Are you worried about gaining weight when you quit smoking? Learn more about what to do to keep your weight gain to a minimum.
What you can do:
- exercise more
- stop using food and other treatment as a substitute
- a healthy and balanced diet
Will I gain weight when I quit smoking?
On average, people gain 5 kg (11lbs) a year after quitting.
Why weight gain when quitting smoking?
There are five main reasons:
- Smoking increases your metabolism, so your body burns calories faster.
- When you quit smoking, you need fewer calories, and smoking can suppress your appetite.
- Food tastes better after you quit smoking, and you also feel like more sugary foods.
- You confuse nicotine cravings with feeling hungry or eating to displace the nicotine cravings.
- You replace the “hand to mouth” action with snacking.
How can I avoid gaining weight when I quit smoking?
- Keep your metabolism up by exercising regularly.
- Reduce the feeling of hunger by eating nuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
- Eat smaller portions until your metabolism has stabilized.
- Just because food tastes better does not mean you need to eat more.
- Cut out nicotine substitutes to suppress cravings. The less you crave nicotine, the easier it will be to stay focused.
Exercise to avoid gaining weight
After you quit smoking, your body will burn calories more slowly. Even if you do not eat more than when you smoked, you will probably put on a little weight.
Being more active helps. Regular exercise can prevent about half of the weight gain after a year of quitting smoking, and exercise burns calories and reduces the craving for cigarettes.
Exercise at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, weekly.
What exercise can I do if I can not walk or run?
If you have a physical disability, there are other types of exercise you can try. These include:
- Swimming and water aerobics reduce stress and strain on your joints.
- Yoga, pilates, and tai chi.
- Cycling is an activity with a low load.