Gaining weight when stopping smoking

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Jun 1, 2008

Many people are concerned about gaining weight when stopping smoking, and most people do gain weight after stopping. The amount varies for individuals, but the average is just about 10 lb. People gain weight for the most part because smoking suppresses the appetite, and when a person stops smoking the appetite increases.

Because stopping smoking is so vitally important to health, we recommend that people focus on that and not try to combine efforts to stop smoking with extensive efforts to lose weight. People who start a restrictive diet or are overly concerned about weight have less success stopping smoking. That does not mean that you should not pay attention to what you eat and how much you exercise. Eating healthier foods in smaller portions is a good idea. Increasing your exercise not only will help to minimize your weight gain but exercise can help you deal with withdrawal and cravings. So, don’t be overly concerned with weight until you feel stable in being smoke-free. Just try to keep the weight gain to a minimum. Envision how good you will look and feel once you are smoke-free.

Bupropion (also called Zyban or Wellbutrin) is a medication that helps people stop smoking and helps to lessen weight gain. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if this is a good option for you. You can also talk with a counselor who can help you stop smoking and can help you to address concerns about weight gain.

At www.becomeanex.org under the tab ‘Do the EX Plan’ and ‘Staying an EX’ you can find additional help to address weight gain.

Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org