Last week we talked about the many benefits of drinking water. This week, we will look at how certain food choices may help you KTQ by reducing cravings.
Smokers usually smoke the minute they feel anything. That can make it difficult for the newly quit to even know what they are craving! It takes practice to identify thirst, hunger, fatigue or boredom. Chances are a tall, cool glass of water and the right snack can have a quitter feeling back on track in no time. Selecting foods that may help kill craves can also help prevent overeating and weight gain. Eating small amounts throughout the day can manage blood sugar levels, reduce cravings, increase energy, kick up metabolic rate and stabilize moods. Sounds like a good plan, doesn't it? Here are some great food choices:
• Fruit For sugar cravings, reach for fresh fruit. Eating fresh fruit is a good way to increase your fiber and water intake, and to fill up without filling out. Most fruits are alkalizing, which may help reduce nicotine cravings in the beginning of your quit. Blueberries, apples, cherries, watermelon, grapes, plums, and oranges are a few of the many fresh fruit options.
• Vegetables For hand-to-mouth snacking options, try fresh, sliced vegetables. Vegetables are high in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and are low in calories. You can eat enough to get full without affecting your waistline. Most vegetables are alkalizing, which may help reduce nicotine cravings in the beginning of your quit. Try sliced bell peppers, zucchini, cucumber, celery and carrots. Or, mix up a salad with lettuce or spinach greens.
• Mint To reduce sugar or nicotine cravings, try strong mint flavors. Peppermint, spearmint, and menthol-flavored cough drops, gum, sugar free hard candies and breath mints may help kill a crave.
• Sour/Tart To reduce sugar or nicotine cravings, you can also try sour or tart flavors such as lemon, lime, lemon drops, dill pickles or stuffed olives.
• Spicy Try spicy foods like hot salsa, Tabasco sauce, red or green chilies, and jalapenos to kill cravings. A generous sprinkling of black pepper may help take the edge off of cravings, as well.
• Warm Eating a warm meal is often more filling than a cold one. Oatmeal is a good choice. Add some cinnamon, applesauce or raisins to increase fiber and crave fighting properties.
• Hot Sipping hot tea is time consuming, and hot liquid may help satisfy cravings. Choose licorice, peppermint, lemon, cinnamon or other such flavored teas to help kill the crave. Green tea is high in antioxidants, and detox teas may offer added support for the newly quit.
• Crunchy The hand to mouth habit associated with smoking is hard to break. Eating crunchy foods like apples, almonds, seeds and raw vegetables can help to satisfy this trigger.
• Fat Foods that are high in healthy fats help you feel full longer and experience cravings less. Olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and avocados are some examples of healthy fats.
• Fiber Healthy foods that are high in fiber help you feel full longer and can counteract some of the constipation associated with quitting. Oatmeal, raisins, vegetables and legumes are some examples of high fiber foods.
To help yourself make good food choices, stock up ahead of time. Arrange your cabinets so the best food choices are front and center. Better yet, make a 'Quit Shelf' with all your go-to crave-killing foods and tape up a few motivational cards with images, mantras, or inspiring statements on them. You can even add your quit stats to your cards weekly. :) With preparation and commitment, you can make this quit your healthiest quit, your best quit - and your last quit!
Keep up the good work, keep going, and KTQ!
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Quit with us!
Not enough can be said about the wonderful properties of water! Drinking water is healthy for your entire system, and helps you keep the quit! The human body is up to 70% water, and yet many people do not drink enough of it throughout the day. The American lifestyle itself can be dehydrating given our frequent consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, sodas and high sodium meals. Mild dehydration can cause water retention, bloat, constipation and other symptoms including:
• Dry skin
• Lack of energy
• Dry mouth
Are you drinking enough water? Moderate to severe dehydration can be dangerous; even fatal. Drinking enough water can help your body in many ways. The ‘8 glasses per day’ conventional wisdom is not carved in stone (or substantiated by research) so how much water you need to drink per day varies. The more you sweat or exercise, the more water you need to replace. If you consume dehydrating foods and beverages, you will need to drink more. Fruits, vegetables, tea, soup and other diet choices contain water, so you can allow for some of the water content in your diet to count towards your overall daily water intake. Try aiming for 6 glasses a day to help get your water drinking habit moving forward. This can easily be accomplished by substituting a glass of water for every soda, sugar laden juice or junk food snack you would normally reach for. Water actually makes you want to drink more, so after a few days of drinking 6 glasses per day, you will actually feel thirsty. It is that easy!
Here are a few of the many benefits of drinking enough water per day:
• Helps you KTQ! Water is great for ‘hand to mouth’ triggers, reduces physical cravings, distracts from smoking urges and takes up empty time previous spent smoking.
• Helps clear toxins. Your kidneys use water to help break down, process and clear toxins from your system.
• Aids your digestive system. Your intestines use water to keep things moving smoothly! If you don’t drink enough water, your colon pulls water to maintain hydration and constipation is a likely result.
• Helps your blood and bones. Water is used by your body to make healthy new bone and muscle cells.
• Prevents puffiness. Water has a diuretic affect in your body. Inother words, drinking lots of water will increase the excretion of water from your body. Your body holds water to preserve it. If you drink enough water, you will not retain water (unless you have a medical condition).
• Helps your metabolism. Water contributes to weight loss by stimulating your metabolism, killing hunger pangs and filling you up.
• Helps your comfort level. Water is involved in balancing your body temperature.
• Saves your joints. Water lubricates your joints and may reduce pain.
• Gives your face a healthy glow. Water improves your skin through internal hydration.
• Saves You. Water may help prevent a heart attack! Drinking a glass of water before bed or a hot bath/shower may reduce your chance of a heart attack.
• Saves money. Water is cheaper than other beverages (or free).
• Improves your smile. Water has a slight alkalizing affect which helps reduce acidity and is good for your teeth and overall mouth health.
Drinking enough water is very good for all of you! You can add lemon, lime or a splash of juice to add flavor. Try ice, a straw and your favorite glass to make drinking water a pleasant part of your day. Next week we will talk about ways to kill your cravings with certain foods.
Drink up, and KTQ!
Vikki CTTS-M Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
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As we get further along in our quits, staying
quit can become progressively easier, especially if we've developed a support network that we actually use. But what happens when we get outside our normal support routine, or when we're in unfamiliar settings and/or surrounded by smokers? Family events, drinking parties, long road trips, and vacations are some the most common relapse venues. How can we strengthen our quits during those times?
Preparation can keep us from succumbing to the lie of 'just one.' If you've been invited to a big party or family event full of smokers, or are about to embark on your first vacation since you're quit, you don't have to be afraid of relapse; in fact, you can welcome the chance to perfect your self-support tools. Below are some pointers to help you do that.'Bookend' the Event
Bookending means beginning and ending each risky situation, or each hour/day/etc of a risky situation, with connection to support. Call, post online, or text a quit-buddy (preferably another ex-smoker) with a commitment to not smoke during the long drive/party/vacation, and to reconnect at the end of the drive/party/vacation to report your success.
Commit out loud or in writing your intention to STAY QUIT, NO MATTER WHAT
. Commit that you'll reach out again before
, not after, any chance that you'll slip -- no matter where you are or what time it is. Promise to reconnect after the trip, event, or situation, is over. Don't underestimate the power of simple commitments to others that you're going to follow a certain plan, and that you'll follow through with a report afterwards.
Some Q members use the Qmunity
for bookending. Post a note in the QuitStop forum, or Qmail your quit-buddies, saying something like, "I'm going into a tough situation and am worried I might slip." You'll get responses and support from others. Commit in the forum that you won't smoke, that you'll contact someone before
you do, that you'll log in after the event and let everyone know how you did. You can print out other Q members' responses to you, and carry them you.Always Be Prepared
The key to quit-success in tough situations is preparation. You don't want to have to figure out what to do in the midst of a craving or doubt, when denial clouds your thinking.
Program quit-buddy phone numbers into your cellphone for quick access, and be ready to use them at a moment's notice. Think about how you'll respond if someone offers you a smoke. Practice saying things out loud like, "No, thanks, I don't smoke". Think of your Three Best Reasons for Quitting, and keep them in your pocket, wallet, or phone. Read them whenever you feel doubtful. If you use prayer or positive affirmations for support, bring them with you. Ask for extra strength or perseverance, or repeat mantras like, "Smoking Is Not An Option" or "I Don't Smoke, No Matter What, No Matter What, I Don't Smoke." Be ready to use the FIVE D's: DELAY; DISTRACT; DRINK WATER (cold); DEEP BREATHE; DISCUSS.
When attending family or other obligatory parties in which you know there'll be multiple stressors or smoking triggers, always have an exit plan. Parties and events come and go, but this may be the last chance you ever get to be smokefree; don't blow it by prioritizing social conventions over your quit. While you're there, enlist the aid of anyone who will support you. Don't be shy about revealing that you just quit smoking, and are working hard to stay quit. You'll find other ex-smokers, and help will come from the most unexpected quarters. If you think staying might trigger a relapse, have an excuse ready that allows you to leave with grace and dignity, and then leave. Remember: while you may have had to go there, you don't have to stay there (especially if you're being abused or disrespected about not smoking). Keeping your quit your #1 priority gives you the best chances of staying quit for good.
During road trips, create a NO-SMOKING ZONE sign for your car, to visually reinforce your quit. Listen to quit-smoking audio books, or call your quit-buddies hands-free. Think of different trip or vacation milestone rewards. Every day while on vacation, for example, or every X-hundred miles, use the $$ you would have smoked up to reward yourself with something nice. Planning the rewards ahead of time will reinforce their effectiveness. And bookend, bookend, bookend...
The day will certainly come when you can take any trip you want, and drive any distance you need to, without even thinking about smoking- because you'll have a non-smoking self-image. Remaining quit in tough circumstances can really strengthen that self-image, too. In fact, you can start picturing yourself that way right now: imagine turning down smoking offers, or driving with the windows down and not smoking, or coming home from that family reunion still smokefree. If you can imagine it, you can do it, and all the help in the world is available to assist you.
Happy smokefree trails, and KTQ,
Alan Peters, CTTS-M