Trading One Addiction For Another: How to Stop Eating After Quitting Smoking
You’ve put down the cigarette for the last time, you’ve made that difficult journey into ex-smoker and already feel better for it, but you’ve come to realize a horrible truth; you’re eating more. A lot more. And it’s starting to show.
Every year millions of people quit smoking, only to learn that they’re hungrier than they’ve been in years and what’s even worse is that their weight will quickly get out of control compared to when they were smoking. In this article we’ll discuss how to stop eating after you’ve quit smoking.
The Whys and Hows of Cigarettes Make You Skinny
Some people attribute weight gain of long term smokers to the psychological habit associated with it and while that certainly is true for a hand full of users, not all of them suffer from the same issues. There is a chemical component at work, too.
It can be hard to teach your body how to quit eating, and here’s why:
Researchers at Yale published a study in the June 2011 issue of Science Journal that outlined a discovery they made in laboratory mice. It turns out that the nicotine in tobacco binds with the neurons in the hypothalamus region of the brain, the part which houses appetite and sating of hunger. This, in turn makes the smoker less hungry and less likely to eat.
What Can be Done About It
There are many small things that can be done to substitute the psychological and chemical habits associated with smoking a cigarette, unfortunately there is no one size fits all answer for how to stop eating, but there are healthy alternatives.
Some experimentation will be required to find out exactly what will work for your sense of taste and your particular cravings, however some of the more popular substitutes include:
Sugarless hard candy
Drink lots of water
Consume high protein foods
Brushing your teeth when urges arise
For some people, unwrapping candy or gum, or brushing their teeth satisfies the physiological gratification that lighting up once did. Additionally, the side effect of brushing your teeth periodically throughout the day is that you’ll find yourself less interested in food. This is a purely psychological effect but it can help curb cravings.
The good news is that these cravings and constant desire to eat will eventually pass as your body’s chemistry adjusts to a life without nicotine. In the meantime, finding substitutes for and disciplining yourself against the cravings will help your body.
Additionally, a food journal can help you keep track of how many calories you’re consuming on a daily basis and identify weaknesses that should be addressed.
You’ve given up a lot already and it can seem like an uphill battle for the foreseeable future but there is light at the end of the tunnel; your efforts aren’t in vain and you’re already on the road to better health. By following this guide on how to quit eating, your quality of life will only improve as