There are a lot of people who smoke out there who, among other reasons, are afraid to try to quit smoking cigarettes for the fear of what they think is inevitable weight gain. Almost everyone they know who has successfully quit smoking really packed on the pounds and they don’t want this to happen to them. So, does the connection between quitting cigarettes and weight gain have to do directly with the cigarettes themselves, or are there other, outside reasons why this happens so often to people who “kick the habit”?
Lets take a look at what all of the factors are that cause such weight gain in people who quit smoking and see if maybe this weight gain may be able to be controlled to where it does not have to be a factor when you decide to put the cigarettes down for good.
The fact is you do not have to gain weight when you quit smoking. There are a lot of people who quit smoking who don’t gain any weight at all. On average, people who quit smoking gain only up to 10 pounds. Studies have shown that people who have smoked for 10 to 20 years or more, or who smoked one or more packs of cigarettes a day have a higher tendency to gain weight than short time smokers and those who smoked less than one pack a day.
Nicotine, which is a chemical found in cigarettes, does to a small degree keep your body weight down. When you quit and the nicotine begins to leave your body, you may see a marginal amount of short term weight gain, but usually it will be no more than 3 to 5 pounds, mostly due to water retention.
The major reason why so many people will gain a significant amount of weight however, has more to do with replacing the smoking habit with excessive eating habits. Many will substitute sucking on hard candies all day to replace the cigarettes. Others will begin to simply snack on various foods throughout the day as a replacement for the old habit. The cigarette break at work becomes a snack break. The after lunch cigarette becomes the after lunch snack. It is this new habit, which is done almost unconsciously, that is mostly responsible for excessive weight gain when people quit smoking.
When you quit smoking, keeping aware of what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat along with some physical activity will keep that weight gain to a minimum and may keep you from gaining any weight at all. You also must consider that even if you do gain 5 to 10 pounds from quitting smoking, the risks of smoking cigarettes are far greater than a 5 to 10 pound gain in weight.
Smoking is the cause of more than 400,000 deaths every year in the United States. It would take a weight gain of over 100 pounds to equal the health risks of smoking cigarettes. Smoking causes your heart rate to increase, and you have twice the likeliness to suffer a heart attack than that of a nonsmoker.
You inhale around 4000 chemicals from cigarette smoke and 40 of these chemicals are cancer causing. Men are 22 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers, and women are 12 times more likely.
With a little effort on your part to keep your eating habits in check and incorporate some exercise into your daily routine, weight gain can and will be at least kept down to a minimum when you quit smoking. You will be in better health, feel better, and have a more positive outlook on life when you make the decision to put those cigarettes down for once and for all.