young woman running in parkWhen tobacco users set out to quit using tobacco, they may be faced with the obstacle of weight gain. Although it is possible to gain weight when you quit, it is not inevitable. There are many things you can do to keep the weight gain in check.
When an individual quits tobacco, there may be a slight change in metabolism – how fast the body burns calories. Nicotine in tobacco products is an appetite suppressant which means individuals may feel hungrier when they quit. Food is also going to smell and taste better as the tar that coats the nasal cavity and taste buds starts to break down. Lastly, some individuals may want to eat to keep from using tobacco.
Check out these tips for managing weight gain when you quit:
Pay attention to your plate:
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat snacks like pretzels.
  • Use sugar-free hard candy as an alternative to tobacco.
  • Choose foods low in sodium, trans fat and added sugar. Read food labels and choose healthful options.
  • Drink lots of water!
Incorporate physical activity:
  • Physical activity helps to release stress.
  • Physical activity can help control your appetite.
  • Being active can improve your mood.
  • Physical activity burns calories and can help you lose weight if you take in fewer calories than you use up.
Find other activities to stay busy or prevent boredom:
  • Play with a pencil, stress ball, paper clip or marbles.
  • Munch on carrots, apples, celery and sugarless gum.
  • Brush your teeth often and keep a fresh taste in your mouth.
  • Keep your hands busy — wash the car, garden, knit, do crossword puzzles, write letters, cook.
  • Try a new sport.
So, if you are avoiding quitting smoking for good because you are afraid of weight gain, do not let it get in the way of kicking the habit to the curb once and for all! The most important thing you need to remember is that tobacco does not make you thin and quitting does not make you fat. Focus on what you will “gain” when you quit – a healthier body and outlook.
  1. How can I avoid weight gain when I stop smoking? American Heart Association. Accessed June 20, 2016.