Quit Smoking and Manage Weight

Posted: May 19, 2011

Be prepared for some weight change when quitting. Weight gain can be part of a return to health. Evidence shows the metabolic rate of smokers is higher than normal. When you quit, you will burn fewer calories. If the bathroom scale creeps upward, stay focused on your healthy choice. Weight gain should occur within the first few weeks and then level off.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports an average gain of 5-10 pounds after quitting. Large gains are uncommon, but it would take an additional 80 or 90 pounds to put the same stress on your heart as smoking a pack of cigarettes daily. It is important to exercise when quitting. It can help keep you from smoking – it is difficult to smoke when you are riding a bike, swimming, jogging, or lifting weights, and vigorous exercise produces a ‘rush’ that helps to reduce stress.  Exercise can help keep the weight down, too.

How many calories should you eat? To avoid gaining over time, aim to burn as many calories through basic metabolic function and physical activity as you take in. To know whether you are on track, estimate how many calories you need based on age, gender and level of physical activity.

Call 570-296-3400 to register for tobacco treatment classes or visit Penn State Extension, 514 Broad Street, Milford, PA. Classes begin the 1st Wednesday of each month and include counseling, support, and patches. There is no charge for this program.