If there’s one thing we know about smoking and weight loss, it’s that the two aren’t exactly friends. But is that really fair? Is smoking actually bad for your weight loss endeavors? Let’s take a closer look.
The Dangers of Smoking
There are so many dangers associated with smoking that it’s hard to know where to start. If you’re a smoker, you know exactly what they are. But for those of us who are not, let’s take a quick look at the risks anyway.
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of cancer
- Damage to teeth from tobacco
- Impaired lung function
The above all pretty much sum up the risks of smoking. But even those of us who don’t smoke should be concerned about the dangers of inhaling harmful chemicals on a daily basis. That’s definitely not good for anyone. So if you’re really determined to lose weight, then it might be a good idea to give up smoking as soon as possible.
How Does Smoking Affect Fat Loss?
The link between smoking and obesity is already heavily documented. It’s well known that those who smoke are more likely to be overweight or obese. Several studies have even shown that smoking can increase the risk of obesity by 70 percent or more. So it’s pretty obvious that smoking can interfere with weight loss by altering the body’s overall chemistry.
Specifically, studies have shown that the chemicals found in cigarettes cause the body to create more fat. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing for those who are already overweight. But for people looking to lose fat, it’s not exactly the best news. This is particularly true for women, as women with a history of smoking are more likely to be overweight or obese than women who have never smoked. Another concern is that children who grow up around cigarette smoke are more likely to be obese as adults as well.
Could Quitting Smoking Help with Weight Loss?
Many people wonder if giving up smoking would actually help with their weight loss efforts. After all, if you’re already at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese, then why would you want to continue to eat more simply to stay the same size? Give up smoking and you could actually start losing weight immediately.
There are several theories as to why this might be. First of all, the body needs time to recover from the damages done by smoking. Especially early on in the process, it might not be the best idea to start exercising or eating healthy foods just yet.
Secondly, those who quit smoking usually report less hunger. So it’s possible that giving up cigarettes reduces the desire to eat more simply because you’re no longer feeling physically challenged by food. Thirdly, the fresh air that comes with quitting might also improve mental health. Many people who quit smoking report less stress and greater clarity of mind. Could this in turn help them to lose weight? It’s hard to say, but it’s definitely something worth considering.
The Benefits of Quitting Smoking
While there are numerous benefits to quitting smoking, it’s important to note that not all of them are related to weight loss. There are actually some very specific advantages to quitting because of the effect it has on your health. In general, if you’re a man and have smoked for more than 20 years, quitting might reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 75 percent. For women, it’s even more impressive. Quitting can reduce a woman’s risk of heart disease by up to 92 percent. The same goes for cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with either of those conditions, then it’s definitely worth considering quitting.
Aside from those who are at a higher risk of heart disease or cancer, quitting smoking can also improve many people’s quality of life. For those who’ve been constantly harassed by irritating symptoms like coughing and wheezing, it’s surely worth the effort to quit. As the lungs recover, they will also start functioning more efficiently, allowing you to breathe easier. In general, if you’re no longer plagued by disease, then quitting might just make you feel that much better. Better still, it might even allow you to regain some of the weight you’ve lost. If you need help wanting to quit, then consult with your doctor or a professional coach.
Ultimately, regardless of whether you’re at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese or simply want to commit to a healthier lifestyle for the sake of your own well-being, quitting smoking is worth considering.