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If you’d love to stub out cigarettes but are worried about the effect on the scales, we can help. With the right support, gaining weight doesn’t have to be a given when you stop smoking. In fact, a recent study shows that some smokers who joined Slimming World were even able to lose weight while quitting. 

The university study*, published in leading medical journal the BMJ Open, included 76 smokers who were all offered support to help them quit. Of this group, 37 were also invited to take up a free 12-week membership to their local Slimming World group.

Seventeen percent of the smokers in the trial successfully managed to stop smoking, and changes in their weight were analysed over time. Those who just focused on quitting gained weight steadily, whereas those who also joined Slimming World had lost weight at each follow-up point. 

After 12 weeks, those who had been supported at their local Slimming World group had lost an average of 2.9lbs. This represented a 5.1lb average difference in weight between the quitters who joined Slimming World and those who didn’t.

MORE BELOW: 10 snacks to help curb hunger pangs

How Slimming World can help

We understand that, without support, giving up smoking and managing your weight at the same time can be very challenging. Our combination of support and easy-to-follow healthy eating plan, together with the encouragement and motivation our members find in group, can make a vital difference. Here’s how: 

Enjoy a new way of eating

When you stop smoking, your appetite and sense of taste can come alive, and you can be so used to having something in your hand that you’re tempted to reach for food instead of a cigarette. At Slimming World, you’ll learn a new way of eating that’s healthy and satisfying. At the core of our science-based eating plan is a deep understanding of appetite regulation – so how some food satisfies our appetite for longer. From this, we’ve developed a slimming plan that’s flexible, filling and full of tasty food that you’ll actually enjoy eating.

Get help to change unhealthy habits

Making healthy changes and breaking old habits isn’t easy to do alone. At Slimming World we have 51 years of experience in helping our members to make changes with tested tools and techniques, without any judgement or criticism. This approach means that Slimming World members are able to make lasting lifestyle changes and leave unhealthy habits behind – with support to overcome any setbacks along the way.

Feel supported in group

Joining Slimming World means joining a community of people who understand your challenges and who are also on a journey to better health and wellbeing. This group support is so powerful, especially when combined with the knowledge of your Slimming World Consultant. So powerful, in fact, that slimmers who are part of a slimming group, with people who care and share your goals, are more successful than slimmers who go it alone.

Find out more about joining your local Slimming World group here

If you’re already a Slimming World member and want extra support while stopping smoking, ask your Consultant for the ‘Stop smoking and still lose weight’ leaflet.

Brian’s 10st success story

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Brian Farmer is one Slimming World member who successfully slimmed down while stopping smoking. He’s now lost 10st and has completely transformed his lifestyle and health. He says:

“I walked into my local Slimming World group weighing 22st 9lbs, with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, constant tiredness and depression. A year into my weight loss journey, I’d completely changed my eating habits – ditching the greasy food and takeaways – and I decided it was time to tackle another unhealthy habit, smoking. As someone who smoked 40 cigarettes a day, I was nervous that quitting would mean putting the 5st I’d lost back on, but the other members of my Slimming World group pulled me through all of my doubts and put me in the right mindset to quit.

Now 10st lighter, I feel like a different person. I’m a non-smoker, I’m active and can run around after my granddaughter, and my health is so much better. I’ve even achieved my dream of becoming an HGV driver. Life is great and I’m looking forward to what the future brings.”

MORE ON THE BLOG: Read Brian’s amazing story in full here

Healthy snacks can help curb hunger pangs

Brian’s top stop smoking tip is to snack on fruit – and having healthy snacks to hand is a great idea. 

When smokers quit, they often say they miss the habit of lighting up a cigarette or having something in their hands or mouth, and that can lead to them reaching for less healthy foods. Some people also report feeling hungrier – however, it’s easy to mistake nicotine cravings for hunger. 

If you find that you want to eat more while stopping smoking, enjoying meals that are full of foods that satisfy the appetite for fewer calories – like fish and lean meat, fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice and potatoes (which can be eaten freely on Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan) – can help to avoid that hungry feeling. Prepping low-calorie snacks, like fruit, vegetable sticks, cherry tomatoes and chicken drumsticks (with the skin removed) is a great tip, too. Having these ready will give you something to busy your hands, as well as giving you some easy, healthy choices when cravings strike.

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10 snacks to help curb hunger pangs

1. Corn on the cob 
2. Cherry tomatoes
3. Seafood sticks
4. Fresh or frozen fruit
5. Fat-free yogurt
6. Low-fat/virtually fat-free cottage cheese (have it as a dip)
7. Carrot sticks and celery batons
8.   Hard-boiled eggs
9. Pepper slices
10. Lean chicken drumsticks (with skin removed)

A healthier future

The health risks caused by smoking are well known – and with research suggesting that losing weight can lower your risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19, there may never have been a better time to consider quitting and managing your weight at the same time.

The results of this trial show that weight gain isn’t an inevitable consequence of quitting and, in fact, it is possible – with weight-management support – to slim down at the same time. 

If you’d like our support to help you lose weight while stopping smoking, a warm welcome awaits you in your local Slimming World group. We’re also currently running our best-ever Countdown offer – with a free recipe book and six weeks for the price of five. Contact your local Consultant to find out more and book your place in group. Together, we can do it!

*The Referral to Slimming World in UK Stop Smoking Services (SWISSS) versus stop smoking support alone on body weight in quitters trial was led by Professor Deborah Lycett from Coventry University’s Centre for Intelligent Healthcare and published in BMJ Open.

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