Nicotine is an insidious chemical, weaving its way into your brain. It affects the levels of acetylcholine in your brain, giving you a shot of the pleasure hormone dopamine every time you smoke a cigarette.
Depression and anxiety get influenced by the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, so when nicotine affects dopamine, you feel good more often. Unfortunately, when that artificial rush gets taken away, it can feel like the world drops out from underneath you.
On top of that, dopamine also affects the amino acid glutamate that is partially responsible for memory formation. As your body feels the lack of dopamine, your mind it's foggy, slow, and doesn't quite make the connections you used to. Your memory, particularly your short-term memory, will be affected. I forget things more often, like where you put your keys or what you're making for dinner.
Certain medications allow you to replace some of the stimulation nicotine provided, which is the principle behind the patches and nicotine gums. They allow you to step down your dosage and avoid some of the problems with depression and anxiety.
Weight Gain After You Quit Smoking
Okay, so weight gain is not going to kill you, at least the 10 to 15-pound weight gain most people experience after quitting smoking.
Here's the thing: Nicotine increases your metabolism by 7 to 15%. When you stop smoking, that translates to approximately 10 to 15-pound weight gain when it slows back down to normal. It's not a guarantee you'll gain the weight back, especially if you're working with a healthcare provider that can help you with your diet and supplementation to keep you healthy.
Here are a couple of things you should watch out for after you quit smoking...
Snacking to fill the void
You might be craving something sweet, something to give you that shot of dopamine the nicotine no longer provides. Many people turn to snacking on candy, popcorn, or other unhealthy foods to relieve that portion of anxiety.
Finger and mouth anxiety
You may have gotten used to having something in your hand and in your mouth during times of boredom, work breaks, and being with others. Many people turn to snack foods, something easy to pop in the mouth to relieve anxiety. Other people may start chewing on gum, pens, or other inappropriate objects.
When your metabolism slows down, so does your digestion. But the truth is you may be eating foods that aren't so healthy for you. And that's why you really need to have a good diet, filled with lots of fruits and vegetables when you go to quit smoking. Those fruits and vegetables will help reduce constipation and be a massive benefit to our next little problem.
Your cigarettes are filled with hundreds of toxins and chemicals. Your body did the best it could to keep flushing them out of your system, but eventually, it got overwhelmed. That's why you have tar in your lungs and your breath always stinks.
So, if you already quit smoking, why are you still experiencing the problems?
You're just trying to get rid of what's leftover. You sweat because the skin is our largest elimination organ, and it's easy to get rid of bad stuff by sweating it out. You cough because your lungs are trying to expel the tar, the mucus, and the pockets of fungus that have been lingering.
And those headaches?
You're going through withdrawal from the nicotine, experiencing depression from the dopamine misalignment, feeling anxious because of not having the cigarettes anymore. It's rough. And now you're trying to get rid of all of the nasty stuff in your body… it can be overwhelming.
That's why so many people go back to smoking. You just want to feel better when you wish to be healthy.
You can quit smoking, and you can be healthy. We're not going to lie to you, it takes work, but when you take that first breath of fresh air, and it fills your lungs with the crisp feeling, you'll know it was all worth it.
If you or someone you know is interested in quitting smoking for good and reaching optimal health, please call us at (949) 651 – 6355 for a free 15-minute consultation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .