I lost five and a half stone after quitting


Shauna stopped smoking and lost five and a half stone, breaking the myth that quitting makes you gain weight.

Shauna’s story

Shauna stopped smoking South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

“Why did I give up smoking? Because I knew I was going to die if I didn’t. I had to think, ‘Are cigarettes worth my life?’

When I first went to the Trust’s stop smoking service, I was very, very depressed. I was not feeling normal. I have had some bad things happen in my life and used cigarettes to deal with those issues.

I had also put on a lot of weight – my doctor said I was obese. I needed an operation on my knee but was told I couldn’t be treated because of my weight and smoking.

I had tried to quit on my own before, without the stop smoking products which you can get from the service. Using the products, together with the support of my advisor – that was the difference for me this time.

Since I started going to the stop smoking service, I have both quit smoking and lost five and a half stone.

I wanted to tell my story to let women know that quitting smoking doesn’t mean that you’ll put weight on. I have changed my whole behaviour and actually eat more and better quality foods now than when I smoked. Before, I’d shop cheaply to make sure there was enough money for cigarettes. Now I buy lots of fresh fruit instead.

I’d often settle down to watch TV and have a cigarette – I needed something to do with my hands. Now I chop up apples into small pieces and nibble on them instead.

My health has improved a lot too. I was born with bronchial asthma. Since quitting smoking I haven’t used my inhaler once; my lung capacity has improved so much. I also used to have headaches all the time and was always taking paracetamol, but I haven’t had one since I quit smoking.

My mental health is so much better. Smoking used to make me really fidgety and nervous – I didn’t realise until I stopped but I’m much more relaxed now. I now know that it’s not smoking that relaxes you. It’s actually more stressful being a smoker, as you’re always thinking about it – when will I get my next cig?

My skin is so smooth and different. I now have a full social life, visiting the local women’s centre and doing lots of walking. The extra weight and problems caused by smoking meant I couldn’t do as much before.

Stopping smoking and losing weight has also meant getting my knee operation.

It’s getting easier and easier for me to live without cigarettes. I don’t need them any more – I’m just not that person.

I used to say I was dying for a cigarette. I had a pulmonary embolism in my left lung and am susceptible to blood clots as a result of smoking. That’s dying for a cigarette. I can’t ever see myself being like that again.”