Don't Let The Prospect of a Modest Weight Gain Prevent You From Quitting
Smoking, Advises the American Lung Association
Experts say that the
risk of smoking far outweighs gaining a few pounds
Americans attempting to quit
smoking must determine which is more important: Gaining a few pounds or risking lung
health problems. To most people, the decision to quit smoking is quite easy, but actually
doing it is not. In fact, quitting smoking can be more difficult with the additional
concern of putting on weight. Medical experts at the American Lung Association advise
potential quitters that a modest weight gain is common, but should not be used as a
rationale to continue smoking.
"The first six months
after quitting smoking are the most difficult," says Dr. Edwin Fisher of the American
Lung Association. "A person not only has to contend with constant urges to smoke, but
also with putting on up to 5 - 10 pounds. But, that person must realize the tremendous
lung health benefit of not smoking. Youll feel better, you'll have more energy and youre
more likely to live longer. And, those few pounds gained during the quitting process can
eventually come off."
According to the American Lung
Association, an estimated 46 million Americans smoke cigarettes and more than two thirds,
32 million, reportedly would like to stop. Each year, 34 percent of smokers actually
attempt to quit. While the short-term consequence of quitting smoking is gaining
approximately 5 - 10 pounds, the long - term consequences of continuing to smoke are the
increased risk of lung cancer and chronic lung disease.
Lung disease is the third
leading cause of death in the United States. The American Lung Association wants to help
in the struggle to maintain healthy weight and still quit smoking. The Lung Association
offers these tips for balancing quitting smoking and weight gain:
1. Recognize that it will be
more difficult to quit smoking if you also try to lose weight. Controlling weight can
sometimes distract you from your ultimate goal: Stopping smoking. A plan for losing the
gained weight can only be put into effect after you have stopped smoking for a period of
2. Do not try to limit your
eating until urges to smoke subside. If not, you may find yourself in a cycle of quitting
smoking, gaining weight, returning to smoking to lose that weight and then the pattern
3. Incorporate an exercise
regimen into your daily activities. Exercise can be used as a potential substitute
activity to distract urges to smoke. Exercise reduces tension and stress as well as
increases your metabolism and helps burn off excess calories.
4. Adhere to a healthy
nutritional plan. Eat three square meals a day consisting of the six basic food groups:
Proteins, breads, milk products, vegetables, fruits and fats. Know what you are eating and
what triggers your eating. It is important to know what foods you are eating, how much,
when and why.
5. Monitor your weight. Weigh
yourself regularly. Do what you can to avoid weight gain.