Gained weight after quitting smoking? Here's what you can do

Gained weight after quitting smoking? Here's what you can do
Imagine that you have successfully quit smoking, only to realize that you have gained a lot of weight as well, that's not ideal at all but unfortunately that is what most people experience when they attempt to quit smoking. In fact people gain 5kg of weight on average the year they stop smoking however, there are many things you can do in order to not gain all those pounds.

Why do we gain weight when we stop smoking

There are many reasons why we put on weight when we quit smoking. When we smoke, our metabolism speeds up which means that our body burns calories faster. After years and years of smoking your body becomes used to having a higher metabolism so when you stop smoking, your body will suddenly burn less calories because you need fewer calories. Furthurmore, smoking supresses your appetite and your ability to taste is reduced as a result of it. Recent quitters also mistake nicotine cravings for feeling hungry or to distract yourself from it. The “hand to mouth” action when you smoke could also be replaced by snacking. Add on the withdrawal symptoms you might expericence such as stress and the pounds could increase significantly. In fact, if you do nothing about it, you might gain almost 10 pounds in the few months after you quit. Research also shows that your risk of getting type 2 diabetes is higher for recent quitters than actual smokers, especially if you’re not careful and you make no attempts at all to reduce your weight. When it comes to quitting cigarettes, every variable will help you become successful so you should plan ahead to circumvent the weight gain, luckily there are many things you can do to prevent it.


When you stop smoking, you will gain weight even if you eat the same amount as you did before. You should start being more active and exercising in order to avoid this. According to studies, exercising regularly after you stop smoking could reduce your weight gain by 50%.Exercising will not only help you burn off the calories that were previously burned by smoking but it will also significantly reduce your cravings for cigarettes. You should start slow and build up to around 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise a week, which is only around 25 minutes of exercise a day, aerobic exercises such as swimming, running, brisk walking or cycling helps keep your heart rate high and is also very good for the lungs, after all they need to recover after ingesting 7,000 chemicals from you smoking multiple times a day. If you cannot do higher intensity exercises or are unable to walk and run then there are still plenty of things you can do. You could swim gently and sign up to aqua aerobics so that your joints are not strained and stressed. Low impact exercises such as yoga and pilates are also a good option if it's suitable for your disability. It is also advisable that you start your exercise routine before you actually quit smoking so that you can actually minimize the pounds you will gain when you finally quit, this way you won’t have to gain the pounds first and have to lose it again. It will also help you stop smoking and prevent relapses shortly after you quit.

Improve your Diet

One way to improve your diet is to add more fiber into your diet, this will keep you full for longer and also help prevent you from inhealthy cravings such as junk food and sweets. You should eat more colorful vegetables, the more variety of colour the better. Eating clean will also help cut down the risks of contracting chronic diseases. You should also never let yourself get too hungry. Try to eat small meals many times a day, maybe even 4-5 times a day in order to keep yourself filled throughout the day and increase your metabolism at the same time. If you try to limit yourself to only a couple of meals a day, chances are that you will eat much more and crave unhealthy foods that are rich in fat or sugar. Spread out your meals so that it will make it much easier for you to maintain a healthy diet for a longer period of time. One good habit that will help you is to look at the nutritional information of foods and pay attention to the portion sizes. When you buy a bag of chips, you might end up eating it all but if you look at the label, it might contain 2 portions, and all the nutritional and caloric information will be listed in terms of a single portion, which will be half a bag. Reading labels will also help you know what you are actually eating, aim for foods that are healthy, contain alot of fiber and contain unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. You should also drink plenty of water because it helps keep your stomach full and your body could also misread thirst for hunger so try to have a glass of water before snacking and you might not need to eat anymore.

Statistic shows that people who quit smoking usually gain weight because of decreased metabolism and increased appetite due to withdrawal symptoms and being able to taste more therefore it is important to start exercising and improving your diet before you actually quit in order to help you stop smoking and prevent yourself from gaining those pounds, if you need any professional help or someone to talk to about quitting smoking or to ask for advice do not hesitate to contact Dr. Narindr at one of the links below.