The best way to stay smoke-free is to take one day at a time. Focus on why you quit, not why you want to smoke. It’s important to stay strong and view yourself as a non-smoker. This will give you the best chance of quitting for good.
Smoking is a physical and mental addiction. So it’s ok to seek help when you’re having a tough time. The good news is there’s plenty of tips and tricks to help with cravings or doubts. If you need to talk to someone, call Quitline (13 7848) for the cost of a local call (calling from a mobile costs more).
Being prepared for what’s to come can make the process even easier. That way when the withdrawal symptoms happen you can identify them as all part of the quitting process and not rush straight to a cigarette.
Manage your stress
It’s easy to get into the habit of smoking when you feel stressed. The relief you feel when you have a cigarette is actually not relief from stress but relief from the nicotine withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing. Addiction to nicotine means you experience that stressed feeling whenever you crave nicotine.
If you feel stressed, down or anxious after quitting, there are lots of ways to help you manage. You might like to:
- take nicotine replacement therapy
- take deep breaths
- close your eyes and imagine you’re in a peaceful place
- exercise to naturally feel happier
- relax with a massage
- have a warm bath or stretch
- talk to friends, family or a counsellor
- focus on what you’re doing or work with your hands
- cut back on caffeine to feel calm
- help someone else to take the focus off cravings and feel happier
- accept that you’ll have good days and bad days, but you’ll be healthier and happier for quitting.
Those who have successfully quit report an improvement in their mood. The hardest time is a week or two after quitting. So stay strong in the first week – it will pay off.
Don’t forget quitting makes you look younger and healthier. Some people do experience a little weight gain when they quit, but it’s important not to feel discouraged if it happens to you. The average weight gain after one year is five kilograms. But research has shown that the average body weight of ex-smokers is similar to those who have never smoked.
Reasons for weight gain:
- Nicotine withdrawals sometimes feel like hunger pains, so you may think you’re hungry when you’re not.
- Nicotine speeds up your metabolism.
- Nicotine suppresses appetite, so when you quit you may feel hungrier, not to mention food tastes better.
How to avoid weight gain:
- Limit the number of snacks you have. Plan meals ahead of time and focus on fresh fruit, nuts and veggies. Drink plenty of water.
- Be active. Those who quit report higher energy levels which will make working out easier.
- Try not to skip meals – it can stop your body using energy the way it normally would.
- Avoid strict or unpleasant diets – treat yourself every now and then.
Is there other support?
There’s plenty of support to manage weight gain, both in person and online.
Healthier. Happier. – A great website where you can find a number of free workouts, recipes and tools to help you meet your health and fitness goals.
Get Healthy! – A free, over-the-phone program for anyone concerned about their weight or health and fitness goals. It includes ten free coaching calls with a personal health coach for up to six months.
Queensland Dieticians – Find a dietician to help you with healthy eating and give professional, face-to-face advice.