Quit smoking/Stop smoking without putting on weight
You may be worried about piling on the pounds when you stop smoking, but there are steps you can take to keep weight gain to a minimum.
Will I put on weight when I stop smoking?
Not necessarily, although many people do.
On average, people gain 5kg (11lbs) in the year after they stop smoking.
Why do you put on weight when you quit?
There are 5 main reasons:
How can I avoid putting on weight when I quit?
Exercise to avoid gaining weight
After you quit smoking, your body burns calories more slowly. Even if you eat no more than when you smoked, you may put on some weight.
But being more active can help. Regular exercise may prevent about half the weight gain expected after a year of quitting smoking. It burns off calories and reduces cravings for cigarettes.
Build up to at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as fast walking, swimming or cycling, every week.
Moderate-intensity activity means working hard enough to make you breathe more heavily than normal and feel slightly warmer than usual.
The more exercise you do, the more calories youll burn.
Read more about how to get into exercise, or try Couch to 5K, which will get you running 5km in 9 weeks even if youre an absolute beginner.
What exercise can I do if I cannot walk or run?
If you have a physical disability, there are other types of exercise you can try.
Find out more about exercises for disabled people
Use stop smoking medicines to prevent weight gain
Stop smoking medicines, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and the prescription tablets Zyban (bupropion) and Champix (varenicline), can double your chances of quitting successfully.
They also seem to help limit weight gain in the first few months.
E-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid. Although not completely risk-free, theyre substantially safer than smoking and many people have found them helpful for quitting.
Find out more about e-cigarettes
Diet sensibly while stopping smoking
The important thing about stopping smoking is that you see it through.
If youre concerned about weight gain but think stopping smoking and dieting at the same time will be too much, stop smoking first and deal with any weight gain afterwards.
If youre really worried about putting on weight, ask the GP to refer you to a dietitian for a diet plan tailored to your individual needs.
This diet plan will guide you on how much to eat based on your current weight, age, gender and activity level, and stop you gaining more weight.
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