Nicotine is an appetite suppressant on the body, so smokers without being aware may have blocked their body’s own natural sign for water and food by smoking.
When you stop smoking you can sometimes confuse the body’s signs for thirst or hunger for craving to smoke. Some of the following hints and tips may be helpful…
- Diary sheet – use a diary sheet and explore what your triggers to smoke are.
- Sips of water – simplest and very effective. Have a drink of water to check if your body’s actually thirsty.
- Check emotions – what feelings are you experiencing? Anger, frustration, upset or annoyed at someone? Explore different ways to deal with these strong emotions.
- Bored – fed up or bored? Then do something – wash up, go for a walk, read a book, watch TV, take up a hobby but do not smoke to fill the time.
- Thinking about smoking – then change your thoughts. Do not focus on what you’re not able to do, focus on the positive things stopping smoking will bring.
- Deep breathing – focus on your breathing and really take ten deep full breaths (put your hands on your tummy and expand out this area when breathing) to enable you to get through the cravings.
- Get active – take up exercise, go for a walk, swim, cycle, belly dance, salsa.
- Food – If you have tried all the above then have something to eat, low calorie such as fruit – bananas, sugar free gum/food. Try not to pick! This could increase your weight considerably.
- Feeling low/depressed – this can be a common side effect for smokers who quit though this will pass in a few weeks. This is caused by nicotine withdrawal, as the body is not receiving as much of the stimulant nicotine as smoking.
- Tea and Coffee – Smoking goes hand in hand with a cup of tea or coffee so try and replace that first one in the morning with a glass of water or orange juice. The taste of citrus and smoking just don’t go together.
- Passive smoking – While trying to quit, be aware of the dangers in smoky atmospheres. A smoker breathes in 15% of the smoke and 85% goes into the surrounding atmosphere. Even small quantities of Nicotine found in smoke in the environment can stimulate an ex-smokers brain to crave again.
- Rewards – construct a list of rewarding things to do. Open a bank account for the money you would usually spend on smoking. Spend the money on treats – pampering massage, hair, clothes, day trips, theatre or even towards a holiday.
- Relapse – To avoid relapse, plan what to do if you are tempted. Ring a friend, ring the service, talk to someone, try any of the above tips, buy some NRT products BUT DO NOT SMOKE!