It’s common to gain some weight when you quit smoking—usually no more than 10 pounds. In terms of your health, the dangers of continuing to smoke far outweigh those of gaining a few pounds as you are quitting. In fact, you would have to gain between 100 and 150 pounds to equal the risk to your health as when you were smoking!
When you quit smoking, weight gain can have several causes. You could experience short-term weight gain due to nicotine leaving your body, water retention weight during the first week of quitting, or a slight weight increase due to using fewer calories than when you smoked. All of these causes are perfectly normal. Stay focused on your commitment to quitting and keep in mind how much healthier you will be once you’ve broken the habit.
Managing Weight Gain
Think of quitting as an opportunity to move toward an overall healthier lifestyle by exercising, eating better, and taking better care of yourself. You can find new outlets in your life that will not only help keep the pounds off while you quit, but will be fun and healthy ways to keep your mind off smoking. Below are a few ideas to help manage weight gain while you quit:
- Try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 or more days per week. Exercise can improve your health, boost your self confidence, and take your mind off any stress you may experience as a result of nicotine withdrawal.
- Eating fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water and staying away from foods that are high in fat will reduce or eliminate weight gain when quitting and promote your new, healthier lifestyle.
- Try to avoid situations that tempt you to smoke or eat when you're not really hungry. When you identify what these situations or triggers are and when they occur, try to replace them with other activities you enjoy or would like to try. Go for a walk, play golf, do a puzzle…there are more than 101 Things To Do Besides Smoking.
Read about how to manage stress while you quit.
Smoking low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes appears to have little effect on reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.