Quitting Smoking and Weight Gain.

Ex Smoker standing on scalesIt is well accepted that for the majority of ex smokers, quitting smoking leads to weight gain. When nicotine hijacks the brain, it creates networks of brain cells (neurons), that link to other networks affecting our behaviours. One of which, is the regulation of our eating habits.

There are two major factors that determine how much weight a person will gain when quitting smoking. First, many quitters will seek dopamine highs from sugary foods during their quit campaign as it genuinely helps with cravings.

This dramatic increase in sugar consumption will often lead to a dramatic increase in weight.

The second factor, is whether or not the quitter exercises, and if so, for how long and how intense. While quitting smoking leads to weight gain, quitters most definitely have some level of control over the severity of this symptom.

 While quitting smoking leads to weight gain, quitters most definitely have some level of control over the severity of this symptom.

Tips for Managing Weight Gain.


Accept The Weight Gain From Quitting Smoking.


There will be an opportunity to manage your weight when you are comfortably over the first major quit smoking withdrawals.


Commit to Quality Foods.


It is not desirable to avoid food during the quit process as it will make things more difficult. Focus on eating quality foods made with quality ingredients.

Avoid cheap processed foods as much as possible, without risking the quit campaign. Consider discussing your diet with a physician as everyone has different levels of fitness and health.


Exercise and Focus on Fitness.


Gaining weight is not the end of the world. In fact, the majority of preventable death concerning weight gain is actually tied to the lack of fitness associated with it.

By focusing on fitness, you not only improve your health, you will keep weight gain in check and actually be in a better position to get more enjoyment from life.



  1. I have been smokeing for about 45yrs and I am giveing up smokeing my problem is my weight gain as I am type2dieabeates and already weigh 13 stone I have really had enough smokeing but I am not doing to good with the side effects what I do love is being able to breath easier .

    • Breathing easier is the first of many things you’ll enjoy as a non-smoker! Talk to your doctor about any health issues you are concerned with. Good luck Maureen!

    • Hello,
      I also wanted to quit, and not to gain weight. I quit smoking 10 days before, and the last day I smoked, I began yoga, and also breathing exercises. I also used a lot of water, every time, I felt a craving, or that I am hungry, i used to drink a glass of water. Guess what, I quit smoking and I lost 2.5 kg until now. Amazing. I have to say that also, I choose healthy food also. In the morning before eating I take 1 tbs of linseed oil. It helps a lot. Yoga I think is one of the keys, because it exercise not only the body, but the lungs, and the mind also, and helps you to understand your body as one unit, so you can manage it even better. There are a lot of videos in internet and advices, make a research and chose the best for you. I wish you good luck.

  2. When I decided I was going to quit,I weened myself,smoked fewer ciggs a day. Then I quit while at work. And finally for good. The changes have been very positive. Tho I gained 10 lbs. I tell myself its healthy weight,instead of poisons keeping me skinny and unhealthy.

  3. So I’ve actually switched to eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising twice as much. If my total caloric intake has stayed the same (or fallen, due to more veggies over junk) and my caloric expenditure has increased, will I still gain weight? Does nicotine go beyond suppressing appetite and actually increase metabolism?

  4. Hi guys. Im on my 4th day without smoking its the. Hardest thing ive ever done in my life i will never smoke again i was a heavy smoker if i can do it any one cann believe me!

    • I’m with ya there my friend. Last one was 16 January. Hard hard hard. But still at it. Well done so far

    • Day 6 for me…. it’s the constant headache that’s bothering me! – and I only smoked about 4-5 a day …. but have been doing that for 18 yrs so I suppose it no surprise…. good luck everyone x

  5. Drink lots of juicr it will be ok…

  6. I am on day 2 with no smokes. HARD HARD HARD does anybody know when it gets easier

    • Nathalie says:

      I’m on day 5. Best thing for me..try not to linger on cravings. Force the mind onto something else. Best wishes all

    • Keep in mind that smoking a single cigg now will put you back to square one.
      You will only get temporary relief. I am on day 5 now and its been pretty tough but i am 100% sure that i will make it for the simple reason that there is no way in hell i am giving up those 5 days for a smoke now and every day the stakes rises.

      The selfsatisfaction we get over quitting is so much stronger than withdrawal.

    • hey dear,
      I am now on 12th day from my last smoke. Yes, it is bit hard and now a suffering from quitter flu but not loose/gained weight till date. Keep this habit up to 21 days then you will less carvings of smoking.

      • I’m suffering from quitter flu aswell after just getting over the flu a few weeks ago ???? its a nightmare!

  7. Black Pearl says:

    Today is day 24 of me mot smoking. I feel restless tired exhausted since then. I have cold/flu sinesis which seems to never end. Mucus is really bad but that’s improving. My cravings for a cigarette are luckily not there well not all the time most after eating I think well could use one now, but I don’t touch one at all. How long does it take until everything is back to normal?

  8. Nathalie says:

    The insomnia is bad. Recently read that nicotine blocked the effects of caffeine..so now I’m trying to have less coffee. Day 5..I’m glad I’ve quit & want to remain a non-smoker

  9. I quit 6 weeks ago and find that I am feeling full all the time I’m trying to eat healthy lots of salad and fruit but am very uncomfortable all day long

  10. I quit on the 18th, this has been my 4th time quitting smoking, and each time it seems like it gets easier. Since the last few days I’ve had constipation, my eating habits are very strict since I’m a truck driver. I smoked on average a pack a day for 15 years, I have increased my exercise level more to help me focus. I do calisthenics mostly, I would love to be able to run again, but due to a bad knee and ankle courtesy of Uncle SAM that’s a bit out of the question.

  11. After smoking for 37 years I am 32 days smoke free today. Cold turkey! I still have strong cravings. They are not all the time but several times a day. Mostly after eating and first thing in the morning with my coffee and every time I get in the car. I’m trying to change up my habits to ease these cravings. I’ve put on a few pounds and really have no room for anymore weight gain. I will not put myself through the first 10 days of quitting so I know I’ll never start again. I’ve had the “junk” that feels like it sitting at the back of my throat that I can’t seem to cough up and out, for about 2 weeks now. I have had fatigue for about 2 weeks now and I had insomnia for the first two weeks but fortunately that went away now. Now I feel like I want to sleep all the time. I am starting to walk and will build up my stamina. I am determined to be healthy and fit! Best of luck everyone! Keep up the good work it is absolutely worth it. I will say that I only quit because I want to stick around for a long while and I don’t want all the health issues that go along with smoking as I get older. However, I really enjoyed smoking and really miss it a lot. It’s so freaking hard!!! But I will beat this!!

    • Hi Laurie,

      I could have been reading my own post! I feel exactly the same in that I never want to have to quit again. I’ll hang in there with you!

    • Laurie West says:

      From one Laurie to another! You just wrote my story. Sitting trying to find a way not to pick back up that smoke because I don’t want to start over. Amazed I gained 6 pounds the first 5 DAYS, I quit? What’s with that? I don’t snack any extra and when I do it is cheese, crackers, etc. Nothing really sweet like cake and candy. Oh well. Craving has sort of passed. But guess I will crave again when I get in the car to go home from work! Stay strong yall. This has got to get better.

      • sonya martin says:


      • Beckylynn says:

        Hello, It’s been a month since I quit smoking. I dream about smoking and in my dream I am so mad at myself for smoking. I definitely feel healthier since I quit. I quit cold turkey and although it’s been difficult, I’m very proud of myself for abstaining. My wallet is also happier????????????!!!

  12. I quit 4 weeks ago today after 30 years of smoking. I would love to say I feel great but….I don’t really feel much different. I have gained about 8 lbs and feel like a blimp (was not skinny to begin with). I started working out last week and decided to try and indulge in fruits and veggies rather that cookies and chocolate. I will not let this weight gain be the excuse to start smoking again no matter how awful getting fatter feels!!

    • Great work! I feel you on the weight gain front – I too have gained 8lbs since quitting 7 weeks ago even though I have been super healthy and exercising as much as I used to… I think that a slower metabolism is a reality of quitting but hopefully this will even itself out over time… I keep on telling myself – I’d rather be a little heavier but alive and well instead of a skinny smoker riddled with health issues…

    • I am with you. I quit 7 months ago, still have slight cravings, but the worst part right now is the weight gain. I smoked a half a pack a day from over 30 years. I am now working on exercise and diet.

  13. I was a 150 lb rail when I smoked. It was kind of pathetic. Now I’m a 170lb non smoker. Best decision I ever made.

  14. I have not picked up a cigarette in 9 days and I’m very, very worried about the weight gain. I thought I wouldn’t eat and would exercise, but now I have to put something in my mouth. I used to be skinny but now I’m noticing I’m getting chubby and its just ew. If I gain twice as much as I already gained and more than I don’t think I’m going to go through with quitting, plus a headache 24-7? No way Jose.

  15. I am at 8 weeks. I am very proud of myself. I was always trying g to quit but its been a long time since I have reached thus point. In the past I quit for 2 years once and 1 year another time. Both times I gained weight, but began exercising and cut back on pop and snacks and the weight just started to drop off. So, if you do gain weight …don’t worry you can lose it. I actually was 35 lbs less then when I was a smoker. I hope I can do it this time considering I am older. I want to feel good about by body, so I look at it this way, if I can motivate myself to quit smoking, I can surely motivate myself to lose weight. Good luck all you nonsmokers, you can really do this!

  16. Day 12 after smoking for about 10 years….I am doing well and feeling ok a lot of the withdrawls have faded no more headaches and flu like symptoms which were horrible in week 1. Now severely struggling with heart burn and tight chest…..its horrible 🙁 🙁 …never smoking again though..finally realised there is NOT 1 good thing about a cig

  17. So far week 6 and one day in. I have bad nicotine cravings so it is at a point to where I’m more worried about satisfying these cravings than gaining weight. I was 199-124 lbs before, last time I checked I was 129 lbs. I seriously do not care about the weight gain because my nicotine cravings are so bad. Since I’m getting a little fatter I’m going to run tomorrow morning. I do feel more confident about quitting smoking, but I’m not going to look like a big fat whale.

  18. Started to quit end September…patches gave me 3rd degree burns!! Using Champix since. Been fully off since mid November. Feeling fairly ok now but weight gain has peed me off! Have been following Slimming World and had done well. But once off the smokes it’s all gone p[ear shaped. As of last week, I was up 8lbs…with a 1lb loss. So depressed. Don’t care what anyone says, I’ve struggled with weight for years! Going for my weigh in tonight. There better be good news! Is there something to take that can help the metabolism?? I am excercising

  19. catnthehat says:

    I quit 2 months ago. I have since gained 7 lbs. I eat almost nothing, after I quit I stopped drinking soda, stopped eating bread, cheese, fast food, junk food, sugar (except natural sugars in fruit). I have poached egg for breakfast, grilled chicken salad for lunch, yogurt (plain) for dinner, a handful of mixed unsalted nuts between breakfast and lunch, drink only water & green tea. Stepped up my exercise routine, still the scales go higher & higher. my friends who were driving me crazy to quit smoking are no help. don’t eat so much, exercise more. I avoid leaving my house except for work because I don’t want to see them & listen to their crap. I really need a hug

    • I know how you feel. ..hugs

      • I’m in the same boat nothing seems to work and my clothing hurts nothing fits!! Not everyone turns into a blimp when they quit smoking so what do I need to do?? Does anyone have suggestion ?

        • Like you Mel I gained 3kilos in 2 months, walked everyday my diet did not change & if anything ate healthily, Metabolism is to blame, I have not smoked in 8 months but am now dreaming about them, I was advised to try nicotine patches which help with cravings & hopefully kick start your metabolic rate again, Just want to be able to fit into my clothes again as Summer aproaches, patches are a lot better than lighting up again hope this helps as we are all on this tough journey.

      • 7 weeks now since last ciggie..im on champix ..interesting to read about needing a hug..as that is how i feel
        I need a hug as well

  20. On day 5 right now, I take Adderall so the weight thing is not that big of a problem but still I feel a bit chunkier. I feel plain weird. Like my body is out of wack. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m honestly too tired to exercise. My body feels extremely heavy.

  21. I’m already worried about wieght gain lol, I’m not a big eater or sugar nut, actually so does that mean I will GAIN? I’m 135 pounds and 5.2 lol I quit today and man I’m not finding it easy. I’m irritated and anxious. ..I been smoking since my teens I’m 25 yrs old going to be 26 in August this year! I need ideas to keep my brain off the stupid craving, I have used adult coloring book s now and it helps some.

  22. I am on my 8th or 9th week of going cold turkey and am also gaining weight, really bites! I feel tired and my body aches! My cravings are pretty much gone and I think my need to stuff my face has really slowed down..I’m too scared to get on the scale but going to do it in the morning..need to own up to the damage done! BUT I am happy I quit… If I managed to quit this cig addiction (a pack a day) I can and will manage this weight gain!

  23. So I’ve read that the average weight gain for someone who quits smoking is 7 pounds, not the 50 pounds we are all terrified of. I think a lot of times we use this fear to make it ok to think about smoking again. Not bc we are weak, but bc we are addicts. I gained 10 pounds after quitting six months ago, but in the last few weeks I have noticed it starting to go back. IT. IS. SO. HARD. NOT. TO. EAT. ALL. THE. TIME. But you can do it, I swear! Find what works for you. One of my fellow quitters swore by chewing on cinnamon toothpicks. Another took up sunflower seeds. I drink insane amounts of water with lemon through a straw (the lemon helps you poop, which is a godsend if you’re constipated and drinking through the straw mimics the action we take puffing on a cig). Just keep moving and do what you can to get through the craving. Remember, 7 pounds is the average. 7 Pounds won’t kill us. Smoking will. Sending hugs to all of you!

  24. I need help to quit smoking. Those are big words. We see so many other people who smoke that we think to ourselves, “well they are doing it and they’re still OK, so I should be too ” I’m so tired of constantly becoming sick with colds/allergys/coughing and sore throats. Hacking stuff up. That’s the worst, it is so awful, and makes you feel disgusting. Oh, the sound. Yet, I still need help. I know enough to replace my smoking habit with another more enhancing habit. Where is that ‘well’ within me that I just draw strength from? This is day 5 of not smoking for me, but I’m not sure it counts. I’m sick (sore throar, coughing hacking) and I never smoke when I’m sick. I normally won’t the first few days after feeling well, either. During the past times I never intended to stop smoking, i just don’t smoke while sick, so I may go a week without a cig. But it’s after a few days of feeling well that I’ll slip back into my old routine and smoke again…. any helpful suggestions on not picking it back up?

    • I got sick too and that’s how I quit..I kept saying ..just for today I will not smoke and now it’s been abt 12 days and I feel really good abt it ..keep moving forward your gonna beat this

    • Beckylynn says:

      Just take it one day at a time. Quitting cold turkey is hard, but keep telling yourself how great you’ll feel and how much money you will save. I don’t know where y’all are from, but here in California cigarettes are like $10 per pack! I’d rather spend that money on other things that I enjoy. Everybody, keep up the great work! I encourage you all. If I can quit, anyone can because I have like zero will power. Just don’t give up and before you know it a week goes by…etc and you’ll be set free from the nicotine prison.

  25. I was in hospital for a week in April 2016 was quite ill so couldn’t smoke also had no interest in cigarettes due to illness. When I came out I thought I haven’t had a smoke for a week why have one now so that was the start of my journey now eight months later I’m immensely proud of myself firstly for stopping and secondly for stopping cold turkey i still get cravings occasionally normally when I’m stressed but but the thing that makes me want to go back on those vile disgusting smelly ciggies is the weight gain! I actually don’t recall eating a lot more but somehow or other I have managed to gain about 28lbs and ok I’m tall so can carry it a bit better than a short person but having to go up a clothing size has really bugged me and I don’t know how to stop this happening. Any tips gratefully received.

    • I understand the weight gain. I was always naturally thin and the smoking must have helped to keep me thin. I quit smoking 6 months ago and have gained 20 pounds. Here I quit smoking and all I can think of is the 20 pounds I gained and how disappointed I am that this happened and not the benefits of quitting smoking. Smoking wrinkles look worse than 20 pounds. Hope I can change my metabolism over time. I heard it can take up to a year. I’m praying this is true. I can’t lose a pound no matter what I do. Hope everyone eventually loses their extra weight!

  26. Lintoni Lavender says:

    I feel the same as a lot of you..today makes a week since I quit smoking and I am so proud of myself. It has been really hard but I am so determined to beat this.. Not only for myself but for my loved ones who have been wanting me to quit. I find myself eating more and the weight for me wouldn’t be a problem because I could use a lil extra lol.. But just taking it one day at a time be cause I know I can do this..i will not be a vitcim of lung cancer.. Staying smoke free for good.. I feel great! Wishing everybody the best of luck!!!!

  27. I stopped smoking January 1, 2017 cold turkey. It was the best thing I could do for myself. I was using 2 inhalers daily and I found myself using them just to smoke. I no longer use them and I have joined a gym that I go to 4 times a week. One negative thing is I eat all the time now, even when going to the gym after I am finished with my workout I cannot wait to eat as I am straving!! I have gained a little over 20lbs and I am quite uncomfortable. My Dr told me not to worry so much about my weight as my body is going through a big change and it will work itself back to the way I use to be. I promisse you one thing, I DO NOT MISS SMOKING!!!

  28. The withdrawal symptoms from nicotine are very similar to hunger pangs or stress. It’s easy to mix them up but no amount of sweets or chocolate will make them go away. Be aware of it and you’ll be able to feel the difference between the craving for nicotine and hunger for food. Good news is that the physical cravings for the drug are not as terrible as many people make them seem.
    If you don’t believe me, conduct a simple experiment. Don’t smoke untill you get a pang. The moment you sense it concentrate on simply experiencing the feeling. No thoughts, no saying to yourself “I can’t have a cigarette”, no impulsive eating. Just let the feeling be and observe how it affects your body and emotions, and how long it lasts.
    This feeling is the very reason smokers continue to smoke. Fortunately this feeling had been caused by nicotine in the first place. If you don’t want to experience it you have two options. 1. Light up, get rid of it for about an hour, and simultaneously make sure the next craving will undoubtedly happen. 2. Smoke the last cig, deal with cravings consciously, after they are gone for good ( few days to few weeks) never have to go though them again.

  29. I am in my 32 days after quitting after almost 30 years of smoking. I have bad chest irritation and cough but will hopefully go away. I have gained some weight but I can always shed it. I have a small daughter who is 11 years and she wanted me to be smoke-free for her. I had never thought that I can quit it even for a day. I think I have over come my cravings almost 60%… And as the days pass by it will get to 100% no cravings.
    I have gained weight, but I am not worried although I am checking on it. If I can quit smoking I can always check my weights.
    Good luck to all the smokers trying to quit. Life is a gift by God, we can not waste it by a stupid habit like smoking…

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