How to Quit

The following post was sponsored by Quitter's Circle as part of a guest blogger series. All thoughts, opinions and stories expressed in this post are purely those of Lindsay Livingston. This post also appears on The Lean Green Bean. Here are three simple tips to help quit smoking if you're ready. Take a step towards a healthier life today! Hi Friends! Don't worry, you're not at the wrong blog. A few months ago, the folks at the American Lung Association & Pfizer reached out to me about a partnership. They’ve developed Quitter's Circle, a website full of information, resources, and tips for those who want to quit smoking and their supporters. There's even an app that both quitters and supporters can use. We've all seen the graphic ads and images of quit smoking campaigns, but I’m a big fan of supporting someone to quit smoking with positive encouragement and lots and lots of support. While I've never been a smoker, something you guys may not know is that hubby started smoking while we were in college. Since we dated for most of our college careers, I can remember plenty of cold nights standing outside with him while he smoked one last cigarette before bed, plenty of drives with the windows down to let smoke out of the car and plenty of loads of laundry that smelled like smoke. Eventually, I put my foot down and encouraged him to quit. I believe it was the summer before our senior year when he decided he was ready. I'll never forget him calling me late one night while he was digging through the trash can trying to find that last pack of cigarettes he threw away because he just wasn't sure he could do it. It’s scary to think how cigarettes can really have a hold on us sometimes. In the end, I'm so proud to say he beat smoking and I like to think I played a supportive role in the process. I truly believe quitting smoking is a huge step toward improving your health and the health of those around you (i.e. my health and the health of our future children is what I was thinking at the time). I put together a few tips to quit smoking to help you or someone you know and wanted to share them with you today. #1: Set new goals to focus on Think of quitting as taking a step toward a healthier life. Once you've made the decision to quit, it may help to set a couple of new health-related goals to focus on to help distract you from the temptation of smoking. For example, you could use this as an opportunity to improve your eating habits! Set a goal to meal plan and food prep for 4 weeks in a row. Or pick a new physical activity, skill or hobby to work on improving. Maybe you've always wanted to try Crossfit or a Body Pump class at the gym - now would be a great time! Or maybe you want to learn to play the guitar that's been sitting untouched in the corner for the past few years. Having something else to work toward besides the single goal of quitting smoking may help give you something to focus on other than the task of quitting smoking, which might seem overwhelming at times, and can also help distract you from temptation. #2: Plan ahead Many people enjoy the social aspect of smoking and the breaks it provides in their day. An important part of quitting is planning ahead so you can be ready when the urge strikes. Consider keeping a journal where you record when urges strike so you can see patterns and work to address (or avoid) them. Keep healthy snacks and drinks on hand. Snacks that can be eaten slowly over a short period of time, like trail mix, popcorn, etc. are a good start. Also keep water (plain or flavored) on hand at all times to keep you hydrated, and keep your hands and mouth busy! Over the next couple of months, I'll be sharing a few nutritious recipes that might be helpful while trying to quit (but are also delicious enough for anyone to enjoy!). I've got a couple of healthy snacks that pack a nutrition punch and can also be eaten slowly to keep your hands busy, a pre-portioned dessert you can keep in the freezer and more! So stay tuned! If you feel the need to get away from your desk, grab a friend and go for a quick 5-10 minute power walk break instead of a smoke break. If you know alcohol inhibits your ability to resist cigarettes, consider cutting back on alcoholic drinks while you're trying to quit smoking to help avoid giving in to cigarette cravings. Remove triggers from your routine. If you usually start the day with a cigarette, try changing up the order of your morning routine, choosing a new healthy breakfast (or adding breakfast to your routine!), or add in a morning workout. Anything you can do to avoid following the same morning routine where you'll encounter triggers and urges to smoke is a step in the right direction! #3: Have a Support System in Place There's no doubt that quitting smoking is hard, but having a support system in place can help. Tell your friends and family that you're planning to quit. Talk to others who have quit successfully about what worked for them.  Lean on your support system when you slip-up or when you're having a stressful day and fill them in when you successfully resist a craving so they can cheer you on! If you're looking to be a support system for someone trying to quit, this DIY Quit Kit is a great gift idea! Enjoy! --Lindsay-- PP-CHM-USA-1489
Uplifting results from a study on partners' healthy behaviors showed that over a two year period, cigarette smokers 50 years of age or older were more likely to quit smoking if their partner also quit than if their partner continued to smoke. About half of the 60 participants whose partner quit smoking also quit, compared with 8% out of the 400 participants whose partner continued to smoke. This may not be so surprising—we are often inspired to make changes when those we love make healthy behavior changes, or we decide to tackle challenges together. Keep in mind: when one person in a couple continues to smoke, they may trigger urges for the person trying to quit. Your positive behavior of quitting smoking may help your partner also achieve success in quitting smoking. Think of everything you can do together throughout the quit process, from picking a Quit Day, to meeting with a healthcare provider, to finding ways to distract yourself when you have the urge to smoke.  If you quit, your partner may do the same. Your partner may be more likely to successfully quit smoking if you also tackle the challenge! So this Valentine’s Day, are you ready to quit smoking with your loved one?  This may be the best Valentine’s Day gift - perhaps love really does conquer all. PP-CHM-USA-1629
The following post was sponsored by Quitter's Circle as part of a guest blogger series. All thoughts, opinions and stories expressed in this post are purely those of Abby Land. This post also appears on Back at Square Zero. January is a great time to set a new goal. Everyone around you is excited and motivated with their own goals and it can be a bit contagious. Are you ready to jump in and set your own New Year's Resolution?  It is crucial not to take this resolution, or goal setting, lightly. It has been reported that 77% of people only make it through the first week before their resolution goes out the window. Even worse, only 40% of people who set New Year's goals and resolutions continue to maintain them six months later, which dwindles down to 19% two years later. How can you stick with your resolutions? How can you be the person who continues on until you reach your goal?  It is really important that you take your resolution seriously and prepare for it.               Don't Call It a Resolution Think of, and refer to your resolution, as a goal. Resolution always has a negative connotation as people joke about how quickly they are broken. As soon as you say the word resolution, it seems people are wondering when you will "break" that resolution, almost as if they are betting against you. So, if resolutions are made to be broken, goals are made to be met, and sometimes even crushed and dominated. This year set a goal, not a resolution.    Do the Research Don't just jump into your new goal. Set yourself up for success by finding some free time to research what it will take to meet your goal. For example: If your goal is to run your first marathon, you'll want to research different races to see which ones are best for you, given your time frame, location, budget, etc. If your goal is to quit smoking, you may want to do research to better understand why it can be difficult, and how you may be able to quit successfully. Create a Plan Now that you have done the research, it is time to create a plan. Those who go into their goal with a specific plan in place may be more likely to succeed than those who just wing it. If we stick to our previous examples - for someone wanting to run their first marathon, this would mean looking at the vast array of marathon training plans available and finding the one that fits you the best. Be sure to take into account things like which plans have more running, which have more strength training, and what the peak mileage is. Be sure to stick to a beginner level plan if this will be your first full marathon. For someone who wants to quit smoking, creating a plan might include getting rid of all the cigarettes in your house, enlisting the support of family and friends, consulting with a doctor, planning healthy alternatives to smoking when a craving hits, and joining the Quitter’s Circle community for additional resources and support.        Buy the Supplies It’s important to be ready on whatever day you decide to quit smoking so that nothing can hold you back from reaching your goal. Therefore, you need to have all of your supplies in place and ready to go. Make a list, head out and get that shopping done. For someone working on their marathon goal, your list might include things like new shoes, running gear, and fuel for long runs.  Enlist Help Finally, those who are most successful with their goals are those who do not go at it alone. Be sure to enlist help, especially from friends and family to make your journey toward your goal a successful one. Those heading toward a marathon goal may also want to consider hiring a running coach to help them along their journey, or join a running club. Whereas those who are trying to quit smoking should be sure to connect with their healthcare provider to help create a quit plan in order to have the best chance at success. PP-CHM-USA-1553
The following post was sponsored by Quitter's Circle as part of a guest blogger series. All thoughts, opinions and stories expressed in this post are purely those of Sili Recio. This post also appears on My Mamihood. Is it me or has this year sped up in the time/space continuum? I’ve put up the holiday decorations, started ogling additional ones at the store and of course, started thinking about the reason for the season. This is my favorite time of the year. I tend to sit back and think about family while attempting to plan for their visits. Y’all know I love me some lists! I may or may not have 3,098 for the month of December. I see you over there judging me! Don’t, okay? I dislike resolutions because I feel that, by their nature, they are meant to be broken and never maintained. My daughter takes issue with smoking. I don’t know where she picks this up, but she has really honed in on the health aspect of it. She really wants everyone to be healthy.   More than 4 in 10 adults that smoke attempt to quit in a span of a year and more than 16 million adults in the U.S. are living with a smoking related disease. I want us to help them. Not with a resolution but with a revolution! Let’s not wait until January 1st to give ourselves permission to be healthy. Here are a few tips I wish we’d had when Mami quit smoking. Plan –  I’m obsessed with lists and quitting smoking is no different than any other project where a list could be helpful. So let’s plan! You can check out what exactly a quit plan is and how it can help you along the way. Let people know – This is important on so many levels. I know it’s difficult because sometimes we don’t want to say we are doing something and then not go through with our plans, but letting people know will help establish who your support system will be. It also helps keep you accountable to people who are supportive and genuinely care about you. Set a date – On your calendar, be sure to write down the date of when you are planning to quit smoking, and stick to it! Count your money – How many packs of cigarettes do you smoke in a month? A year? Write down what you’ll be saving by not buying cigarettes and plan for how you will spend that money. This will give you an additional incentive on those hard days. Find support – If you write this on your plan, you can check it off already because I got you on this one (you’re welcome). Download the Quitter’s Circle app! It helps you track your success, and gives you all types of resources to help you on your quit smoking journey. Remember how I said to let people know so you can identify who will be supportive? Well, you can add those supporters to your Quit Team on the app. Show yourself some grace – Nearly 7 in 10 adult smokers want to stop smoking. It’s not an easy journey. The 5 steps above may help you get there, but if you don’t show yourself some grace in the process, I’m afraid this journey will be a lot more difficult for you. Do the best that you can and cut yourself some slack on the days when you fall short. Let’s not wait til the New Year to make the decision. Start putting together your quit plan today. It’ll bring an extra bit of peace of mind to your family and friends. Won’t that be a great gift? PP-CHM-USA-1488
The following post was sponsored by Quitter's Circle as part of a guest blogger series. All thoughts, opinions and stories expressed in this post are purely those of Sili Recio. This post also appears on My Mamihood. Smoking had always been part of my life as I was growing up. So much so that it never really occurred to me that it was bad until I was able to read the small print on the side of my mom’s cigarette packs. I was a kid and though I learned they were bad for you, I didn’t really grasp the issue. I didn’t understand the undertaking when someone decided to quit. Addiction, Defined (noun) the state of being constrained by a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Crazy, right? My mother was a smoker. As was my father. When I was younger, I took up the habit of casual smoking. I never thought too much of it. I’d heard stories about my dad’s own addiction starting early. But I knew he wouldn’t approve of me smoking. Besides, I wasn’t smoking regularly, right? It wasn’t until we moved to Orlando that I felt like something was wrong. I distinctly remember going through cabinets and drawers one day when my parents were out. I was looking for a cigarette. I’ve had other cravings before, sure. But this was my first time feeling the urge to have a cigarette. My heart was beating fast and I was slightly panicked that 1. I wouldn’t find a cigarette and 2. If I did find a cigarette, I’d get caught smoking it. There were no cigarettes in the house for me that day. But the damage was done. I realized that this was not a game. And it scared me a bit because I’d never felt that way before. Even with the “casual” smoking that I thought wasn’t a big deal, my body was already attached to cigarettes. See, my brain was already about that cigarette life. Thankfully, that incident scared the crap out of me and I didn’t touch another cigarette after that. What About My Parents? I became hyper-focused on getting my mom to quit smoking. I’ll never forget the day that we went in to the doctor’s office for our physicals. My mom had always been small. She was tiny, actually. Measuring 5’0” on a good day and always hovering around 100 pounds. I think I get my freakish metabolism from her. But here’s the thing, she’d been trying to gain weight. I don’t know what possessed me but I wanted my mom to quit so badly that I suggested “maybe you would gain weight if you stopped smoking.” I figured she wouldn’t get too mad at me IN the doctor’s office, but that it would be a long journey ahead trying to get her to quit. The doctor took one look at her and started taking her vitals and providing all the shade I needed to know that I’d done the right thing. As he checked her lungs, he said “it sounds like you have the beginnings of emphysema.” I do not know if it was the look on my face or the words from the doctor, but the cigarette mom had before we entered that office was the last of her life. Quitting Was Terrible Although I was proud of her for deciding to quit, that was just the beginning. Mami did lots of things that made me think she was magic and quitting smoking was one of those things. Mami is one of the many Americans that has tried to quit smoking. I wish we had support groups like Quitter’s Circle back then. A place for her to turn to during that process. With tools and resources as well as a support group that is there to help you along the way, Quitter’s Circle can provide support during the process of quitting smoking, for those who want to lead a smoke-free life. Mami confessed later that she had tried and failed to quit smoking before. I don’t know how many times she did that. And I don’t know what possessed her to stick to her guns at that time. I think the idea that cigarettes were really making her sick was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Dad eventually quit as well. I think it was easier for him since he had someone supporting him through the process. Someone who had already experienced what he was going through. It’s good to know that there are sites these days dedicated to help those who want to quit. Support is imperative. From family, friends, and even your doctor, I can’t say this enough. Quitter’s Circle has a great resource page for those that want to help, but might not know how.  It can be a valuable resource for those who are taking their health seriously and want to kick the smoking habit. Have you ever smoked? If so, share your story. PP-CHM-USA-1485
Your Quit Day is tomorrow. In preparation, you met with your healthcare provider to build a quit plan, which may include counseling and medication. You set your quit date. You talked to your family and friends about your quit, asked for their support, and even practiced dealing with doubters. You downloaded the Quitter’s Circle app to receive tips and encouragement, and to help you track your quit. You’ve identified your smoking triggers and how to avoid them. You’ve even created a Quit Kit, found a new route to work, and wrote down your reasons to quit.   After weeks of preparing to quit, you’re ready to take the next big step in your journey and put down the cigarettes once and for all. But before you do so, there are a few more tasks to keep in mind. Check out these things to do the day before your Quit Date.   PP-CHM-USA-1392-02
After Mom and Dad helped you take your first solo steps... And taught you to build sturdy towers… And your friends assured you that you totally have game... And Dad trusted you (enough) to let you get him home...   And family rallied you through your last few finals...   And friends told you that you’d chosen well.... Let them help you conquer one more goal. Few things in life are achieved without the help and support of family and friends. Why should quitting smoking be any different? Even if it’s just for the confidence to know that you can do it, reach out to those around you for the support you need to tackle this big accomplishment of living smokefree. You got this. PP-CHM-USA-1457