I have been smoke free for two weeks today, and I am not missing it one little bit. I stopped smoking in my quest to lead a healthier and fitter lifestyle, and so I can live for many years to come as long as the good Lord doesn't have other plans for me.
Most people struggle with giving up smoking, I am fortunate enough that when I actually want to give up, I can do it with ease. I bet your asking how, I will get to that very soon.
As stated in a previous post, I stopped smoking 6 years ago for three and a half years, I thought it was easy then, but didn't know how I'd fair this time around. That time I did it by joining the gym, and chewing Xtra gum everytime I got a craving. I started again when I relocated back to Auckland and everyone around me was smoking, so I thought I would start again, why is beyond me, it took me a while to get use to it again after not smoking for so long. It was harsh, and tasted disgusting, but I stuck with it and it became enjoyable again. A lesson that I am not willing to repeat.
I did have a quick stint at the beginning of 2012 where I stopped smoking, but would smoke when I was having a few drinks. When the pressure of my first ever major assignment hit, I joined the smoking corner outside the library with my class mates fulltime. Not having had fully given up, it was easy to start again. About 3/4 of the way through 2012 I thought I would try again, my brother had just gotten some patches and some gum, so I asked him if I could try the gum. Yuck it was hideous, I couldn't handle the disgusting chemical taste to it (yet I could handle the chemicals in cigarettes really well), so I asked him for a patch, placed it on the side of my abdomen and headed of to work. By time I got to work I was scratching at it, within an hour of having it on, it was so itchy, I lifted up my shirt and I had a huge red itchy rash right across my abdomen, so off the patch came. I was back outside smoking on my break.
Now as you can see, I have had some successful attempts at giving up smoking and some not so successful attempts. Do you want to know what the difference between success and failure is for me? It was the fact that if I really wanted to give up smoking, then I could do it, if I didn't really want to give up, well then I didn't. If you really want to give up smoking, you won't just talk about it, you will actually do it, it's like anything in life - if you actually want it bad enough then you will do it, you won't make excuses such as "I'll give up next week", or "One more pack won't hurt", or "But I need a ciggie with a drink, they go together". Wanting to give up is the key.
Even if you really want to give up smoking, you will still experience cravings, and the cravings will do one of two things, either make you carry on smoking, or make you eat A LOT MORE than you normal would and you'll end up piling on the kilo's. What if I told you that I know how to give up, eat as much .you want, not put any kilo's on, and lessen the effects of your cravings, and shorten the duration that you have them for. It's true, I have used this method twice now in giving up smoking, but you also have to want to give up smoking.
You need to give yourself some positive self talk for the first day, this will happen for the first few days, and as each day passes, and every morning you wake up you need to celebrate and congratulate yourself on going another day without a cigarette. Along with the positive self talk, the main factor that is going to lessen your cravings, and have them 95% disappear within two weeks of stopping smoking, mostly within the first week, is healthy eating. Eat mainly fruit and veggies, and drink tonnes of water. By doing this, you are detoxing all the toxins out of your body super fast. Have plenty of fruit and veggies on hand, as you are going to want to eat, and eat as much as you want, especially vegetables. You will also need protein with lunch and dinner to fill you up, I ate eggs and chicken/beef, I would either have an omelette filled with veges or scrambled eggs with veges at lunch, and chicken or beef with either a salad or lots of fresh steamed veges for dinner. On the days that I did not have eggs for lunch, but opted for a salad instead, I would be really hungry about an hour afterwards, so I would eat about half a cup of natural unroasted and unsalted nuts - I recommend the Tasti Natural Nuts multi pack which can be found in your muesli bar or nut section of your super market. My rule was to stick to consuming foods that had been created by nature, and not by man in some factory somewhere.
I also joined the gym and started daily exercise. I wasn't only stopping smoking, I was changing my lifestyle completely for the better. The exercise contributed to an even faster detox rate, rather than just healthy eating alone. It also gave me the energy to keep busy about the house during my spare time, as when you give up smoking, your hands need to be kept busy, which meant I needed to be moving and not sitting all the time. Distraction, distraction, distraction, keep your mind busy from thinking about cigarettes.
8 days into stopping smoking I had my first drink with my boys paternal great uncle when he came around for a visit. Because my body had been detoxing, I did not enjoy the beer, and it took me a long time to drink it. It also started up my cravings, they weren't that strong, but the old habit of wanting a ciggie with a drink, especially as my boys uncle was sitting there having a cigarette, was dying a slow death. I pushed through it, and went and got myself a drink of water and felt better.
My next test came at day 11, it was a family celebration for my Nana's birthday. It was only a small celebration over dinner, and my Grandad pulled out a couple of bottles of kiwifruit wine that he had home brewed. I took up his offer of a glass with dinner, and was absolutely fine. Not one craving, I ended up having three glasses that night, perhaps it was the fact that we were eating and talking which kept my cravings at bay, but I did not feel like a cigarette at all.
Here I am with day 14 almost over. I cannot remember when my last craving was to be exact, but it hasn't been in the last 2 days, I actually don't even really think about smoking. I feel like I did before I started smoking once again, it feels like I haven't been a smoker for a while. If you are a smoker and want to give up, I suggest filling your body with nutrients from nature to help fight those cravings, and remember that you can do it, and you will feel so much better for it. After a week your sense of smell and taste would have heightened tenfold to what they were when you were a smoker. You can and you will do it, if you want to do it!!
Hi I'm Chon, I am in my early 30's and I have two wonderful boys who are 12 and 7 years old. I have just completed my degree as a fulltime student, as well as being a fulltime parent, and now I am in job search mode. I have decided to blog my journey to not only help myself, but to help others out there in similar situations. In solidarity we grow, not only in strength, but in mind and heart!