You may be concerned about gaining weight after you quit smoking.
It's true that your body uses food more slowly after you first stop smoking, and you may eat more when you quit. But if you watch what you eat and stay active, you can keep your weight in check. These pointers from the American Heart Association can help you stay within a healthful weight range.
Pass up rich desserts. Choose fruit, low-fat or nonfat frozen yogurt, angel food cake, or dates and raisins instead.
Think fresh. As soon as you finish a meal, brush your teeth as a signal to yourself that you aren't going to eat any more.
Plan for the munchies. Keep nutritious, low-calorie foods on hand. A few ideas:
Put healthful snacks in front. Store high-calorie snacks at the back of the cupboard or refrigerator, where they're harder to see, and healthier snacks in front.
Throughout the day
Stay active. Make time to exercise every day. If you're starting a new fitness program, talk with your doctor first. Start with as little as 10 minutes per day and gradually build up to longer periods of time. Eventually, you should try for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.
In addition to helping you burn calories and control your weight, exercise can:
Be creative. Find ways to keep your hands busy that don't involve food.
Drink up. It's especially important to drink lots of water. Beware of alcohol, though; it adds calories and may reduce your resolve to quit smoking. Instead, opt for juice or tea.
First things first
The weight gain that may happen after quitting smoking is generally small—usually less than 10 pounds, according to the American Cancer Society.
Even if you do gain a few pounds after quitting, your health will still be better off than when you were smoking. In fact, you'd have to gain a lot of weight to offset the health rewards of quitting.
So don't let weight gain distract you from your primary goal—quitting smoking. You are more likely to quit successfully if you deal with the smoking first, then lose weight later if need be.