This week’s guest blogger, Yolanda Wide, community program manager with the American Cancer Society, shares why the benefits of quitting smoking far “outweigh” any weight gain you might experience.
When you think about whether or not living to see your child’s next birthday is worth gaining 10 extra pounds, I would say it’s definitely worth quitting!
Believe me I understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. But after you read the benefits of giving up cigarette smoke, I think you would agree that the weight gain that is often associated with quitting a nicotine habit is worth it. Consider…
- Twenty minutes after you quit smoking your heart rate and blood pressure will drop.
- Twelve hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.
- Two weeks to three months after quitting your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
While these are just some of the many reasons to quit smoking, there is one reason so many choose not to. For some people, a concern about weight gain can lead to a decision not to quit smoking.
In actuality, the weight gain that follows quitting smoking is usually very small. Even when steps aren’t taken to try to prevent weight gain, the gain is usually less than 10 pounds. Overall, it is much more dangerous to continue smoking than it is to gain a small amount of weight.
You are more likely to quit smoking successfully if you deal with the smoking first, and then later take steps to reduce your weight. While you are quitting, try to focus on ways to help you stay healthy, rather than on your weight. Stressing about your weight may make it harder to quit.
If you are truly concerned about weight gain, then trade in those cigarettes for a gym membership. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit the fat. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep and regular physical activity.
There are many immediate rewards and benefits that you’ll notice right away when you kick the tobacco habit and some that will develop over time. These rewards can improve your day-to-day life a great deal:
- Your breath smells better.
- Stained teeth get whiter.
- Bad smelling clothes and hair go away.
- Your yellow fingers and fingernails disappear.
- Food tastes better.
- Your sense of smell returns to normal.
- Everyday activities no longer leave you out of breath (such as climbing stairs or light housework).
As the American Cancer Society’s celebrates its 34th Great American Smokeout this year, I encourage smokers to choose November 19, 2009 as the day to quit or make a plan to do so. Quitting is hard, but smokers can increase their chances of success with support and help from the American Cancer Society’s Quit For Life program (1-800-227-2345), or by visiting www.cancer.org/GreatAmericans.