34 Ways to Quit Smoking -- Without Gaining Weight

We talked to the experts about how you can keep the pounds off while kicking the habit. Here's what they told us (35 Photos)

Laura Flynn McCarthy on May 23, 2011 at 11:43AM

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34 Ways to Quit Smoking -- Without Gaining Weight

Peter Dazeley, collection> Photographer's Choice, Getty Images

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Understand the Challenges

The average person gains between five and ten pounds after quitting smoking, and there are at least four good reasons why. First, “Cigarettes dull your taste buds,” says Bill Blatt, director of tobacco programs for the American Lung Association. “When you quit smoking, your taste buds wake up and start to recover their functions, and food tastes a lot better. Also, nicotine is an appetite suppressant, so you feel hungrier than when you were smoking. The third factor is the hand-to-mouth action. People don’t know what to do with their hands when they quit smoking. Eating — especially chips, popcorn or other snacks — keeps your hands and mouth busy. Finally, nicotine speeds up metabolism slightly, so you burn calories more efficiently when you smoke.” He adds, however, that the health benefits of quitting smoking outweigh by about 100 times any perceived benefits of smoking.

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