Dealing with symptoms of physical withdrawal can be handled very logically. Do whatever you would normally do if you were struck with these ailments. For example: If you are constipated … increase fiber and water intake. If you are coughing, take a cough suppressant.
- When an urge for a cigarette catches you by surprise, take three regular deep breaths. Hold the last breath in for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. This procedure should help you relax as well as use the muscles normally used for inhaling.
- Try to avoid caffeinated drinks. Coffee (caffeinated) often creates a craving for cigarettes.
- Try to avoid alcoholic beverages – alcohol creates a deficiency in oxygen that may lessen the ability to concentrate. The urge to have a cigarette may develop as a “pick-me-up.”
- Chew on something, non-caloric, to relieve tension in muscles that would normally be used for exhaling.
- Avoid excess sugar to avoid excess calories. Substitute low-calorie snacks like celery, carrot sticks, plain popcorn, breadsticks, etc.
- Stretch – to help keep blood flowing and to ward off sleepiness.
- Remember … drink fluids like water or fruit juice and be patient. You WILL live through this! Over 50 million people already have.
Eating is not a healthy substitute for smoking!
As you decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke, it is important to remember that you should not increase your caloric intake – risking weight gain. Like many people who are limiting their cigarettes, you may feel the need to have something in your mouth to replace the cigarettes. Try sucking on a cinnamon stick or swizzle stick.
Adjust Eating Habits
However, if you like to snack, learn to “snack smart.” Limit your snacking by eating good regular meals. Learn new ways to cope with snacking triggers such as anxiety and boredom. Try deep breathing and other relaxation exercises. Keep healthy snacks nearby: raw vegetables, unbuttered popcorn and fruit. Drink plenty of water and low-calorie beverages without caffeine. (Caffeine is a stimulant and may make you feel edgy or nervous while going through withdrawal. There is also a very strong psychological association between smoking and drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages.) Controlling your daily calorie intake is the secret to controlling your weight. There are 3500 calories in a pound of body fat. When you take in 3500 more calories than your body uses, you gain a pound of weight. When you burn off 3500 extra calories, you lose a pound. So a balance between the amount of calories you eat and the amount you burn each day should maintain your weight at a constant level.
Build moderate exercise into your daily routine to burn unwanted calories and to help reduce tension and stress. Feel more relaxed and alert.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Get off one stop before your bus stop.
- Go for a brisk walk on your breaks.
- Learn simple exercises to do at your desk.
- Park farther away from the building entrance.
- Begin a more rigorous exercise program. Take a walk before or after dinner or learn something new and different, like karate, yoga or dancing. Aerobic-type exercises, such as walking.
- Jogging, swimming, and bicycling are best for improving your cardio-respiratory endurance.
- Get involved with an athletic event at your local Lung Association, like the Fight for Air Climb, Walk, Ride, or Run.
- Ask family or friends to exercise with you. Having a buddy will increase your motivation.
- Think about all of the activities you did as a kid. See if you can try one of those activities again!
Most of all, you should remember that whenever you have a craving, you can pick up the phone and give us a call. We recommend that you program our number (1-866-QUIT-YES) into your phone so that you can have easy access to reach us the second you need a cigarette the most. We have many other ideas that we can give you about what to do when you really want to smoke and we can help you assess your triggers in order to find healthy alternatives to keep you smoke-free.