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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

I've stopped smoking and now I'm really hungry?

I stopped smoking in January. I have put on about half a stone since then. My biggest problem is I am genuinely always hungry. Its nothing to do with increased taste, or better appetite, in fact I haven't noticed any difference in things tasting or smelling better since I stopped. I have proper growling hunger pangs most of the day which leads me to eating more. If I try to ignore it I then suffer drops in blood sugar and start shaking and feeling annoyed/fuzzy head. I think I've knocked the smoking on the head now but I really want to lose a few pounds but I'm going to struggle dieting because I'm always hungry.

A.

Our expert says...

Giving up smoking can change the way that you think about food, which in turn can make differences to appetite and feelings of hunger. It's possible that you have felt these hunger pangs previously but that you substituted the food you're currently craving by having a cigarette? Often it's a subconscious reaction but it does often happen to people when they give up smoking.

Firstly, well done on stopping smoking - it's an amazing achievement, and one you should be very proud of. Although you've put on half a stone, the benefits of giving up smoking far outweigh this slight weight gain.

In terms of the feelings of hunger that you're getting, it might just be that you need to adjust the types of foods that you're choosing to make sure you have foods that take longer to digest. So make sure you choose wholemeal or wholegrain carbohydrates over white versions e.g wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, wholegrain breakfast cereal. Protein rich food also helps to keep hunger at bay, so things like eggs, lean meat, low fat dairy foods - these are all good options for long lasting fullness.

Make sure you are eating regular meals,and snacks but choose healthy options where you can - try not to just eat a sugary snack when you feel light headed because although this will give you an immediate sugar boost, it won't last for long and you may get the fuzzy head very soon afterwards again. Keep a supply of healthy snacks to hand (in your desk drawer at work, kitchen cupboard or handbag) - things such as unsalted nuts, dried fruit, rice cakes, oatcakes....these are all really good, quick pick me ups should you need them.

Eat 3 meals a day with a couple of snacks, and always have breakfast - this is really important.

  • For breakfast try something like poached egg on wholemeal toast, or a wholegrain breakfast cereal with low fat yogurt and fruit
  • For lunch, a jacket potato (eat the skin!) with tuna or baked beans and salad, or a wholemeal bread/ pitta sandwich with lean ham and salad
  • For dinner brown rice, grilled fish, and veggies, or wholemeal pasta, lean chicken or turkey with a pasta sauce....there are lots of options.

The key thing is to not let yourself get too hungry, and try and control your blood sugar levels through making healthier choices through the day.

Of course, if you continue to feel shaky or light headed then have a chat with your GP just in case there are any underlying issues.

All the best and please don't hesitate to get back in touch should you need any further support

Disclaimer
You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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