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Weight Loss
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Quitting Smoking & Weight Gain

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Hi everyone. 

I just quit smoking a little over a week ago.  Smoked a pack a day for 30 years.  My understanding is that smoking actually increases your metabolism such that you burn approx 200-250 extra cals a day.  To offset this I have been walking an hour a day.

Others, on here too, say that no matter what they did they gained lots of weight.

What is your experience?  How long did you smoke for?  How much?  What did you do when you quit? Did you gain, lose?  Is it inevitable? 



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I quit smoking nearly five years ago at age 48.  I had smoked for 32 years, and toward the end I was up to two packs per day.  Oh, yes I gained weight!  Lots.  But I don't know that all of it was due to quitting smoking.  At the beginning of my quit I gave myself permission to snack.  I ate lots of hard candy, sucked on cinnamon sticks, etc.  I was using Chantix, which included lots of gastric upset, so I tried to avoid artificial sweetners (because they cause me "trouble.")  I really think that my 45-pound weight gain was due largely to the onset of perimenopause.  Seriously, after the initial months of quitting I was hitting the cardio even harder--because I could--and I had reduced my food intake.  In retrospect I think I should have been counting calories.  Instead I probably put myself into starvation mode.  I would most likely have benefitted from strength training instead of (or in addition to) the countless hours on the treadmill.  That said, quitting smoking is one of the best decision I ever made.  I am embarassed when I realize how bad I smelled.  It is very liberating to have that monkey off my back.  Good luck.  The Smoking Cessation site here at is wonderful.

Hi chrissae. Congratulations!

I smoked for 11 years, nonstop. I wouldn't consider myself a heavy smoker but I did smoke between 3 to 10 cigarettes a day. I quit the day before I got married (Feb 2009). I quit cold turkey and thought I'd never look back. Within the same year, we planned to get pregnant (and I did), had a child last year whom I nursed so I really have no intentions of going back, until a month ago. I had a major family issue that came up, so I started smoking again FOR A WEEK. It's not worth it so I quit, again - cold turkey, and still have half a pack at home.

Please check out this link from one of the nutritionist if CC. It's very informational. lories-q20086

Anyway, yes I did gain weight by 10 to 15 lbs not mainly because I had quit smoking but I also did not watch what I ate and I used the "I have a child now and I have to prioritize my daughter, not me." excuse. There are several factors of weight gain and smoking would be the least, I'd say.

I don't think like that anymore. I love my kids, I love my husband, but I'm learning to love myself first so I can have the confidence, perfect health and better life to live the fullest. You are on a great start by choosing to be healthy. Keep it up, keep on walking :) and more power to you!

I quit about 5 years ago.  I had just lost about 75 lbs and was really still learning maintenance when I quit.  I did gain about 15 lbs over the next few months then got PG with baby #3 and the rest was history!  Anyway, still the best thing I ever did for my health.  I did lose the weight again after baby #4 and am much better at maintenance this time. 

To answer you qestion, I don't think it is inevitable but it will take a lot of attention to your diet and exercise to make sure you are not eating extra cals in response to not smoking.  That was one of my biggest challenges.  I always smoked after eating, made it much harder to stop eating when I didn't smoke to "finish" off my meal :(

Congrats on quitting and never look back!!!!

200 calories a day is next to nothing, and good work with the walking, that'll offset the metabolism slump (and have the added benefit of bringing your metabolism back up eventually)

I really do think the reason most of us gain weight when we quit smoking is we start putting something other than cigarettes in our mouths.


Hi all,

I quit smoking 1 1/2 packs a day 17 years ago when I was 40.  I gained 20 lbs which was a shock to me because I was always thin.  I went to WW and started walking 3 miles every day and lost it in 6 weeks.  Since then, I have gone through menopause and gotten older, so I'm always struggling to keep my weight down.  I have a terrible sweet tooth.  I think that I gained weight when I quit smoking from sunflower seeds and koolaid.  Bizzare I know.....Right now, I'm 3.5 lbs from my goal but I keep eating sweets!Undecided

I quit in March 2010 with only one relapse of a few weeks this summer (no good reason, just stupid).  I smoked about a pack a day for 19 years.  I did not gain a pound.  I did however, begin the couch to 5K program upon quitting smoking.  My rationale was that I needed to give my lungs something to do.  

Good luck to you and keep at it.  I am so glad I quit.  I smell better, look better, feel better.  For months after I quit people would comment on how good my complexion looked.  Amazing what happens when you stop poisoning yourself.  Even if you gain a few it's worth it.  

Thanks so much for the responses.  they mean alot to me.  what I'm hearing is that it's hard to maintain after quitting smoking but not impossible. 

Not that it would have mattered, but it does give me more hope. 

Just remember that no matter what your weight does, you are healthier without the cigarettes!!  I admit to being frustrated with gaining weight when I quit and was tempted for a short time to go back to them but then I found out I was PG and that was the end of that!!  Wink

I smoked for around 15 years. When I quit in 2005 I gained around 2 stone (28lbs) - I replaced the cigs with food, I was constantly sucking on lollipops to help with the cravings and was guzzling fizzy pop like it was going out of fashion as I developed an insatiable thirst.


Now 6 years later and that 2 stone gain is long gone and I am much healthier, happier and have saved thousands of pounds so although I hated it at the time it was totally worth it in the long run!

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Original Post by chrissae:

Hi everyone. 

I just quit smoking a little over a week ago.  Smoked a pack a day for 30 years.  My understanding is that smoking actually increases your metabolism such that you burn approx 200-250 extra cals a day.  To offset this I have been walking an hour a day.

Others, on here too, say that no matter what they did they gained lots of weight.

What is your experience?  How long did you smoke for?  How much?  What did you do when you quit? Did you gain, lose?  Is it inevitable? 


Boy do I have good news for you!! After losing weight and getting down to 144 lbs., I quit smoking. It's been 9 months since I quit, and I've gotten down to my goal weight of 128 lbs. I just kept to my eating plan and stayed with my same workout schedule and the weight came off, and stayed off. I still write in my food journal and watch my cal. intake. I did get a stronger appetite after quitting, but it just lasted a few days and went away. I smoked for 37 yrs. Gaining weight from quitting is not inevitable if you watch what you are doing and don't replace butts with food. When I was just starting out, I kept a eye out for when I wanted to light up a butt and figured out a healthy alternative. You have to replace a habit with another habit. (a healthy choice!) Good luck and please stay smoke free!! 



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Original Post by vbeattie:

200 calories a day is next to nothing, and good work with the walking, that'll offset the metabolism slump (and have the added benefit of bringing your metabolism back up eventually)

I really do think the reason most of us gain weight when we quit smoking is we start putting something other than cigarettes in our mouths.

 I quit smoking  (successfully) just over 10 years ago along with my husband.  No... long term weight gain is not inevitible!  I did gain 5 lbs over about 3 months but soon lost that.  Hubs gained a stone and a half over the same period... he was never to be seen without handfuls of sweets!  chocolate monster!  It came to a crunch when he couldn't get his jeans fastened in January 2002!  The difference in weight gain was that I found something to keep my hands busy (and food out of my mouth)... I started to quilt.  Hubs snacked.  I was already overweight so watched what I ate and mine (my 5 lbs)  came off over a matter of about 6 weeks... it took hubs a while longer and he had to rein in his sweetie consumption. Best advice I can give is to  to find something to keep your hands busy and occupy your mind.  That walk will be doing you a world of good along with the giving up ciggies.  Just bear in mind you may gain a few pounds but you can lose them.  Good luck and congratulations... I know what it is like but I have never for one moment regretted the decision to quit.

Oh... and by the way, I'm now working on the rest of the weight problem!

I quite very slowly, probably for about a year and a half.  Instead of cold turkey I reduced the number of cigarettes I smoked.  Instead of 30 I would have 29 for a few days, then 28, etc.  By the time I was only smoking 3 - 5 a day it was easier to just stop.  I went on a reduced calorie diet at the same time and lost weight and have not gained it back, still loosing, slowly.  

Oct 22 2011 13:10
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I quit smoking about 20 months ago when I broke my leg and was practically confined to a bed for about 12 weeks.  I have never smoked in my home, especially now that I have a 3 yr old running around, so I quit because I couldn't get outside to do so even if I wanted to (it was also something I had really been wanting to do for a while, so it seemed like perfect timing).  I have always scoffed at those who say they gained weight due to quitting smoking, and in that bed-ridden time that I was quitting, I proved myself right and even for the month that I was in rehab, I not only didn't smoke, but I lost over 35 pounds.

   Then I returned to work....

I never really craved going back to the smoking, but slowly but surely, my waist size began growing, and I really realized the issue was getting out of hand when I had to go up a shirt size.  Once I was in that position that I needed a coping device due to stress, there I was filling it with snacks and oversized portions instead of tobacco.  I'm losing that weight back now, and am starting to feel a lot better about life, but there is no doubt that if you don't identify what it is that triggers that weight loss/food craving, it will jump up and take hold of you.

You'll need to keep an eye on your weight. Mine crept up without me really noticing. I gained about 60 lbs :(

my quitting smoking actually positively effected my weight loss.  i had to quit to be able to work out- i couldn't do more than ten minutes on the elliptical without feeling like my lungs collapsed!  i did get some nervous twitchiness but i bought an e-cig and that eased me through that.  i started smoking again over the summer after a year off the things and i've noticed my burn rate going down during my cardio sessions due to breathing issues, and for some reason i'm eating more junk, not less, since i quit smoking.  maybe it's contributing to my whole, i'm being unhealthy so i may as well go all the way attitude or something.

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7 months ago I was a smoker and definitely overweight, I didn't weigh myself but I think 160lbs or so is probably about right. I'd been smoking for about 11 years - 15 to 20 a day.

6 months ago I quit smoking

5 months ago I realised that I'd been eating far too much to compensate for not smoking - I knew what I was doing when I was munching all those chocolate bars, it just seemed to me like I deserved it after quitting. But then none of my clothes fit me any more, reality hit and I decided to lose weight. I weighed in then at 173 and resolved to count calories and start exercising again. I've done this weight loss thing before but put it back on...

Anyway, today I'm still a non-smoker and 133lbs - 3lbs below my original goal weight. So yes I put on weight but after realising just how much easier and enjoyable exercise is has made the weight loss journey so much easier than the times before, and makes me feel sure that this time I'll keep the weight off as I love how good and alive being able to move my body like this makes me feel.

If you told me 7 months ago that I could quit smoking then get to a healthy weight and enjoy exercise I would never have believed it but for me quitting smoking was just what I needed to make the firm decision to lose weight and stick to it.

You can do it, you'll feel a little bit better everyday.

And a tip - when you get a craving, doing some jumping jacks will kill a nicotine craving pretty fast!



A slightly different take on quitting smoking...

I quit smoking 3 years ago after 25 years of 1 - 2 packs a day.   Also, I did this after a 65 lb weight loss.    Just to be clear I did not really want to quit, my husband did, and I just made up my mind to do it, for a variety of intellectual reasons, but emotionally, I didn't want to do it.   I still miss smoking, although i will never smoke again (even though my husband still smokes).   It just came down to a choice.   I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but for me, my experience is that  I don't  feel any better,  I do not taste food more, or any of these other things that non smokers will tell you will happen.   I do have more money in my pocket, and I'm sure I smell better.  Air travel is much more comfortable with out the cravings, and I know intellectually that i am healthier, even if I don't feel it.    It's a good thing to have quit, I just wanted to warn you about my experience, because I actually felt kind of angry about quitting and not feeling I was promised something, and it was then taken away.   So, it's ok if you have anger feelings too.   You may not.  

Biggest downside of quitting, for me, is that I have turned into a sugar freak.   Like you, I gave myself a period of no guilt....just doing whatever I had to do in order not to smoke, but I kept lots of low-calorie snacks around...cut vegetables and plain popcorn, and I stepped up the exercise.  Also, playing video games and Wii Sport kept me distracted during periods of intense nicotine cravings.    But 6 months later, the sugar cravings crept in, and I did end up gaining about 15 lbs.   Which isn't horrible.  For me, if I concentrate on proteins and vegetables, I can keep the sugar monster at bay.    



i quit for over a year and never in that time did i quit wanting a cig.  i would see people smoking and there'd be times i would literally cry from wanting one so bad, and this was after months.  quitting again is going to be harder this time around.  last time, i had made a total lifestyle change, no more junk food, no more booze, no more cigs, and exercise everyday.  some people say trying to change too much at once is too hard but i found it easier to immerse myself in it.  now i know i need to stop the cigs but for the life of me i just really don't want to, even though i know i smell and my night cough has come back and i'm burning less on the elliptical.  *sigh*  they're evil, i tells ya!

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I just wanted to chime in and say that I have set a date to stop smoking, as I am 46 and in the menopausal stage of life.  {Smoked for 30 years}  And I am already struggling with weight that has become so hard to manage.  However, I have been told by two doctors this year... that I need to QUIT.    

I have been really worried about the additional weight, as I am currently out-growing the clothes in my closet!  Or the dryer is malfunctioning and shrinking them with each cycle... lol. 

Reading your stories has given me encouragement and even more determination.  I am glad that this topic was covered today.  I will continue to count calories and continue on my exercise program... maybe incorporating more weights with the cardio {thanks for that advice}.  But will also give myself a break if I add a few pounds.  Besides, what is one more size at this point :) I know it is short-term... and hey, if I can give up cigarettes, I can lose a few pounds!!


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