Advertisement

How do I deal with weight gain when I quit smoking?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Dealing with weight gain after smoking is something many people must face. Many people who quit smoking, start eating more. Smokers miss the feeling of a cigarette in their mouth, so they substitute food to fill the need.

There are better alternatives to help you keep off the pounds. Cinnamon sticks, flavored toothpicks or straws are no-calorie substitutes. If you must put food in your mouth, try celery sticks, pretzel rods or fruit. Drink plenty of water, eat fiber-rich whole grains, and add leafy green vegetables to your diet.

Make use of your free time by walking, exercising or doing yard work. If you adopt some healthy eating and lifestyle habits, you don't have to gain weight when you kick the smoking habit.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics

The majority of people who stop smoking may gain an average of 10 pounds. However, the benefits of quitting are huge. Most of the weight gain happens in the first six months and it is important to plan strategies to cope with possible cravings and increase appetite. 

Stay active, watch less TV and increase your physical activity. You can join a gym or a dance class, start gardening or just walk. Increase your complex carbs: oatmeal, quinoa, rye or wheat products that will help you feel more satisfied and it will help with constipation which could happen after quitting cigarettes. Do not skip or delay meals because that may lead you to overeat or eat junk food.

And don't forget you can visit a registered dietitian for more ideas on how to prevent weight gain after smoking cessation. Visit www.eatright.org.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Substance Use Disorders, most smokers tend to gain weight during the first few months after quitting but many later lose the weight. Studies have shown that attempting to diet after quitting smoking can lead to a relapse in smoking. Therefore, the recommendations are to learn healthy eating strategies and, after consulting with your doctor, increasing your level of physical activity.
Irwin Isaacs
Psychology
Consult with a counselor or a personal coach to assist you in achieving all your goals.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
Well the first thing you need to do is not gain the weight but obviously some people do.  I think that instead of eating you need to channel into more positive things, walking, exercising or eating healthy things but any diet will help you lose weight if you gain it whether you got it from quitting smoking or from any other weight gain
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The key to quitting smoking is setting a plan date for your quitting, and with that plan date, start walking 30 additional minutes a day before you quit.  Seven days after you quit, and we recommend walking for 30 days, continuously 30 minutes a day before you quit, but 7 days after you quit, in addition to walking 30 minutes every day, and weight lifting 30 minutes a week, that is 10 minutes 3 times a week to the walking, you find that with the increased exercise you will not gain weight, even though your appetite and taste, and smell for food will return and you will be amazed how good food smells and tastes.  

Continue Learning about Quit Smoking

Want Another Reason Not to Smoke? Think About Your Grandchildren
Want Another Reason Not to Smoke? Think About Your Grandchildren
“Where there’s smoke there’s fire” is a phrase that’s been around for a long time; it means that if it looks like there’s something wrong, then there ...
Read More
Why is smoking addictive?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
It's taken years of research to start to understand exactly how and why the body becomes addicte...
More Answers
Kicking Butts: 50 Years of Progress
Kicking Butts: 50 Years of ProgressKicking Butts: 50 Years of ProgressKicking Butts: 50 Years of ProgressKicking Butts: 50 Years of Progress
Take a look at 10 anti-smoking milestones since the first Surgeon General’s report.
Start Slideshow
Do You Treat Women Differently than You Treat Men in Cardiaology?
Do You Treat Women Differently than You Treat Men in Cardiaology?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.