The nicotine in cigarettes acts as a stimulant to rev up your metabolism, which means you burn more calories as a smoker than you will when you quit. Keep your diet and exercise the same through the quitting process, and you could end up gaining a few pounds. But by staying active, you can boost your metabolism the healthy way—and burn through more calories in the process. “It helps combat weight gain and helps flush nicotine out of your system and get through those first rough few weeks,” says Bill Blatt, MPH, national director of tobacco programs for the American Lung Association. Clock in extra time at the gym if you’re a regular exerciser, or start taking walks around your block if you aren’t used to working out, he says. Try one of these other easy ways to speed up your metabolism.
Enjoy your food
Smoking dampens your taste buds, so your food tastes duller. The good news is, your taste buds will recover when you stop smoking, making food even more appealing than it was before. “It’s a good advantage of quitting, but as food tastes better than it has in years, you are eating more than before,” says Blatt. To celebrate the good taste without adding calories, slow down your chewing. You’ll be able to fully appreciate how delicious your food is and give your body more time to register fullness. Here are more reasons you always feel hungry.