Worried about weight gain after quitting smoking? Don’t worry, it doesn’t affect everyone. Plus, there are many ways to manage your weight after stubbing out, so let’s check them out.
You’ve started on your quit journey — written down your motivations for quitting, thought through the different quit methods, and armed yourself with strategies to fight urges.
You may also have heard about some ex-smokers putting on weight after quitting, and you don’t like the idea of gaining a spare tyre, and having your friends comment that you look more “prosperous”.
Don’t worry, not everyone gains weight after quitting! Plus, there are ways we can manage our weight after stubbing out. Let’s check out the strategies.
Is Quitting a Weighty Issue?
First, a brief explanation on why we might gain weight after quitting smoking.
Smoking dulls our taste buds, making food seem bland. After quitting, we recover our sense of taste — suddenly, everything tastes yummier, and we start noticing the fragrance of nasi lemak or the subtle wok hei of hor fun.
We might find ourselves indulging a little more than usual too.
Here’s the issue: when we eat more than usual while keeping the same level of physical activity, the extra calories consumed have nowhere to go — and they get stored as extra padding and weight.
So, quitting doesn’t directly cause weight gain; what we do after quitting matters more.
Quick Tips for Managing Weight
The good news: not everyone gains weight after quitting. And even if we do put on a little weight, it can be lost with proper diet and exercise (while the benefits of stubbing outlast a lifetime), so don’t be discouraged!
To help you manage your weight on your journey to smoke-free, here are some tips to keep the kilos away.
Eat Regular, Balanced Meals
Eat small, well-balanced meals throughout the day — My Healthy Plate is a helpful tool to keep your portions and balance in check.
And remember not to skip meals: you might end up munching on unhealthy snacks to curb your hunger, or binge-eating later in the day.
After quitting, you might turn to snacks to keep your “itchy” mouth busy; this could also contribute to weight gain.
The solution? Replace high-fat and sugar-rich snacks with low calorie options like fresh fruit and veggies.
Snack Ideas for Your Quit Journey
Need something crunchy to munch on? Try D-I-Y popcorn seasoned with your favourite herbs and spices, like garlic or curry powder. For those with a sweet tooth, trade ice cream for blended frozen bananas — they’re just as creamy and delicious!
Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Drinking keeps your mouth busy, and downing a glass before a meal helps prevent overeating.
Increase your physical activity — just 30 minutes a day for five days a week can do wonders for your weight and health!
Exercise also release happy hormones that help you stay positive on your quit journey.