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Readers Respond: How to Manage Weight Gain When Quitting Smoking

Responses: 65

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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.

A Little Weight Gain is OK

I have been smoking since age 16 and finally decided to quit when I started having shortness of breath. I am 5ft tall and weighed between 95 and 100 lbs. I decided to put my weight gain fears behind as gaining a few pounds would not be so bad for me. I have gone 15 days without a smoke and doing fine so far. I was already exercising every day and ate mostly fruit and veg. So what if I gain a few pounds at my age I guess it won't really matter.
—Guest pooh

My Pants are Already TIGHT!

This is my 7th day without a cigarette and I can already feel the pounds packing on. My plan is like everyone else's. Move more...walk more... cut back on calories. Once I get my lung capacity better, I plan on getting on mu eliptical machine. After work, I would instantly go home and cook and smoke. I think I need to change that too. Perhaps I will exercise, then cook. Change is GOOD. Good luck to everyone out there.
—redsoxlover

Stay Quit I Welcomed the Weight Gain

I read one other writer here who also welcomed the weight gain. I've been skinny my whole life and made fun of at work and other places because of it. Men act like you are less a man or something when you are skinny and it hurts the jokes you laugh but it hurts. I've been quit for 4 months I also have other health issues. I was amazed at how so many things about me improved. I also drank too much beer and realized I needed to quit that to stay off cigarettes and I guess the combination of not smoking or drinking beer daily has made a huge difference in how my body functions and how I feel. I have gained about 15 pounds in 4 months but I eat alot more and I am not trying to slow down yet. I have eaten alot of raw veggies my wife kept me a tray when I first quit smoking it helped greatly with the cessation. But 4 months quit and I still have to work at it. Your brain plays games with you and you will find yourself negotiating with yourself about smoking a cigarette. Don't.
—Guest jim marcum

Quit for Good

After smoking for 25 years, quitting off, and on, I quit cold turkey on 11/13/2011, I will not ever go back to smoking after everything I went through with nicotine withdrawal, but I did gain 10 pounds right away. I had to immediately take control -- I even thought about smoking again because I was so devastated to gain so much weight in a month. However, I kept a food diary to keep track of my food intake, I cut out sugar, fast food, ate healthy and walked for an hour a day, and I lost the weight in a month. I won't ever say quitting smoking is easy especially cold turkey, but once you get through all the hell of withdrawal, it is so worth it. I feel like a brand new person with a brand new life, better the ever. I never thought I could quit smoking but am so grateful with God's help that I did.
—Guest Sheri

Keep Priorities in Order

Using the Nicorette patch and gum. I have used these in the past and every winter I usually quit for 3 months and then start up again in the nice weather. But this time I want to quit for good. This forum has lots of healthy tips so I will keep reading every day.
—misslissad

Carrot Sticks and Jogging

I was already very big when I quit smoking and when I ballooned even further up to around 258lbs (18stone) I knew I had to do something. Believe it or not one of my reasons for quitting was to lose weight so after two months, I got rid of the mint imperials, cut cheese down to just twice a week (I miss my cheese ) and started jogging. 6 weeks later I am down to 16st 13lbs (237lbs) and running two miles three times a week. My plan is to do the half marathon in march. I feel so much better for it. Quitting smoking was the best decision I ever made.
—Rob12345678

Weight Gain Can Be Controlled

I have been quit for 100 days after smoking for 35 years. Up against it being menopausal = weight gain. Female and 50 next month = weight gain and then stopping smoking well "weight gain". Suddenly, I had an extra layer appear around my middle as well as a general weight gain everywhere else. I was working out at the gym 3 times a week already. I felt desperate and tired but no change just weight gain continuing. I had to up the anti somewhat. Up the cardiovascular exercise from 10 minutes to 30 minutes and the level up too. I changed the weight bearing exercises focussing on the middle more. I went an extra day and started to do floor exercises in front of the telly. Well results at last and good ones too. Motivated again to continue not smoking and I can ease up once I get that extra middle bit off and keep my weight level. It can be done even when you are up against it!!!!
—Guest Stoman

Don't Give Up

I am 54 years old, I thought about quitting cigarettes after 5 years. I just thought about it ...but could never try. Then after 18 years of smoking, I thought about...sound laughable..... But is true...hopefully 1990 for a New Year resolution I could do it. I quit no more than 3 days. In 1998 I had a quit that lasted for 4 days. This year, 9 days. This time I read your web-page. I used to think I had a bad habit that I could quit any time, but I understood from this forum, I was controlled by tobacco products. It is not my buddy, the killer. It kidnapped me. It kills me slowly. I don't care about my weight gain...I am more happy than ever. I begin to smell the real world, which was closed by tobacco for last 35 years. I am on a diet and have gone from 180lb to 145 lbs. It took me almost 14 months and my goal is to be between 133 to 137 lbs. Even if I gain 10 pounds, I don't want to see the monster (smoking) return. Thanks a lot this web page. I love you all who quit smoking, and those who want to be free.
—Guest shane

No Snacks, Healthy Meals and Exercise!

First of all, I stopped all snacking. I eat 3 healthy meals per day. Breakfast is yogurt, berries and 1/4 cup granola. Lunch is either a Lean Cuisine or a thin wheat bagel with tuna salad. Dinner is lean protein with high fiber carb (wild rice, brown rice, wheat pasta, etc) in small amounts and vegetables and/or small salad. I walk every day for 1 hour - a nice brisk walk. I am looking to add weight training and training on my bike in the next couple of weeks to the evening walk and want to start doing longer bike rides with my husband on the weekends. I am 2 weeks quit and so far have maintained my weight and actually seem to have lost some belly fat in the process. April
—Annie.Abbey

Happy Trails

I quit smoking on January 9, 2011. I am saving my cigarette money to buy a mountain bike and helmet...almost there. Meanwhile, I take walks, stretch out, and eat lots of salads. Don't deprive yourself of food...just eat healthier foods....Happy trails!
—CatLum

Maintaining With Healthy Food / Exercise

Twenty-one days into no smoking and there is no urge to smoke, but the weight is packing on. I am maintaining my weight now by walking 3 miles a day, or working out with my wii, or doing the treadmill. Have been maintaining for 4 days know. Staying active is the main key -- also making better food choices.
—Guest pat

Just Maintain!

I only have one day in...but I quit once before for over a month..I have smoked for 16 years. I got married wen I was 30...and gained 40 lbs while smoking.. Since then, I turned to fitness and am back to my high school weight. I run and lift 6 days a week. When I quit before I lost weight...just turn one addiction into another...a healthy one. Dust off your tennis shoes and walk for a 1/2 hour every night...then an hour ...then lite jogging. I set my goal on a 1/2 marathon in the fall. If you are new to jogging, find a local 5K to run..it's easy and fun. Focus and train for that and you will lose while you quit!
—Jasonimdone

Exercise Bike

Every time I get the urge to smoke, I exercise on the bike for approximately 20 minutes, very fast. Also, I am a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers.
—Guest LINDA

Water, Water Everywhere!

And lots of it IN YOU. It will help with absolutely everything. And walking to get the water will help, too. Keep walking, keep sipping. Of equal importance is adopting some form of meditation practice. It helps calm the mind in the way that the 'illusion' of calm promised by nicotine did not. Hope this helps!
—NellieBligh

Before Your First Ever Cigarrette

Remembering the freedom from cigarettes from before smoking has been my focus. I have smoked on and off for many years and after using this as a way of maintaining weight and dealing with stress I realized I was more than ready to be bigger than this habit. Look at how aged someone your own age can look when they are a smoker. I stepped up my exercise routine and have quit smoking for good. If a loved one was trapped under a car, think of the strength you could muster to rescue them. We all have what it takes to lift the burden of smoking. A pack of smokes weighs less than a car and your loved ones are more important than this habit we can control. It is a matter of priorities.
—Guest Mike stefan

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