Learn how to reduce cravings for both cigarettes and food. Once you stop smoking, it is important to learn how to handle cravings for cigarettes and food. Remember, a craving only lasts about 5 minutes. Consider these actions to help deal with your cravings.
- Replace smoking with other activities.Snack on fruit or sugarless gum to satisfy any sweet cravings. Keep your hands busy. Replace the action of holding cigarettes with activities like doodling, working puzzles, knitting, twirling a straw, or holding a pen or pencil.
- Drink less caffeine.Try to avoid drinking beverages that contain caffeine, such as sodas. Nicotine withdrawal will make you feel jittery and nervous, and the caffeine may only make nicotine withdrawal worse.
- Get enough sleep.When you feel tired, you are more likely to crave cigarettes and food.
- Reduce tension.To help relieve tension, relax by meditating, taking a walk, soaking in the tub, or taking deep breaths. Find something that will help you relax and replace the urge to smoke.
- Get support and encouragement.You need a lot of support when you quit smoking. Talk to a friend when you get the urge to smoke or join a support group such as Nicotine Anonymous. You can also participate in workshops offered by health care providers that will help you quit smoking. If you can, find a friend to quit with you for mutual support.
- Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement.If you have significant withdrawal symptoms or are concerned about weight gain, talk to your doctor. Some nicotine replacement products, formerly available by prescription only, are now available over the counter. Using nicotine gum or a nicotine patch, along with improved eating habits and physical activity, will help you reduce your risk of a smoking relapse. Nicotine gum has been shown to delay weight gain after quitting. You may also want to talk to your doctor about prescription medications that are available to help you quit smoking.
- Try not to do things that tempt you to smoke or eat when you are not hungry.Keep a journal of where and when you feel most tempted to smoke and avoid these situations. Substitute healthy activities for smoking to help you avoid the urge to smoke or eat when you are not hungry.
Try not to panic about modest weight gain. Accept some weight gain as a normal result of the nicotine leaving your body. Know that quitting smoking is the best thing that you can do for you and those around you. If possible, before you quit, prepare a plan to quit smoking that includes simple changes in your eating and exercise habits. Improving your lifestyle as you stop smoking can help you prevent a large weight gain and become a healthy nonsmoker.
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