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
Visit QuitNet for inspiration and support!
It's taken a lot of hard work, with possibly some challenges to get to this tobacco-free place. This is where you want to remain. Being a recent quitter increases the risk of relapse. Quitting smoking can be physically uncomfortable and mentally exhausting. Consider using a quit medication if you have a difficult time during the first couple of weeks maintaining a quit. Connecting with a support network, reaching out to a quit-buddy, or talking to a smoking cessation counselor is helpful in keeping you focused and on track.
Staying quit and preventing a relapse requires a plan to maintain your new healthy lifestyle. Recognize behavior that could get you in trouble and plan ahead with coping skills, strategies for distraction, and emotional support. You will need to find alternatives to the temptations to smoke; learn from your quitting history where your stumbling triggers lie and seriously commit to doing whatever it takes to not smoke.
Pay attention to signs of a potential relapse. Have you noticed your mind wandering down memory lane? Perhaps thinking of smoking a bit more than usual? Watch out if you find yourself rationalizing that you can smoke just one or feeling over confident and falsely believing you are solid in your quit and can take a few puffs. Slips and relapses all start with one puff so avoid the risk. Ask yourself why you are questioning or contemplating going down this road. Practice countering your smoking rationalizations with truthful statements that support quitting smoking. Respond to ‘I feel healthy.’ and ‘Smoking doesn’t affect me because I don’t inhale.’ by telling yourself ‘Smoking affects every organ and system in my body, including my mouth, teeth and tongue’ ‘Quitting smoking now will reduce my chances of a smoking related illness.’ The only sure way to stay quit is by adhering to the “Not One Puff Ever” maxim. Continue to stay focused on your quit and reward yourself for all your good efforts.
Weight gain associated with quitting smoking is often another reason given for returning to smoking. Try not to become overwhelmed with taking on too many life changes at once. Keep the priority on your quit, knowing that the weight can be dealt with by eating healthy food choices, smaller portions and getting some physical movement daily. A little weight gain is far less harmful to you than continued smoking.
Be prepared to anticipate and identify high risk situations. Being out socially where smoking is prevalent, drinking alcohol or being in a heated argument are all situations that could trigger a relapse. Risky occasions happen when you least expect, during fun times at family gatherings, visiting old friends, even when you’re bored with nothing to do. Protect your quit by rehearsing mentally how you will cope with these varying situations. See yourself saying no to the cigarette offered to you by a friend at a party, or whatever scene may play out in the future and responding with the alternative coping strategy you’ve decided to use instead of smoking. Get suggestions for good trigger strategies from the coaches or members at QuitNet.
Balancing a healthy lifestyle is essential in maintaining a quit. Find new ways to manage the stress in your life; get some physical exercise, meditate, keep a journal and take care of yourself doing things you enjoy. Planning ahead for potential triggers will help you avoid the snare of relapsing.
Keep coming back, and KTQ!
In lieu of a regular blog this week, please enjoy the following links and quotes about expressing gratitude in our lives, as well as the history of the Thanksgiving holiday tradition.
Gratitude fills our lives with positive energy and brings more things to be grateful for towards us. So what is gratitude? Here is a definition, courtesy of Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude
Feeling grateful affects us in a positive way: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/science-thankfulness/story?id=15008148
What are you grateful for today? Who do you appreciate? Make a list and add to it every month, then read your list next year at this time. Tell those you care about that you are grateful they are in your life!
"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." ~Epictetus
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." ~William Arthur Ward
"Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give." ~Edwin Arlington Robinson
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~Thornton Wilder
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. For many, it is a day spent with family and friends, eating turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, warm bread rolls, apple pie and other delicious food. Thanksgiving Day is a tradition dating back hundreds of years. Here is a definition of the history of Thanksgiving, courtesy of Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be grateful. It is also a time for giving. Giving your time, attention, money, food, clothing or help to someone less fortunate is another great way to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Be grateful for all the wonderful things in your smoke free life, and have a happy Thanksgiving Day!
Vikki Chavez CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Don't spend Thanksgiving alone:
Quitting smoking is quite an accomplishment! You have braved your way through doubt, cravings, stress, triggers and other smokers, yet remained true to your Quit. Congratulations! You may find that your self confidence has increased since you quit smoking, and that confidence has spilled over to other parts of your life. If you think it hasn't, perhaps you need to step back and really take a look at the new you!
You have become an even better smoke-free version of You! Keeping your quit takes commitment, resolve, problem solving, delayed gratification, a willingness to change, let go and give up your well worn path for the unknown adventure ahead.
While going through the quit process, you also learned a lot about yourself! You learned how to control your response to emotions such as anger, sadness, loneliness, frustration, boredom, craving and irritation. You’ve sat with these emotions and come to accept that they are normal and will pass. You now understand your emotions instead of avoiding them, and have new coping tools so your needs are met. As a result, your emotions do not affect you – or those around you – adversely. By doing this, you've improved your overall well being!
Improved well being, self efficacy and healthy self esteem are the cornerstones of a happy life. They reduce stress, give you a sense of control over your choices, increase your ability to handle day to day life situations and help you work through challenging times successfully.
As a successful quitter, you continue to make ongoing, daily choices that enhance your life. That means you have discipline, courage and tenacity. Along the way, you've learned some new things about yourself, set new goals and acquired effective tools to make your goals a reality. Quitting smoking has an unexpected side effect - it opens the door to a healthier lifestyle on multiple levels.
The truth is, You are amazing! What will you do next with your newly discovered confidence, competence and success? Keep going, keep up the good work and KTQ:)
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
No One Has To Quit Alone:
Perhaps you have heard of first aid kits or survival kits, or even travel kits. But have you ever heard of a “quit kit"? Being prepared—whether for travel, medical emergencies, quitting smoking or otherwise—is essential for getting you through tough situations. A quit kit can serve as a tangible reminder of your commitment to a tobacco-free lifestyle. It can be particuarly helpful in the early weeks of quitting when cravings are toughest. In other words, before you turn to light up, turn to your quit kit. It should be filled with useful things that help you stay quit.
Here are some ideas to get you started on putting together your own personal quit quit:
Step 1: Obtain a container(s). Some useful sized quit kit containers might include: an empty mint tin, index card box, tea box, shoe box or paper box. Size doesn’t matter as long as it’s something easily accessible to you. You might even consider emptying the entire contents of a desk drawer or bedside table drawer and devote that space as your “quit kit.”
Step 2: Decorate your quit kit. This is the fun part! Decorating your quit kit with slogans, stickers, drawings or photos, cutouts from magazines, comics, etc. adds not only a personal touch to your quit kit but adds meaning. A photo of a loved one, a mantra like “One day at a time” just might be all it takes to help you stay motivated in your quit even before opening your kit and making use of what’s inside.
Step 3: Fill your quit kit. Think about what might be most helpful to you. Need an oral substitute? Fill your quit kit with toothpicks, straws, sugar-free candies, gum, sunflower seeds, bottled water or a toothbrush. Need something to keep your hands busy? How about rubber bands, a worry stone, play-doh, dice, coins, or a stress ball. Looking for support? Write down some positive affirmations on index cards, write out your reasons for quitting, or keep a list of phone number of friends and family members you can call. Print inspirational profiles, Qmails and testimonials of QuitNet members and look them over when you need a lift. Keep a journal in your quit kit. Record your quit journey—the ups and downs.
Step 4: Put your quit kit where you need it most. Maybe it’s someplace highly visible like on your kitchen table. Or maybe it’s in your car glove box or a desk drawer at work. Make multiple quit kits designated for different triggers—keep one on your beside table, beside your computer desk, or carry one in your briefcase, purse, or backpack.
You don't have to follow all of these steps or incorporate all of the suggested items into your quit quit. But do make sure that your “quit kit" works for you. Take the time and effort now to prepare for any potential challenges you may face in your quit. You may find you never have a need for your quit kit, but it will be there just in case….
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist