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How Can I Give Up Smoking
and Not Gain Weight?

Weight control is one of the biggest factors which induces people, especially girls, to smoke, and worries them about giving up. But with a bit of thought and some different strategies, you can stop smoking successfully without putting on weight.

Nicotine can dull your appetite

Smoking does two particular things to help you control your weight:

  1. Chemicals within tobacco smoke, particularly nicotine, take the edge off your appetite
  2. Holding and smoking a cigarette is a diverting behaviour, which helps you to avoid eating. It's easy to light up a cigarette rather than reaching for a biscuit.

When you stop smoking:

  • your appetite increases especially as your taste buds recover from the onslaught of tobacco. You actually enjoy food more and therefore are tempted to eat more.
  • you crave food to replace the buzz that nicotine gave you. You may feel desperate for the comforting effect of food.
  • you may turn to food, especially snacking, to give you something to occupy your hands.

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Tips to avoid gaining weight:

1. The initial craving will pass. Keep this in mind as you battle to control the desire to snack.

2. Stock up on healthy low calorie snacks and drinks (fresh fruit and dried fruit, carrots and other crispy vegetables are the best) so that when you do eat it is not high fat, high calorie foods.

3. Make sure you eat 3 regular healthy meals a day, with plenty of low fat complex carbohydrates such as pasta to keep your appetite under control and reduce the desire to snack in between.

4. Try to get some exercise every day. As your lungs recover from the effects of smoking you will find this easier and more enjoyable. Not only will it help to burn any extra calories but it can also help control appetite

5. Save up all the money you haven't spent on smoking for some extra special clothes - with this sort of goal it can help to keep eating under control.

6. Find something else to occupy your hands or divert your attention. Take up doodling, beading, knitting, or puzzles.

7. Try giving up using nicotine replacement therapy. This may help to gradually wean you off the effects of nicotine.

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Updated March 2019