Have you put off quitting, or relapsed after a quit, because you fear gaining weight?
In this post I aim to help you overcome that fear, so you can focus on what matters most: overcoming . In a future post, I’ll discuss strategies to avoid or minimize weight gain once you quit.
It’s true most smokers put on weight after they quit. Nicotine suppresses appetite and elevates metabolism, so when you quit, you’re hungrier, and your body returns to a normal metabolism. Plus, your taste buds and sense of smell come back to life, so food is more appealing. Also, with cigarettes out of the picture, many folks use food to occupy their mouths and cope with stress.
But remember: While weight gain can be temporary, the effects of smoking may not be. Extra weight will not cause COPD, or lung cancer! And though excess weight does increase the risk of developing or aggravating diabetes, so does smoking.
At any rate, weight gain is not inevitable! About 16 percent of smokers actually lose weight when they quit, according to a review of 62 studies published in the British Medical Journal. Another 37 percent of quitters gain less than 11 pounds). Many folks feel so empowered by quitting and inspired by their newfound stamina that they start exercising and eating more healthfully.
If fear of weight gain is holding you back, start noticing your negative thoughts about your weight. Ask yourself: Are these thoughts accurate? Could they be excuses to keep smoking?
Let’s say your jeans fit more snugly, and you think: I’m worse off now than before I quit or My co-workers will think less of me if I gain 10 pounds.
Challenge these ideas!
Even if you have to buy a larger pair of jeans, are you truly “worse off” than when you were addicted to ? If a co-worker of yours gained 10 pounds after beating tobacco, would you think poorly of her? Or would you congratulate her on her tremendous accomplishment?
I think you know the answers.
Counter each negative thought with a positive one. For example: Now I don’t feel like an outcast at work, and I’m saving $250 a month!
If you’ve experienced anxiety about weight gain, please share your thoughts with the community!