Many new nonsmokers worry about gaining weight. Not everyone gains weight when they quit smoking, but for people who do, the average weight gain is 5-10 pounds.
People gain weight when they quit smoking because smoking burns calories more quickly and covers up the feeling of hunger. When you quit, your body gets back to normal and you feel the hunger that smoking covered up. Also, your mind can confuse cigarette cravings with hunger, making you want to eat too much. To keep your weight down after you quit, there are two proven things you can do: be active and eat healthy.
Simple ways to be active:
- Move more: take the stairs, play ball with the kids or take a 15- to 30-minute walk every day, maybe on your lunch hour or right before work.
- Get back to a sport you used to enjoy.
- Get a friend to try something new with you—a swimming or yoga class, a crafting workshop, a walk in the woods, or biking along the many bike paths in Massachusetts.
- Volunteer! There are many ways to help your community and meet new people while being active. Try gardening, building and repairing homes, coaching kids, or giving walking tours.
Simple ways to eat better:
- Eat six smaller meals and snacks throughout the day. Watch your portion size and keep low-fat, low-calorie foods on hand so you’re not tempted.
- Drink a glass of water when you want to eat something.
- Eat less red meat, cheese, and processed foods. Replace them with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try shopping at a local Massachusetts farmers’ market.
- If you are inspired, try a cooking class that features healthy recipes!
Try making some changes in your diet and everyday activities before your quit date. Keep to these new healthy habits after you have quit. For more easy ways to be active and eat better, visit Mass in Motion.