In a previous post about weight gain, I explained that while most smokers do pack on at least a few pounds after they quit, weight gain is not inevitable and certainly can be temporary.
Here are some strategies to avoid or minimize weight gain while you work to maintain your hard-earned quit. You can find additional strategies in our post titled Back to Blogging and Weight Management the "Mindful" Way
- Plan what you’ll put in your mouth — besides a piece of chocolate! — when you experience a craving. Chew sugar-free gum, a straw, or a cinnamon stick.
- Examine the emotional needs smoking filled for you, such as coping with stress or boredom, and learn ways to cope that don’t involve eating. For example: deep breathing, calling a friend, listening to a podcast, or posting on EX Community.
- Don’t skip meals or deprive yourself of favorite foods. A restrictive diet will only make you more irritable and vulnerable to relapse.
- Choose fresh fruits and veggies over processed snacks. Not only are baby carrots, tangerines, and apple slices more nutritious than, say, energy bars, but all that munching, peeling, and slicing will help keep you busy and distracted.
- Stay active. Think smoking gives you pleasure? It’s no match for the sheer joy of taking a brisk walk without huffing and puffing! Start small: Use the stairs instead of the elevator, replace your smoke break with a 10-minute walk, walk the sidelines during your child’s sports game. Exercise keeps you busy, lowers stress, and burns calories all at once.
We don’t recommend trying to lose weight in the first few months after you quit smoking. Channel your energy into staying tobacco free. You have the rest of your life to lose weight, if that is a goal for you.
However, while you focus on quitting, there’s plenty you can do to keep your weight stable.
Let us know: What weight-control strategies do you plan to try? If you’ve already quit, what are your best tips for avoiding weight gain?