How To Avoid Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking

April 29, 2022 3 min read

The hard part has been achieved and you have quit smoking by either going cold turkey or by using a quit smoking aid such as vaping e liquid using a electronic cigarette, NRTs or even using hypnotherapy to help you beat the nicotine addiction.

It is common knowledge that people gain weight after they give up smoking...but why is this? There are 3 main reasons:

  • Smoking causes our metabolism to increase slightly
  • A heavy smoker is thought to burn 200 calories per day
  • Nicotine suppresses your appetite.

When a smoker initially quits it throws the body into a state of shock. Unfortunately not having a daily dosage of tobacco is an increased side effect. This could be caused because when a smoker previously smoked they avoided the little in between meals in order to light up. Also because nicotine is known to be a stimulant it may interfere with the natural release of the insulin hormone. This is important because insulin is responsible for controlling glucose levels and if this process is halted the smoker will become vaguely hyperglycaemic leading to the brain slowing down the hormones and additional signals that trigger hunger.

Furthermore straight after quitting the urge to have a cigarette is very high and many people comfort eat and use food as a substitute to the cigarette which will ease the pain of withdrawal.

Research conducted by UK and French researchers shows that the weight gained after giving up smoking is much more than previously thought.

“The average weight gain associated with giving up smoking is much higher than previously thought, experts have found.

People can expect to put on up to 5kg (11lb) within a year of quitting, research published on suggests.

This is more than the typical 3kg often quoted in advice leaflets and the 2.3kg many women smokers say they would be willing to tolerate in order to quit.

But the health benefits of giving up smoking far outweigh what is still a "modest" gain, say experts.

The research, based on results from 62 studies, found that former smokers gained an average of 4.67kg in the 12 months after they quit.

Most of the excess weight was gained during the first three months.

But the changes in body weight varied widely from person to person. About 16% of quitters lost weight, while 13% gained more than 10kg.

Whether the individual used nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches or gum, made no difference in terms of weight.”


However it is not all bad news, even though the weight gain may be higher than previously thought there are still ways to avoid gaining weight and stay slim. These include:

Exercise– Exercise is the best way to combat weight gain. Because once you quit your metabolism slows so fitting in a daily form of exercise is important. You don’t have to join a gym and be excessive – just a simple half an hour of exercise everyday will be all you need. You can even just go for a brisk little walk around your local park or take the dog for another walk.

Change in Diet – First of all by diet I mean what you eat...not how much you eat. By changing your diet to include healthy meals you will stop yourself from putting on the pounds. Eat fruit and vegetables and try to substitute your food with low fat equivalents.

Give Up The Booze– Alcohol can be very high in calories however that is not the only downfall. Many people have quit smoking only to have a smoke on a night out drinking and destroyed their weeks if not months of hard work.

Luckily the hard part is quitting, once you have quit don’t be put off by a few pounds of increased weight. As seen above just a simple change in your daily exercise and eating plans is all that is needed to keep you from gaining excess weight.