9 Tips On Avoiding Unintentional Weight Gain Post Quitting Smoking

How To Avoid Weight Gain After You Quit Smoking - DoctorOnCall

Have you ever heard people say quitting smoking makes you fat? Is that fact true? Maybe this makes many smokers out there afraid to quit smoking. It may also be used as an excuse to continue smoking.

It may be true that quitting smoking makes you fat, but weight gain after quitting smoking actually is not due to quitting smoking itself, but habits that are often practiced as a mechanism to suppress nicotine addiction that comes after quitting smoking.

According to a study, an average smoker will experience a weight gain of 2.25 to 4.5 pounds in the first few months when they quit. Want to know why this happens and what steps are often taken to prevent weight gain after quitting smoking? Follow this article for more info. 

Why Do You Gain Weight After Quitting Smoking?

High nicotine content in tobacco, and also in cigarettes causes some reaction to the body. This effect is not noticed when they are still smoking, but is going to be felt after they stop smoking. One of the effects is the problem of body fat after quitting smoking. However, do not panic first. There are many reasons why a person can gain weight after quitting smoking. Let's see one by one.

  • Decreased level of metabolism 

When smoking, one's body metabolism will increase due to the influence of nicotine. Nicotine speeds up the body's metabolic process. Metabolism is the process of producing energy and substances needed by the cells.

Foods are the main supplier to produce energy as well as the needs of the cell. The higher your metabolic rate, the faster these ingredients are processed. Therefore a smoker's weight usually decreases when they start smoking.

But what happens when they stop? Nicotine levels in the body continue to decrease, the metabolic process also begins to slow down, this causes a person's weight to increase.

  • Increase in appetite

Have we ever heard a smoker say they can survive all day without rice but not without cigarettes? When they smoke, a person's appetite decreases and they can feel satisfied with just smoking. When they quit, their appetite begins to escalate due to the absence of cigarettes as well as their taste senses start to improve again.

  • Unhealthy snacking habits to beat addiction

To overcome the problem of nicotine withdrawal syndrome due to nicotine loss, new smokers will find alternatives to scale back addiction by chewing. However, the choice of snacks that are high in calories certainly causes weight gain.

  • "Hand-to-mouth" habits

In addition to fighting addiction, smokers are also accustomed to the habit of putting hands to mouth so that when they try to quit, this habit still exists but not cigarettes are fed into the mouth, instead of unhealthy snacks.

Let’s Overcome The Weight Gain

Weight gain is additionally one of the challenges of quitting smoking. However, do not be discouraged. This can be settled down.

Set a positive mind that even though you may face some weight gain, at least you have put away the risk of lung cancer and other diseases caused by smoking. Also, weight gain is not necessarily bad. Maybe you will achieve a healthy weight after quitting smoking.

Now let's see how you can quit smoking without a sudden increase in weight.

1. Remain Active In Daily Life

As described above, quitting smoking will hamper the body's metabolic process. To inhibit the ongoing problem, you are advised to enjoy some physical activity as it can help increase the body's metabolic rate.

You can try to do medium-intensity sports activities such as walking, swimming or cycling for a minimum of 150 minutes or 2.5 hours per week. Such sports can speed up the heartbeat and breathing rate, in the meantime you will not feel too exhausted.

If you have time constraints to play outside, you can also do indoor exercises to your liking, or simply search for tutorials on social media platforms to make it easier for you.

2. Nicotine Replacement Therapy

To reduce the effects of nicotine cravings after quitting smoking, doctors strongly recommend that smokers get nicotine replacement therapy. Sudden cessation of smoking can cause symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome, including weight gain. Intake of nicotine chewing gum or nicotine patch can help smokers reduce their addiction and reduce the risk of sudden weight gain, especially in the early months they quit. Take this quiz to know if you are dependent on nicotine!

3. Creating Healthy Eating Habits

It is not wrong to eat or to snack to reduce the effect of nicotine addiction, but there is a far better way without being overweight. The trick is simple: Practice a healthy diet. Choose low-calorie foods if you are feeling hungry. Whether as a main or side menu, low-calorie foods are the best not only for you but for the whole family.

Menus such as chicken soup, grilled chicken, and salmon grilled with vegetables whether raw, steamed, baked, or made as the soup are nutritious, not only good for the stomach but surely can satisfy your appetite! Vary your menu so you will not get bored with the low-calorie diet practised.

In addition to a healthy menu, your food intake should also be balanced. Practice the quarterly formula each time you take a meal. A quarter of carbohydrate, a quarter of protein, and half fiber. If necessary, seek the advice of a nutritionist or your doctor to help you practice a healthy diet after quitting smoking.

4. Reduce Food Intake At Night.

For some people who may smoke before bed, now they may replace it with a meal or snacking routine at night or before bed. The body's metabolism is slowing down closer to sleeping time, thus this habit worsens the situation. Make your last heavy meal every day at 6-7 pm and avoid consuming any food at least an hour before bed. If you are too hungry at night, do not go back to smoking! but eat fruits or snacks that are low in calories.

5. Drink Enough of Plain Water

Do not be afraid of the term ‘fat due to water’, being fat is because of wrong eating habits and lack of exercise, not because of drinking water. Even drinking enough plain water can boost your digestive system.

Practice drinking two glasses of water before eating so that you feel full quickly. You may experience dryness in the mouth and lips after quitting smoking. Therefore, drinking enough plain water can help with this problem.

6. Reduce Caffeinated Drinks.

Did you know that caffeine-containing beverages are the driving force behind smoking? Usually, after a cup of coffee, you will continue to feel the urge to smoke to 'complete' the taste of the coffee.

Smokers are also actually able to digest caffeinated drinks faster than non-smokers. Therefore, when you quit smoking, you should only need half of the amount of caffeine you have been taking before.

Of course, it is difficult to give up coffee completely, so reduce the intake of such drinks slowly until you feel comfortable with the amount you drink. Replace your coffee with tea, juice or plain water.

7. Control Emotions With Healthier Snacks.

It's hard to quit smoking, but this is the price that should be paid for better health. Stress after quitting smoking, as well as symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome, may cause you to chew more often.

This action not only increases weight but is even worse if you chew high-calorie foods such as biscuits, chocolate, crackers, and other high-calorie snacks, salt, and sugar. Therefore, prepare healthier snacks at home such as beans, and dried or fresh fruit. Take snacks like this when you are hungry, stressed, or feel like smoking.

You can also practice some ways to reduce stress such as making new hobbies and exercising. Try to learn to control your emotions with the right methods. If your emotions are constantly disturbed, please consult a specialist for follow-up advice.

8. Remove "Smoke Break" From Your Life Dictionary

Surely you are used to a colleague that invites you to smoke after lunch. This is so common that it forms the term " smoke break ". When you stop, how do you avoid a friend’s invitation to have a smoke break? You ought to reject their invitation well.

Remember if you do not smoke with them, being in the same room with them is enough to endanger your health. After all, “ smoke break " is detrimental. You better do your job diligently. Your performance improves, and your boss is certainly happier.

9. Keep Yourself Busy With Other Activities

If you want to forget about cigarettes, do not give yourself a cigarette. Keep yourself busy by doing activities. If on the weekend, you can have fun with the family, gardening, painting, swimming or cycling.

Lightweight activities such as playing games on the phone, playing chess, making guesses, or sudoku can also make you forget about cigarettes. Always fill your free time with activities. Not only can you forget about cigarettes, but it can also reduce the risk of wanting to chew.


The problem is, does quitting smoking make you fat? There may be some truth to that, but once you read this article, we hope we have opened your eyes to how it is not impossible for you to quit smoking without weight gain if in the right way. Weight gain after quit smoking is just a controllable impact, not an end to everything.

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