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Readers Respond: How to Manage Weight Gain When Quitting Smoking

Responses: 83

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Updated June 03, 2009

For most of us, quitting smoking and weight gain go hand-in-hand. Why? In part, it has to do with needing a replacement for the act of smoking. Smokers have a powerful hand-to-mouth association and eating is a hand-to-mouth activity. With some attention toward a healthy diet and a kitchen stocked with nutritious snacks, however, you can manage nicotine withdrawal and beyond without gaining a lot of weight.What helped you control your weight when you quit smoking? Please share your tips here. Share Your Tips

It is possible to maintain your weight

I am 48 years old, smoked a pack a day since I was 16. I joined a gym 1 year before I quit smoking and got down to my ideal weight within 3 months. Obviously after all that effort I was afraid of gaining weight due to quitting smoking but I made a conscious effort to watch my eating and added one day a week at the gym. I watched my weight very carefully and weighed every morning. I have quit smoking for 6 months and have not gained any weight. When I see I've gained a pound, I just work harder at the gym and cut down a little more on my calorie intake to keep my weight balanced. Everyone said it wasn't possible at my age to maintain my weight but I have proved them wrong, it does take a lot of hard work and motivation though. I feel stronger and my heart and lungs have greatly improved since I quit. Good luck and don't worry about gaining weight, just keep a close eye on it daily.
—Guest Sharon

Exercise and Less Carbs

I used walking (and later running) actively to keep cravings away when quitting in feb. 2008. I find that with exercice 45min to 1.5 hrs every 2-3 days allows me to keep a steady "slim" weight (or lose weight if I want). I also eat less bread (fruit/nuts and yoghurt instead) and less potatoes.
—Stabel

I Feel Better Now!

I have been smoke free for 7 months. After smoking for - let me think - I started at 17 and am now 60 - what's that? I got on to the electric cigs and that is now my comfort zone. Anyway I thought people gained weight after quitting because they ate more. I eat the same and have still gained 14 lbs. All my clothes are tight and I have to go shopping! I feel better that it is not the case of eating more. I was starting to think there was something seriously wrong with me. I am so proud of myself! Two new grandsons were my motivation.
—Guest Ivy

Do You Believe In Magic?

I was smoking a pack a day to a pack and a half a day for almost 3 years, but I quit in September 2012. I went from being able to run for only 2 minutes, to atleast 45. I went from 115lbs to 135llbs. I went from having smoke lines around my lips to having none. I went from being broke all the time to saving $2,000 in five months. I went from struggling to sing, to belting like Aretha. I went from being depressed to facing the deep repressed issues within, I went from another smoker in America, to an individual for peace, I went from ignorance, to enlightenment I go from day to day battling still, but KNOWING now is my own free will, is worth more than gold.
—Guest CharlieBrownsGirlfriend

No Pain No Gain, Right

I have always been a big health fanatic worrying about my weight. Interestingly enough despite my big health craze (Exercise 5-6 days a week and eating well) I still smoked. One day I had a big revelation. What am I doing to myself. Yes I was a lean mean machine but that was on the outside. On the inside cigarettes were rotting me away and let's face it I smelled like cigarettes. Not Pretty! I quit smoking cold turkey about seven months ago and its been tough. I have gained almost 15 lbs (5'4 before quitting 110 lbs now 124lbs) and I don't recognize myself. Would I go back to smoking? Hell no... it has been a crazy journey. I am still in the gym and trying to eat well. Hopefully it will pass and I can recover. At least I can look in the mirror and say "You go girl...you fought that beast and won! The extra pounds are just battle scars which will go away with tender loving care!
—Guest Carmen

You Gain Everything from Quitting

I quit those death sticks for many reasons. The main reason Is ALL the benefits you gain from NOT smoking as apposed to the big NOTHING you gain from smoking. Now, I am 8 days in and I want to gain weight. Im 6'2" 160lbs but I am in shape. I eat healthy and regular. I have 3 protein shakes a day to load up and I feel GREAT. I used and still am using the patch but not as a crutch. I tested myself the other day. I stood outside with 4 smokers for about 2 hours and didnt really have an issue. keep it up everyone. REMEMBER THIS. YOU GAIN EVERYTHING FROM QUITTING AND NOTHING FROM SMOKING.
—Guest Brandon

Six Months Quit

I've been overweight for most of my life. Not excessively, but a good 20 lbs or so. And that was as a smoker. So I realized that smoking was not a guarantee to not being overweight. Yet, I knew when I quit again 6 months ago that I would likely gain weight, but this time I needed to do it for my health. Before it was always for my "future" health, but this time I was sick and couldn't shake whatever it was. So I decided to stop playing the games and quit for good. I've now made it smoke-free for 6 months and occasionally think about having "just one." But I know better. If I'm in it for the long haul, "just one" is not an option. So now instead of being 20 lbs overweight, I have 30 lbs to lose. But New Years' is right around the corner and no better time to start!!
—Guest Patty

Relapse Does Not Equal Weight Loss

My last serious quit was for 18 months about 10 years ago. It was cold turkey, pretty easy because we were living overseas and away from normal triggers. When I returned to the US I started gaining weight, one night went to a baseball game with friends, drinking beer, and the guy next to me was smoking my brand. Within a week I was back at my same level, and despite all efforts, the weight stayed on. Our metabolism slows as we age, and a glance at my family shows a genetic disposition to my body type. After just 8 days I can climb stairs and walk farther, I'm so far just taking baby steps, parking farther from work, avoiding elevator, etc. I really doubt Chippendales is going to be recruiting me anyway, so I'm just gonna focus on quitting smoking and worry about the weight next year.
—alonenate

I've Gained, but It's Still Worth it

Every day I want to smoke but I know what the end results are and I have two little boys who are my motivators. When I quit smoking 5 months ago after smoking on and off for 12 years I weighed 170 lbs and 5 months later I stepped on a scale for the first time after Quitting I wanted to cry I have gained 36lbs i am now 206 I instantly wanted to smoke but i didn't I know i have made the right choice but i am having a hard time accepting the weight that comes along with quitting any tips??
—Guest shortylala6902

A Small Weight Gain; A Large Achievement

I've been stopping on and off now for the last three months. At first I used champix and it was fairly easy, even to keep the weight gain at bay, I thought I was so good. Then came the day I had to give up the drugs and actually not smoke. That's a whole different ballgame. My mind played all kinds of dirty tricks on me. 'If I don't smoke I'm going to weigh 20 stones before long and I'll have a heart attack so what the difference' I heard myself say one day. Still, apart from 3 or 4 slip ups early on, I managed to stop feeling sorry for myself and grit my teeth. Yes I've put 10 pounds on but I'll lose it eventually. If I can quit smoking I can do anything. We all can. Kudos to all of us
—Guest dawn

One Day at a Time...Worth it

I want to mention one thing that really really helped me quit smoking: changing my routine. Instead of smoking and reading mail at the kitchen counter, sat down and read it. Instead of a smoke after dinner, took the dog for a walk. Instead of smoking while talking on the phone, used a electronic cigg, that really has helped me. I still have gained weight, but forgot to mention these tips in my earlier post.
—Dragonfly196

Food Tastes Better

I first made the mistake of starting smoking at age 30, had an x bf stalking me and threatening me, I thought I wouldn't get hooked, but at the time did. Then 17 years later found out I have a leaky heart valve, that did it, although I tried in the past, never succeeded, this time I just did it cold turkey, totally, almost on 3 months now. I would of tried cold turkey sooner, but my roommate smoked, and I thought why not, I'm getting second hand smoke anyway. But he moved out. But weight gain is inevitable, although I haven't gained a lot yet, I still have gained some. I keep radishes and celery in my fridge, but I never craved sweets, and now do, so that is my downfall. I told my cardologist I'm happy that I quit, as he was to, but I told him food taste so much better now! I just have to take it one day at a time. I would like to start an exercise regimen and diet if anyone has suggestions. So far I have got a lot of helpful hints from reading others experience. Thanks.
—Dragonfly196

Stick With it!

I had to have a heart bypass and nearly died. This forced me to quit smoking. I have put on so much weight -- 30 pounds and none of my clothes fit me. I feel awful, fat, tired, awkward and sick as my jeans cut me in half. BUT....I choose life....smoking WILL kill me! Hopefully I will lose the weight in time. I crave sweet stuff all the time and as I can't have a cigarette, I eat sweets and chocolate. I walk the dog for an hour every day. Not smoking is so hard and the weight gain is awful, BUT I've been smoke-free for 8 months after smoking for 45 years!
—Guest MOIRA

One Obstacle at a Time

Almost 8 weeks into my quit...I already feel the weight gain and know its inevitable...My priority now is to be smoke free for 1 year, then I will worry about the weight gain...I think I would fail at both quitting smoking and weight loss if I put too much pressure on myself...A house, kids and full time work how does every one find the time to go to the gym...I think my daughter would take me to Mommy and Daughter Divorce court!
—Catniss

Keep Weight Gain at Bay

I smoked for 20 years and quit cold turkey. And I was a very heavy smoker. I exercised like a fiend, and still put on about 25 lbs- but kept exercising & about six months later, the weight started falling off, and I was running an hour and a half 4-5 x a week. It was worth it. Unfortunately- 21 years later, I was going thru a terrible divorce, and picked up 1 cigarette. I was hooked again. I was so stressed and depressed, I got REAL skinny, but again I smoked like a fiend & could no longer do that kind of exercise. I felt terrible. I smoked for 4 more years, and KNEW I had to quit asap. So, I made a plan, and it worked. First, I joined weight watchers to lose a few lbs, and kept going for a couple of months, and am still going. I started to cut way down on the cigarettes & start exercising in the pool as often as time permitted. After 3 months of healthy eating, exercising, I gave up the cigarettes again. I keep eating my weight watcher's healthy style, and exercising. So far, so good.
—dottie.1966

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How to Manage Weight Gain When Quitting Smoking

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