'How I quit Smoking' Mr D's story
As Christmas recedes into memory and New Year celebrations approach, New Year resolutions come into focus again. I am a veteran smoker...but I don't want to be.
I have in the past posted occasional articles from Mr D, otherwise known as Dennis DeSimone who issues a number of useful and helpful newsletters on a weekly basis. You can subscribe to Mr D's newsletters at www.advicenewsletters.com/
In Mr D's latest newsletters, issues of workplace smoking have been raised, including the effects of passive smoking, lingering unpleasant tobacco smells and matters which touch upon the legal requirements for health and safety responsibilities placed upon employers. These are issues which are increasingly being raised in the UK - which I suspect lags a little behind the USA in social condemnation of smoking.
Yes, I am a smoker, but I don't want to be. I try to persuade myself that I smoke because I enjoy it, and not because I'm addicted. The trouble is I don't even convince myself.
Mr D is a reformed smoker, he doesn't preach from a 'holier than thou' viewpoint, and I for one am going to follow his advice in the New Year. If you'd like to join me, or want to help others give up, I'd love to hear from you to find out how you get on, or what helped you.
How I Quit Smoking - Mr D's story
This is what worked for my wife and I. Please realize I am not a medical doctor and I am not providing you with medical advice here. I am simply sharing a technique that finally worked for my wife and I.
1) Do you know anyone who smokes and does not drink coffee? Coffee and cigarettes seem to go together like ice skates and ice. Coffee is a stimulant (or more precisely caffeine). If you quit coffee cold turkey you end up with terrific headaches (from caffeine withdrawal). Because caffeine is a stimulant it rouses you and then you want a cigarette to calm down. When you quit smoking but continue drinking coffee (colas or other beverages loaded with caffeine) this makes matters only worse. So step one is eliminate coffee (or whatever way you get your caffeine). To do this start determining how much coffee (or whatever) you drink a day. Then gradually start decreasing this amount daily. Although you can switch over to decaf I suggest water. Hate water? Try drinking it room temperature - before I did I hated it too. The reason I would suggest not switching to decaf is the psychological connection. Continue gradually decreasing your caffeine intake until you are down to zip (or very close to it - remember chocolate also contains caffeine!). This step is only temporary by the way. I now drink regular coffee once again.
2) Plan to quit over a long weekend (or take an extra day off to make a long weekend). I wouldn't plan on quitting until after New Years. Why? Well with all the stress and parties and so forth you would most likely only be setting yourself up for failure. Plan to have your caffeine intake down to nothing or near nothing by the time this long weekend arrives.
3) When that long weekend does arrive stay in bed. Between the lack of caffeine and cigarettes you will feel tired anyway (your body has gotten used to the stimulants that cigarettes have been pouring into it all these years). So stay in bed and sleep for most of the next 72 hours. I'm not kidding at all. Drink tons of water too. One reason is to flush the chemicals out of your system.
4) "The Infamous Gaining Weight Issue" If you don't eat more you won't gain weight. The problem is we smokers are used to putting something in our mouths all day long and when we quit we tend to put food in there instead. Also, after a few days, it will feel like the inside of your mouth is peeling away (gross - I know). Then food starts to taste so much better. This is another reason we start eating more. Try to temper this to some degree and increase your exercise (just go for a walk, I'm not telling you to do a thousand jumping jacks or anything). If you gain a little weight don't talk yourself into going back to smoking! You can always lose the weight once your smoke-free. I don't want to gross you out but the reality is cigarettes kill. Another uncle of mine recently ended up getting lung cancer - a condition that eliminated his weight problem permanently.
5) Try, as much as possible, to stay away from situations that would normally make you reach for a cigarette (I realize you can't cut all these out). Stay away from coffee (caffeine) for awhile. I didn't have my first cup of real coffee for months although I had decaf a three or four weeks after I quit.
6) Don't "quit smoking." All your mind hears is "smoking" (our minds don't "get" negatives). Instead make a commitment to "living a healthy life". Don't think of quitting as a sacrifice. Continuing to smoke is sacrificing yourself to some tobacco companies profits. Living a healthier life is a reward not a sacrifice.
This technique worked for me. It may not work for you. Everyone has to find their own way. Don't be discouraged by failure. I don't know very many people who were able to quit the first time they tried. With perseverance you will succeed. I feel so much better I can't tell you. I used to have to take a Contact pill at least twice a day for my sinuses. Once I quite smoking I didn't need them anymore! In the past five years I have probably taken only 2 Contacts (if I were still smoking instead of only 2 Contacts I would have had probably 3,650 Contacts!). My smoking habit was causing my sinus problems and headaches - which I never realized. Now that's one side effect I don't mind losing! I wish you the best of luck, the strong desire to quit and the commitment to see it through. It isn't easy but accomplishing the best things in life almost never are.
For those wanting to quit smoking the following links may provide additional advice:
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