Life Gets Better Without Tobacco
In your tobacco-free life, you can look forward to fewer coughs, colds, sore throats, and easier breathing (within days!), as well as fresher smelling clothes, fewer facial wrinkles, lower insurance rates and lots more money freed up to spend as you choose - there’s no downside.
So go ahead and make your quit plan - you can do it!
It doesn't take long to rid the body of nicotine, the drug in tobacco that smokers physically depend on. But it can take time to adjust to the idea of not having cigarettes around as constant companions.
Ask yourself what "triggers" you to light up. Could it be certain drinks such as coffee or alcohol, or activities like watching television, talking on the phone, or driving?
These may trigger your emotional desire for a cigarette long after the physical craving has gone - so be prepared. If you are alert you can prevent the temptation to smoke from weighing you down.
Of course there are no hard and fast rules to tell exactly what will happen when you give up smoking. Some people don't put on any extra pounds at all, some gain more, and some will actually lose weight. For those who do put on a few pounds, the average gain is about 3-4 kg. (6-9 lbs.) - not a lot. On average, people who quit smoking eventually end up at about the same weight as people who have never smoked.
Weighing the Risks
If you do gain weight when you quit smoking it's important to remind yourself that the benefits you get from giving up cigarettes far outweigh the health risks of extra weight.
In fact, you would have to put and keep on an extra 56 kilograms (125 pounds) above your normal weight to affect your health as much as smoking a pack a day does. And the chances of gaining that much weight are slim indeed!
On the other hand, smoking is known to mask the taste of foods. Once you quit, imagine your delight when you rediscover the full flavour of old favourites. So go easy on the desserts and rich fatty foods.
Satisfy your hunger and urge to munch by choosing from a supply of crunchy raw vegetables or air-popped corn. Chew sugar free gum. Focus on grain foods (breads, cereals, rice, pastas), fruits, and vegetables. As long as you go easy on the high calorie sauces and spreads these foods can really become your best friends in weight watching.
Most smokers like to light up at the end of a meal. Without that cigarette to signal that eating is over, you may tend to keep nibbling on food that you don't really need or want. Don't linger at the table. Get up and do something! Walk the dog, clear the table, or curl up with the newspaper.
Handling the New You
Change - even good change - can be stressful. Since smokers sometimes use cigarettes to help cope with stressful occasions, you might want to find other ways to handle the ups and downs that are a normal part of everyday living.
Exercise is a great way to relax, to get into shape and to burn off unwanted calories too. Find something physical to do that you enjoy and try to make it a regular part of your day. Take stretch breaks, especially if you sit a lot. Go for a walk break instead of a coffee break; learn to swim. Once you start moving, you'll really be able to appreciate breathing easier.
Other useful ways to handle stress include talking through things that bother you with someone you trust, learning relaxation techniques, developing new hobbies, or seeking out things that twig your sense of humour.
Reward yourself for not smoking, but not by going overboard on high calorie foods. Take some of those dollars you've saved by breaking the addiction and treat yourself every once in a while to something you really enjoy. You deserve it!
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 29 August 2012.