Weight Gain after Smoking Cessation

Feb 06, 2009
Annually, around four in five people want to quit smoking, while most smokers have tried to quit at least once. Smoking cessation can be quite difficult for many people due to several reasons. More than 70 percent of smokers who quit face the problem of weight gain. This especially refers to women, who tend to gain 6 to 8 pounds on average. In this case you should deal with smoking cessation and weight gain at the same time, which is quite a hard job that requires great efforts.

Why do you put on weight after quitting?

There are several reasons why people tend to gain weight after smoking cessation.

Decreased metabolism

It is known that nicotine in tobacco smoking can boost body's metabolism, which explains why you may not put on weight even eating more than non-smokers. After you decide to quit smoking, your body metabolism may start to slow down. While your eating habits may remain the same, you may gain weight due to slower speed of processing foods.

  • Try to exercise more, as sedentary way of life will make you prone to weight gain. Choose any activity you like, for instance, jogging, swimming or walking. It is recommended to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity regularly for better results.

Changes in eating habits

Many smokers find that their eating habits change after smoking cessation. Quite often they experience increased sense of hunger. If you were used to eating less or skipping meals for a cigarette, you may find that after quitting you want to have a snack. Also you may enjoy food more after you stop smoking and this may become a reason why you want to eat more.

  • If you feel a constant urge to eat, try to choose healthy snacks, like vegetable sticks, fruits, dry fruits or whole grain cereals.

  • Avoid eating high-fat and sugary food. It is better not to buy them at all so that you won't be tempted to eat it at home.

  • Drink water and juices when you feel hungry between meals.

Eating addiction as a substitute for smoking addiction
Many people who smoke have an oral fixation and are addicted to the feeling of having something in their mouth. They may have nervous habits of chewing their hair or biting their nails. But it is mopre common to experience constant urge to eat after quitting, explaining why many ex-smokers find the relief in eating more.

  • If you have constant urge to chew something, you can chew different objects like cinnamon sticks or gum to satisfy this hunger. You may also try to clean your teeth with toothpicks to distract from this fixation.

Stress relief

It can be quite difficult to deal with withdrawal after smoking cessation. You may try to cope with this stress by eating tasty food.

  • Find another way to reward yourself, like going shopping or spending some time outdoors.

  • Reduce stress by practicing relaxation techniques, like yoga or massage therapy.