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Giving Up Smoking and Losing Weight

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Q: I gave up smoking 3 months ago but am now at my heaviest weight ever and have recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Having yo-yo dieted for at least 18 years, I think my metabolism is rather slow. Can you give me any advice to kick start it once and for all?

A: Congratulations on giving up smoking – and take heart in the fact that even though you’ve put on weight, quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health.

Many people gain weight when they stop smoking, usually because food becomes a substitute for cigarettes and taste buds come back to life so that food starts tasting nicer again with the result that you eat more.

To start with, I suggest you use Weight Loss Resources to keep a food diary for a week and write down everything you eat and drink. This will help you identify any bad eating habits that have crept in since quitting smoking. For example, you might find you’re now munching your way through a couple of packets of mints each day, have swapped your mid-morning cigarette for a Danish pastry or finish your evening meal with chocolate rather than a smoke. Keeping a food diary will also help you identify whether you are actually eating more food than before, too. Once you’ve identified problem areas, you’ll find it easier to make changes so that you can lose the extra weight you’ve put on.

As for boosting your metabolism, the easiest way to do this is to take more exercise. This will help to tone and build muscle – and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. For best results you should combine aerobic activities such as fast walking, swimming, cycling or running with strength training such as light weights. The good news is, now that you’ve given up smoking, you should find it easier to exercise. You can find out more about metabolism and your weight by clicking here.

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