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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People who have smoked for most of their lives may not recall what life was like before smoking. For years, smoking was a reward, a past time, a coping tool for stress, anger, boredom, anxiety, sadness, frustration and every other emotion or challenge that came along.
As a result, longtime smokers may not have developed emotional coping tools or practiced letting go or learned to sit with their feelings. This can leave the newly quit in double trouble! At the same time withdrawals, anxiety and stress step in, the quitter's only known coping tool (smoking) steps out. When you stop smoking, you stopped doing something you were used to doing every day for many years. It is no wonder why your emotions go through a challenging time!
It is normal to feel nervous, restless and even sad when you quit smoking. You miss your daily ritual; even more so if there are no new behaviors in place for each of the moments throughout the day that you used to smoke.
Quitting is a process. It takes time. It does not feel comfortable at first and that is OK! When you stop smoking, you can no longer do what you used to do in the same way you used to do it. Temporary mood swings can result from quit related hormone fluctuations and quit related withdrawals. It will get better, so keep going!
Know that every smoker goes through similar challenges. As you work your way through your quit, you are actually 'becoming a nonsmoker', not just 'not smoking'. Make a commitment to find new emotional coping tools so you can move forward happily and successfully as a nonsmoker. Plan ahead how you will meet your emotional needs as a nonsmoker. Your answers to the following questions will help provide you with a personal road map to success:
- How will you relax?
- How will you reward and celebrate?
- How will you process feelings of anger?
- How will you deal with anxiety?
- How will you cope with stress?
- How will you overcome sadness, depression?
- What will comfort you and get you through a bad day?
Chances are, you have no idea how to answer these questions because you have never had to! This is a normal experience, and rest assured you can find things that interest you, inspire you, calm, comfort, entertain and support you as a nonsmoker.
Think of things that have helped you get through strong trigger moments in the past. Think of things that make you laugh or recall fondly. Really work your quit process; brainstorm and come up with new emotional coping tools that can address your individual needs effectively. Next week, we will take these new coping tools you've identified and discuss how to move forward successfully as a nonsmoker!
Keep going and KTQ,
Vikki CTTS-M Celebrate your quit with other quitters:
You had a good quit going, then you smoked one. Now what?
A slip is a red arrow pointing to a personal trigger challenge. A relapse is a red arrow pointing to a large space in your quit plan.
What to do next?
STOP. Go back to the very beginning. Every single quit - be it an hour, a day or a year - has within it all the tools you need to ensure your next quit is your best (and last) quit ever!
If you have quit for half a day, that means you have quit successfully before! It also means you know how to quit, how to get through an urge, what works good for you and what does not, when your hardest trigger times are and what has led to a slip or relapse in the past.
Move forward today by writing down a successful quit plan, one that is custom tailored just for you via your previous quit(s):
What are your 3 biggest smoking triggers?
How do you plan to get beyond them?
What worked before? What else are you willing to try? Write it down.
What are your 3 biggest motivators for being a nonsmoker?
What are 3 great benefits you noticed last time when you Quit?
Write it down!
Think of 3 more motivators or benefits and add them to your list.
Post your motivators on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, car visor, desk and so forth. Be sure to Celebrate your Quit! Acknowledge how great you're doing to inspire more great days.
What are your personal emotional triggers?
How did you cope with stress, boredom, frustration and anger last time?
What else can you try this time?
Write it all down. Do it again + add some new options!
How did you reward, relax, comfort, enjoy, fill your time & socialize as a nonsmoker during your last quits? What else can you try? It is important your emotional needs are met, not ignored! If you reward, relax, comfort, enjoy and stay busy, then you will not be bored or stressed or feel like you are 'missing out' as a nonsmoker, so really think it thorugh and write it down.
Why did you slip or relapse this time? Why did you slip or relapse last time?
Using your answers from the above questions, what are 5 things you will commit doing this time instead of smoke when faced with each one of your relapse triggers?
What are 3 more things you are willing to try?
Plan ahead and write it down.
Now you have an outline of your quit personal 'get back on track' action plan.
Remember, NRT/Chantix/Zyban only work to the degree that the quitter works their quit process. Support products are very helpful and they 'take the edge off' as the quitter moves forward. Ultimately, it is the 'quitter moves forward' part that results in a successful quit.
Commit to get back on track with your quit. You can do this - you already have!
Good luck and keep going!
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
You don't have to quit alone:
Meet Kathy. She is a lifelong athlete and 30 year smoker. She is ready to get back into the game! She is quitting in honor of her parents who both died from tobacco-related illness.
Research shows that peer support signficantly increases your chances of a successful quit. Reading about another quitter's triumphs and challenges can help you get through your own. It really helps to see that you are not alone, that struggles can be overcome and your fears and concerns are normal. Watching another quitter go through the process can help normalize your quit experience and provide encouragement.
Here at QuitNet, we often hear it was member testimonials that inspired another member to quit, or helped someone to keep going through challenging times. This month, seven Utah quitters were chosen to participate in a reality TV quit journey. We invite you to read their stories and lend your support. Please join them as they go through their self-documented journey to becoming tobacco free!
You already met Kathy; here are the remaining six Utah quitters and a little about them:
Gavin is a musician, writer, and smoker for over 20 years. He is quitting for his health, an upcoming race challenge and his future family.
Tanner is a young dad-to-be and smoker of five years. He is quitting for his unborn child.
Bob and Mary Beth have been in love for 37 years, and smoking even longer. They are quitting so they can grow old together.
Chelsea is only 22 years old, but has been secretly smoking for the last five years. She is quitting now to ensure a healthy future.
Scarlet is an aerospace worker and smoked for over 30 years. She is quitting for a brighter smile and freedom from addiction.
Chances are, their smoking history, motivations, concerns, struggles and successes are similar to yours. You can cheer them on through the BecomeAQuitter Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channel, as well as read more about each one of them here.
Would you like to share Your quit story? Stay tuned for information on how your quit can be featured right here on the Quit Blog!
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Expectations. Crowds. Obligations. Family Issues. Loneliness. Money. That wonderful holiday season is here again. Will yours be filled with joy, good company, relaxation and time off work? Or, will it be filled with stress, too little time, over spending, over eating and wishing it were all over with? Holidays can be a big relapse trigger, so today is a great day to set yourself up to succeed. How? Just say No!
Just say No to parties you have no interest in going to, that gathering that ends up in a fight every year, gift exchanges you can't afford and any other obligation you feel pressured in to. For some people, being alone is depressing. For some people, depressing is attending a dinner gathering of married couples when solo. Couples may prefer holiday alone time to enjoy each other's company minus the crowd. Feel free to stay home or go where you feel happiest. That may be a crowded theater, your favorite restaurant or some precious at home time off work with zero 'to do' items. You really don't have to be, go or do anything you don't want to. This year, commit to saying No to everything you don't have a heartfelt interest in doing. The secret to having a fun, relaxing, wonderful holiday is giving yourself permission to do Only Things That Are Fun, Relaxing And Wonderful to You!
Relax. You may have time off work, or time off family as they are out shopping and visiting and so forth. Take some well deserved time for You, whatever you want to do with it! Reach out. Call people you care about and want to spend time with. Meet for coffee, wrap presents together, catch a movie, go for a walk, have a nice holiday breakfast. A long holiday weekend means you can connect with friends your work schedules may not usually allow for. Married, single or somewhere in between, there are always ways to share the spirit of the season in a manner that is meaningful to You. You may want to just hang out in your house alone for once and relax - it is up to you!
Plan ahead. Think about about how you want to spend your time and your money, how you really feel about crowded malls, stressful obligations and so forth:
- The most relaxing enjoyable things I could do this year are:
- One thing I will say No to this year:
- One thing I will be sure to do for Me this year:
- To reduce stress I will:
- To enjoy my time off I will:
- One person I will be sure to reach out to:
- One thing I am not getting pressured into this year:
- I give myself permission to:
- I commit to keeping my quit my first priority. If I feel tempted, I will:
- As far as dieting or not dieting, I am going to:
Enjoy. By actively choosing to have a wonderful holiday, you can reduce stress and relapse triggers. By learning to say No to things that you feel pressured or obligated to do, you will be saying Yes to an enjoyable and rewarding holiday season. This year, give yourself a gift ~ the gift of Happiness:)
Happy Holidays, and KTQ!
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Have a Smoke-Free Holiday at the Q:
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:
Many people find once they quit smoking, they are inspired to make other healthy lifestyle changes. Almost everyone would like to either lose weight or be in better physical condition, but have no idea how to get started. Read on for some basic suggestions to help you get headed in the right direction!
~*~ Start From Where You Are ~*~
Everyone can lose weight, gain muscle tone, increase lung capacity and feel better. It is normal to want to see results right away. They will come, but only if you take the time to set yourself up to succeed from the beginning. So, make sure your first week is all about Starting From Where You Are.
Why does that matter? If you go on ‘the diet’ and suddenly cut your calories in half, or go from doing nothing to a 5 times per week workout (or even double your current workout while dieting too hard) then your system will shut down. Any perceived overexertion with diminished fuel is like a car running out of gas - you end up going nowhere. Just like that car, your body needs fuel to run and better fuel brings better performance.
Despite common diet myths, you simply can't go from 3,500 calories a day to 1,200 and get good long term results. Your metabolism will slow down at the beginning, leaving you nowhere to go from there. The same goes for starting at zero activity then working out like a contender. You will feel tired, sore, weak, hungry and demotivated. As a result, it is unlikely you will follow through long enough to kick up your metabolic rate and reach your goals.
There is no safe, fast way to lose what has taken many years to find! It takes time. Time to shift your body from fat storage mode to fat burning mode. Time to get your muscles back in shape and your endurance levels up. Time to learn to new eating habits.
Healthy eating is the best way to lose weight and support your exercise efforts. No magic pills or secret methods or food combinations will make it happen any faster. To get started, just clean up your current eating habits by making healthier choices. Drink more water, eat less sugar and limit portion size. Every week, add a new goal to the previous week, such as eating fresh vegetables 2 times day, or reducing soda to 1 times per day, or replacing a serving of red meat with a serving of chicken or fish instead. Be specific! That way, every week you will continue to add new habits while reinforcing the ones from the week before. As time goes by, you will be eating healthier and healthier while losing weight and making permanent lifestyles changes.
These changes will ensure your weight loss is maintained, as this is your new personal best lifestyle and you are no longer in ON the diet/ Off the diet mode. Sound boring? It is Not! You can allow yourself those times when something is splurge worthy. Think of it like a savings account. You save up every day by eating healthy. When something super special comes along, you dip into your savings for it. You only have so much in the bank, so spend it wisely if you want to reach/maintain your goals! For example, you can eat cake anytime you want so just because someone brought it to work does not mean you 'have to have it.' The vending machine will always be there. A bag of chips will always be there. Dessert will always be there. And such things usually make you feel worse for having eaten them anyway. On the other hand, if your favorite food in the world is pizza and a friend is standing at your door holding a steaming hot one with a stack of new release movie rentals, of course you’ll go for it and Enjoy!. Or, if someone takes you out to your favorite steak restaurant ~ Enjoy! Saving ‘treat’ foods for special moments and eating healthy and low calorie the rest of the time is how thin people stay that way. And, that is how you can reach your weight loss goals! Just be sure to get immediately back on track with the healthy lifestyle diet habits you’ve acquired. In other words, 'special meal' does not mean special week!
As far as exercise goes, adding it to your routine can double your weight loss efforts when combined with proper diet. The best tips I can give you for exercise are:
1) Be Consistent
Think Move. Walk faster, take the stairs, park further away – take every opportunity to move more than you do now. Exercise 3 times every week. Week by week, it adds up and it becomes a habit. Choose something you Like To Do. Bike, walk the dog, meet a friend for a walk at the park or get a group together on your lunch hour at work.
2) Be There
Intermittent napping on the recumbent bike is Not exercising. Your body may be semi present but the mind is gone! Take the time to really Focus on your exercise, not just complete movements on autopilot. Weight lifters and athletes call it being in the Zone. It is like meditation to some, an adrenaline surge to others. No matter what you call it, when you really focus on your muscles, your breathing, your tempo, each contraction or stretch or stride or sensation you experience as you move, you will get a lot more out of your exercise both physically and mentally. Commit to moving with Intensity.
Whether you are walking the dog, running a mile, vacuuming or training at the gym, watch your posture. Correct posture helps prevent fatigue and injury as well as strengthen your midsection (abdominals) and low back. To increase focus, try to feel your muscles contract. How is your breathing? When should you inhale and exhale? How can you do the movement longer, shorter, faster or slower? Do you feel stronger than last time? Can you keep your abs tight while doing it and maintaining your breathing? Try it right now as you read this! Pull your belly button in to your spine hold. Breathe normally. That is a focused moment feels like.
Doing things with purpose and focus makes them more enjoyable, prevents boredom, increases your skill set and makes you more likely to continue! Are you ready to start from where you are? Was that a YES? Select a few goals that appeal to you from the lettered items in the list below and then pick some of the bulleted action items to help reach them:
A) Pay Closer Attention To My Diet
- Cut out all junk food: cookies, chips, candy, fast food fries, shakes, desserts, etc.
- Drink more water, limit or stop soda, limit alcohol, drink coffee black or sitch to tea.
- Eat at least 4 times per day to keep your metabolism going.
- Eat lean protein: nonfat dairy, fish, egg beaters, skinless chicken or vegan options.
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit.
B) Commit to Doing More Activity
- Pick 3 days per week that you commit to set aside time to exercise No Matter What.
- Perform movements correctly (DVD, book, class, trainer, pal - whatever works for you).
- Start slow so you can keep going all 3 days consistently
- Try starting with a walking routine 3 x per week; take a good brisk walk 15 minutes up the road, then turn around and come back. Easy, free and fun - bring the dog :)
C) Increase Effectiveness of My Exercise
- Breathe deeply and exhale fully during each movement.
- Add more contraction to each movement (ex: squeeze each calf as you walk).
- Add more focus to each movement.
D) Change Up My Exercise Routine
- Add cardio to your weight workout.
- Add weights to your cardio workout.
- Add a new kind of class or activity.
- Add ab crunches and and stretching.
- Add walking, yoga, spinning, biking, joggin or swimming.
E) Increase Intensity Of My Exercise Routine
- Increase resistance on cardio for 10 minute blocks.
- Increase incline on cardio for 10 minute blocks.
- Increase speed on cardio for 5 minute blocks.
- Add another exercise to your routine.
- Increase reps or sets per exercise or both (ex: do 4 sets of 12 instead of 3 sets of 10).
Be responsible for your health by monitoring your condition and experience. The old battle cry 'No Pain, No Gain' applies to conditioned athletes enduring beyond their pain threshold, not a former couch surfer who's up and moving again. If you feel pain walking briskly or lifting a 15# dumbbell, you are doing too much, too soon or using less than ideal posture while doing it. Always stay within your level of fitness, follow your personal medical guidelines for any medical conditions and individual diet restrictions, pay close attention to physical limitations and old injuries, and of course, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, increasing your current one or changing your diet.
If you start where you are at today, you can – and will be - a Fitter Quitter! Good luck, keep moving and be well :)
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Summer is here and along with it comes warmer weather and the urge to get outside!
But for some, enjoying the summer can be stressful, especially if you associate summer activities with smoking cigarettes. Outdoor activities which were enjoyable in the past--camping, vacationing, hitting the pool, taking road trips and barbecueing--can make summer feel less relaxing and more like a chore if you are constantly worried about not smoking.
Look forward to summer by re-discovering how to enjoy these activities without cigarettes! Here are a few tips to help you survive summer smoke-free:
Plan ahead when vacationing abroad.
Reserve non-smoking hotel rooms and rental cars . Ask to stay with non-smoking friends and family members. If you are staying with family members who smoke, let them know you’ve quit. Ask for their support by not smoking in front of you.
Practice effective coping strategies.
Pack a “quit kit" which may include things like a stress ball, your personal list of reasons for quitting, a journal or notebook, straws, toothpicks, sugar-free candies and gum, sunflower seeds, motivational quotes, etc. Download games and apps onto your smartphone to help keep your mind off cigarettes, keep your hands busy, or relieve stress. Pack your exercise shoes, and hit the gym or go for a walk (and breath of fresh air) whenever the urge to light up is strong.
Consider passing on the alcohol at weddings, reunions and other social events.
The association between smoking and drinking can be a very strong one. In addition, too much alcohol can impede judgment and lower inhibition. Order a "virgin" drink or juice, iced tea, soda or other non-alcoholic drink. You won't always have to avoid alcohol but it's a good idea, particularly for recent quitters. If you choose to drink, limit yourself and/or have a buddy look out for you to help keep you smoke-free.
Plan and engage in smoke-free activities.
Research the area you are visiting for smoke-free beaches, restaurants and bars, museums, amusement parks, etc. Visit a visitor center for information on local events. If you are staying in a hotel, ask about planned activities on-site like exercise classes, local tours, and outings.
Start a new tradition. Sitting around the campfire with a cigarette may have been something you used to do on your camping trips. Replace old traditions and routines with new ones. For example, start a new tradition of telling campfire stories, bring a deck of cards or play board games, start a contest (how about a chili cook-off?), tell jokes, or turn up the music and sing outloud or get up and dance!
Stay connected with other ex-smokers. Even if you are away from home, you can bring your support system with you on vacation! Write down contact information for friends and quit buddies who you can call, email or text when you feel the urge to smoke or just need to vent. Look into local resources for internet access such as libraries, community centers, internet cafes, and business centers located in your own hotel when you are away from home. There is almost always someone on the Q 24/7:
This summer, imagine yourself climbing the Spanish Steps or hiking Mount Kilamanjaro without huffing and pufffing. Imagine yourself enjoying a museum or sitting down to a meal at a restaurant without having to step out for a smoke. Imagine yourself having the energy to do all of the outdoor activities summer has in store for you. Imagine yourself smoke-free!
Summer is no time to go into hibernation. Get out and play!
Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist