Many people are scared of the weight gain that comes with quitting smoking. Not every smoker who quits gains wait, though those that do gain an average of 10 pounds. Don’t be discouraged! Those 10 pounds are just an average, and you don’t have to become part of that statistic. We’re going to go over some tips to help you avoid weight gain after quitting smoking.
Why Do You Gain Weight after Quitting?
Gaining weight after quitting comes from a few factors.
- Smoking acts as an appetite suppressant – Simply when you quit, you get the urge to eat more food. Increased calorie intake = increased weight gain.
- Lacking oral stimulus – Since a lot of smokers are used to the oral fixation of smoking, they feel the urge to replace it with eating food after they quit.
- Decrease in Metabolism – Nicotine increases the body’s rate of metabolism and heart rate. When you quit, your metabolism decreases and you burn less calories.
Tips to Avoid Weight Gain after Quitting
Try some of these tips to keep those pounds off as you quit smoking.
- Cardio Exercise – After you quit, you’ll be able to breathe better and perform cardiovascular exercise! Try running, biking, or hitting your favorite cardio machine at the gym. The exercise will help keep weight off, keep you busy, make you feel better, and stop you from constantly thinking about smoking. It’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself as you’re quitting.
- Strength Training Exercise – Similar to cardiovascular exercise, weight training exercise, like bicep curls, builds muscles and increases your metabolism to help keep the pounds off.
- Keep your mouth busy with healthy treats – Instead of appeasing your oral gratification with junk food, snack on celery, almonds, or sugar free gum.
- Brush your teeth often – Brushing your teeth will keep your mouth busy and may offset some of the oral fixation that was once associated with smoking.
- Be mindful of your eating – Next time you want to reach for a snack, remember if you are really hungry. You may just be eating out of habit, boredom, or to keep your mouth busy.
Follow the tips you’ll be well on your way to a new healthy (and low weight) lifestyle! And remember, even if you gain a little bit of weight, that extra weight is still WAY healthier than smoking.
 Audrain-McGovern, J. and Benowitz, N. (2011), Cigarette Smoking, Nicotine, and Body Weight. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 90: 164–168. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2011.105