Managing your weight after you have quit smoking
The best approach is to focus on how you look and feel physically, rather than your weight.
Different people gain different amounts of weight when they stop smoking.
But you can take action to help keep weight gain low, starting with:
- exercise – doing some more exercise can help keep your weight down and help you beat cravings
- cooking and eating food with less fat
- limiting how much alcohol you drink – alcoholic drinks can contain a lot of sugar and calories.
Making small changes every week can be easier and longer lasting than trying to make a lot of changes at once.
If worrying about weight gain is stopping you from quitting, talk to a health professional who can help you:
- get advice for the issues that are important to you
- make a healthy eating and exercise plan that suits your lifestyle.
See your doctor, who can also refer you to a dietitian or other specialist. You can also find a dietitian at the Dietitians Association of Australia (external site).
Tips to help manage your weight
- Use the time and money you’ve saved from not smoking to plan and cook tasty, healthy meals.
- Don’t try to stick to strict diets – constant bouts of hunger will undermine your success at quitting.
- Try not to miss meals, especially breakfast.
- Limit sugary treats, such as sweet drinks, lollies, biscuits and cakes.
- Prepare some healthy snacks – celery and carrot sticks or vegetable strips, whole fruits (not fruit juice) and nuts.
- Be realistic – allow yourself some treats occasionally.
- If you use food to help you deal with feelings, such as depression or loneliness, try other activities that make you feel better.
- Emotional eating and ‘binge’ eating can sometimes be difficult to deal with by yourself. For help and support, consider seeing a health worker who specialises in people’s relationships with food, such as a psychologist.
If you are female, try quitting smoking in the first week after your period has stopped, as you may have fewer withdrawal symptoms and eat less at that time.
Where to get help
Quitline is a confidential telephone support service staffed by professional advisors who are trained to provide encouragement and support to help you quit.
Phone: 13 7848 (13 QUIT) (local call rates from land line only). Advisors are available from:
- Monday to Friday 7am – 8pm
- Saturday 12.30pm – 3.30pm
- Sunday closed.
Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate
This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.