These tips will keep your weight in check after you stop smoking.
Many people worry about gaining weight after they stop smoking, but that shouldn't stop you from quitting. Although some people do gain a few pounds after they quit, there are steps you can take to avoid sending the scale in an upward direction.
Not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. And the healthy lifestyle changes that can help prevent weight gain after you quit will also help to keep you healthier overall—a win-win situation.
Here's how to keep your weight in check even after you quit:
- Eat more mindfully. You may be tempted to substitute food for cigarettes, but if you pay attention to what you eat, how much you eat and when you eat, you can avoid unwanted weight gain. If you find yourself reaching for food when what you really want is a cigarette, find healthy options to keep your hands and mouth busy, such as carrot sticks to crunch or sugarless gum to chew. Pay attention to portion sizes since you may find yourself initially feeling hungrier. Aim to drink at least 8 8-oz glasses of water or non-caffeinated beverages a day to stay well-hydrated so you'll be less likely to confuse hunger with thirst.
- Get more active. While you'll want to keep a handle on what you put in your mouth, one way to avoid gaining weight in case you do eat more is to move more. Regular exercise not only helps you burn more calories (to combat any extra calories you eat) but it is good for your overall health. After you quit smoking, you should start to find it easier to exercise because it will be easier to breathe, so use this benefit of quitting to your advantage.
- Find ways to cope. Some smokers turn to cigarettes when they are feeling stressed or dealing with negative emotions. If this describes you, think about ways you can cope with these feelings without turning to food—or back to cigarettes. Try deep-breathing exercises, squeeze a stress ball, call a friend or take a walk when emotions run high.
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Date Last Reviewed: October 28, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN