Quit Smoking Without Gaining Weight
“I really want to quit smoking. Do you have any tips for handling urges and quitting without gaining weight?”
Ready to quit today? To deal with urges, the faculty at Pritikin recommend these 10 basic strategies:
- Throw away all your cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia so that you cannot retrieve them.
- Deal with one urge at a time. Don’t worry about urges that might occur in the future.
- Choose not to smoke with each urge. The urge is not the action. Keep telling yourself that you are not a smoker anymore. Don’t touch a cigarette. If you decide not to touch one, it is much harder to find one in your mouth.
- Urges pass. On the average, urges last about 6 minutes. Time yourself. Choosing to smoke will only increase the intensity and frequency of future urges and make quitting more difficult.
- Use deep breathing when an urge occurs and do it regularly throughout the day. Breathing is the most economical and convenient relaxation strategy on the market! And, it works. Keep reminding yourself that you are determined to be free.
- Keep your blood sugar regulated by following the Pritikin Eating Plan. Having small, frequent meals high in unrefined complex carbohydrates will give you a steady source of glucose, which helps combat the “highs” and “lows” that nicotine creates. And as thousands of people who have attended the Pritikin Longevity Center over the past four decades have found, following the Pritikin Program of food and fitness also helped them quit smoking without gaining weight. Many, in fact, lost excess weight.
- Plan your schedule carefully. For the first few days, have a specific time for eating and exercise. Exercise helps relieve the tension of stopping smoking and decreases weight gain. Keep yourself busy. It’s preferable to having a lot of free time, especially during the first 24 hours, which are often the most difficult. Restructure your daily routines for the short term. Reordering activities will not eliminate urges, but it can help alter strong associations. If, for example, you are accustomed to smoking after eating, leave the table and take a walk as soon as you finish your meal.
- Be patient with yourself and your efforts. Letting go of cigarettes is a major change in your life. Treat yourself well during the first few weeks and allow the change to happen. Talk about your feelings.
- Welcome your symptoms of recovery, as difficult as this might be. Remember that they are signals of your emerging good health. Some of the symptoms you may experience include moodiness, irritability, lethargy or sleeplessness, increased coughing, and headaches. All can be handled. All are signs that your body is returning to health. All will pass much more quickly than you think. A cigarette will not make anything better. You are building a new foundation of health.
- A single cigarette will undermine the structure. Distract yourself from the urge. You are putting an end to compulsive behavior. Stop, breathe, and think it through. Remember that no one ever died from quitting. No one ever regretted it either. The only regret is starting again!