Smoking cessation weight gain and weight control are important issues but let's 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'd need to gain an additional 75 pounds in order to equal the health risk associated with smoking one pack of cigarettes a day.
Why not 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'll 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 in the "Pay Attention" article linked below, both food and nicotine share the same dopamine pathways. Nicotine also releases adrenaline. Once nicotine use ends, some attempt to use extra food to stimulate temporarily diminished dopamine flow due to quitting. Others pick horrible fights or create outragous 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 are 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 flee danger. It causes the release of stored fats and sugars into the bloodstream. Yes, nicotine was our spoon, allowing us to skip meals, yet not experience true hunger, as our 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. Try to eat slowly, with reasonable size bites and to eat healthier!
How many nicotine smokers do you know who love running? I think you'll agree that 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 hour, challenge and day at a time, as we stick to our original commitment to Never Take Another Puff!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!