I do not smoke, never have, and admit to being one of those ‘pain in the butts’ (OK, bad pun!) that go on about the foul stench, and anti-social behaviour of smokers, especially in public places.
You can imagine my joy when one of my local pubs recently banned smoking. Shortly after the ban had come into force I spotted a guy poised with cigarette in hand, and was about to get huffy and even confrontational. Fortunately I held back and continued my beer – but was puzzled. The cigarette was unlit and yet he was putting it near his mouth, flicking the imaginary ash and generally acting as if he was smoking it. Curious about this I eventually enquired, only to find out this was his own rather unorthodox approach to keeping his hands busy and therefore, as he put it, keeping his weight down.
Although everyone knows that smoking is detrimental to health, it’s surprising how many smokers cite fear of putting on weight as a reason to not quit smoking.
The simple fact is that it is not quitting smoking that affects your weight, but the change of habit can result in you increasing your food intake.
But there are plenty of ways to ensure this does not happen to you.
There is no need for a special diet when you stop smoking, but you must use your common sense. If you eat chocolates instead of smoking then you are very likely to gain weight!
Monitor your diet for a fortnight before you stop smoking – write a food diary, noting everything you eat and when. You simply use this to make sure that what you eat post-quitting follows a similar pattern.
In a similar way, note how much exercise you can do as a smoker. When you stop smoking, you can begin to compare how much more exercise you can do with ease. This will inspire you to the possibility of becoming fitter in other ways, and will actually help you through the tough period of giving up the addiction.
Even moderate amounts of exercise can reduce tobacco cravings. A recent study found that women that maintained a rigorous exercise regime coupled with a stop-smoking programme were twice as likely to succeed as those who didn’t. Frankly, exercising is incompatible with smoking, and you are also more likely to be mixing with non-smokers.
Let’s face it, if you smoke 20 cigarettes daily, you are putting your hand to your mouth at least 200 times a day. When you quit, you need to keep your hands busy. How about peeling fruit for snacks, doing jigsaws or maybe even knitting.
Keep visualising yourself as a fit non-smoker, especially when your motivation starts to flag. You can always get help with this through the use of hypnotherapy. As in so many behavioural issues, it is simply a matter of re-programming our mind. Giving up smoking is tough, and self-hypnosis is a method that many are discovering as a simple way to help keep the mental attitude and motivation on course.
Like the chap in the pub, you may find your own method of coping with your quit smoking challenge, and well.. if it works – great!