Weight Gain and Quitting

Fear of gaining weight keeps some women from trying to quit smoking. When you make quitting your priority, it’s the best step you can take for a healthier you.

Smoking and Weight

It’s true that some people gain weight after quitting. On average, people who gain weight after quitting gain about 5 to 10 pounds. Here’s why:

  • Smoking lowers your appetite. Smoking cigarettes makes you feel less hungry. When you quit smoking, you might feel hungrier and eat more.
  • Eating can be a substitute for smoking. Smoking gave you something to do with your hands, and you’re used to putting a cigarette in your mouth. For a lot of people, food replaces cigarettes, so it’s more likely you’ll gain weight after quitting.
  • Eating may be a new way for you to deal with negative emotions. Maybe smoking was your go-to when you feel stressed. When you quit, you may eat to feel better or deal with stress. This can cause weight gain.

If you are worried about gaining weight after you quit, try to remember:

  • Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health right now.
  • You can do things to help prevent weight gain while you become smokefree. Take small steps like healthy snacking, watching portion sizes, or finding ten minutes a few times a day to move more.
  • If you do gain weight after quitting, it doesn’t have to be forever. There are healthy ways you can lose the weight.

Tip: Becoming smokefree can give you the confidence and skills to achieve future goals—like losing any weight you might have gained while quitting. Be proud of your smokefree success!

Set Realistic Goals

When you try to lose weight, think of steps that are manageable, positive, under your control, and specific. Every step toward your goal is a step to a healthier you. If some of these steps aren’t as small as you thought or if your current plan isn’t working, change it. It may take a few tries to find what works best with quitting smoking, and making other healthy lifestyle choices is no different.

Tip: Stay in control of your food choices by snacking smart and eating mindfully.

Healthy Weight Loss and Body Image

Becoming and staying smokefree will give you more energy and confidence, which will help you lose any weight you might have gained after quitting. There is no magic number for healthy weight. Everyone is different. Trying to lose weight with extreme diets or over-the-top workouts doesn’t work long term. The key is slow and steady weight loss. Find what works for you and recognize your successes. Celebrate milestones like losing 5 percent of your body weight, fitting into a pair of jeans that used to be too tight, or improving your jogging pace.

If weight gain is a big concern, think about why. Many women struggle with poor body image and unrealistic expectations for how they should look. Our bodies are capable of amazing things and the better we treat them, the more they can do. Try to be easier on yourself and find things to love about your body.

Learn more about taking control of your health. Smokefree has ways to help you maintain your weight and feel better.