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!
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!