A common reason that many people return to smoking is fear of gaining weight. Quitting can be looked at as a new opportunity to introduce healthy habits into your daily routine. These can support you in your goal of becoming smoke-free and also help you manage your weight.

If you find that weight gain is setting you back, remember that quitting smoking is a process, and you may need to take stock of what is and is not working, and make adjustments as you move forward.

Why do some people gain weight?

Nicotine keeps you from feeling hungry and smoking dulls your senses of taste and smell. When you quit smoking, your appetite returns at the same time that your taste buds come back. Another factor is nicotine causes your body to burn slightly more calories.

The result is that after quitting, you are more hungry, food tastes better and you do not burn as many sedentary calories. Plus, your body may confuse nicotine cravings for hunger, and you may find yourself snacking on unhealthy foods as a replacement for cigarettes.

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Drink more water

Carry a water bottle, and drink water when you feel hungry. Sometimes feelings of hunger can actually be feelings of dehydration, drinking water instead of snacking can help take the edge off.

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Move more

Adding moderate exercise to your routine can make a real difference, and you do not have to do much. Even adding a 10-minute walk to your day a few times a week will help boost your metabolism naturally. Exercising is a great substitute for smoking, and can help you reduce stress, manage cravings, control weight and improve overall health.

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Control portions

Eating smaller portions can help manage weight and promote overall health and well-being.

A few tips for controlling portion sizes include:

  • Use smaller plates for lunch and dinner
  • After finishing a meal, wait 10 minutes before taking that extra helping
  • When dining out, share a meal or order the appetizer instead
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Think about the big picture

While gaining weight can feel frustrating, remember the long term health advantages of quitting smoking. Remember that this is a much larger goal of taking charge of your health and your body. Forgive yourself for weight gain if it happens. Talk to your doctor if balancing quitting with keeping weight off is a concern for you.