Health Blog: January – Smoking
January – Smoking
Quitting Smoking – how will I deal with cravings?
Cigarette cravings are an unavoidable reality when you’re quitting smoking. They’re something you have to get through to get the benefits – but the benefits are worth it. Your cravings will be strongest during the first 4 to 5 days after you quit. How do you deal with them? Take the 4-D approach:
- Delay. If you feel the urge to smoke, let a few minutes pass and you’ll see that your cravings will pass too.
- Distract. Find something to take your mind off smoking. Do an activity that doesn’t allow you to smoke, like taking a shower, playing a game, or exercising.
- Deep breathe. Deep breathing helps you focus on something other than smoking. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for 5 seconds. Repeat this a few times to help yourself relax (deep breathing can make some people light-headed, so don’t try this while driving or operating any equipment).
- Drink water. By holding the glass in your hand and slowly sipping the water and holding it in your mouth for a few seconds, you will help replace the sensation of smoking (i.e., holding a cigarette in your hand and feeling smoke in your mouth).
Reducing the chances of weight gain
People often associate quitting smoking with weight gain. Not everyone gains weight. Among people who do, the average is 5 to 7 pounds. Here are some common reasons why people gain weight when they quit smoking:
- Your food smells and tastes better since you quit.
- Nicotine is a stimulant that artificially increases your metabolism, so when you quit smoking your metabolism returns to normal.
- You eat to cope with cravings or to keep your hands and mouth busy.
- You believe you have a legitimate excuse for eating more or gaining weight because you have quit smoking.
Try increasing your physical activity a few weeks before your quit date to help ease yourself into a new routine. People who are physically active before they quit are much less likely to gain weight.
A good idea is to start eating a healthier diet a few weeks before your quit date. You may find that quitting smoking andstarting a new diet at the same time could be overwhelming. This way, by the time you quit you have already accustomed to choosing healthy foods.
Ask Your Pharmacist
Q: I haven’t quit smoking yet, but I am wondering about how hard it might be for me.
A: Congratulations on thinking about quitting smoking and knowing that you need to do everything you can to be prepared for your quit day. To help you with this, your pharmacist can determine your level of nicotine dependence by a test called theFagerstrom test. All it takes is answering a few questions. Ask your Live Well Pharmacist today.
Do you have a question? Don’t hesitate to ask your Live Well Pharmacist.
To help you deal with cigarette cravings, prepare in advance for the situations that you know will tempt you. On a card, write down the answers to these questions: “What will I say to myself”, “Who will I ask for help?”, “What will I do?” and carry the card around with you at all times.
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