5 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain After You Quit Smoking

| Women's Health

You've made the decision to quit smoking and that is fantastic.  But don't let this positive life change take away from another.  Often times, we use food as a reward or incentive to keep us away from the bad habit, because, according to Mike Dow, Psy.D, "when you give up smoking, your brain is low in your body's feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin. Many people gain weight when they quit smoking because they trade cigarettes for unhealthy food to get these feel-good chemicals back.  Dopamine is released when you eat high-fat foods, and serotonin is released when you eat sugar and processed carbohydrates."

woman getting ready to pour chips in her mouth

But is now really time for excuses? No! You've made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and that means more than giving up the cancer sticks!  Thanks to Today, here is a list of 5 ways to avoid gaining weight after you've quit smoking.

woman jogging outside listening to music

Keep Active: Boost serotonin and dopamine levels--just don't do it with food. Opt for healthy behavioral habits instead. "Running to loud music or kickboxing are great dopamine-booster activities," Dow says. "Cuddling with loved ones or pets, calling friends, or taking mindful walks are great serotonin-booster activities."

whole grain bagel with salmon and vegetables

Avoid Extreme Dieting: You might think swearing off carbs is wise, but your body needs them to keep cravings in check. "Choose smart carbs like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to control cravings and boost serotonin to control anxiety," says physician nutrition specialist Melina Jampolis, M.D.

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