Smokefree Facts and Healthy Solutions

Smokefree fact:

When people quit smoking, they tend to eat more, have more cravings for sugary/junk foods, and drink more alcohol than before they quit.

Healthy solution:

Practice healthy eating. It’s is easier than you think! You don’t need to buy special foods or go on a strict diet. Small changes like these can make a big difference:

  • Fix your plate with bigger servings of fruits/vegetables and smaller servings of starches (potatoes, pasta, rice) and meat

  • Instead of "heaping" food onto your plate, start out with less—you can always go back for more

  • Snack on fruits and veggies instead of candy and chips; try frozen grapes or crunchy carrot and celery sticks

  • Stick to non-alcoholic drinks: Alcohol can cause weight gain or lead you to do things that you wouldn’t have done while sober—like "pig out" or have "just one cigarette"

Smokefree fact:

When you were smoking, the nicotine in each cigarette gave your body a little burst of energy. Your body used this energy to help burn off the food you ate. While your body adjusts to being nicotine-free, there may not be as much energy available to burn off the food that you eat.

Healthy solution:

Exercise! A 10-minute exercise session is a much healthier way to get the same burst of energy that you used to get from a cigarette. Exercise doesn’t have to take up much time or be very tough to improve your health. Here are some tips to help you get going:

  • Plan to exercise 3 times a day, for about 10 minutes at a time

  • Don’t overdo it—you should feel warm and just slightly out of breath

  • Have friends, family members, and pets to join you

  • Play a game of chase with the kids/grandkids or take the dog out for a brisk walk

  • Make "exercise appointments" for the times when you crave cigarettes the most

  • Schedule 10 minutes of housework first thing in the morning, or a 10-minute walk after a meal

  • The next time you feel the urge for a cigarette, do something active until the craving passes

Learning these new habits may take some practice. But the more you practice, the healthier you will become. And remember, even if you gain a little weight as a result of becoming smokefree, you are still much healthier than when you were smoking!



Next: Overcoming Barriers to Exercise 

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