What I Did Wrong When I Quit Smoking

I'm an ex-smoker, a recovering nicotine addict, and a woman with a passion to share the right steps to take when quitting smoking. When I quit, I did absolutely everything wrong, which also happens to be what most people who are quitting do.

We all reach for the snack cabinet to ease our oral fixation. We all worry and create more stress when it comes to figuring out how to stop doing the one thing that we're comfortable with. I was a one-pack-a-day smoker for quite a few years. I've quit more than once in my lifetime, most recently two years ago.

In my failed attempts at quitting, I noticed I did the following things wrong, which ultimately led to my picking up the habit again:

  • I substituted my nicotine addiction with sugar and an increased caffeine level.
  • I ate, and ate, and ate some more. (When I wanted a cigarette, I ate!)
  • I didn't increase my activity level. In fact, I tried sleeping off the withdrawal process.
  • I didn't eat quality foods full of vitamins and nutrients.
  • I didn't hydrate nearly enough.
  • I didn't change anything in my life except putting down the cigarettes.

Here's the thing, I pretty much did everything that a person should not do when they quit smoking. In turn, I gained quite a few pounds and I felt sick very often.

The good news is that by studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition I was able to learn important steps in living a healthier life that can be applied to people who are quitting smoking now.

Here are my tips on what to DO when you quit smoking:

1. Increase hydration. 

The more water, the better! You'll fight off the lethargy that can come with a lack of water in your body.

2. Increase vitamins and nutrient-dense foods. 

Personally, I take a high-quality vitamin in addition to eating healthy nutrient dense foods like vegetables and certain fruits. One of the most important vitamins during the quitting process is vitamin C, which can help reduce withdrawal symptoms.

3. Increase daily activity and give your metabolism a boost — naturally.

Walking 30 minutes daily is an excellent way to do this, and I highly suggest using walking as a way to increase metabolism and keep your energy levels high.

4. Schedule away your nicotine. 

If you've quit cold turkey, change your current schedule. Quitting smoking isn't the only thing that should change when you stop. Your schedule should fluctuate and you should create a new "routine," specifically one that doesn't have time for an addiction.

5. Stay positive and focused, and surround yourself with supportive, likeminded people.

When quitting anything unhealthy, it's important to have a good support system and one that can lift your confidence.

Putting these tips into actions will enable a person who is quitting to have a decrease in withdrawal symptoms and an increase in health and energy.

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