Smoking Role Models

It can not be denied cigarette smoking is an aid to controlling weight. More to the point, it is nicotine present in tobacco that has been shown to act as an appetite suppressant. Perhaps this explains why people who rely on a slim physique for their profession are often smokers; models and actresses are notorious for their smoking habits. It is probably no coincidence that these professional groups have higher than average population smoking rates. I've read that 95% of professional models smoke. This seems a little extra but there is no doubt that models, as a professional group, have relatively high smoking rates. The reasons why this may be the case include: it helps them deal with stress and most importantly it helps control weight by suppressing appetite. Weight gain when you stop smoking can be a problem and may act as a disincentive to quit. On average, most smokers gain about 6 pounds when they stop. This is not a huge gain especially considering the health advantages of quitting.

Smoking and Weight

How does nicotine help smokers from gaining weight? In fact nicotine has a number of cumulative effects which helps the smoker from gaining excess weight. First off, nicotine acts on chemicals in the brain called serotonin and dopamine. It is these chemicals which control appetite by turning off or on the smoker's desire to eat. Nicotine also acts on the adrenal glands causing the release of catecholamines. This class of chemical causes the release of fatty acids and glucose. The presence of fatty acids in the blood stream increases the energy available to cells. This process mimics the situation we experience after a meal and there before helps the smoker to feel satiated; again the end result is appetite suppression. In this way the average smoker expends about 250 calories as a consequence of the smoking habit. This equates to a 45 minute brisk walk or consuming 2oz of cheddar cheese. Quitting smoking results in an improvement in taste and smell. This means that food becomes more enjoyable and there before the ex-smoker may find that, in combination to an increase in appetite, may cause overestating. The smoker is used to regular oral stimulation and aging which is associated with cigarette smoking. The ex-smoker may be tempted to replace this oral aspect of the smoking habit with additional food intake. Therefore it looks that there are several processes working to the smoker's advantage to control their weight. Once these aspects of cigarette smoking are acknowledged and understood the quitter can make the necessary life style changes in order to mitigate any potential weight gain; it is not inevitable that the quitting process is associated with an increase in weight. So what positive steps can be undertaken to control the tendency to gain weight.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

An increase in exercise could easily account for the extra calories. Exercise is not only healthy it also helps to control nicotine cravings as well. It is likely that, at least in the initial period of the quit process, there will be an ange to snack more than normal. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It makes sense however, to snack wisely. Sugary treats are a poor option. Stick to low calorie choices such as veggie sticks or sugarless gum. Drinking water also helps. Increasing water intake will help to keep you hydrated and flush toxins from your body. It will also extend your stomach slowly fooling your brain into thinking your stomach is full, so controlling appetite.

Maintain Perspective

It is important not to worry too much about some weight gain during the initial quit period. The first few weeks of quitting are going to be tough. It is easy to feel overwhelmed during this critical initial period and became consumed with side issues. Remember your body will need to undergo major adjustments in order to return to normality; it is illegally to be a smooth process. Keep focused on the main goal: quitting smoking and staying that way. Once you have become comfortable with the transition you will be able to focus and channel your resources into secondary issues, such as maintaining your weight.

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