Part of improving your health and over all well being means taking action to increase your physical fitness by implementing regular work outs into your weekly routine. Every year spring seems to be a great motivator to start getting into better shape with the threat of “bikini season” right around the corner. Over the past few months I have been making an effort to drag myself to the gym at least a few times a week to take Vinyassa Yoga and Zumba classes at the New York Sports Club. Sure I want to get into better shape, who doesn’t? But there is another motivator behind my newly found fitness regiment, after 13 years I finally have quit smoking.
After a little over two months of being smoke free I am confident that on January 25th, when I finally decided to quit, it was for good. After several weeks of intense reading and research about smoking cessation and addiction I put together a “Quit Smoking Plan” for myself that I feel made it infinitely easier for me to finally quit as opposed to the experiences I have seen my friends and coworkers go through when they have tried to quit in the past. As we all know, quitting smoking is a good idea for any smoker but it’s hard and there are so many different aspects of addiction to smoking cigarettes that should be taken into account when trying to quit. That being said, of course different methods work for different people but for me these 10 Baby Steps are some that I found to be the most helpful in my effort to finally extinguish my icky smoking habit and not only helped me quit but have helped me remain smoke free. I hope if you are trying to quit some of these little tidbits are helpful and good luck on your way to becoming a non-smoker!
My Top 10 Baby Steps to Becoming and Staying Smoke Free:
1- Quit when you are ready and really want to quit. This is by far one of the most important things to consider when trying to rid yourself of any habit, but especially smoking. If you really don’t want to quit you won’t, it’s that simple. I suggest really thinking about it and pick a time to quit when you feel you are at that point where your desire to be smoke free is at its all time high for this desire will have to get you through all those tough cravings ahead which can be pretty intense when you first quit.
2-Plan for it. Some people have told me they went from smoking a pack a day to nothing and had great success and if you think this will work for you then my hats off to you. I knew for myself that cutting down before finally quitting all together would be a better route so 6 months before I quit I started slowly reducing the number of cigarettes I would smoke a day from 15 to 12 to 10 and so on until I was down to 3 a day. I believe gradually cutting back on the number of cigarettes I smoked helped reduce the amount of cravings I eventually had after quitting and it also helped me mentally prepare for giving up smoking all together by slowly letting go of my daily smoking rituals one at a time. It is important to remember that addiction is just as much mental as it is physical.
3-Know The Facts. They say knowledge is power and this has never been more true then when trying to kick the smoking habit. Be informed, read about ways that helped others quit, read about addiction, read about the effects smoking has on the body and the effects quitting has as well. The human body is incredible and it’s fascinating to read about all the different changes it goes through once you decide to quit smoking. As much damage as smoking can cause to our bodies when we quit, almost instantly our body begins to repair the damage we have done to it. I found knowing the different physical and chemical changes occurring every day after I quit was very helpful to read over and over in the first week to keep me motivated to remain smoke free. Here are just a few examples of these:
- After 20 minutes of quitting your blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature of your hands and feet all return to normal
- After 8 hours the remaining nicotine in your bloodstream will have fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.25% reduction
- After 12 hours your blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped to normal Continue reading