Ways to Quit Smoking Without Weight Gain

A new study explains why this happens and what to do to avoid it.

By Reader’s Digest Editors
Smoker Breaking Cigarettes in Half© iStockphoto/Thinkstock In the future, weight gain may no longer be a reason for smokers to delay the decision to kick the habit.

Most people looking for ways to quit smoking worry about weight gain, and with good reason. Smokers who quit tend to pack on an average of 5 pounds after they stop smoking cigarettes. A new study, published by the journal Science, explains why this happens, paving the way for novel smoking cessation and obesity treatment options.

TIME magazine explains the relationship between nicotine and satiety in a piece about the new research, “Study: Why Quitting Smoking Makes You Fat.” It appears that nicotine binds to appetite-regulating neurons in the brain, besides the receptors that bring about addiction. Found in the hypothalamus, these neurons help regulate how much food gets consumed, but under the influence of nicotine, they lose their self-discipline. This is why when smokers quit, they tend to eat more and gain weight. Nicotine really does curb appetite.

The researchers believe that their discovery will lead to the development of drugs that target nicotine receptors on brain cells that control appetite.  In the future, weight gain may no longer be a reason for smokers to delay the decision to kick the habit, but that’s no reason to wait. Nicotine-replacement therapies, while not for everyone, can help. Here are a few more ways to quit smoking and stay slim from everydayhealth.com:

  • Drink water. Stay hydrated and satiated. To boost metabolic effects, make half of those glasses ice water. Juice can be too high in calories, something you’ll want to monitor on your journey toward being a slimmer non-smoker.
  • Plan your snacks. Healthy snacks help keep your metabolism plugging along, so you continue to burn calories while nixing wild hunger pangs, or fake hunger.
  • Keep moving. Exercise kills two birds with one stone. It helps you burn calories and distracts you from eating when you’re not truly hungry. It’s also a feel-good stress reliever. Focus on your fitness and how being healthy makes you feel. Make exercise a goal and think of quitting as your reward for being physically fit.

See also: 25 Ways to Stop Smoking Cigarettes

Source: TIME.com

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  • Your Comments

    • non smoker

      I was told by a doctor over 25 years ago that in a New England Journal of Medicine he saw an article that FOR SOME PEOPLE tripling their smoking for three days might just do it! For me, a pack a day smoker, it worked like a charm. 1st day: guilt free enjoyable over the top smoking because a doctor told me to do it. 2nd day: I knew I had to start early because i almost didn’t make the three packs a day that I needed to smoke 3rd day: No fun at all. Didn’t taste good, was a constant bother. 4th day! Woke up glad that was over and THE URGE WAS COMPLETELY GONE!!!! Why wasn’t this on the list?

    • Vivek

      I want to quit smoking……have decided too. Can anyone suggest some ways of quitting. i am told one would not be successful trying to quit, when the person is low on moods / or going through depression. How far is this true ? Anyone for an advise?

    • http://smokingnomore.info/ Anne Jefferson

      I think this is because of every smokers has a different smoking patterns. Believe me, you will find a “loophole”. To me walking and swimming work best on my journey of smoking cessation and to prevent obesity.  Everything is possible! Quit today people!!

    • http://www.adaap.com/wpbs/index.php/drug-rehab-austin-tx Owen Lowe

      It’s one of the hurdles you have to face when you decide to quit the habit. Smoking is a tough addiction to break, and you’d need to pace yourself if you want to quit and stay in the realm of non-smokers for years and years. At the moment, the best way to avoid both smoking and unnecessary weight gain is good, old-fashioned exercise. Give yourself a new pace to avoid overlapping with your old habits.

    • http://www.freefitnesstrainer.net/foods_dieting.html diet man

      I notice that when I am hungry and someone starts smoking close to me, my hunger goes away. I called scare my appetite.