Medically Reviewed by Dr. K. on May 23, 2022.
Smoking and Weight Gain
You most likely have your own excuses for not quitting smoking. For certain individuals, the prospect of gaining weight is enough to prevent them from quitting.
But if you're adamant about quitting, don't let the prospect of gaining weight cause you reconsider. Only remember that it's important that you learn that this is and how to maintain a balanced, steady weight after you've given up smoking for good.
Why You Gain Weight
It is clear that stopping smoking will lead to weight gain, yet it's not a definite outcome. While many smokers gain weight after quitting, it's normally just a few pounds: fewer than ten pounds (about 5kg).
In fact, the health consequences of continuing to smoke are much more harmful than gaining a few pounds.
There are a few explanations why you could gain weight after quitting smoking. To begin with, smoking suppresses appetite. You get less hungry when you smoke a cigarette.
Since smoking impairs the senses of smell and taste, food may not be as pleasurable.
Finally, smoking seems to speed up your metabolism, making it possible to maintain a healthy weight.
How to Avoid Gaining Weight
Just because people gain weight after they stop smoking doesn't imply it's unavoidable. There are a variety of exercises you should do to hold your weight in check.
- Plan ahead. Instead of making impulsive food purchases, prepare your meals and snacks ahead of time to ensure you don't get off track and go for something unhealthy. Limit calories, salt, and trans fats, and instead eat lots of fruits and vegetables. To make healthier choices, read food labels to consider the nutrients and calories you're receiving.
- Control your food portions. Portion control is a useful method in preventing you from consuming or drinking more than you require. Since restaurant portions are always oversized, following these simple guidelines will help:
- A deck of cards is about the size of a 3-ounce serving of chicken or meat, and a chequebook is about the size of a 3-ounce serving of fish. A baseball is about the size of a 1-cup serving, and a lightbulb is about the size of a half-cup serving. A golf ball is around the equivalent of an ounce (2 tablespoons).
- To encourage smaller servings, serve your meals on smaller dishes.
- Have a large glass of water 30 minutes before each meal to limit the portion size you consume.
- Wait 10 minutes before ordering seconds if you're really starving after your dinner. It's possible that you won't be starving after the time has gone.
- Every time you have the urge to snack, drink a large glass of water first, then wait 15 minutes. Often your brain consumes thirst for hunger. Drinking water can help you snack uncontrollably.
- If you're going out to dinner, share an entree with a friend or request that half of your meal be packed in a to-go container.
- Single-serving foods can be measured out so you realise exactly how much you're consuming and aren't tempted to eat more.
- Exercise daily. Staying physically active will help you manage stress and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise burns calories, which will help you maintain or lose weight if that's your target, in addition to boosting your mood and regulating your appetite. Exercise is often essential for a faster metabolism. Since your metabolism may slow after you stop smoking, daily workouts will help it gradually speed up. You don't have to be an athlete to get results; even 10 minutes of exercise a day will make a difference. Walking, gardening, dancing, and biking are all great activities to consider.
- Learn mindful eating. Staying conscientious (aware) of your food preferences, preparation, and use will help you make smarter decisions and become more in touch with your body, preventing you from substituting mindless snacking or nutritious meals for your smoking habit. When you have the opportunity, prepare the table and sit for meals, and switch off all noisy things such as the computer and television. Concentrate about what you're consuming and take a break mid-meal to assess whether you're really hungry for something or whether you're using food to deal with your emotions or satisfy a need.
- Find a professional who can help. Don't be afraid to get professional assistance. A dietician or nutritionist may provide several people with guidance and support. These experts will provide you with customized guidance and assist you in developing a schedule that is tailored to your specific requirements.
Referenced on 12/05/2021
- American Heart Association: “How Can I Avoid Weight Gain When I Stop Smoking?”
- American Cancer Society: “Staying Tobacco-free After You Quit Smoking.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Why is weight gain common after you quit smoking? What can I do to avoid it?”
- Smokefree.gov: “Managing Portion Size.”