- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Quitting Smoking - Tips to Stop Smoking
Quitting smoking is one of the biggest challenges to human willpower. Like any other addiction, the quitting of it will cause actual physical and mental reactions in the body. For anyone quitting smoking, tips to stop smoking are always welcome.
While involving an enormous amount of willpower, quitting can also be aided by exercise and healthy eating and drinking.
It's not uncommon for people to gain weight after quitting smoking, this is not only because one tends to compensate with food, but because nicotine affects the metabolism. A person who smokes at least a pack a day, will find their metabolic rate increased enough to burn around 250 calories a day.
So when the smoking stops, the calorie intake should be adjusted accordingly, if you don't want to gain weight.
Tips to Stop Smoking
What can you do to aid your body in adjusting?
There are certain foods and juices that can be extremely helpful.
During the first few days, you will need plenty of fruit juices, especially the acidic type, the best of these being cranberry juice. This will help to stabilise blood sugars, and increase the rate at which the body dispels the alkaloid nicotine.
There are certain foods and herbs that will decrease the craving for nicotine.
This is very useful when quitting smoking, or for food cravings. It has stress relieving properties, calming nerves and soothing irritability. Liquorice also helps to break down body fats, another plus when you're compensating with food. Liquorice (or Licorice) is also an expectorant, which will help when your body begins to expel catarrh and phlegm.
Best taken as an infusion; grate or crush the roots, steep in boiling water for 5mins or so, then strain and drink, hot or cold.
Oatmeal, or porridge would be a good breakfast, and also in place of another meal during the day. In fact did you know that oatmeal can help you relax, and aids sleep? A bowl of oatmeal before bed will help with a good night's sleep. Oatcakes and oat cereal bars would make good snacks.
Baking soda increases the pH in urine, which will slow the elimination of the nicotine already existent in the body. This results in less craving for nicotine.
Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, raw seeds and nuts. These are sources of the antioxidants you will need, like beta-carotene, and other vitamins and minerals.
Alkaline-forming foods, like spinach, figs, raisins, almonds are all good.
Avoid acid-forming foods, like meat, greasy snacks and sweet soft drinks, as these will only intensify your cravings.
Avoid alcohol as much as possible, because not only is it a fact that when you drink alcohol is when you're most likely to want to smoke, but without alcohol the body's alkaline balance will improve more rapidly, thus diminishing cravings.
This alkaline balance should be achieved by the end of the first month, so there will be less need for these foods, but still a healthy diet should be followed.
Smokers suffer a deficiency of the B complex vitamins, so foods containing this should be eaten, or supplements taken, to reverse this deficiency.
Smoking also produces an excess of free radicals in the body, and to counteract these, antioxidants are necessary, particularly vitamin C. The increase of vitamin C and antioxidants, by fighting the free radicals, will ease cravings for tobacco, and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine increases the body's ability to deplete caffeine, so when you stop smoking your body will retain more caffeine, so try to cut down on intake, especially if you are suffering anxieties or insomnia.
Keep on hand a selection of healthy snacks, as for sure you are going to want to 'pick' more often.
Carrots, celery, apples, popcorn and low-fat cheese. Celery particularly as not only does it have almost no calories, but we actually burn calories while digesting it.
Regular exercise is a must
You don't have to go to extremes, depending on your own level of fitness. A brisk walk regularly can be helpful, the endorphins produced help the body's harmony, you are promoting a healthy heart rate, and reducing stress.
Those who keep to a regular exercise regime normally, should increase this when trying to quit smoking.
A lot of smokers state that as well as the nicotine addiction, they smoke more out of habit than anything else. They will reach for a cigarette subconsciously, to fill 'idle hands'.
So we have to try to avoid idle hands!
Those with too much spare time, should try to find a hobby or pastime to keep themselves busy: Knitting, sewing, modelmaking, drawing, writing, anything which keeps your hands busy, and your mind occupied.
Drink plenty of water. The recommended intake is about eight glasses, or roughly 2 litres, a day. When quitting you'll probably need more, as water helps make your stomach feel full, thus reducing cravings for food. Keeping a glass of water beside you is a good idea, so when you crave a cigarette, or a replacing snack, take a 'chug' of water instead. Will also give your hands something to do.
Even if you begin to show signs of weight increase, please don't reach for the cigarettes! Stick with it and fight the addiction, you can always deal with weight issues later. But if you stick to healthy snacks, and exercise regularly, you shouldn't have these problems.
You should make yourself a plan of action before you start:
Decide on the day you are going to start your stop smoking battle, and inform everyone around you, including family, workmates and friends.
Supply yourself with all the healthy food and snacks you will need.
Choose yourself a hobby or pastime to keep the hands busy.
Decide on your exercise plan, whether it be a daily walk or something more strenuous.
Remove all signs of smoking from your home, office, car etc; cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, anything that will bring smoking to mind.
Most smokers say that the times when they most feel the need for a cigarette are after a meal, or while drinking alcohol. As mentioned before, drinking alcohol should be stopped if possible, and after a meal, try to leave the table as soon as you've finished eating; go for a walk, eat an apple, or drink some more water.
How much difficulty you will have in quitting smoking, of course depends on how heavily you smoked and during how many years. Obviously heavier smokers and long-term smokers are going to find it harder than others.
The biggest part of the battle is making the decision in the first place, that you want to quit.
If you really want to, you will find it a lot easier than somebody who has been advised by a doctor to quit.
desire to quit and the willpower to do so, are half the battle.
Hopefully, some of these suggestions will make the other half easier, but really all you need is the determination to quit!
Read the testimony of a former smoker in this helpful hub :