“Will I put on weight if I give up smoking?” is a common question raised by clients entering One You Kensington and Chelsea’s stop smoking program. If, like many of our clients, you’re concerned about adding to your waistline after you’ve given up smoking, please read on for some top tips.
Firstly, we understand that putting on weight can negatively affect a person’s confidence and mood, so we do appreciate the apprehension.
That said, the number one takeaway from this blog post is the benefits of giving up smoking significantly outweigh some manageable weight gain. On average, ex-smokers can gain up to 11lbs in the year after they stop smoking1,a very small price to pay to reduce the chances of heart and lung complications.2
The good news is: It's more than possible to quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight. Let's start by striking a ‘MATCH’ to shed some light on why an ex-smoker’s appetite increases.
Metabolism: Smoking speeds up metabolism, causing the body to need less calories.1
Appetite: Nicotine can suppress the appetite.1
Taste: Quitting smoking reinvigorates the taste buds and sense of smell. Rediscovering how wonderful everything tastes can lead to over eating.1
Cravings: Quitter’s often mistake nicotine cravings for being hungry.1
Hand to Mouth: Reaching for snacks can replace the smoking action.1
So now we know why we may want to raid the fridge more often than before, let’s have a look at how to combat weight gain (without bolting a lock on to the fridge).
Move more: Exercising speeds up metabolism, so the body burns calories faster.1 When a smoker quits, the body also has more oxygen and less carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that slows you down.3
Reduce portions: The NHS Eatwell portion plate is a great tool to help people create balanced, delicious meals while keeping an eye on much food they’re consuming.
Be mindful of your diet: Reaching for refined sugars with a renewed sense of taste can be tempting. Be aware of what types of foods you are eating (the portion plate can help with this too).
Be prepared: If your hand to mouth habit has you reaching for a sugary replacement, prepare some healthy snacks (link to healthy hearts recipes?) or buy some nuts or fruits.
Try stop smoking medicines: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and prescription tablets like Champix, can increase your chances of quitting successfully. They also seem to help limit weight gain in the first few months.1
If you are seeking support to help you quit smoking or get healthier join our Stop Smoking and Healthy Lifestyle services today. If you stop smoking through using our services, you are automatically eligible for our Healthy Lifestyle services which provide a range of support and guidance on losing weight including weight management courses, a free online gym platform, wellbeing workshops and cooking classes.