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Quitting Smoking: Dealing With Weight Gain


Are you worried that you'll gain weight when you stop using tobacco? Be sure to include eating healthy foods and doing some physical activity as part of your plan for quitting tobacco. These things can help you manage your weight while you're quitting.

How can you deal with weight gain when you quit smoking?

Quitting tobacco may make you want to eat more or eat more often. You can be ready by taking steps to manage your weight. Here are some things you can do.

The key to managing your weight—whether you use tobacco or not—is eating healthy food and becoming more active.

  • Plan ahead.

    Managing your weight will be easier if you have a plan. Before your quit day:

    • Think about using medicine to help you quit. Quit-tobacco medicines can help you get through the worst of your cravings and may help you manage your weight.
    • Talk to a dietitian. A registered dietitian can help you learn about healthy ways to manage your weight after you quit.
    • Keep track of your weight. Try to weigh yourself on the same scale, at the same time of day, in about the same amount of clothing. Weigh yourself no more than once a week, unless your doctor tells you to do so.
  • Eat healthy foods.
    • Make a list of healthy foods that you like. Try to eat a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, dairy products, grains, and proteins. Limit foods high in fat, sugar, and calories. Try some new healthy snacks and drinks. Stock up on the ones you like.
    • Try to plan your meals ahead of time. You'll be less likely to grab something convenient that's not as healthy.
    • Limit or avoid alcohol. Alcohol drinks have a lot of calories, so limiting them will help you manage your weight. And if you usually use tobacco when you drink, you may be more likely to have a slip-up if you drink alcohol.
  • Make regular activity part of your life.
    • Think about how you can work more exercise into your life. For example, you might take a walk or do some stretches at times when you would usually use tobacco.
    • If you haven't been getting much activity, start walking every day, gradually increasing how far you walk. Or take a beginning yoga class.
    • If you're already active, see about joining others for an activity you enjoy, such as biking or an organized sport.
  • Don't reach for food when you're not hungry.
    • When you have a craving for tobacco, remember that cravings usually last only a few minutes. Do something else to keep busy for those few minutes.
    • Rather than eating, try chewing on a drinking straw, toothpick, or coffee stirrer.
    • If you want something sweet in your mouth, eat fruit or try sugar-free gum or candy.
    • Come up with something else to keep your hands busy. For example, take up knitting, beading, doing crossword puzzles, or just doodling.
    • If you turn to food at times of tension or stress, find other ways to deal with those times. For example, take a walk, play with a pet, or take a bath.


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