10/01/2009 - Questions and Answers

Smoking and weight

By: Mark Castleden

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Question

How should I loose the weight I've gained since I quit smoking?

Answer

First things first! Congratulations! Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. That being said, some people return smoking thinking it will help them loose the weight they have gained since quitting. Do not do this. Not only does it not help reduce the weight but you will have to significant health problems: smoking and excess weight. The risk of many serious diseases is much higher from smoking than the risk associated from a few or even many extra pounds.

To plan how to loose weight gained since quitting smoking, begin by carefully examining your new eating habits. While a small metabolic change may occur when you quit smoking that may account for a pound or two, the majority of weight gain is usually because chewing because a substitute for the cigarette.

Although it is a nuisance, keep a dietary log. Start by taking 3 days, including a weekend as part of those days. Every time you put anything into your mouth during these three days, record when it occurred, what it was and how much. During that time, keep a list of all those factors that you notice may contribute to weight gain. (For example: you notice that before you always had a cigarette with coffee. Now when you have coffee, you notice a strong desire to eat and it often results in a cookie or two). Reviewing this list may help you make the necessary changes by yourself. If you have the help of a Registered Dietitian, this record will help you both to identify patterns and plan dietary adjustments.

Do not begin and stop diets you may have heard about from friends, magazines, or books. Don't be discouraged that the weight will come off slower than it came on. That is always the case and the most important thing is to prevent further weight gain and begin to permanently change behaviors so that the weight that does come off and STAYS OFF!

And finally, it bears repeating: Congratulations on having stopped smoking. If you can quit smoking, you can loose the extra weight.

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Created on: 05/31/2000
Reviewed on: 10/01/2009

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