Today is officially Day 28 in my own ultimate battle against the cigarette. No; this is not me demanding you give up smoking too. Whether you smoke or not is entirely your right and your choice. What most peeps forget (or probably don't know) is that smokers are totally aware of the dangers and risks of smoking...and basically smoke anyway. And if a smoker who is not ready to bomb the smokes for themselves gets bombarded with "you must stop smoking!" comments the whole time; it does nothing but irritate the shizz out of them and make them rebel and smoke even more. To stop smoking is entirely a personal choice and one only the smoker can make once he/she is ready and really serious about dropping the habit for themselves.
Having said this; if you are trying desperately to kick the habit; like me; then I'd like to say two things to you. Firstly; CONGRATS on taking this very brave step; peeps who have never smoked before will never quite understand just how truly difficult and sucky it is to try kick the habit; and Secondly; DON'T GIVE IN! I am fully aware how bad the cravings can get - 21 days ago my 3 girls took my box with 9 smokes plus my lighter and bombed them in the bin after I swore to give up smoking (meaning to smoke less at least; I was smoking +- 40 a day) - and since that Wednesday; 3 weeks ago, I've been cold turkey and smoke-free and I've been chowing like a Hoover!!
Make no mistake; this has been HARD! And I've found I've put on a few extra kilos coz of a serious case of the munchies and yeup; I had to do some googling and find out what the heck is happening to my body and which would be the best foods to munch that will help me (and you) win the battles against smoking and putting on the extra padding too.
The moodiness can be exceptionally overwhelming and, hopefully, by reading this blog; your friends and family can better understand what it is you're going through and can now support you better too. Here's an article I found by Abby who also gave up smoking:
Your body is addicted to nicotine, and nicotine completely clears the body within 72 hours. This means, the first 72 hours are a real beast. You will notice first of all the insane starving feeling you get in your throat- that is your brain saying it needs a nicotine fix- pronto. You'll actually drool for it, and begin eating other things to satisfy a craving that can't be satiated. You'll find yourself dizzy and unfocused, and this is partly due to stress (which makes the nicotine leave your body even faster- why do you think you always smoke when you're stressed out? Nicotine leaves your body faster, so your body/mind "needs" a fix), and partly due to the physical response to not smoking.
You're dizzy and unfocused- why does quitting smoking do this? Simply because now all of a sudden you are getting normal amounts of oxygen in your body, lending to the weird dizzy and lightheaded feeling you have (it's the same feeling you get when you hold your breath for a long time and then let it out). Your body isn't used to getting normal amounts of oxygen, so you get dizzy in response. Another fun side effect of being able to suddenly get normal oxygen (and blood) flow? Blood circulation in the hands and feet make them warmer and tingle like they are almost falling asleep. In fact, you may feel tingly all over, and like you just might pass out...
Well, lack of nicotine causes this as well. Welcome to low blood sugar. When you smoke (or chew, whatever), it's normal to not feel hungry and miss a meal. You don't notice your blood sugar plummeting because you have nicotine to pick you up. When your nicotine levels are depleted and natural hunger strikes, your blood sugar drops to the point of pure fatigue. Now that you no longer smoke, you really feel the effects of not eating. Sip some juice or grab an apple or fruit to pick you back up and keep you from passing out.
Suddenly, your coffee doesn't seem to wake you up as quickly as it did before. Nicotine, oddly enough (or not), actually speeds the body's metabolism of caffeine (and foods in general), so when you quit smoking your body's response to caffeine slows down as well. And you really need that coffee because suddenly, another fun side effect of quitting smoking- you can't poop!
Why can't you poop? Sheesh! You're dizzy, hungry, tired, and now constipated? Well, nicotine is both a natural laxative and a boost to the whole body, speeding everything up beyond normal. Your heart rate, digestion, etc responds to nicotine by going into overdrive, so when you quit smoking, well, your digestion slows down as well. For a few weeks, you'll notice lots of gas and constipation while your body adjusts to functioning without stimulation...drink tons of water and get your fiber to help your bowels out.
But you're so bloated that you can't even think about water! You feel like a balloon everywhere- your pants don't fit! You feel like you've gained about a million pounds in like 4 days, and in fact, you've actually gained around 5 pounds of water weight. Your body reacts to nicotine withdrawal by retaining as much water as possible, and it's actually the main culprit behind that nasty connection between quitting smoking and weight gain. Keep that water coming, drink some green tea, and in a few weeks, you'll go back to your healthy size.
Everything smells and tastes different- well, this is because your sensory organs have started to wake up in response to lacking nicotine. You find yourself with a sweet tooth you've never had before, another lovely withdrawal symptom of nicotine. Relax, and enjoy that spoonful of sugar in your coffee (when you normally like your coffee black). Your body is adjusting to its healthier new ways, and you should let it.
Within a few weeks, your body should adjust to the lack of nicotine in your system, and learn to function normally. The dizziness, hunger, bloating, tingling, and sweet cravings will fade, as will the constipation and gas. The brain and body are remarkable things- it only takes a little under a month for the brain to "rewire" itself to almost forget what nicotine is, and the body doesn't take long to begin functioning as it should. You'll also begin to cough up the nicotine from your lungs; this can leave you feeling nauseous; especially in the mornings and headaches and sinus can occur too. Moodiness is a biggie! You'll feel bitchy; violent; weepy; hungry; very easily irritated and very, very tired.
Tricks to help you crack the cravings:
- make ice and chew ice blocks
-cut cucumber slices and munch on those; or carrot sticks or celery sticks
- drink a glass of water every time you crave
- chew on a breath mint
- munch an apple or fruit of your choice
- drink a cup of green tea
- cinnamon and honey also help
- keep your hands busy and keep your mind occupied. Read a good book (I've been reading awesome Terry Pratchett novels and I've also read The Rise of the Exile Queen too - click the link on the right to purchase your copy today)
-take a brisk walk
-play pc/ps/nintendo/wii/board games with friends and family. (I've been shooting the sh#t out of monsters in Diablo 2; working out puzzles in Hidden Object games and playing Skylanders Giants on ps3)
- take your dog for a jog or play with your pets
- take up an art and craft
- take up a new class; eg: yoga
- eat a bowl of high fibre cereal or a bran muffin/ health rusk
- pack your ashtrays away and put lighters away in a kitchen drawer
-wash your curtains; bedding; carpets, etc to remove the lingering nicotine smell from the house and same with the interior of your car.
- request that visiting smokers please smoke outside your house and don't allow peeps to smoke in your car.
- play your favourite music loud while cleaning the house.
-and remember this: Don't Give Up! Don't Give In!! You're doing the right thing!!
All it takes is the initial 72 hours; thereafter it takes 10 days to break the habit and 4 weeks till you're home free!!
We can do this, peeps! We can kick the shizz out of these ciggie butts and we gonna be proud and healthier for it too. Good Luck and STAY STRONG.
*One huge encouraging hug*
Chef Shants xxxxx