Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do You Gain Weight When You Quit Smoking?

Yes, it is possible to gain a few pounds, but with a little planning, you can quit smoking and gain the health benefits without gaining weight.It was a good decision you took. Urged on the doctor, friends/family and by the ill effects of the cigs, you decided to quit. You were quite stressed by the withdrawal symptoms: you were irritable, depressed or anxious. And just when you begin to feel normal again, you find you have gained weight. But how quitting smoking causes weight gain, and how are the two related?

The more cigarettes that a person smoked per day, the more weight he or she is likely to gain after quitting. The average person who quits smoking gains between 4 and 10 pounds. Heavy smokers who smoked two packs per day may expect to gain more.

Those heavy smokers are bound to face some withdrawal symptoms. It is possible to feel experience coughs, colds, headaches, fever, and sharp pain in the chest. This happens when the body is healing itself and trying to get rid of the toxic waste it has been subjected to for long.

Does it make you feel you shouldn't have quit smoking in the first place? Remember, smoking had unnaturally caused you to weigh less, and the weight gained by quitting smoking merely raises the weight to that in the pre-smoking days.

Why Smoking Causes Weight Loss?

Smoking burns up to 200 calories a day in a heavy smoker. The nicotine in cigarettes raises the "metabolic rate"of smokers. Though you burn more calories this way, it is a unhealthy way to shed weight. Your heart may beat 10-20 more times per minute after you have a cigarette, a reason why smokers are more likely to have a heart disease.

When you quit smoking, your metabolic rate slows down to a healthy level. Possibly, like a backlash, the metabolism may slow down to a level below normal before settling down to normal levels.

Smoking acts as an appetite suppressant. Nicotine is a stimulant, and may interfere with the release of insulin, a hormone that controls glucose levels in the blood. When this function is blocked, a person will become slightly hyperglycemic, a condition when there is insufficient production or inefficient absorption of insulin. As a result, the body and brain may slow down the hormones and other signals that trigger feelings of hunger.

When you quit smoking, your appetite returns to normal; you begin to savor the food more, because your ability to smell and taste improves when you quit smoking. Perhaps, you may turn to eating to release the anxiety you feel. Studies show that people want more sweet and fatty foods after quitting. This effect is understandably more in the first weeks of smoke-free life, as people tend to use food as a replacement to fill the void the cigarettes left behind; thus, you eat more but burn fewer calories.

This doesn't mean the weight gain is inevitable. If you can make diet and lifestyle changes while quitting smoking, your weight can remain steady.