Discusses how to deal with weight gain after you've quit smoking. Covers creating a plan before quitting to make weight control easier. Offers tips for avoiding weight gain.
Quitting Smoking: Dealing With Weight Gain
Many people worry about gaining weight
when they quit smoking. Most people gain some weight at first after they quit, but many lose this weight over time. But keep your focus on quitting. After you are confident of not relapsing, you can deal with losing any weight you may have gained.
If you do start to gain weight, there are steps you can take.
important thing is to quit smoking. The minute you quit, you'll be starting a
much healthier life.
Smoking is much worse for your health than
gaining a few pounds.
If you try to lose weight at the same time
that you try to quit smoking, you will probably have a harder time quitting. So
deal with quitting first. Then deal with weight gain later.
While you are
trying to quit, focus on eating healthy foods and being more active.
A stop-smoking medicine can help you gain less weight while you take it.
Knowledge is a powerful
thing. Now that you know that quitting smoking can make you want to eat more,
or eat more often, you can be ready for it.
Remember that the secret to weight
control—whether you smoke or not—is eating healthy food and becoming more
Don't try to diet
when you quit smoking. Most people who try to lose weight at the same time they
are trying to stop smoking have an even harder time of stopping smoking. Instead, eat more fruits,
vegetables, and whole-grain foods. And learn more about healthy fats.
A stop-smoking medicine can help you gain less weight while you take it.
Find ways to get more active. Take
the stairs. Park farther away. Take walks. Start a program at the gym, or take
up a new sport.
Have a plan
control of your weight will be easier if you have a plan. Before your quit
Know what activities will tempt you to smoke or
eat, and avoid them. It may help to keep a journal of the times when you're
Think about how you will fill the time when you
usually smoke. For example, if you love that after-meal cigarette, don't
replace that cigarette with more food. Get up and brush your teeth, go for a
walk, or wash the dishes.
Make a list of healthy foods that you especially
like. Try some new low-calorie snacks and drinks. Stock up on the ones
Think about how you can work more exercise into your
life. Besides helping you stay away from cigarettes, exercise burns calories.
Plan to take short walks or do some stretches at times when you would
Consider using a smoking cessation medicine.
Tips for avoiding weight gain
Think positive, and keep temptation away:
Don't quit smoking during holiday periods.
You're more likely to eat more then.
Stay away from alcohol.
Alcohol drinks have a lot of calories, so avoiding them will help you control
your weight. And drinking can weaken your willpower, especially if you usually
smoke when you drink.
Eat at least 3 healthy meals a day so you
don't get hungry. For some people, eating smaller healthy meals more than 3
times a day works better. And eat more whole-grain foods. They stay with you
longer and help keep you from getting hungry.
professional help. Nutritionists, fitness instructors, and therapists can all
help you control your weight when you quit smoking.
activity part of your life. Walking is a great exercise that most people enjoy
and can do.
It may help to walk or exercise
with a partner or group.
Weigh yourself at least once a week. Keep
a pencil and paper near the scales, and write your weight down. That way the
extra pounds won't "sneak up" on you.
Remind yourself every day of
how much healthier you are for having quit smoking.
Remember, looking good is much more important than how much
you weigh. Smelling clean and smoke-free, having fresh breath, having fingers
and teeth free of yellow tobacco stains, and feeling healthier all make you
Food and cigarettes
A big reason
people gain weight is that they reach for food instead of a cigarette after
When you have a craving for a cigarette or
food, remember that cravings usually last only a few minutes. Do something else
to occupy your time for those few minutes.
than eating candy or other food to replace the cigarettes, try chewing on a
drinking straw, toothpick, or coffee stirrer.
If you must have
something sweet in your mouth, eat fruit or try sugar-free gum or
Come up with something else to keep your hands busy so you
don't use them to eat. For example, take up knitting, beading, doing crossword
puzzles, or just doodling.
People often turn to food at times of
tension or stress. Find other ways to deal with those times. Go for a walk.
Vacuum the floor.
Test Your Knowledge
The best way to control your weight when you quit
smoking is to go on a diet.
If you have
questions about this information, make an appointment with your doctor and take
the information with you. Your doctor may have more ideas on how to help you
quit smoking and control your weight.
Now that you have read this
information, you are ready to control your weight as you quit smoking.
If you would like more information on quitting smoking,
the following resources are available:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC): Smoking and Tobacco Use
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
website provides resources for quitting smoking and tobacco prevention, including information for children, teens, researchers, and scientists.
There are also reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fact sheets, a publications catalog, a smoking and health resource library, and other materials, such as buttons, calendars, and eCards.
This is also the location for the State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System.
National Network of Tobacco Cessation
1-800-784-8669 or 1-800-QUITNOW
The toll-free number is a single access point to the National
Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines. Callers are automatically routed to a
state-run quitline, if one exists in their area. If there is no state-run
quitline, callers are routed to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) quitline,
where they may receive help with quitting smoking, informational materials, and
referrals to other resources.
This website provides free information and
professional assistance to help support people who are trying to quit smoking.
The information provided is for both the immediate and long-term needs of
people who are trying to quit and for friends and family who care about them.
This website includes an online guide to
quitting smoking, local and state telephone quitlines, the National Cancer
Institute's national telephone quitline and instant messaging service, and
publications that can be ordered or downloaded and printed. There is also a link to women.smokefree.gov, which has more resources for women who want to quit smoking.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2010). You Can Control Your Weight as You Quit Smoking (NIH Publication No. 03-4159). Bethesda, MD: Weight-Control Information Network. Also available online: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/smoking.htm.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010). Cardiovascular diseases. In How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General, chap. 6. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also available online: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/tobaccosmoke/report/index.html.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.