6 Tips to help quit smoking

It’s already summertime and that New Years’ resolution you vowed so dilligently to keep has long been violated. Since the morning of January 1st, with coffee and a bagel, the cigarettes have never stopped. After all, how can you be expected not to smoke the morning after 9 beers, 4 martinis and a glass of champagne? Now some six months after, facing that dirty ashtray of crumpled butts, you’re beginning to rethink your options. “How am I going to quit?” you ask yourself. Cold turkey? The Patch? Nicotine gum? e-Cigarette? These expensive options have helped many stop smoking, but there are other all-natural options. Here’s are 6 easy tips that worked for me and my friends. They may sound weird or unremarkable, but will definitely give you the fighing edge against the Nicotine blues.

  1. Make a plan to smoke less cigarettes per day.“Well, obviously,” you’re thinking, “And how do I do that without going crazy?” One way to approach this is to buy about 1-3 packs of cigarettes (depending on how much you smoke per day) and make yourself daily allowance packs. In each pack write yourself a motivational note about why you need to stop smoking, the more personal the better. Make yourself enough packs to last for about a week or so, with each day decrease the number of cigarettes in your pack until eventually, on the last day, there is only one. For example, if you smoke about a pack a day, your first day’s allowance will be 20 cigarettes. The next day 18, then 16, and so on, until 8 days later you will have 2 in your daily allowance pack. Then add one day with only 1 cigarette in your pack. The motivational note for this day should be as harsh as possible. Had a relative that passed away from lung cancer? Include their picture in this day’s message.
  2. Keep a calendar. Keeping a calendar of how long you’ve been “smoke-free” is a big motivation. As with dieting and weight training, one of the most important things you can do is keep a daily log of your progress. An excellent tool for this is the Silk Quit meter available at SilkQuit.org. This Windows tool runs in your system tray and provides real-time stats of how long it’s been since you quit, the number of cigarettes you didn’t smoke, the money you saved, and the amount of time you added to your life by quitting. You’ll also find lots of tips and motivational information at the Silk Quit Web site as well.
  3. Use herbal supplements. There are many all-natural herbal remedies out here claiming to be as powerful as the Patch or Nicorette gum. Before shelling out $49.95 as a last ditch effort, try visiting your local nutrition or health food store first. The two main herbs that provide comfort during your nicotine withdrawal are Lobelia and St. John’s Wort. Lobelia is a respiratory tonic, which stimulates the respiratory system and provides the body with an effect similar to that caused by Nicotine. It is available in liquid, bulk and capsule form. Lobelia is best taken after you quit. As a liquid tincture you can place a couple of drops under your tongue or in a hot tea whenever you feel the “urge.”One of the reasons that many people revert back to smoking after they quit is in order to stop the inevitable weight gain

    St. John’s Wort, on the other hand, provides calming properties to help fight the edgy effects and stress caused by the quitting. Not too long ago prescribed by doctors as the all-natural alternative to Prozac, St. John’s Wort is also a helpful tool against the incessant edginess. Like its pharmaceutical counterpart, St. John’s Wort needs time to build up the chemicals in the brain, generally 2-3 weeks. You should start taking St. John’s Wort (according to the directions on the bottle) about 2 weeks before you plan to quit. It is also available in liquid, bulk, and capsule form.

    The liquid tinctures are probably the fastest acting and most potent form of these herbs. You can also buy them in bulk at many natural food stores for making hot tea. They taste like crap though, so be sure to cook them combined with some tasty herbal or peppermint tea. Believe it or not, these herbs do actually help.

    I found the best trick is to brew your tinctures or bulk herbs along with a few teabags of Bigelow Peppermint Tea. It’s very minty and covers the displeasing tastes of the other ingredients quite nicely. Starbuck’s TAZO Passion Tea works very well also for a few bucks more.

  4. Get support. There are many message boards and support groups available on the Internet. The best thing you can do is share your thoughts with others who have quit and are trying to quit smoking. If you have a significant other, ask their support as well, perhaps have them write some of your motivational notes included in your daily allowance packs.
  5. Don’t stress about weight gain. One of the natural side-effects of denying your body any drug, is weight-gain. The average cigarette smoker gains an average of 10lbs after quitting without any changes in eating habits. One of the reasons that many people revert back to smoking after they quit is in order to stop this inevitable weight gain. It is important to conentrate on your methods for quitting smoking and accept that a small amount of weight gain is completely normal. Remember, only one battle at a time. After you quit, there will be plenty of opportunity to shed those unwanted pounds. Continue to eat normally and don’t replace one binge with another.
  6. Change your daily routines. Another thing to take into consideration is the bar scene and other times you associate with having a cigarette. For the first several weeks, you might want to avoid situations in which cigarettes are especially *tasty*. Find substitutions for these times and situations until your cravings are not as strong. As far as the bar scene, it is highly recommended to avoid it, at least in the beginning. Once you are drinking, your resolve will plummet and you will most likely light up. If you really enjoyed cigarettes with your daily coffee, then drink less coffee. After sex? How about just breathing deep as you lay next to your partner (or plastic friend) and being thankful you are not as winded as you normally would be.

Congratulations, You've installed Cancer.

It’s a tough battle to fight, and no one ever said that quitting smoking was easy. If you stick to your guns, however, the battle can be won. Use the tips and tools above to help give yourself the winning edge you’ll need to quit and you’ll end up victorious. Remember that lots of others have successfully quit smoking too, so why not you?

Kim  See all posts by Kim
is a Lifestyle and Weight Loss Management Specialist and Food Psychology Coach who loves to ride motorcycles.
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