Smokers who quit are at risk for overeating and gaining weight, and the reasons are many. Smoking speeds up the metabolism and suppresses the appetite. Ex-smokers often turn to food to satisfy their renewed hunger or cravings. Some also use food in place of cigarettes to cope with feelings such as boredom, anger or depression. Rework your diet. You can’t simply stop eating to avoid weight gain, but you can avoid overeating or eating unhealthy food. Plan your meals and snacks around a balanced diet that includes foods high in fiber, such as apples, oatmeal and beans, to keep you feeling fuller longer. Eat several small portions of healthy food instead of one or two big meals a day to avoid hunger and poor food choices.
Not only do they want to avoid having to buy bigger pants, they also might believe that the extra pounds would be worse for their health than smoking. For example, quitting smoking lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease despite any subsequent weight gain. The same reduction in risk holds true for people with diabetes. Typically, people gain about 5 to 10 pounds in the six months after they quit smoking. But what happens over the 10 years after that? They looked at the amount of weight gained over 10 years in three groups of people: recent quitters who had been heavy smokers, recent quitters who had been light smokers, and continuing smokers. All smokers that quit gained an average of 18 pounds over 10 years. People that continued to smoke also gained weight over the long term — 8 pounds on average. So the average amount of weight gain related to quitting smoking was 10 pounds over 10 years. Interestingly, quitters who had been light smokers those who had 1—14 cigarettes per day had similar long-term weight gain as those who continued to smoke. However, quitters who had been heavy smokers those who had more than 24 cigarettes daily put on significantly more weight than either the continuing smokers or the light-smoking quitters.
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