How to Deal with Weight Worries

About 2/3 of quitters will gain some weight, usually 10 pounds or less. Here are some reasons why many smokers gain weight when they quit:

  1. Without nicotine (a stimulant), the body’s metabolism may slow down, so fewer calories are burned. Eating the same number of calories may result in weight gain. In time, the body will readjust.
  2. Many quitters have stronger cravings for sweets. They choose foods with higher sugar content, which leads to extra calories.
  3. Food may also smell and taste better so they may eat more, which leads to extra calories.

Keep in mind that your main goal is to become a nonsmoker. Even a few cigarettes a day are much more harmful than a few extra pounds.


  1. Keep active to help burn up extra calories.
  2. Talk with your doctor about NRT or Zyban®. They may reduce or delay weight gain.
  3. Try to relax a little about your weight and focus on quitting.
If you can quit smoking, you can do anything!

Calorie Burners*

Activities That Add Up

Calories Burned
Per 1/2 Hour **

Slow walking (3 mph) 120
Light gardening 120
Golf (carrying clubs) 125
Hiking 150
Swimming laps 210
Biking (8 - 10 mph) 210
Singles tennis 210
Steady walking 240
Heavy housework 250
Jogging (5.5 mph) 300
Ballroom dancing 300
Cross country skiing 350
Brisk walking 360


* Always check with your doctor before engaging in any
physical activity.

** These estimates of calorie burning rates are based on a person weighing 150 pounds. If you weigh more, you'll burn more. If you weigh less, you'll burn less.

Low Calorie Ideas

  1. Mix seltzer water with fruit juice or drink sugar-free iced tea or lemonade.
  2. Suck on a low-sugar, sugar-free hard candy or chew sugar-free gum.
  3. Crunch on a graham cracker (28 calories) or a pretzel (24 calories).
  4. Choose sweet treats with less than 100 calories, such as a cup of strawberries, a peach, a frozen fruit pop, 1/4-cup raisins,
    1/2-cup sugar-free gelatin, or low fat yogurt.
  5. Drink water to feel full.
  6. Munch on fresh vegetables such as carrots and celery.

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