Smoking cessation weight gain and weight control are important issues but we must keep our priorities straight. You face a 50% chance that your chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine will cost you roughly 5,000 days of life, and even greater odds that it will leave you permanently crippled and impaired. When quitting smoking, we would need to gain an additional 75 to 100 pounds in order to equal the health risk associated with smoking one pack of cigarettes a day.
Allow yourself the time necessary to become comfortable in your still healing body before becoming overly occupied with any extra pounds. The self discipline skills you master during nicotine dependency recovery can be applied to all life’s challenges, including stop smoking weight gain (baby steps – just one meal, one ounce, one pound, or one brief exercise period at a time – just one day at a time).
As Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, both food and nicotine shared the same dopamine pathways. Nicotine also released adrenaline. Once nicotine intake ends many try to eat their temporarily diminished dopamine flow into nicotine comparable quantities, while others pick horrible fights or create outrageous fears in an attempt to induce the body’s fight or flight pathways to release additional adrenaline. The competition between a week or two of brain neuron re-sensitization and trying to keep weight and relationships in balance is clearly a challenge but one you’re fully capable of handling.
In regard to nicotine invoking the body’s fight or flight pathways, one of those lizard mind pathways is responsible for providing instant energy to fight or flea the saber tooth tiger, by releasing stored fats and sugars into the bloodstream. Yes, nicotine was our spoon, allowing us to skip meals yet not experience true hunger, as our bigger meals were fed back to us with each puff throughout the day.
This creates two nicotine cessation challenges: (1) learning to again feed ourselves, to spread our normal daily calorie intake out more evenly over our entire day so as not to experience wild blood sugar swing symptoms (not one calorie more but smaller fuelings about every 3 hours), and (2) learning to handle true hunger pains again. In regard to hunger pains, once one arrives it doesn’t matter if we eat with a toothpick or a shovel, it is still going to take our digestive system about 20 minutes to convert the food to energy that is capable of turning off the mind’s hunger switch. Eat slowly, reasonable size bites and eat healthy!
How many nicotine smokers do you know who love running? They’re pretty rare. But online we see countless ex-smokers develop a passion for engaging in various forms of brisk and lengthy physical activity. Imagine experiencing a substantial increase in overall lung function within just 90 days. Any extra pounds can quickly disappear when such new found endurance and stamina are combined with a small to moderate increase in physical activities. If you do find yourself carrying a few extra pounds, be patient with your healing! New abilities are on the way!
Still just one guiding principle determining the outcome for all, no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!