- Eat square meals based on sound nutrition, and keep track of what you are eating, how much and why. Many smokers reward themselves with food instead of cigarettes, leading to weight gain. Some resume smoking to lose the weight they've gained, only to have to try and quit smoking again thus repeating a difficult cycle.
- Weigh yourself weekly and keep track of your weight. Don't wait until your clothing is tight to realize you've put on a few pounds.
- Remember that the ultimate goal is to stop smoking. Do not try to lose weight while quitting smoking, but instead monitor your current weight. Getting caught up in losing or maintaining weight may distract you from your primary goal of quitting smoking.
Once you've reached the decision to stop smoking, stay focused on that goal and plan for the unexpected. If you are concerned about weight gain, make a plan to avoid it:
- Stock up on healthy snacks before you quit smoking.
- If you crave crunchy foods, try fat free pretzels, raw carrots or celery instead of potato chips.
- Keep snacks on hand when you are away from home. Bananas, apples, oranges or a small bag of healthy nuts like almonds or sunflower seeds travel easily in a purse or backpack.
- Avoid high calorie, sugary soft drinks (a 12-ounce can typically contains 144 calories). Flush your system by drinking lots of water. This also helps wash out the toxins from smoking that have been trapped in your body.
- Craving a candy bar? Instead try a piece of whole-wheat toast with honey or fruit jam.
- Your sense of smell and taste will reappear when you quit smoking. Fight the urge to eat salty, high fat, high carbohydrate foods by having whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables on hand. With your improved senses, you'll soon be able to appreciate their more subtle flavors and will begin to develop a taste for these healthier foods over time.