Quit One Thing and Start Another

First off, I’m not a smoker. I haven’t abstained from the activity entirely. Knowing smokers, I’ve had a few just to join them as we hung out. Not many tried to quit, but one kept trying and failing.

Over dinner in the cafeteria, she told me she was quitting and this wouldn’t be like the times before. This would be the end of it. Her method of choice this time was cold turkey. When we left the cafeteria, she asked if I could take her to get groceries so we went to Wal-Mart (3AM, college student style).

The buggy started out sparse, but then she kept loading it up with boxes of cookies, gummy candies, beef jerky and gum. When the junk-to-”real food” ratio was in favor of snack cakes, I had to ask her if she really needed all of this. Throwing a bag of chips into the buggy, she replied with an adamant yes. I could see what was happening. After paying for the long list of items, she walked out drinking a soda and opening a pack of chips. This was her new need. With one addiction cut off, the food became the focus of her addictive behaviors.

In preparation for quitting, make a list of activities you can do instead of smoking or when the urge arises. This can be a useful tool not only for quitting, but for making other lifestyle changes. Activities can range from chores to outside sports, reading or calling a friend or family member. Think about everything you like to do and personal or professional goals that you want to achieve. Each goal can be stated as a reason you want to quit (ie: “walk and feel like how much easier it is to breathe”) Don’t forget to add relaxing activities as well, to lower stress and possible triggers to pick up a pack.

And if you do go to the grocery store, write up a list of healthy foods you’d like to keep around the house for cravings. Don’t cut out all the junk, but moderate your intake. The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to make changes.

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