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How to Avoid Weight Gain When Quitting Smoking

Avoid Putting On the Pounds When Giving Up the Smokes

With all the health benefits to gain from giving up the smokes, the decision to quit is an easy one, but the follow-through can certainly be a challenge. Cravings brought on by nicotine withdrawal can be intense and one way distract yourself from the desire to light up is to eat, eat, and eat some more. That of course can lead to weight gain, so here are some tips on how to ditch the cancer sticks without busting out of your pants.

First and foremost, focus on quitting and don't worry so much about gaining weight. Smoking is much more of a risk than gaining a few extra pounds, so once you ditch the cigs for good, then worry about how you're going to lose the extra fluff.

To find out how to avoid gaining a hefty amount of weight,


When you quit, you may miss having something in your mouth, which is why many people end up reaching for food to munch on instead. This is a great way to keep your hands and lips busy, just be sure to choose wisely. Crunchy carrot and celery sticks, frozen grapes, cubes of cheese, air-popped popcorn, and even gum will give your mouth something to do without packing in too many calories. You can also go for calorie-free options. Sucking on a straw or toothpick may also satiate that need to have something in your mouth.


Instead of sticking to the three-meals-a-day plan, opt for smaller more frequent meals. This will keep hunger at bay, which will make you less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks or overeat. Food choices matter too, and ones that are high in protein and fiber will keep you feeling full longer. Also try to avoid alcohol. Cocktails, beer, and wine tend to be high in calories, and for some people, they trigger the urge to light up.

Keep busy with exercise. Smoking breaks take up a lot of time, so replace them with walks around the block or short strength-training sessions including push-ups, squats, and crunches. As little as five minutes of exercise has been shown curb nicotine cravings. Exercise also helps to naturally suppress your appetite, so the more you make exercise a part of your regular schedule, the less hungry you'll feel and the more calories you'll burn.

You may also benefit from an alternative therapy when it comes to quitting. Hypnosis, acupuncture, and meditation may be effective tools that help you quit faster.

If you have any other tips on how to quit smoking without going up a jeans size, share them in the comment section below.

theangchen theangchen 7 years
Don't freak out about gaining weight when you quite smoking! Not everyone who quits gains weight. Just think about all the freedom you'll have and all the physical activities you'll be able to enjoy once you don't have cigarettes holding you back. I smoked for 10 years (almost a pack a day). It was always my dream to become a runner, but I could barely run a block because my lungs were in such bad shape. Not being able to be active is what makes you gain weight. I finally realized, smoking is making me fat! I'm not going to lie, quitting is challenging. I tried to quite 8 times but 9th times a charm! I have been smoke-free for 2 years now and 2 half marathons later I am a much thinner, happier, healthier person. Anyone can do it, you just have to keep at it :)
starbucks2 starbucks2 7 years
I only quit because I got pregnant so I don't know how to do it without it gaining weight...But 7 months after giving birth I am back to my pre-baby weight (despite of quitting and the pregnancy). Go me! ;) I would pretty much say don't think about the weight gain too much. You'll feel so much better, even if you weigh 5 pounds more!
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
I quit smoking cold turkey through nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)- both the gum and this dissolving tab you put under your tongue. Because I wasn't a heavy smoker to begin with (maybe 5 a day, and not even every day) I found the amount of nicotine in these products really potent, and one of the effects was that I actually lost weight whilst quitting because I was doubling or even trebbling the amount of nicotine I consumed. The really difficult thing has been quitting the NRT, especially because I have this craaazy craving for nicotine (but not cigarettes) after a filling meal, plus the NRT can be used in any public setting and won't interfere with my exercise, and on top of that nicotine sort of increases your metabolic's a vicious cycle
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