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Congratulations on your decision to quit smoking!
You are taking a big step towards a new, healthier life. It’s true that many people gain some weight when they stop smoking, but this is not the case for everybody. And, it’s important to keep in mind that the average weight gain is less than 10 pounds. Exercise and healthy eating can stop most, if not all, of this weight gain.
Watch your weight
The benefits of quitting far outweigh the possibility of gaining a few extra pounds, but if you are worried about gaining weight, there are some things you can do to stay fit and smokefree!
Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about meals and snacks that have healthy amounts of protein, fruits, and vegetables.
Eat healthy foods
Try to make healthy food choices at every meal. Any small changes will help. Here are some tips to help you get started today:
• Replace high-calorie foods with healthy, low-calorie choices
• Look for low-calorie foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, such as yogurt and fresh fruits and vegetables
• Eat sugar-free candy or juice pops, or chew sugar-free gum
• Choose foods that take longer to eat and keep your hands busy, such as oranges or sunflower seeds
• Try crunchy foods so your mouth has to work—like pretzels, rice cakes, or air-popped popcorn without butter
• Drink water during and between meals
• Pick foods that have less fat and sugar, such as low-fat frozen yogurt
For more information on how to eat healthy foods, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist, and check out Smokefree Facts and Healthy Solutions.
Get in shape
Exercise is a great way to forget about wanting to smoke. It lowers stress and reduces the cravings for a cigarette.
Try to make time to be active every day. Experts want us to get no less than:
• 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 days a week, or
• 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity 3 days a week
Exercise can be split into short 10-minute spurts throughout the day; this is just as good for you as exercising for 30 minutes at one time.
Most exercise will help you burn calories and control weight gain. When you talk to your doctor about quitting, ask about exercises or activities that can get you back on the road to being fit.
Find activities that you like to do and that will fit into your day. Try taking the stairs, parking away from your destination, or stretching during breaks.
Other activities include:
• Walking or running
• Martial arts, such as karate
For more information on how to get in shape while you quit smoking, check out Smokefree Facts and Healthy Solutions and Overcoming Barriers to Exercise.
If you are still worried about gaining weight, here are other links that might help:
• Forever Free: Smoking and Weight (PDF)
• Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults (PDF)
• Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 (PDF)