How to Stop Smoking Without Gaining Weight

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

2856-1021547_cigarette_butt.jpgA weight loss patient came to me venting her frustrations over weight gain after she quit smoking.

She was at her breaking point and ready to start smoking again to get the extra weight off.

Smoking is the last thing you want to do to try to maintain a healthy weight. Even if your weight might be normal, your overall health is suffering.Here are the ideas that I reviewed with her to get her on track to reaching her weight loss goals, while ridding that extra frustration.

5 Key Smoking Cessation Tips to Practice at Home

  1. Begin an exercise routine if you haven’t already. This is the number one thing that helps most former smokers. Since smoking does burn extra calories, you can replace your previous calorie burn with exercise burn! An added bonus is that exercise helps to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety that you may be dealing with.
  2. Focus on eating mindfully. It is important not to become an emotional eater when you quit. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, many will reach for comfort food. Focus on your true physical hunger levels instead.
  3. Have snacks for munching readily available. When you do feel the need to put something in your mouth out of habit, grab a piece of sugar free gum or hard candy. Popcorn, fresh fruit, carrots, and other raw vegetables are good for crunching.
  4. Remove trigger foods and beverages from the home. This includes alcohol which may make you want to start smoking again, and contributes to empty calories in the day. Keep junk food and other “comfort” foods out of the house so you are not tempted.
  5. Eat 3 regular small meals and 2 or 3 healthy snacks in your day. This will help to tame your increased hunger levels.

Final Thoughts

Yes, there are plenty of people out there who still smoke! Even though the rates have drastically dropped, people still need all the support they can get.

Those of you who have struggled with “food addiction” know what addictive behavior feels like. So, next time you meet someone who is struggling, you can share some of these tips.

If you have quit smoking, what strategies worked for you?


  1. julie

    I wouldn’t be so quick to give e-cigs the healthy seal of approval. While there’s no smoking involved, nicotine is still quite a nasty toxin, and there’s no free lunch, as the saying goes.

    As for smoking, it suppresses appetite and raises metabolism, both.

  2. MichaelD

    I went from smoking to patches to nicotine gum to nothing. I also did it when I got laid off and had a 2-3 week window of time to go through the physical withdrawal symptoms. Once I got through the physical addiction, it became a mental chore. It took me about two years to get over thinking of cigarettes.

    And. I gained 100 pounds, but I’m still healthier than if I continued to smoke.

    I’d love to try the e-cigs…all the benefits of nicotine without the bad stuff. mmmmmmm. mmm.

  3. lindasdd

    Rather than the smoking burning extra calories, I would think the smoking is curbing the appetite resulting in lower calorie consumption.


  4. Nicole

    Good question! The nicotine raises your metabolic rate.

  5. Spectra

    I don’t smoke, but I’m curious–how does smoking burn extra calories? I thought the nicotine was just an appetite supressant and cutting it out made you really hungry. My mom quit cold turkey and replaced smoking with gum for a while until she got most of the nicotine out of her system.