Nixing your nicotine habit could help you slim down. Yes, you read that correctly! Many people start smoking because they believe it will help them lose weight quickly, and many current smokers cite fear of weight gain as the primary reason they don’t want to quit. However, research recently presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego disproves both of these assumptions. As it turns out, although ex-smokers do gain a bit of tummy chub during the initial eight weeks of their new, smoke-free life, they actually lose weight and belly fat in the long run.
To come to these findings, current smokers were recruited to join a 6-month study. Before starting their smoking cessation program, participants had their weight, body composition, fat distribution and vitals measured. During the first 8-weeks of the study, participants were given smoking cessation drugs and behavioral counseling; the following 16-weeks served as a maintenance period during which participants did not receive any type of assistance. As a result, they either remained abstinent or resumed their smoking habit. After the full 24-weeks concluded, the researchers measured the study participants’ vitals again. They found that participants who hadn’t resumed smoking had less nicotine and carbon monoxide in their systems and, as a result, lost weight and belly fat.
If you’ve been toying with the idea of quitting smoking for a while now, we’re hoping this news will convince you to take the plunge. Not only will you live longer, you’ll feel better and lighter, too—you’ve just got to make it past the first 8-weeks. It only gets slimmer and trimmer from there!