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Smoking Cessation Weight
Gain, Control and Loss

Knowledge is Power

Smoking cessation weight gain and weight control are important issues but let's keep our priorities straight. You face a 50% chance that your chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine will cost you roughly 5,000 days of life, and even greater odds that it will leave you permanently crippled and impaired. When quitting smoking, we'd need to gain an additional 75 pounds in order to equal the health risk associated with smoking one pack of cigarettes a day.

picture of woman excited smoking cesssation weight control. Photo courtesy of the U.S. NCI.Why not allow yourself the time necessary to become comfortable in your still healing body before becoming overly occupied with any extra pounds.  The self discipline skills you'll master during nicotine dependency recovery can be applied to all life's challenges, including stop smoking weight gain (baby steps - just one meal, one ounce, one pound, or one brief exercise period at a time - just one day at a time).

As Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains in the "Pay Attention" article linked below, both food and nicotine share the same dopamine pathways. Nicotine also releases adrenaline. Once nicotine use ends, some attempt to use extra food to stimulate temporarily diminished dopamine flow due to quitting. Others pick horrible fights or create outragous fears in an attempt to induce the body's fight or flight pathways to release additional adrenaline. The competition between a week or two of brain neuron re-sensitization and trying to keep weight and relationships in balance is clearly a challenge but one you are fully capable of handling.

In regard to nicotine invoking the body's fight or flight pathways, one of those lizard mind pathways is responsible for providing instant energy to fight or flee danger. It causes the release of stored fats and sugars into the bloodstream. Yes, nicotine was our spoon, allowing us to skip meals, yet not experience true hunger, as our meals were fed back to us with each puff throughout the day.

Prepare pre-cut fruits and veggies and have them ready to go on a moment's notice. Photo courtesy of the U.S. NCI.This creates two nicotine cessation challenges: (1) learning to again feed ourselves, to spread our normal daily calorie intake out more evenly over our entire day so as not to experience wild blood sugar swing symptoms (not one calorie more but smaller fuelings about every 3 hours), and (2) learning to handle true hunger pains again. In regard to hunger pains, once one arrives it doesn't matter if we eat with a toothpick or a shovel, it is still going to take our digestive system about 20 minutes to convert the food to energy that is capable of turning off the mind's hunger switch. Try to eat slowly, with reasonable size bites and to eat healthier!

How many nicotine smokers do you know who love running? I think you'll agree that they're pretty rare. But online we see countless ex-smokers develop a passion for engaging in various forms of brisk and lengthy physical activity. Imagine experiencing a substantial increase in overall lung function within just 90 days.  Any extra pounds can quickly disappear when such new found endurance and stamina are combined with a small to moderate increase in physical activities.  If you do find yourself carrying a few extra pounds, be patient with your healing! New abilities are on the way!

Still just one guiding principle determining the outcome for all, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time, as we stick to our original commitment to Never Take Another Puff!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!


Joel Spitzer's Weight Gain Library

"A more insidious mechanism of increased caloric intake can be experienced by unwittingly eating more at the end of meals. The smoking of a cigarette used to signify the end of a meal. With no cigarette to serve as a cue, the ex-smoker may continue to consume extra food after every meal, whether or not he or she is hungry. The ex-smoker may not even know that they have eaten more in the process."

Weight control concerns after quitting smoking

"I know I am going to gain weight if I quit smoking!"

Incorporating exercise after quitting

Weight Gain & Control
Chapter 6, Pages 35 - 44
Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home

The weight control section of John Polito's book, FFN-TJH, is found on Pages 35-44 of Chapter 6 covering "Common Hazards & Pitfalls. FFN-TJH reviews a number of smoking cessation body weight studies and shares weight gain averages, the primary reasons for weight gain, the degree to which cessation metabolism changes impact body weight, early water retention, how and why a small percentage experience significant weight gain, a review of bing eating, learning to satisfy hunger now that nicotine and the body's fight or flight response is no longer our spoon, how cessation itself can foster unburned calories, the practice of turning to extra food as a dopamine pathway stimulation substitute, learning to reach for the zero calorie "aah" wanting relief sensation, picking and ending mealtime, and a review of basic weight control factors.

An alternate theory - dopamine
"Pay attention" links between smoking and eating

"It's a mark of changing times--and more sophisticated science--that the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse is thinking about doughnuts as well as heroin. Just as blaming drug addiction on moral weakness was a shortsighted and unscientific way of framing a social problem, Volkow believes that focusing solely on metabolism, or blaming fat people for overindulgence and gluttony, are intellectual dead ends. "What motivates us to eat is clearly much more than hunger," she says. "We need to expand the way we think about eating." Wang and Volkow suggest that dopamine may provide a new window into weight loss: Animal studies have shown, for example, that exercise elevates dopamine release and increases dopamine D2 receptors. "

The Body Health Calculator - FREE!

"Exactly how many calories do you need to consume each and every day in order to maintain your current body weight? How many would you need to consume to lose two pounds per week? Do you have your very own dietitian? You do now! Visit "Ask the Dietitian" and enter your personal information to receive custom planning."

The Weight Loss Research Center

The Weight Loss Research Center teaches that there are few legitimate weight loss products on the market that cause or aid weight loss, and there are no machines that magically remove cellulite, fat or replace legitimate exercise.  The site asserts that misleading journalism and unregulated product promotion without proper testing and research combine to dominate the public perception of weight loss.

The Center teaches that permanent change in food selection patterns is required to sustain a lower body weight and that weight loss is directly equated to exercise and not food deprivation.  Most diets do not address long-term maintenance and are therefore eventually futile.  Just as with permanent nicotine cessation, success in long-term weight reduction is strategic and NOT a matter of willpower.

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  • WhyQuit.com's coffin bannerWhyQuit.com - WhyQuit is the Internet's oldest forum devoted to the art, science and psychology of cold turkey quitting, the stop smoking method used by the vast majority of all successful long-term ex-smokers. Left to right, WhyQuit is organized under three headings: (1) Motivation, (2) Education and (3) Support.
  • "Never Take Another Puff" - Imagine a free 149 page stop smoking ebook that's registered more than 4 million downloads and was written by a man who has devoted 40 years, full-time to helping smokers quit. Never Take Another Puff (NTAP) was authored by Joel Spitzer, the Internet's leading authority on how to stop smoking cold turkey. It is an insightful collection of almost 100 articles on every cessation topic imaginable.
  • "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" - Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit's 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine (FFN) is a free nicotine dependency recovery book that documents the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful cessation. Visit Turkeyville, Facebook's most popular quit smoking support group!Whether hooked on cigarettes, e-cigarettes (e-cigs), bidis, kreteks, a pipe, hookah or cigars, on dip, chew, snuff or snus, or on the nicotine gum, lozenge, spray, inhaler or patch, FFN provides a comprehensive yet easy to follow road-map to freedom from nicotine.
  • Turkeyville - Visit Turkeyville, Facebook's most popular quit smoking support group. The group's primary focus is the first few days and helping new quitters get started. Yes you can!
  • Joel's Library - Joel's Library is home to Joel Spitzer's "Daily Quitting Lesson Guide." The Guide walks new quitters through the first two weeks of smoking cessation, recommending daily videos to watch and articles to read. Joel's Library is also home to more than 100 original short stop smoking articles, to his free ebook Never Take Another Puff, and to his collection of more than 200 video stop smoking lessons.
  • Nicotine Addiction 101 - WhyQuit's guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
  • Freedom's small link banner Freedom - Looking for a deadly serious and highly focused education oriented support group? Home to Joel Spitzer, Freedom is the Internet's only 100% nicotine-free peer messageboard support forum. Explore Freedom's hundreds of thousands of archived member posts on how to quit smoking.
  • Nicotine Cessation Topic Index - An alphabetical subject matter index to hundreds of nicotine cessation support group discussions, article and videos.
  • 40 Quitting Tips - Key cold turkey nicotine cessation tips on how to stop smoking, vaping, chewing or sucking nicotine into your body and bloodstream.

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© WhyQuit.Com 2014 - Last updated January 7, 2014 by John R. Polito