Disease: Weight Control and Smoking Cessation

    Weight control and smoking cessation introduction

    Congratulations on your decision to quit smoking! Quitting is one of the best actions you can take to improve your health. You may be concerned about gaining weight, but try not to worry about it as you quit. Focus on stopping smoking first, and then continue to improve your health in other ways, such as reaching and maintaining 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 less than 10 pounds. Roughly 10 percent of people who stop smoking gain a large amount of weight - as many as 30 pounds.

    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 and eat more than usual, but 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 a normal rate again. Every cigarette you smoke makes your body burn calories faster, but is also harmful to your heart. Once you quit, you are no longer getting this temporary effect. Instead, you are burning slightly fewer calories on a daily basis.

    Can I avoid weight gain?

    Physical activity and a healthy eating plan may help you control your weight. In addition, being physically active may ease withdrawal symptoms during smoking cessation and help reduce the chances of relapsing after quitting.

    While it is a good idea to be physically active and eat healthy foods as you quit smoking, try not to worry about your weight. It may be easier to quit first and focus on controlling your weight when you are smoke-free.

    To lower your chances of gaining weight when you stop smoking:

    • Accept yourself.
    • Get regular, moderate-intensity physical activity.
    • Limit snacking and alcohol.
    • Consider using medication to help you quit.
    • Consider getting professional advice about weight control.

    Accept yourself

    If you gain a few pounds when you quit, do not dwell on it. Instead, feel proud that you are improving your health. Quitting smoking may make you feel better in many ways.

    Quitting smoking may help you have:

    • more energy
    • whiter teeth
    • fresher breath and fresher smelling clothes and hair
    • fewer wrinkles and healthier-looking skin
    • a clearer voice

    Get regular, moderate-intensity physical activity

    Regular physical activity may help you avoid large weight gains when you quit smoking. It may also boost your mood and help you feel more energetic. It is likely that you will be able to breathe easier during physical activity after you quit smoking.

    Aim to be physically active at a moderate-intensity level (one that makes you breathe harder but does not overwork or overheat you) on most, if not all, days of the week. You can accomplish this by breaking it up into shorter sessions—it does not need to be done all at once. After you quit smoking and are ready to lose weight, you may need to increase the amount of time that you are physically active each day or increase your intensity level to achieve your weight loss goals. The ideas below may help you to be active.

    Ideas for Being Active Every Day
    • Use your lunch break to walk around and stretch, or take a walk after dinner.
    • Sign up for a class such as dance or yoga. Ask a friend to join you.
    • Get off the bus one stop early if you are in an area safe for walking.
    • Park the car further away from entrances to stores, movie theaters, or your home.
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Make sure the stairs are well lit.

    Limit snacking and alcohol

    Having more high-fat, high-sugar snacks and alcoholic drinks may lead to weight gain when you quit smoking. The ideas below may help you make healthy eating and beverage choices as you quit smoking.

    Tips for Healthy Eating and Beverage Selections as You Quit
    • Do not go too long without eating. Being very hungry can lead to less healthy food choices.
    • Eat enough at meal times to satisfy you, but try not to overeat. Eat slowly so you can pick up on your body's signals that you are full.
    • Choose healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in its own juices, low-fat air-popped popcorn, or fat-free yogurt when you are hungry between meals.
    • Do not deny yourself an occasional treat. If you crave ice cream, enjoy a small serving, which is 1/2 cup.
    • Choose an herbal tea, hot cocoa made with fat-free milk, or sparkling water instead of an alcoholic beverage.

    Consider using medication to help you quit

    Talk to your health care provider about medications that may help you quit smoking. Some people gain less weight when they use medication.

    Medications That May Help You Quit Smoking

    Nicotine replacement therapy, including the patch, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, and inhaler.

    • Antidepressant medication.
    • The patch, lozenges, and gum are available without a prescription from your health care provider.

    Accept yourself

    If you gain a few pounds when you quit, do not dwell on it. Instead, feel proud that you are improving your health. Quitting smoking may make you feel better in many ways.

    Quitting smoking may help you have:

    • more energy
    • whiter teeth
    • fresher breath and fresher smelling clothes and hair
    • fewer wrinkles and healthier-looking skin
    • a clearer voice

    Get regular, moderate-intensity physical activity

    Regular physical activity may help you avoid large weight gains when you quit smoking. It may also boost your mood and help you feel more energetic. It is likely that you will be able to breathe easier during physical activity after you quit smoking.

    Aim to be physically active at a moderate-intensity level (one that makes you breathe harder but does not overwork or overheat you) on most, if not all, days of the week. You can accomplish this by breaking it up into shorter sessions—it does not need to be done all at once. After you quit smoking and are ready to lose weight, you may need to increase the amount of time that you are physically active each day or increase your intensity level to achieve your weight loss goals. The ideas below may help you to be active.

    Ideas for Being Active Every Day
    • Use your lunch break to walk around and stretch, or take a walk after dinner.
    • Sign up for a class such as dance or yoga. Ask a friend to join you.
    • Get off the bus one stop early if you are in an area safe for walking.
    • Park the car further away from entrances to stores, movie theaters, or your home.
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Make sure the stairs are well lit.

    Limit snacking and alcohol

    Having more high-fat, high-sugar snacks and alcoholic drinks may lead to weight gain when you quit smoking. The ideas below may help you make healthy eating and beverage choices as you quit smoking.

    Tips for Healthy Eating and Beverage Selections as You Quit
    • Do not go too long without eating. Being very hungry can lead to less healthy food choices.
    • Eat enough at meal times to satisfy you, but try not to overeat. Eat slowly so you can pick up on your body's signals that you are full.
    • Choose healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in its own juices, low-fat air-popped popcorn, or fat-free yogurt when you are hungry between meals.
    • Do not deny yourself an occasional treat. If you crave ice cream, enjoy a small serving, which is 1/2 cup.
    • Choose an herbal tea, hot cocoa made with fat-free milk, or sparkling water instead of an alcoholic beverage.

    Consider using medication to help you quit

    Talk to your health care provider about medications that may help you quit smoking. Some people gain less weight when they use medication.

    Medications That May Help You Quit Smoking

    Nicotine replacement therapy, including the patch, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, and inhaler.

    • Antidepressant medication.
    • The patch, lozenges, and gum are available without a prescription from your health care provider.

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

    Talk to your health care provider about medications that may help you quit smoking. Some people gain less weight when they use medication.

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

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