stop smoking without gaining weight

Can you Gain Weight When Stopping Smoking?

Smoking has so many drawbacks that one wonders why people still take cigarettes at all. Many smokers, however, do not even try to stop smoking for fear of their figure. And this worry is not completely unfounded. Nicotine withdrawal is often accompanied by an increase in weight.

How Much More Does the Scale Show?

On average, it’s only about four kilos. However, about 10 percent of ex-smokers have serious problems with their weight and gain 13 kilos or more. This can be found in the fact sheet of the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ). 

The reasons for the fuller waist are not as trivial as is often assumed. It is not always only the chocolate that is to blame that smokers like to consume as a substitute on withdrawal.

Sometimes, However, there is no way around weaning

Be it because of a planned pregnancy or because the new employer has a strict non-smoking regime. In this article, we explain why you will gain weight faster if you quit smoking and how you can prevent it.

Why do gain weight after quitting smoking?

Some reasons why ex-smokers gain weight have been known for a long time. For example, nicotine increases the body’s release of dopamine and serotonin. These two neurotransmitters are considered potent appetite suppressants and also slow down the cravings for sweets. So it’s not just the lack of discipline that makes you weak during weaning.

Nicotine Boosts the Metabolism

Nicotine also helps to boost our metabolism. Smokers have a more active metabolism than non-smokers and up to 16 percent higher basal metabolic rate. This means that smokers burn extra calories even if they are not exercising. 

The combination of lower calorie intake and higher energy consumption makes it easier for smokers to stay slim. A group of researchers from Zurich recently discovered another reason why people who quit smoking have weight problems.

quit smoking gain weight

Intestinal flora recovers after quitting smoking

The Swiss scientists have discovered that the intestinal flora changes during withdrawal. In particular, the intestinal bacteria of the genus Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes thrive much better in non-smokers. 

It has long been known from animal experiments that these two bacterial strains, which are very useful for the human intestine, promote weight gain.

 The microorganisms ensure that the body can better utilize the food it ingests. If the food intake is the same, the body has more energy at its disposal and if it is not consumed, then the hip pads or abdominal girth will grow.

Weight Gain is not Inevitable

Although the biochemical processes in your body work against you, weight gain is not inevitable. However, you will have to change your consumption habits and adapt your lifestyle. 

Regular exercise also helps keep you in shape after smoking. In the following we list the most important tips and rules of conduct which help you to stay slim even without cigarette consumption.

Keep a Nutrition Diary

Before you stop smoking, you should first keep a nutrition diary for about 14 days and calculate how many calories you consume per day. This amount of calories then forms the upper limit for the time after the last cigarette.

Starting a diet parallely to quitting smoking is a bad idea

Don’t try to lose weight at the same time. If you’ve consumed about 2,000 calories a day so far, keep this amount of energy. For tall women and men, it can be a few hundred calories more.

Fibre against food cravings

Since the body’s own appetite suppressants dopamine and serotonin are no longer produced in the same quantity, the risk of cravings increases, especially for sweets. You can prevent this by making sure that you always feel full without eating too many calories. 

This is best done with fibre. Many fruits and vegetables consist almost exclusively of indigestible fibres. Broccoli, cucumbers, carrots and spinach are particularly healthy and low in calories. 

Apples, pears, kiwi and bananas are suitable for nibbling in between. You can also stir psyllium seeds into yoghurt or soup. Psyllium seeds swell up strongly in the stomach and create a long-lasting feeling of satiety.

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This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

Oliver Sankt - Autor