In our increasingly health conscious society, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your body. In theory, we all know the risks that cigarettes pose. These include a higher likelihood of heart disease, cancer and a host of other illnesses.
Still, quitting smoking still proves too difficult for thousands.
Part of this is that many would-be nonsmokers simply don’t know how to kick the habit. In most cases, trying to go cold turkey results in failure. However, if you know the right techniques, giving up smoking for good is well within reach.
Here are 5 tips to help you quit smoking.
Make a Plan
When it comes to quitting smoking, the most important thing is having a clear plan. You should set a quit date. This will be your point of no return, so tell your friends and family, and get all of the tobacco out of your house before then.
At this point, you should think about your reasons for quitting. This might be improved health, or more time with your family. You can also set yourself a material reward to buy with all the money you’ll be saving.
You’ll also want to consider times when smoking will be most tempting, and have a clear plan for overcoming this. Examples include having an escape route from parties, or replacing your after-dinner cigarette with something healthier, like a cup of tea or coffee.
Another helpful trick for overcoming temptation is using the mantra not a single draw. When you feel like you need to smoke, simply repeat this to yourself until the temptation passes.
Change your Diet
Changing your diet while you’re quitting smoking might sound like taking on too much at once, but the science is clear. Certain foods just make you more inclined to smoke. Deep fried foods, caffeine and red meat all make you more likely to smoke.
These foods make cigarettes more appealing.
On the other hand, dairy products like cream or cheese make cigarette smoke taste disgusting. You can also opt for foods which keep your mouth busy, like nuts or popcorn. Fresh fruit can also help with nicotine cravings, as a healthy way to indulge your sweet tooth.
It’s also important to have a regular meal plan when quitting smoking. Hunger pangs will make you more likely to reach for a cigarette. Ensuring that you get three square meals will prevent this, and improve your chances of quitting successfully.
Additionally, this will help you to avoid gaining weight while you quit. This is a common problem. It occurs because nicotine can suppress your appetite, which causes you to overeat when you are quitting.
Watch What you Drink
One of the biggest problems people face when they try to quit smoking is alcohol. The truth is that drinking alcohol makes you far more likely to smoke. Anyone who’s tried to give up smoking can attest to this.
If you can, you should try to avoid alcohol in the first few weeks of giving up smoking. This is helpful because avoiding situations where you might drink will also remove you from situations where your peers smoke socially.
This is especially important, because the effects of alcohol and tobacco are much worse when combined. If you’re serious about adopting a healthier lifestyle, this is a good opportunity to rethink your relationship with alcohol.
Other drinks will make it harder to give up smoking. Fizzy drinks and coffee also make smoking much more pleasant. While you quit smoking, you should try to replace these with water or fresh fruit juice wherever possible.
Switch to Vaping
Switching to an e-cigarette can double your chances of quitting smoking. In fact, those who take up vaping are even more likely to quit for good than those who use other nicotine replacements like gum or patches.
You could switch to a vape with a low nicotine content at first, and gradually reduce this until you’re not vaping any nicotine at all. This still comes along with certain risks, but it is multitudes better than smoking normal cigarettes.
These days, alternative vaping products are also available. These are generally much healthier than smoking nicotine vapes, or cigarettes. For example, you can vape essential oils, vitamins, and other non-nicotine products. Consuming vitamin B12 as vapor can be more effective than pills, for example, and is not addictive or carcinogenic like nicotine is.
The goal is to benefit your health, while also helping to wean you off nicotine, and all the other nasty chemicals which come along with smoking.
Get Some Exercise
Getting more exercise is scientifically proven to reduce your nicotine cravings. Even a small amount of daily exercise causes your brain to produce chemicals like oxytocin which reduce the temptation to have a cigarette.
Exercising also reduces stress and improves your mood. For many people, negative emotions lead to smoking. Improving your mental health with exercise will allow you to overcome this and improve your motivation to quit for good.
Similarly, exercising is a great gateway to a healthier lifestyle, as you you start to undo the damage that smoking has done you. This includes improved heart-health and more energy. Exercising will also prevent you from gaining weight while you quit smoking.
Certain types of exercise are a great motivator for quitting smoking. For example, if you take up cycling or running, you could reward yourself with a new bike or pair of trainers when your reach an important milestone, like 3 months smoke-free.
How to Quit Smoking & Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
When quitting smoking, there are really only two key factors. The first is your plan, including when and how you’ll quit, as well as why you want to give up cigarettes. The other is the strategies you’ll use to overcome nicotine cravings.
This can include avoiding certain food, drinks and activities. Alternatively, you can replace cigarettes with a healthier alternative to satisfy your cravings. Vaping is one method for cutting down on consumption. However, vaping nicotine is still addictive.
Ultimately, if you want to quit smoking you need to remove nicotine from your life altogether. This will be difficult, but the beneficial results for your health are undeniable. Quitting smoking decreases the risk of a heart attack, which is more pronounced in middle aged and older people, and significantly reduces the risk of cancer, amongst other benefits.
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