Why you might gain weight after stopping smoking
1. Because smoking suppresses the appetite and increases you metabolism, most people find that when they ditch the fags their appetite returns making them feel hungrier than normal.
2. Your body actually needs extra energy. Think of it like this – you’ve stopped poisoning your body, so it will be hungrier as it needs energy to repair the damage.
3.In particular, nicotine suppresses your body’s appetite for carbohydrates, so when you give up you’ll be craving filling and sugary foods.
4. Smokers generally associate having a puff with certain occasions such as after dinner, at their coffee break at work and first thing in the morning. The temptation is to replace smoking with eating. After a meal they might have a desert, whereas usually they’d have a coffee and a cigarette or a biscuit with a cup of tea instead of a cigarette during a teabreak.
5. Smokers are in the habit of putting their hand to their mouth. When they try to quit, lots of smokers recreate this action by putting their hand to their mouth to eat!
6. And of course lots of smokers see smoking as a treat. Take smoking away and they might treat themselves with food.
DON’T PUT ON POUNDS
NUTRITIONIST Kate Cook says: “A typical reason for smoking is a crisis. If you get stressed, you have high blood sugar levels as adrenaline speeds around your body. You then crash when it’s over and adrenaline levels are low. Your body is left needing a high and this comes in the form of a cigarette. “Cigarettes are a stimulant and the nicotine gives you a ‘high’. Once you’ve quit, the temptation is there to reach for snacks instead.” To avoid the crash and burn, try Kate’s tips:
1. While quitting, eat five smaller meals a day to help stop the snacking.
2. Eat breakfast – slow-burning carbohydrates like porridge or brown toast will stop cravings.
3. If you work, make your lunch at home – apples, rice cakes and nuts are good.
4. During coffee breaks, crunch on a couple of carrot sticks – the vitamins will help to repair the damage done by smoking.
5. Beware eating out – a glass wine and you may weaken. Also order fruit salad.
6. Drink water – every diet will tell you this.
WHAT WILL HELP..
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: These will repair damaged hair and skin, which can dry out when smoking. Found in: Nuts, seeds and fish.
B VITAMINS: Your nervous system will benefit from these as B vitamins are used when you are stressed – if you are suffering from a nicotine craving, vitamin B will help sooth you. Found in: whole grains, turkey, cabbage, wheat germ, peppers, bananas.
CHROMIUM: This helps stabilise blood sugar levels to help stop the cravings. Found in: Nuts, mushrooms, chicken.
ZINC: Supplies of zinc are depleted when you’re smoking, so stock up on these after you’ve given up. Found in: Pumpkin seeds, lentils and eggs.
ANTIOXIDANTS: You should eat lots of these anyway, but they’re good for ex- smokers as they repair the damage caused by the toxins in cigarettes. Found in: All brightly coloured foods – tomatoes, shellfish, leafy vegetables, eggs, dairy, broccoli