Many people who stop smoking are understandably concerned about gaining weight. Stopping smoking can be a springboard into a happier and healthier way of being, and can be a triple win by using it as an opportunity to become more physically active and really enjoy the taste of nutritious good foods.
Just today I spoke with a person who recently completed the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center’s 8-Day Residential Treatment Program. He delightedly told me that in the past three weeks he has lost five pounds and has found more energy to engage in things he enjoys. He is riding a bicycle or swimming on alternate days five days per week. He described feeling a bit tired but also exhilarated and energized after these activities. He also expressed surprise at his experience in eating. Since stopping smoking, nutritious foods like fruits and salads taste sweeter and richer. He’s taken to the practice of mindful eating in which he turns off the television and tries to pay attention to each bite, to really taste his food and to not put another bite in his mouth until the previous one is swallowed.
This is just one man’s experience and yours might be different. I hope that it can encourage you to think about stopping smoking as a door into enjoying things that you previously might have taken for granted. What ways do you enjoy being physically active? Do you garden, walk, swim, go to the gym? Now that you stopped smoking you may find that these activities are more enjoyable. Regular activity burns calories, distracts, fills time voids, and reduces cravings. Try old foods with a new perspective. Are your taste buds changing? Can you take a minute to savor each bite rather than rapidly gobble your meal? Stopping smoking can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be drudgery.