After quitting, food may taste yummier to you because of your recovered sense of taste. You may also turn to snacks to curb your cravings or deal with stress (instead of smoking). All these may add up to slight weight gain after quitting.

We know it can be upsetting to gain weight, but remember, the impact of the slight weight gain some smokers may face is nothing compared to the harms of continuing to smoke. The benefits of quitting vastly outweigh the slight weight gain, especially if you’re of a healthy weight.

Of course, not all smokers gain weight after quitting. Besides, there are things you can do to help maintain your weight. Here are some tips.

Related: What is A Healthy Weight?

Eat in Moderation

Watch your waistline after quitting by learning how to eat healthy — this means eating balanced meals in moderation. Not sure how? Try using My Healthy Plate as a guideline. It helps you figure out your portions and makes sure you’re getting a good balance of different nutrients.

[image of my healthy plate]

It’s simple:

  • Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables (e.g. papaya, apple, kai lan, beansprouts)

  • Fill a quarter of your plate with meat or other protein (e.g. chicken, lean meat, fish, tofu)

  • Fill a quarter of your plate with whole grains (e.g. brown rice, brown rice bee hoon)

This will help you figure out the right portions you should be eating. It’ll also ensure you’re getting a balance of different nutrients to help you maintain a healthy diet.

Related: Makan Matters: What’s A Healthy Diet?

Beat Stress, not Stress Eat

Find yourself reaching for something to munch on whenever you’re stressed? It’s time to learn some new stress-coping methods! Some quick ways to de-stress include deep breathing, listening to soothing soundtracks, or calling up a close friend for a quick chat.

Eat Mindfully

Ever find yourself unthinkingly finishing an entire bag of keropok while binge-watching your favourite Korean drama? When you’re not paying attention to what you eat, you’re more likely to eat more than you planned to, or eat foods that are high in fat, sugar, or calories.

Practise mindful eating by paying attention to what you’re eating: set aside all distractions like your phone, iPad, or TV. Place healthy snacks such as fruit close by (e.g. on your coffee table) and high-calorie snacks out of sight and easy reach (e.g. in cupboards), so you’re more likely to reach for the healthier stuff!

One bag of keropok (100g) = 424 calories

One apple (150g) = 79 calories

The difference of 345 calories will take about 1.5 hours of cycling to burn*.

*Calories burned per hour are based on a 64kg individual.

When eating, take the time to chew your food thoroughly and savour the flavours. Eat slowly — it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to send out signals that you are full.

Related: Chew On Mindless Eating

Stay Active

Besides eating healthily and mindfully, being more active will also help you maintain a healthy weight. Plus, exercise reduces your cravings, so you won’t end up snacking unnecessarily to keep your mouth busy.

Not sure what exercise to get into? Sign up for free workout sessions offered by the Health Promotion Board, or join a class at your community centre.

So, try these tips to help you maintain a healthy weight. Even if you didn’t gain weight after quitting, these tips will help you lead a healthy lifestyle.

Resources for Quitting

Join the I Quit Programme and remain smoke free for 28 days and you are 5 times more likely to quit smoking. You can nominate your loved ones as a supporter when you sign up for the programme. Validate your smoke-free status and redeem a HPB eVoucher* worth $50 at the 28th day milestone. Keep going and you'll also receive eVouchers* worth $30 and $20 at the 3rd month and 6th month milestone respectively!

*Terms and conditions apply. 

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