When you smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, you’re burning 250 calories extra just by smoking! Not to mention, smoking is a stimulant so you have more energy, and it decreases your appetite.
Is it any wonder why those hoping to lose weight would be reluctant to quit? Glamorous statistics like that make it easy to forget the cold hard truth that cigarette smoking will absolutely damage your health, send you to an early grave, make your teeth rot, your skin will wrinkle early, and no one will want to be around you because you stink when you smoke. Altoids and body spray won’t hide it.
For years I tried to give up the nasty habit. My efforts never lasted because I wasn’t truly ready until I became passionate about health and fitness. Now I can honestly say I am finally a non smoker.
I read a lot about how smoking causes weight gain and I refused to allow that to happen to me. I did not want to replace cigarettes with chewing on a carrot stick or eating celery. Or worse, giving in to cravings for junk food.
In my sometimes-crazy, over-the-top brain I decided to give up eating solid food the first week of not smoking! I read so much about people replacing their smoking habit with snacking and I wanted to make sure I absolutely did not fall into that demographic so I made it virtually impossible by also vowing to a liquid only diet that first week.
For the first week of not smoking I replaced my three daily meals with thick protein shakes blended with fruit, almond milk, and sometimes nut butters. I was consuming the same number of calories each day, but my theory was I could avoid getting in the habit of snacking if I avoided solid food all together that first week. It was extreme measures, I know, but quitting was a huge deal to me.
When the urges to smoke came over me I just reflected in those moments about all the benefits of not smoking. I would think about the money that I’m saving, the extra time I’d have each day, how I wouldn’t smell bad, my skin would look better, my finger nails would be thicker, and most importantly- I’d be a better example for my kids. In the times the urge persisted, I would write these things down. I made sure to keep reminding myself why I was suffering through these urges.
A few times the urge to smoke was so strong I forced myself to take a look at the moment itself. What about that moment made me crave a cigarette? One time I was studying for a couple hours and struggling over a new theroy. I realized I did not need a cigarette when the urge came, I just needed a break. For 15 minutes I sat in the sun light outside my house and just enjoyed a short time of peace and reflection. I no longer needed a cigarette as an excuse to take a break when I needed one- I just needed to let myself take a minute away from whatever pressure was getting to me.
Another time I frequently craved cigarettes was in the car while driving. As soon as I quit I cleaned and scrubbed my car to get out the stench of smoke. It was nice to have such a clean and good smelling car. For the first couple weeks I changed up the playlist of music and podcasts that I listened to so I could avoid potential triggers. That helped considerably, but I did still have road rage cravings when I’d be cut off or tailgated. Those are the moments I reminded myself that the petty actions of others were no excuse for me to damage my own lungs.
The absolute strongest cravings came when the people I love, like my family and dear friends, would get on my nerves. As it’s natural to be easily irritated while quitting smoking, I was easily offended in those first few weeks after quitting. When it happened I’d tell myself again, I will not let the actions of others become my excuse to damage my own lungs.
If you are trying to quit smoking, don’t give up. You are capable of ending the relationship with cancer sticks! Be clear on why you want to quit, write down your reasons as specifically and detailed as possible, remind yourself of these reasons every day until you no longer have the desire to smoke cigarettes.