Quitting Smoking & Breaking Nicotine Addiction

Quitting Smoking & Breaking Nicotine Addiction

About 4 minutes of reading time.

I quit smoking many times. 😆

Throughout my life, I heard smoking was bad for me so I “quit” many times. The problem is I always ended up going back for “just one” and never fully QUIT. Another problem is I enjoyed it.

The last time I smoked a cigarette was on December 29, 2018, when I had a heart attack. I can finally say I quit and have been nicotine-free since February 22, 2019!

It’s not just smoking that is bad, but nicotine is too.

That’s right, especially when it comes to cardiovascular disease. Why? For one, nicotine causes cells to become resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance plays a role in cardiovascular disease, and particularly Type 2 diabetes!

Once upon a time, I tried vaping as a way to quit smoking. At the time, I was led to believe that it was a much safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Sure, it may technically be a “little safer” but it is NOT HEALTHY!!!

Plain and simple, if I was to truly get healthy, I had to not smoke anything and break my nicotine addiction! If you are addicted, follow along.

I used nicotine patches to help quit smoking.

The doctors didn’t allow me to start with step one because it would have constricted my vessels too much, so they gave me step two. I did steps two & three for three weeks each. This was one week longer than directed. I felt like I needed that–and look, it worked!

Sure, it was tough and I was often cranky and irritable! I was also quitting all the heavy sugar consumption! I was a sugarholic! I do believe that quitting smoking was the easiest of all my lifestyle changes though, however, that first month was an absolute tough mental challenge!

Getting in the right mindset to quit smoking.

First, I had to get in my mind why I needed to quit. Well, smoking was one of the driving factors that landed me in a hospital with a heart attack and I certainly don’t want another!

Think of this, as each craving passes, there are fewer active nicotine receptors in the brain. (There’s not much data on this, but thinking this worked for me and it makes logical sense!) So technically, it does get easier after each craving! Over time, those receptors return to normal and those cravings disappear.

Smoking and associations.

Just a visual of how I associated smoking and my heart attack.

I associated smoking and the heart attack as putting my hand on a hot stove eye and didn’t want to do that again (yes, I accidentally did that once.) So in my mind, lighting up would be like putting my hand on the hot stove.

Another aspect of quitting smoking is associating activities with when I smoked, such as driving, going to the back deck, working for some time on the computer, eating a sugary snack, and drinking coffee. All of those associations are triggers that are hard to break. I quit going on the deck (but I really miss my chats with Jessica out there), quit drinking coffee for a couple of years (it just oddly happened, which was strange, but now I drink a cup of black coffee a day), I’d walk up and down the road after working for a while, and stopped all the sugary stuff.

Be aware of activities that you did while smoking and make adjustments to them or refrain from them.

Four healthy tips to fight nicotine withdrawal cravings.

Sure, the patches helped me quit smoking, but I still had to battle nicotine withdrawal cravings! That first week was scary! Remember, fewer active nicotine receptors as each craving passes…

  1. Box breathing for 1-2 minutes. Each set is composed of 3-4 seconds each: inhale, hold, exhale, hold. This is relaxing and will allow more oxygen to get in the body. Read this article for more about box breathing.
  2. Chug a glass of ice-cold water. This is something I just found that worked for me and I don’t know why. There are benefits to drinking both cold and warm/hot water and I normally drink room-temperature water. I felta “rush” when I chugged a glass of ice-cold water that mimicked smoking a cigarette. Maybe it is just flooding the bloodstream with oxygen-rich water and the cold sensation… 🤷‍♂️
  3. Go for a short and brisk walk. There are MANY benefits to walking (here are ten) and I would do this instead of going to the deck to smoke after working on the computer for a while. Walking in the sun is even more beneficial!
  4. DARK CHOCOLATE! This is my favorite and I’ve come to love dark chocolate! Simply take a square and let it melt in your mouth. There are some great benefits to good, low sugar, dark chocolate such as: being nutritious with a good fatty acid profile, source of antioxidants that can actually help protect your skin while out in the sun walking 😉, raises HDL, protects LDL, and can even help with brain function! Read more here. I prefer , and sometimes get some and even !

Endangered Species

Alter Eco

BONUS TIP! Get techy and use an app to assist you! The Smoke Free App has some great features that can help keep you motivated.

I enjoy a much better quality of life without smoking or nicotine.

Now that I am 100% smoke and nicotine-free, I’m enjoying a much better quality of life. Initially, I was afraid of what I was going to be missing, but at the time, I didn’t realize all the great feelings and abilities I would gain! Speaking of gaining, many people gain weight after quitting smoking. I didn’t. I lost a total of 45 pounds since my heart attack and most of that was in the first year. How? By adopting a much healthier lifestyle of eating clean, exercising, and living life better. If you want to start your day off better, try this WONDERFUL breakfast! Had I known then what I know now, I would have definitely started my days with that!

I hope these tips help you break your smoking/vaping/nicotine addiction!

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