I was a social smoker for 5 years. I started from being a light smoker (7-10 ciggies a day) for nine months in 2013-2014 then tried to quit by telling myself I would smoke only when I drank. Yeah I just made it sounded like it wasn’t a real goodbye to it. I managed to quit smoking for 2 months then got back smoking here and there when I went out drinking. However, i would say it wasn’t that often as I went out only once or twice a month.
Later in 2017, I started to go to a lot of networking events and got together with friends for drinks on a regular basis. I also got introduced to a Korean cigarette brand that was really addictive thanks to its espresso orange flavour. I was hooked again and this time I smoked a lot because I went out drinking almost every day. When drinking, I could go up to a pack, and that started to scare me but it wasn’t until I started to notice my energy level—it went down to a point that I couldn’t work out. I didn’t feel fit at all.
10 Benefits of Quitting Smoking
No one would argue that stopping smoking yields a lot of benefits but if you really want to quit this bad habit, you might need to come up with solid reasons to convince yourself why not smoking is for the better.
I personally came up with these as my own benefits of quitting smoking:
1. I want to feel fresh when waking up in the morning.
2. I want to be fit again.
3. My skin will glow again.
4. I will save a lot of money and spend it on healthy foods instead.
5. My fingers, my hair, and my clothes will not stink anymore.
6. I wouldn’t need to feel bad when I asked those non-smokers if I could smoke around them.
7. My mom and my dad will be very happy as they have always been concerned with my smoking habit.
8. Smoking increases the risk of cancer and affects fertility as well as the chance of miscarriage (My mom kept telling me that, well, thanks mom).
9. My bag will have more room for other necessary items (seriously a pack of cigarettes takes up quite a bit of room in my purse).
10. When traveling, I wouldn’t need to find the smoking area, which sometimes is so far and not convenient for me. When I’m on the plane, I wouldn’t feel so tortured by not smoking for a long period of time.
What stopped me from quitting smoking
Okay, so we laid out the benefits but it’s sometimes still difficult to say goodbye forever to “your friend.” This is the reason why pointing out the benefits of quitting is not enough. Because deep down you already knew it’s bad for you. You just need to dig a little deeper what stopped you from quitting.
So I reflected on what happened and found out that my fears were:
1. I was afraid i would put on weight because since I started smoking again, I lost 2-3 pounds and stayed at the weight no matter how much I ate.
2. What would I do if I didn’t smoke? How would I spend my lunch break after I finished my lunch?
3. I liked the feeling of being ciggie high. I’m afraid I would miss that feeling if I stopped smoking.
Then I went through each of those fears and reflected on those. The thorough examination helped me understand myself better and how I would deal with those fears:
1. It proved to me that smoking doesn’t get me any further. I stayed at the same weight and my body wasn’t toned. I want to be able to work out and tone my body. Once I m fit again I can just shed those pounds later. In other words, I was willing to pack more pounds in order to gain back my health.
2. I planned on walking during my lunch break or every time I feel like smoking.
3. Did I really enjoy being high on ciggies? Was it a real joy? Was it worth it, given the following day I would feel so shitty? And the answer is.. nah..not really. The temporary ‘joy’ came with the consequences.
How to not quit quitting:
To be realistic, you will need to prepare for the first couple attempts of quitting. Failures don’t mean it’s finished but failures are just part of the journey.
You also need to prepare for possible weight gain, yes, possible, but it’s not inevitable. Good news, though, I actually didn’t gain weight at all.
Lastly, you’ll need to prepare to go through a lot of horrible feelings along the way until you’re able to completely quit. It is not easy but it is not impossible. It’s all mental. It’s all in your head. And it’s totally up to you. I can do it and so can you.
Trust me, first couple days of not smoking is the hardest. Once you get passed this phrase you’ll have higher chance to be able to quit. Can you trade this 2-3 weeks’ time for better health and all the benefits you will receive? It’s only a small sacrifice, isn’t it? If you can’t do the math, let me tell you that a few weeks is only a small amount of your lifetime.
How I fought with the urge
Okay, so after examining the mind, now it’s time to prepare for the body because at some point you will need to face the withdrawal symptoms. Here is how I dealt with them:
1. Every time I craved smoking, I put lime or any food with sour taste on my tongue and leave it there for a couple minutes.
2. I ate a lot of pineapple before or after each meal The sour taste from it really helped me get passed the craving.
3. I walk A LOT to get the desire of smoking off my mind, especially before and after my lunch break.
Of course I failed at the first couple attempts, but when I smoked again (after days or weeks without smoking), it made me very sick to the point that I didn’t recall why I could ever smoke in the first place. And that was when I could stop completely.
What I learned:
Apart from the health benefits, there are other things I have learned throughout the process.
1. I learned that the quitting wasn’t that bad. It was not that terrifying. Would I go for nicotin patches instead of going cold turkey? Maybe. But I prefer natural path and I also wanted to challenge myself.
2. There are also other approaches for us to quit smoking–some of the ex smokers I knew implement the tips in Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking and became successful with those.
3. I learned that quitting smoking doesn’t always make you gain weight. And in my case, it was the opposite because I have lost 2-3 kg. (4.4-6.6 lbs). I believe that this was because I have been walking a lot (my steps increased from 4,000 to over 10,000 a day).
4. When I became fitter, I could incorporate workouts in my evening routine. My legs, arms, abs got toned because I had more energy to push up, sit up, etc.
4. I feel fresher in the morning, no more feeling sluggish when getting out of bed.
5. My skin is radiant again.
6. People say I look more beautiful and vibrant thanks to my skin glow and increased level of energy.
7. I made my parents proud 🙂 and my mom said my quitting smoking is the best birthday gift for her ever!
8. I realize nothing is impossible. Patience and persistence are the key. With willpower and determination, you can also do it.