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You may be worried about piling on the pounds when you stop smoking – but there are steps you can take to keep weight gain to a minimum. They are :
Not necessarily, although many people do.
On average, people gain 5kg (11lbs) in the year after they stop smoking, according to Deborah Lycett, consultant dietitian and researcher at the University of Birmingham.
There are five main reasons:
After you quit smoking, your body burns calories more slowly. Even if you eat no more than when you smoked, you may put on weight – but being more active can help.
Regular exercise may prevent about half the weight gain expected after a year of quitting smoking. It burns off calories and reduces cravings for cigarettes.
Build up to at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as fast walking, swimming or cycling, every week.
Moderate-intensity activity means working hard enough to make you breathe more heavily than normal and feel slightly warmer than usual. The more exercise you do, the more calories you'll burn.
Read more about how to get into exercise, or try our Couch to 5K, which will get you running 5km in nine weeks even if you're an absolute beginner.
Stop smoking medicines , such as nicotine replacement therapy and the prescription tablets Zyban (bupropion) and Champix (varenicline), can double your chances of quitting successfully and also seem to help reduce weight gain in the first few months.
Read the patient information leaflet about Champix
Read the patient information leaflet about Zyban
The important thing about stopping smoking is that you see it through. If you're concerned about weight gain but think that stopping smoking and dieting at the same time will be too much, stop smoking first and deal with any weight gain afterwards.
If you're really worried about putting on weight, ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian for a diet plan tailored to your individual needs.
This plan will guide you on how much to eat based on your current weight, age, gender and activity level, and stop you gaining more weight.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.