Managing Weight Gain When Quitting Smoking: Strategies to Include in Your Quit Plan

Since smoking harms the body’s major organs and increases the risk of chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease, quitting is one of the most important health decisions a smoker should make. However, many smokers are reluctant to quit not only due to intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms but also the possibility of gaining excess weight after ditching cigarettes.

In fact, this research published in JAMA Network Open notes that among over 16,000 participants, those who quit smoking reported higher increases in weight and body mass index (BMI) than those who continued smoking. Other studies show that this weight gain typically occurs within the first year of quitting, but the overall health benefits of smoking cessation outweigh this risk and still encourage smokers to go smoke-free. So, we investigate smoking-related weight gain and what smokers can do to manage their weight when quitting smoking.

The link between smoking cessation and weight gain

Weight changes can vary among smokers undergoing the cessation process, with some losing weight while others can gain up to ten kilograms anywhere from a few months to a year after quitting. For those who experience weight increase, fat distribution can also differ by biological sex, as women who quit smoking tend to put on excess fat around the waist and hips.

Regardless of the amount and distribution of weight gain, several factors can explain its link to smoking cessation. To start, some people experience a change in eating habits due to increased appetite and cravings being among the withdrawal symptoms. Meanwhile, others stay physically inactive, which is otherwise a risk factor for weight gain.

But even when smokers’ diet and exercise habits do not change after quitting, they can still gain weight due to nicotine withdrawal. Since nicotine can speed up the body’s metabolism, kicking the habit all of a sudden can slow down digestion and make an individual burn fewer calories than when they were still smoking. Fortunately, smokers don’t have to be discouraged from quitting, as they can try the tips in the next section.

Weight management tips for smokers trying to quit

Search for tobacco-free alternatives

Because quitting cigarettes means stopping nicotine’s effects on your metabolism, you can gradually ease the transition by using tobacco-free alternatives that deliver low, fixed doses of nicotine to your body. This article in JMIR Formative Research notes that VELO nicotine pouches, in particular, can be viable alternatives during cessation since they can reduce average cigarette consumption by more than half within a one-week study period.

Fortunately, this site lets you order VELO’s 100% tobacco-free pouches and have them shipped directly from the warehouse to almost anywhere in the US. You can choose from best-selling flavors like citrus, mint, and max wintergreen, and 2, 4, and 7mg strengths to deliver your preferred nicotine experience, whether it’s a gentle boost or a powerful buzz. Additionally, oral nicotine replacement therapy products like the Nicorette gums and lozenges have been proven by this study to also be viable for short-term use during smoking cessation.

Follow a healthy diet and exercise routine

Due to the lifestyle factors associated with weight gain after quitting smoking, you must also make changes in your diet and exercise. When adopting a healthy, well-balanced diet, consider adding the fruits on this previous list to your weight loss plan. For instance, plums are not only low in calories but also rich in antioxidants, making them suitable for managing your weight and reducing the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by your smoking history.

Meanwhile, exercise can help kickstart your digestion and metabolism, stimulating calorie-burning mechanisms in the body even when you’ve quit or reduced your nicotine intake. Overall, weight gain is common when you quit smoking, but the possibility shouldn’t stop you from improving your health and living a smoke-free lifestyle when there are weight management tips you can incorporate into your daily routine.

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