I Quit Smoking - Now What?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2013
I Quit Smoking - Now What?
4
Thu, 05-23-2013 - 9:33am

Hey, everyone. I hope all is well. I quit smoking two weeks ago. It was one of a series of actions I've recently taken to lose weight. I always thought quitting smoking would be one of the last things I would do in my quest to shed some pounds - but this time around, it seemed like the sensible to thing to do.

After a week and a half of being on the wagon, I fell off; I relapsed. I bought a pack of cigarettes on Mother's Day and smoked the whole pack over the next three days. I'm back on the wagon - but during those days I went back to smoking, my sinuses were all clogged up again. I'm blown away by how night and day my breathing is because of smoking/not smoking.

So now that I know how blech I'll feel if I regress back to smoking, what do you suggest for getting past these cravings? I understand that the chemical addiction is gone after the first three days - but I smoked for so long because I WANTED to. I loved it - and I still miss it - but I had to quit so I could get healthy. And so, the cravings still come, even after the first three days.

I'm doing the gum/candy thing, but my goal here is to lose weight, not gain it, so I'm trying to limit that stuff.

What other changes can I expect from my newfound quest for health? Will the bags under my eyes go away because I've quit smoking? Will I sleep better? What will quitting smoking do besides the obvious breathing benefits?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2012
Sun, 05-26-2013 - 9:47am

Have you tried walking or jogging to help get past the cravings? I have a friend who walks for 5-10 minutes every time she craves a cigarrette  and it is working for her. Not only is she feeling great but she is now 6 weeks smoke free and has LOST 5 lbs. She says that mentally she feels great knowing that she is actively replacing one bad habit with a good one.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-31-2012
Wed, 06-12-2013 - 3:41am

Congrats on your quit! Don't fret about your relapse, the important part is that you got right back on that wagon and kept trying. I can't begin to count the number of quit attempts I've had in the past 4 years. You can probably scroll through some of the older posts on this board and find some of them. LOL

From what I can tell from your post you're quitting cold turkey. Good for you! My husband did it this way and I think our wonderful Cmkarla did so as well. But if you find yourself having trouble staying smoke-free, I'd suggest looking into an NRT. I personally swear by the lozenges but these require some willpower to keep from turning them into a replacement addiction. I have a friend who recommends the patch to anyone she meets who is trying to quit smoking. I happen to agree with her but it doesn't work for me because it doesn't remain stuck on my body through the Florida humidity. I have yet to meet someone who has had success with the gum.

Then there are other non-nicotine options such as hypnosis or laser therapy if your budget allows. I've heard success stories from both. The key ingredient for any quit, with or without outside help, is the 100% mentality that you WANT to quit. I'm sure you've heard that before but it's something I repeat to myself on a routine basis - I
want to quit. With the help of the lozenges it's worked for me so far. 39 days smoke-free!

Go with sugarfree gums and candies. I like the Werther's sugar free because they have a very rich flavor that reminds me of how dulled the smoking made my taste buds. As for gum I like strong mints - Orbit Spearmint or Extra wintergreen/mint, again to remind me of just one of the things smoking did to my body. Chewing on the end of a straw also helped me. Remember you're fighting the habit of putting something in your mouth to suck on as well as the addiction to the ingredients in the cigarette itself.

Keep your mind occupied somehow. Read, get lost in Facebook games (that one helps me a LOT because there's so many to chose from - even my ADHD brain stays occupied for hours!), make a list of things you'd like to do with the money you save, plan a vacation. Whatever it is, make it something that interests you and you'll have no problem keeping your mind off of smoking.

As for the changes, here is the list I have experienced in the 5 and half weeks since I put out my last cigarette.

My skin is clearer, brighter and healthier. I don't have nearly as many breakouts on my face and I've lost some of the wrinkles that had started to form.

My hair is softer, shinier and feels thicker. I don't pull nearly as much hair out of the drain after a shower.

My sense of smell is much stronger and my sense of taste is much cleaner. I find that things I used to like the taste of don't taste so good anymore and food I used to dislike actually tastes pretty good when it isn't seasoned by tar.

The circulation in my legs, and probably the rest of my body, has improved. I still have minor circulation issues due to my weight (that's next on the health mission list) but it's nowhere near as bad as it was 2 months ago.

My smoker's cough is completely gone and when I do cough, it's clearer instead of that deep gritty cough that used to plague me several times a day. From what I've read this isn't the norm in the first couple of months after quitting. Coughing means the lungs are healing and many sources say it gets worse before it gets better. Just know that it can go either way.

As for sleeping I'll say this - remember that you're fighting to get an addiction out of your body and the part of your body that's used to it being there will fight it all the way. Some people feel more sleepy when quitting (DH did this), some find it more difficult to sleep (this is where I currently am), some people just aren't affected that way.

Every person's quit experience is different. I was so sure that I could quit cold turkey because my husband was able to. But he'd also had a medical scare that led him to quit. I'm not in the best health but I hadn't had one of those. It was just the, "anything you can do I can do better" mentality. Do what works for you. Do it your way. Do it however you want to as long as you DO it and it works.

If you have an Android phone I highly recommend an app called Cessation Nation. It keeps track of your quit stats, has games to help you get past cravings (and trust me they WORK!), has a support system with other quitters via their Facebook page (which means you can access it on your computer too) and it also allows you to post your quit time on your Facebook wall (bragging rights baby!). I've found it to be SUPER helpful and motivating, much better than the QuitNow app I used to use.

Sorry about the length of this reply. so many things popped into my head when I read your entry that I wanted to make sure and say it all. Good luck! 

Quit Date: May 4th, 2013
"May The Fourth Be With Me!" 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2002
Wed, 07-10-2013 - 12:30pm

You pose some good questions.  I can only tell you what worked for me.  I kept sugarfree hard candy to pop in my mouth when I wanted to smoke.  I had a fake cig that I would stick in my mouth (no calories there).  I cleaned all the smoke walls and threw away ashtrays in my house.  I cleaned out my car and put red hots in the ashtray.  It took about 3 months to feel comfortable not smoking.  It was like I was standing outside of myself watching me not smoke.  Crazy, huh?  But I finally got back in my own skin and started enjoying things...like sitting all the way thru a movie without needing to run out for a cig.  I enjoyed sitting in the non smoking section of a restaurant.  Now, most restaurants are non smoking completely.  That was not the case when I quit.  I started enjoying staying around the folks that did not run outside to smoke at parties....and I met new people in old bodies.  I had never given them a chance to know me or me to know them before.  They didnt smoke, so I didnt hang.  I started craving a cig again about month 4, but I didnt pick it up.  That only lasted about a week.  I have loved the fact that I can breathe, walk, smell good, sit thru things, and have more energy for quite a few years now.  Plus the fact that I can afford more...It gives me an extra 50 dollars a week.  That would be a lot more now.  Hang in there...the rewards are wonderful, even if it was just in the way I look at myself today.  I am a non smoker.  Yeaaaaaaaa

Alcohol, Addictions & Recovery. It's a long way down, but only 12 steps UP
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-28-2007
Sat, 08-03-2013 - 1:13am

Every time you want a cig...do something...make a bed....get up and move.  Also, I use the electric cig.  Big help for me.  Its better than smoking the real thing.  Otherwise, just get thru the cravings...they last 3-5 minutes.  And as the days pass the cravings get less bothersome.  I promise.  I haven't smoked in a year.  I have cravings about 3 times a day...compared to 50 times a day when I first stopped. 

Missy