Diet and Exercise to Help You Quit Smoking
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Diet and Exercise to Help You Quit Smoking

Many people are concerned about gaining weight when they quit smoking. But with a healthful diet and regular exercise, this weight gain can be prevented. Also, adopting these healthful lifestyle factors will make you feel better and help you keep from smoking again.


All of us should strive for a healthful diet, whatever our specific goals are. But when you are quitting smoking, it is especially important. A healthful diet can help prevent weight gain and can help your body to recover from the damage that smoking can do. In addition, adapting your eating habits gives you something to focus on other than smoking. For example, when you have a craving to put something in your mouth or do something with your hands, reach for some carrot sticks or air-popped popcorn instead of a cigarette.

When you eat better, you will feel better. And this will help reinforce the good thing that you are doing for your body by quitting smoking and adopting other healthy lifestyle habits.


Regular exercise is a great way to keep those pounds from creeping on and to lose a few as well. The longer you are smoke-free, the easier it will be to breathe when you exercise. You'll want to start slow, but the key is to get into a routine of exercising regularly—start with 3-4 days per week, even if you only do 10-20 minutes of exercise each day. Gradually increase the time spent each day. Also, by exercising regularly, you'll be less likely to start smoking again.

If you don’t have a regular physical activity routine see your doctor before starting to exercise.

For more information on starting a regular exercise program, click here .


National Cancer Institute


Guide to quitting smoking. American Cancer Society website. Available at: . Accessed March 1, 2007.

You can control your weight as you quit smoking. Weight Control Information Network. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: . Accessed on March 1, 2007

Last reviewed February 2007 by Janet H. Greenhut, MD, MPH

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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