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Smoking Cessation Health Center

Stopping Weight Gain While Quitting Smoking

Many people who quit smoking gain 10 pounds, but not you.
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Top Tip for Stopping Smoking Without Weight Gain: Exercise More!

One of the best ways to avoid weight gain while quitting smoking is just what Baltimore did: amp up the exercise. "When you stop smoking, you can breathe better, walk better, run better," says Covey. "Take advantage of that!"

Exercise also has the additional benefit of helping you burn off the nervous energy many smokers struggle with when they quit. Studies show that people who exercise while quitting smoking gain much less weight, and are twice as likely to kick the habit as those who don't.

More Smoking-Cessation Secrets: Plan Ahead and Drink Lots of Water

Besides eating a healthy diet and exercising more, here are some other tips to help you avoid gaining the "kick the habit 10":

  • Plan ahead. "Some of my patients, when they know they're going to quit, start improving their diet and exercise ahead of time so that they're not already at a really high weight when they quit," says Covey. 
  • Find something else to do with your mouth. Keep sugar-free hard candies, gum (nicotine gum if you like), or Tic Tacs in your car, purse, and coat. Crunching on a carrot when you feel like a cigarette or a snack will keep your mouth busy without adding calories. 
  • If you're keeping a "smoking journal," track your cravings to eat just as you track your cravings to smoke, and identify replacement activities (a walk, a run, a video game, playing with the dog). 
  • Drink plenty of water. Being hydrated will boost your metabolism, while at the same time helping you beat back the craving to smoke. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.
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Reviewed on January 23, 2009

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