Senior Veteran (female)
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: New York, USA
Re: Going to quit smoking need some help.
OOPS! sorry about that moderator2. I'll try harder.
Every attempt to quit is different and just because a past attempt to quit that failed doesn't mean that it will be as hard THIS attempt to quit. I say NEVER give up. That's what I said to myself the last time I attempted to quit smoking back in 2005 after surgery. I figured if I was in the hospital for a week and didn't smoke, (they let me have patches) I figured I went this far, don't start again when I go home.
every time I try to quit, this fear goes thru my mind of how uncomfortable I'm going to feel. Our minds remember the past attempts. But what I learned is that every quit is different, which made me so happy to know this and this way when I am ready to do my quit date (which is next week) I will think positive and tell myself this time it will be easier for me and not like the last attempt.
Another thing that helped me when I had the urge for a cigarette is knowing that the urge for a cigarette lasts only split seconds. If you think about it, it takes much longer to smoke a yucky cigarette, (which we really don't want in the first place but our body is craving the drug because the level of nicotine has dropped and we need another fix to make the craving less painful)
So I know the urge will go away in a few seconds and to do something to keep my mind occupied or my mouth, like chewing a piece of gum, or sucking on a hard candy. Before i know it, the urge has dissipated and I"m one step longer of not putting the nicotine into my body.
Another thing that really helps me is to gain as much knowledge I can get about smoking and the reasons we smoke and what changes take place in our body chemically when we are trying to quit. For instance, how it effects the blood sugar levels in our body.
Did you know our blood sugar plummets in many people when first quitting?
The most common side effects felt during the first three days can often be traced back to blood sugar issues. Symptoms such as headache, inability to concentrate, dizziness, time perception distortions, and the sweet tooth we suddenly get which is encountered by many, are often associated with this blood sugar drop.
The symptoms of low blood sugar are basically the same symptoms as not having enough oxygen, similar to reactions experienced at high altitudes. The reason being the inadequate supply of sugar and/or oxygen means the brain is getting an incomplete fuel. If you have plenty of one and not enough of the other, your brain cannot function at any form of optimal level.
When you quit smoking, oxygen levels are often better than they have been in years, but with a limited supply of sugar it can't properly fuel your brain.
It is not that cigarettes put sugar into your blood stream; it is more of a drug interaction of the stimulant effect of nicotine that affects the blood sugar levels. Cigarettes cause the body to release its own stores of sugar and fat by a drug type of interaction. That is how it basically operated as an appetite suppressant, affecting the satiety centers of your hypothalamus. As far as for the sugar levels, nicotine in fact works much more efficiently than food.
If you use food to elevate blood sugar levels, it literally takes up to 20 minutes from the time you chew and swallow the food before it is released to the blood, and thus the brain, for its desired effect of fueling your brain.
Cigarettes, by working through a drug interaction cause the body to release its own stores of sugar, but not in 20 minutes but usually in a matter of seconds. In a sense, your body has not had to release sugar on its own in years, you have done it by using nicotine's drug effect!
This is why many people really gorge themselves on food when they quit smoking. They start to experience a drop in blood sugar and instinctively reach for something sweet. Upon finishing the food, they still feel symptomatic. It takes them a minute or two to eat, but the blood sugar isn't boosted for another 18 minutes. Since they are not feeling immediately better, they eat a little more. They continue to consume more and more food, minute after minute until they finally they start to feel better.
Again if they are waiting for the blood sugar to go up we are talking about 20 minutes after the first swallow. People can eat a lot of food in 20 minutes. But they begin to believe that this was the amount needed before feeling better. This can be repeated numerous times throughout the day which then causes a lot of calories to be consumed and which then can cause weight gain to become a real risk.
When you abruptly quit smoking, the body is in kind of a state of loss, not knowing how to work normally since it has not worked normally in such a long time. Usually by the third day, though, your body will re-adjust and release sugar as it is needed. Without eating any more your body will just figure out how to regulate blood sugar more efficiently.
You may find that you have to change your dietary patterns to one that is more normal for you. Normal is not what it was as a smoker, but more what it was before we took up smoking. Some people go until after noon without eating while they are smokers, especially if they were drinking pots of coffee along with smoking like I did. It took my appetite away and made me feel like I could clean the entire house in a matter of only 2 hours. PLUS I wouldn't drink the recommended amount of water I should be drinking either, which really made me dehydrated. No wonder smokers look old before their time and get so many wrinkles. I was like a dried up prune. Inside my body and out!
getting back to having to change our eating patterns, this doesn't mean we should eat more food, but it may mean we need to redistribute the food we eat to a more spread out pattern so that we're getting blood sugar doses throughout the day as nature had always intended.
To minimize some of the real low blood sugar effects of the first few days, it really helps to keep drinking juice throughout the day. I don't like to drink full strength juice because of all the sugar in it, so I dilute it. I do a half and half ratio, otherwise we'd be adding extra calories that we don't need.
After the fourth day, this should no longer be necessary because our bodies should be able to release sugar stores if our diet is normalized. If by the 3rd day you're still having symptoms of low blood sugar, then you may want to see your doctor or a nutritionist for some help.
to have your blood tested.
I didn't know all this information and knowledge of what happens to our body chemically when we're trying to quit. THIS is why I say it's a wise thing to arm yourself with as much studying and coming to the healthboards to learn from others what i may not already know.
they say the best experience is to talk to people that have are free from smoking for a full year. the people who quit suddenly instead of gradually are the ones that were able to stay smoke free.
for instance, maybe they were sick with a cold or flue and they realized they hadn't smoked for a few days so why continue when they felt better?
OR, one day a person may wake up and decide they don't feel like smoking anymore and just throw away their cigarettes or don't buy anymore, OR
maybe a person saw their doctor and found out they have something life threatening and are urged to quit smoking asap.
those are the people that were more successful in staying smoke free.
when we use patches, (which by the way is the method I choose to use), only prolongs the nicotine to be in your body. The sooner you detox and get the nicotine completely out of your body, the quicker you will feel better and not be torchered by urges.
another thing that helps me along is to accept the fact that quitting is going to make me uncomfortable at times. Just knowing it won't last longer than two weeks makes it more endurable for me. Two weeks! That's all! compared to a life time of smoking, I'd say two weeks is a very short amount of time to be uncomfortable.
I find that by studying this stuff also gives me encouragment and I get real excited and feel more ready to quit than if I didn't give it any thought.
Un-known facts only complicates things worst because the images and illlusions of quitting can scare the pants off of us and deter us from quitting. We might prolong the day we chose to quit. Or perhaps we might say, "Oh! I"ll do it next week!" rather than, "I'll do it tomorrow", or "later on tonight I'll put a patch on before I go to bed so when I wake up, it will be a brand new day of not smoking.
I sound like a non smoking guru to myself, but this is what I personally need in order to psyche myself up for quitting. Being addicted to nicotine is no joke and for non smokers who are so quickly to judge us smokers, they have NO IDEA of what we go thru when we are going thru the quitting stages.
It's an addiction. just like any other drug addiction to heroin or pain killers or alcohol. there is no difference to nicotine addiction. It's a very potent and dangerous drug that will kill us in the end. no doubt about it. it's just a matter of when.
I don't know about others, but that fact scares the heck out of me and I don't know why on earth it didn't scare me when I was younger or when I ever picked up that darn first cigarette. I can recall so clearly what happened to my body when I sucked in that first puff. My lungs screamed out, the gagging reflex started and the lungs forcefully tried to cough the smoke out of my beautiful young pink lungs.
that's when I told my friend I didn't want to smoke and I didn't like it. she was already a smoker and kept urging me to just keep taking little puffs and that eventually the coughing reflex would stop. well... she was right about that, but she wasn't right to encourage me to keep trying.
the stupid things we do as kids. thinking we'd be so adult like and cool if we were able to smoke. what I wouldn't do if I could go back in time and un do that first time I smoked and kept right on smoking.
I did stop in between on and off from the young age of 14 or 16 to my current age which is 48. I just had a lung xray and all is clean thank GOD.
Here are some tips that might help. I don't choose to follow number one. but others may.
1. Quit cold turkey. In the long run it’s the easiest and most effective technique of smoking cessation.
2. Do not carry cigarettes.
3. Quit smoking one day at a time. Don't concern yourself with next year, next month, next week or even tomorrow. Concentrate on not smoking from the time you wake up until you go to sleep.
4. Work on developing the attitude that you are doing yourself a favor by not smoking. Do not dwell on the idea that you're depriving yourself of a cigarette. You are ridding yourself of full-fledged smoking because you care enough about yourself to want to.
5. Be proud that you are not smoking.
6. Be aware that many routine situations will trigger the urge for a cigarette. Situations which will trigger a response include: drinking coffee, alcohol, sitting in a bar, social events with smoking friends, card games, the end of meals. Try to maintain your normal routine while quitting. If any event seems too tough, leave it and go back to it later. Do not feel you must give up any activity forever. Everything you did as a smoker, you will learn to do at least as well, and maybe better, as an ex-smoker.
7. Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking. Keep this list with you, preferably where you used to carry your cigarettes. When you find yourself reaching for a cigarette, take out your list and read it.
8. Drink plenty of water and fruit juice the first three days. It will help flush nicotine out of your system.
9. To help avoid weight gain, eat vegetables & fruit instead of candies and pastries. You know, all the junk foods that I love. LOL
10. If concerned about weight gain, do some moderate form of regular exercise. Just walking briskly works or talking walks out into nature helps soothe the beast in me.
11. If you encounter a crisis, (e.g. a flat tire, flood, blizzard, family illness) while quitting, remember, smoking is no solution. Smoking will just complicate the original situation while creating another crisis, a relapse into the nicotine addiction.
12. Consider yourself a “smoke-a-holic.” One puff and you can become hooked again. No matter how long you have been off, don't think you can safely take a puff! ( same thing as any other addiction)
13. Don't tell yourself how much you want a cigarette. Ask yourself how do you feel about going back to your old ways of smoking. Smoking is an all or nothing proposition. Tell yourself instead: " I DON'T want a yucky cigarette"
14. Save the money you usually spend on cigarettes and buy yourself something you really want after a week or a month.
15. Do deep breathing exercises when you have a craving.
16. Go places where you normally can't smoke, such as movies, libraries and no smoking sections of restaurants.
17. Tell people around you that you have quit smoking. This way they'll get on your case and make you feel guilty as heck if you decide you want to smoke. My family are pain's in the neck! But it's all because they care about me.
18. Remember that there are only two good reasons to take a puff once you quit. You decide you want to go back to your old level of consumption until smoking cripples and then kills you, OR, you decide you really enjoy withdrawal and you want to make it last forever!