Tobacco Cessation Week 7

How Nutrition Plays a Role in Being Tobacco Free

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Welcome to Week 7 of the Tobacco Cessation™ Tobacco Cessation Program. Congratulations on choosing a new healthier lifestyle as a tobacco-free individual!

This week, we will look at ways that you can maximize your tobacco-free lifestyle by enhancing the quality of food you eat.

Aside from not smoking, the most important determinants of good health are:

  • What we eat
  • How active we are

What Should I Eat?

Watch: Why Nutrition?

  • Choose good carbohydrates – not no carbohydrates
    • whole grains are your best bet
  • Choose the best protein package
    • Fish & shellfish
    • Poultry
    • Nuts & seeds
    • Beans
    • Soy foods
  • Choose healthy fats
    • Maximize healthy fats from plant oil, nuts and fish
    • Limit food high in saturated fat
    • Avoid foods with trans fat
  • Choose a fiber-filled diet
    • Eat whole fruits and vegetables instead of juice
    • Include more beans in your diet
    • Check food labels for fiber-filled whole grains
    • Choose lots of colors
    • Choose from all families, e.g., citrus, cruciferous, root vegetables, green leaves
  • Eat less salt
    • Eat more fresh food
    • Choose less processed foods
    • Learn to use herbs & spices to flavor-up home-cooked food

Tobacco and Your Weight

When you become a nonsmoker, changes in your body take place. When you stop smoking, your body no longer gets nicotine. Nicotine has many effects. One is to raise your metabolism. That means you burn more calories. But it may harm your heart, too. When you stop smoking, your metabolism may slow down a bit. That may contribute to weight gain. But by quitting smoking, you will help to protect your heart.

Being exposed to smoke affects your whole body. After you stop, your sense of taste and your sense of smell improve almost right away. This makes foods more appealing. Some people may eat more after they quit smoking. That is because foods smell and taste better. Others may eat snacks to take the place of smoking. You don’t have to do this. There are many other healthy things you can do.

Ways To Maintain Weight Control During the Quitting Process

Watch: Snack Right for Tobacco Cessation

Plan Your Meals

Decide what you are going to eat for each meal in advance. If you eat out, make healthy decisions before you look at the menu. Consider eating half, and taking the rest home. A very helpful method for some is to keep a food journal. Keep a small notebook with you, or use a free App or website like Record everything you eat. Try to have healthy snacks with you, too.

Keep Physically Active

Being active will help you maintain, or improve your weight. It can help reduce stress as well. Activity can help ease smoking withdrawal symptoms. Find a favorite activity, or simply take a walk on most days. As a nonsmoker, you may find physical activity more enjoyable. That’s because you may be able to breathe easier while you do it!

Reward Yourself With Things You Enjoy

When you give up smoking or chewing, you have more time and energy for other things. Give yourself nonfood treats. Go to a movie, listen to music, or read a book. Work on a hobby. Buy yourself flowers, jewelry, or sporting event tickets. Don’t always make food your reward.


Food Journal/Log

Track this week’s food intake by keeping a daily journal or log. If you find using a journal helpful, there are a number of online food journals or apps you can utilize. An example is

Continue on the path toward good health

You are making a great choice to quit tobacco. Keep it up. Eat healthy. Enjoy physical activity. See people and do things you enjoy. Get the most out of life!