why do people gain weight when they quit smoking

Many smokers worry that they'll gain if they try to quit. Some even use that concern as a reason not to quit. "That's a bad idea for many reasons," says Scott McIntosh, PhD, associate professor of community and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester in New York and director of the Greater Rochester Area
Cessation Center. БNot every smoker who quits gains weight. Б Even those who do, he points out, gain on average just 4 to 10 pounds. Indeed, for many ex-smokers, putting on a few pounds is healthy. Research shows that actually makes some people unhealthily thin. Still, if you're worried, remember this: a few simple strategies can help limit weight gain while you kick the habit. Once you have successfully broken the to tobacco, you can work on losing any weight you've gained.


Research shows that nicotine from tobacco boosts the body's, increasing the number of calories it burns. Immediately after you smoke a cigarette, your increases by 10 to 20 beats a minute. The unnatural stimulant effect of nicotine is one reason causes. When smokers quit, quickly returns to normal. That's a healthy change. But if ex-smokers keep getting the same number of calories as before, they put on pounds. When smokers quit, nicotine isn't all they crave. They also discover that they miss the habit of lighting a cigarette and putting it to their mouths. Many smokers turn to food to satisfy this so-called need for "oral gratification. " That's fine if it helps you to quit.


But by choosing low-calorie or zero-calorie foods, you can avoid putting on weight. Some smart alternatives include: Experiment to find which alternatives work best for you. Research shows that some smokers who quit experience a sharpened "sweet. " They're better off finding foods sweetened with artificial sugar. Some smokers really miss the oral gratification of. They do best finding alternatives that require unwrapping something and chewing or sucking on it, such as sugar-free gum and hard candy. Another trick is to brush your frequently throughout the day. This can satisfy a passing craving for oral gratification. When your is fresh and clean, you may have less of an urge to smoke.


TK Baltimore (pronounced "Teak"), 34, a Web developer who lives in New York City, smoked for nearly 20 years. She's lost track of how many times she tried to quit. Here, she shares how she without gain, and how you can do it too. Like a lot of people who smoke, I didn't have the most healthy lifestyle. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with extremely. My doctor told me that he could put me on, or I could try seeing if it was lifestyle-related by eating healthier and getting. Considering didn't run in my family and I knew what my lifestyle was like, I decided to try making some healthy changes, and that included quitting. I got advice from a nutritionist about cleaning up my diet without wanting to die.


For example, I added a lot of whole grains to my diet -- brown rice, whole-wheat pasta. And I started sharing the yolks of my eggs with my dog when I made an omelet in the morning. But the biggest part was. I had been completely sedentary -- the only exercise I got was a ski trip once a year and walking around Manhattan. So I started going to the gym three or four days a week, doing and. Another thing that was important: When I, I avoided the bars, and I wasn't getting all those calories from alcohol! I actually managed to lose about 20 pounds while quitting, and I've kept most of it off. I have to be honest, though. в I've definitely backslid with stopping smoking. It's hard, because my husband smokes too.


We quit together, and when he started again, it was hard for me not to. It's really an ongoing process. On average, people who quit smoking gain about 10 pounds, according to Trina Ita, Quitline counseling supervisor for the American Society. Weight gain while quitting smoking can be traced to two factors. First, you eat more. If you're not smoking, you want to put something else in your. Since you now can smell and taste food better, things like sugary and sweet foods become very attractive. The second reason is metabolic. "Nicotine increases the. When you stop smoking, your decreases," explains Lirio Covey, PhD, director of the smoking cessation program at Columbia University in New York.