Gaining weight when quitting smoking is a common concern. However not everyone gains weight after quitting. Some people do, but usually only five or six pounds.
Two things seem to cause this weight gain. First, your body metabolism slows down when you quit, so you don't need as much food as when you were smoking. Second, you may use food to replace cigarettes and end up eating a bit more than before.
Tips to avoid gaining weight while maintaining a quit:
Eat healthy, tasty, well-balanced meals as much as possible. Avoid fad diets.
Since food may taste better after you quit, you may want bigger helpings. Try to eat the same amount as usual.
Nicotine withdrawal can cause constipation. Drink lots of fluids.
Eat low-fat snacks like crackers, fruits, veggies or toast, instead of donuts, candy, or potato chips.
Moderate your use of alcohol. Keeping your hands busy with smoking may have slowed up your drinking before. Without a cigarette, your rate and number of drinks may increase along with your weight.
Get up and get moving! Physical activity can help to counteract any weight gain.
Start with a small achievable goal. Example: Walking 10 minutes everyday. Once you’ve gotten into the routine, change the activity goal. Example: Walking 20 minutes everyday, attending a fitness class once a week, join a sports team, take up a hobby that gets you moving like rock climbing or dancing.
What is key to remember is that increasing your level of physical activity requires changing your routine, therefore selecting a goal that is in tone with your current lifestyle in the beginning makes it a more manageable change and thus more sustainable over the long-term.
Please feel free to post your thoughts and experiences on weight gain here with us, we all learn from each other.
Ashley, Health Educator