You Can Control Your Weight as You Quit Smoking

Many people gain weight when they quit smoking. Even so, the best action you can take to improve your health is to quit smoking. Focus on stopping smoking first. Then you can continue to improve your health in other ways. These may include reaching and staying at a healthy weight for life.

Will I gain weight if I stop smoking?

Not everyone gains weight when they stop smoking. Among people who do, the average weight gain is between 6 and 8 pounds. Roughly 10 percent of people who stop smoking gain a large amount of weight-30 pounds or more.

What causes weight gain after quitting?

When smokers quit, they may gain weight for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Feeling hungry. Quitting smoking may make a person feel hungrier than usual. This feeling usually goes away after several weeks.
  • Having more snacks and alcoholic drinks. Some people eat more high-fat, high-sugar snacks and drink more alcoholic beverages after they quit smoking.
  • Burning calories at normal rate again. Smoking cigarettes makes the body burn calories faster. After quitting smoking, the body's normal rate of burning calories returns. When calories are burned more slowly again, weight gain may take place.

Can I avoid weight gain?

To help yourself gain only a small amount or no weight when you stop smoking, try to:

  • Accept yourself
  • Get regular moderate-intensity physical activity
  • Limit snacking and alcohol
  • Consider using medication to help you quit.

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