Studies show that most women will put on about 8 pounds when they stop smoking, in part because the habit curbs your appetite. To avoid weight gain, try these tricks; they may even help you keep the pounds off if you’ve never lit up.
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You’ve probably heard the weight-loss tip to brush your teeth right after meals to keep yourself from snacking. This strategy can do double duty to help you resist cigarette cravings, too, says Colleen Doyle, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity at the American Cancer Society.
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Follow the Scout Code
And be prepared. Plan out five or six low-cal snacks each day (like celery sticks, baby carrots, pretzels, etc.), so you can skip the vending machine when hunger strikes.
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Partner up—and push it
Grab a girlfriend and work out two or three times a weekyou won’t want to let her down. Not only does working out distract you, but also the stress-busting and endorphin-boosting effects of exercise may block that nicotine craving before it starts.
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Watch the clock
You loved to smoke right after dinner or just before lunch? That’s when you’ll crave food instead. Stash a notebook in your handbag and track these moments for a few weeks. Then use those times to schedule a chat date with friends or a lap around your office buildinganything to keep you from munching.
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Get a chew toy
Many smokers develop an oral fixationyou want something in your mouth at all timesso when you’re trying to quit you may use food to fill the void. Doyle recommends sucking on cinnamon sticks (yes, the ones from your spice rack) or sugar-free lollipops.