Cigarette – minus, kilograms – plus?

Do you want to quit smoking but are afraid to get fat? European scientists have developed recommendations that will help former smokers not to gain a single extra pound. Advises Professor Bertrand Dautzenberg.

– Why is refusing to increase the risk of weight gain?

– There is a whole range of factors that lead to weight gain after giving up cigarettes. The first reason is a slowdown in metabolic processes by an average of 20%. Nicotine increases the metabolic rate to unnatural values while exerting a serious burden on the heart. And when you give up cigarettes, the metabolism gradually slows down to normal levels.

In addition, the long-standing habit of holding something in the mouth makes many eat everything in a row, not paying attention to the amount eaten. The process of getting rid of tobacco dependence is a serious stress for the body, which can be accompanied by a feeling of anxiety, emptiness, and this condition is easily confused with hunger.

But this is a normal reaction of the body, which gets rid of the nicotine and other toxic substances that have accumulated in it. In general, according to statistics, in the first months of life without cigarettes, every second former smoker gains an average of five extra pounds.

– The reasons you listed are pretty serious. Is there any way to cope with them and prevent weight gain?

– I am absolutely sure that you can quit smoking and not add a single gram. Moreover, it is in our power to even get rid of the existing excess weight. To do this, follow the principles developed in our centre. They are quite simple and absolutely doable. The only condition for success is your own conscious desire to quit smoking.

– So, where do you need to start the path to a life without cigarettes?

– The main principle is gradualness. Do not plan to quit smoking in one day. In 98% of cases, this tactic leads to failure. Refuse tobacco should be slow, but persistent and consistent. On average, the process takes about three months. Set a date for “starting a new life” and gradually reduce the number of cigarettes smoked. At the same time, it will be necessary to conduct an “attack” in two directions, adjusting nutrition and increasing physical activity. Here are some simple guidelines for changing your diet:

* In no case should you sharply limit yourself in nutrition and starve.

* Change the way you cook: cook, bake, stew.

* In case you want to chew something, keep sugar-free chewing gum, peppermint candies of low-calorie content, rice bread, peeled carrots, apples, crispy celery stalks, and lettuce salad.

* Refuse large quantities of coffee and black tea, replacing them with green tea and mineral water. Drink at least 2.5 litres per day.

* For the quickest cleansing of toxins and saturating the body with vitamins and minerals, be sure to include fresh and dried fruits, celery, carrots, freshly squeezed vegetable juices, baked fish or poultry with lemon juice and herbs, and leafy vegetables in your daily diet.

* Immediately discard chips, chocolate and other fatty foods. However, do not be too harsh on yourself. A few squares of chocolate or a small bag of chips once a week will cheer you up and improve your well-being.

– And what about physical activity? After all, many smokers with experience begin to suffocate, even climbing the stairs. 

– Physical activity during the period of refusal of cigarettes is vital. Regular exercise increases metabolic rate, improves mood and strengthens self-confidence.

A person who quit smoking, in addition to the health benefits, also receives material benefits in the form of free time and money spent on smoking. Why not direct these resources to the needs of your own body? We developed recommendations for those who decided to return to an active lifestyle:

1. Allocate two or three hours for sports in your weekly schedule. This time should be “untouchable” for you.

2. Find a sports club near your home or work. Try to try different types of activities at first.

3. If you cannot attend a sports club, practice at home. Get a video cassette with a set of exercises and train on it two to three hours a week.

4. Walking, climbing stairs, gardening, housework and cycling for at least 40 minutes without a break is equivalent to a full-fledged workout.

It is better to get rid of smoking gradually – in this case, the risk of gaining extra pounds is minimal.

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