smoking, these food cravings can intensify, reaching unbearable measures. This is because when we smoke, the nicotine affects multiple parts of our body, one of which is our metabolism. This might be hard to handle in the beginning, but getting support and taking good care of your health and nutrition can help you overcome it.¹
Why you feel an increase in appetite when you quit smoking
It might feel like your metabolism has increased when you first quit smoking because of an increase in appetite. However, in actuality, when you smoke, your metabolism is already heightened. This is because smoking keeps your heart rate high, speeding up your metabolic system.
When you stop smoking, you’ll still have the same hunger and cravings as before, but you will no longer be able to suppress them through smoking. Furthermore, your sense of taste and smell should improve. These factors could lead to overeating and weight gain. Don’t worry, it’s a natural transitional period and your heart rate will eventually slow back down, slowing down your metabolism at the same time.²
How to beat smoking cravings and an increased appetite
Habits and triggers
Habits die hard, so you’ll need to swap out your smoking habit with one that is healthier. For example, you might want to start getting into a new hobby to distract yourself, like yoga, walking or hiking, painting, reading or even learning new, healthy recipes. If a craving hits and you aren’t in a position to run off to the gym immediately, you might want to keep backup support at hand. This could be through nicotine replacement therapy, chewing on a toothpick or snacking on fruits and veggies.
Furthermore, if your habits go hand-in-hand with your triggers, you’ll want to try to avoid them as far as possible. Triggers can be caused by an emotional response you get from certain people, places and things. Essentially, triggers take you back to the past to remind you of how you felt in that moment in time.⁴
These feelings can be associated with either negative or positive responses. If one way you used to deal with these feelings was by smoking, once these feelings resurface, you’ll be tempted to react in the same way as you did before - by smoking.
Triggers can be as small as having a cigarette with your coffee or as large as getting into an argument with someone. So, adjust your environment accordingly, set healthy boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Some ways of doing this could include switching to tea, avoiding alcohol, reaching out for support or strengthening friendships with people with similar goals to you. If you can’t escape your triggers for whatever reason, you might want to try nicotine gum or a patch to help you push through to the other side.⁴
Diet and what to eat to stop smoking cravings
Changing what you eat won’t stop your cravings, but eating a healthier diet will help with depression, fatigue, stress and overall health. In addition, it will also help to control potential weight gain from your increased appetite.
When you have strong cravings to smoke a cigarette, you might feel the urge to reach for a quick unhealthy snack to replace your cigarette instead. This is because when you smoke, the nicotine not only speeds up your metabolism, but it also releases dopamine, similar to when you eat things like chocolate, fast food and sugary treats. You might also just miss having something to keep your hands, mouth and mind occupied.²
While it’s perfectly fine to snack, if you are concerned about weight gain, you should opt for healthy snacks instead. Look for something low in sugar, carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Be sure to find a snack that you still enjoy, so you’ll be more likely to stick to them. For example, you could try making a big batch of delicious healthy dip, like hummus, and cutting up various veggies to dip into it when cravings hit.
In addition, eating a diet high in fibre, as well as keeping your hydration levels up, will also make you feel fuller for longer.
Exercise and dopamine
You could experience trouble controlling your metabolism and food cravings for up to 6 months after you quit smoking. As your body readjusts to your new life as a non-smoker, your metabolism will naturally slow back down to that of a healthy individual.³
Be careful not to look to smoking for weight loss, because the negative effects will far outweigh any good ones. If you want to speed up your metabolism to lose weight, a much better idea would be by including exercise into your new routine. Not only will this help you influence your weight and health positively, but it will leave you feeling much more mentally positive, too.³
- NICORETTE® FRESHFRUIT 2 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0565. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHFRUIT 4 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0566. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHMINT 2 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0520. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® FRESHMINT 4 mg: Reg. No A40/34/0523. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20%, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine.
- NICORETTE® ICY WHITE 2 mg: Reg. No A46/34/0164. Each piece contains 10 mg nicotine-resin complex 20 %, equivalent to 2 mg nicotine
- NICORETTE® ICY WHITE 4 mg: Reg. No A 46/34/0165. Each piece contains 20 mg nicotine-resin complex 20 %, equivalent to 4 mg nicotine
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 10 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0952. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 15,75 mg.
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 15 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0953. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 23,62 mg.
- NICORETTE® Transdermal Patch 25 mg – Reg. No 45/32.16/0954. Each patch contains nicotine equivalent to 1,75 mg per 1,0 cm2. Content of nicotine per patch 39,37 mg.