way more caloric and less satiating.
  • Take your time when you eat: you are exploring new tastes, so savour them! By eating slowlier, the satiety feeling will have time to make its effect and you won’t have to eat more than necessary.
  • Quit sodas and sugar-based drinks! Also, go easy with coffee (which is a factor of additional stress), just water is enough. If you don’t like the taste of water or if you want to change from time to time, check out our 5 anti-cigarette juice recipes!
  • The craving for cigarettes is especially strong for the first 3 days after quitting. In order not to take refuge in food as soon as the temptation is unbearable, don’t hesitate to sleep a lot so that you can let your body and spirit have a rest. After such a big change, they definitely need it! Keep in mind: you don’t eat when you sleep!
  • Don’t forget to enjoy yourself! The week has been tough and you need to be cheered up? Go to the bakery and buy a pastry! As long as it’s only once in a while, it’s okay to eat sweets!
  • However, in order to avoid sweets and snacks becoming your new addiction, avoid having too many sweets in your cupboards. The fewer sweets you have, the less likely you are to give in to temptation when a craving arises. Choose quality over quantity, and homemade sweets over purchased ones! And if you want to treat yourself AND eat healthy, check out those 3 perfect healthy recipes after quitting smoking!

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3 healthy recipes after quitting smoking

After months/years under the effect of smoking, your body takes a hit and there is sometimes damages that you don't notice. Very quickly in the withdrawal, you will realize that you will have a different perception of smell and taste. You will regain the pleasure of eating, so why not start making 3 healthy recipes after quitting smoking?

— Marine B.