Get winded from exercise, not tobacco
“I think the biggest thing is really kicking up your physical activity,” Moore says. She suggests taking a walk if you’re used to going outside for a smoke break – just be sure to avoid your old pals who still light up. You should also make an effort to build some serious exercise into your daily routine. It may not be as difficult as you’d think. “The good thing is if you quit smoking, as you’re going through the process you may find it a little easier to work out,” Moore says. “You might not get as winded or fatigued on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer. If you’re running or walking outside you may find it a little easier.”
If hitting the gym or going for a run isn’t working for you, find another way to get moving. “You might have to start with a partner if you need more motivation,” Moore said. ”Find something that you like…that you actually enjoy doing.” Moore noted the other, less obvious incentive to take up a fun new exercise routine. “Think of all the money you’ll save from not smoking – you can use that to pay for the class!”
Many people tend to drink more alcohol when they are trying to quit smoking, possibly as a substitute pleasure. However, it’s easy to forget how many calories are lurking in your favorite cocktails. Moore suggests skipping the bar scene altogether, but we know that’s easier said than done. “You can try [making] lower-calorie cocktails at home, or if you’re going to a party try a wine spritzer. You could even try a mocktail – something that gives a little fizz but without the alcohol and the extra calories.”
Don’t think you have to do it alone
Never underestimate the importance of getting support. Have a friend join you in your effort. Even if your friend isn’t a smoker, he or she can join you in eating better and getting exercise, and can help you get through those inevitable cravings. It may be tough to quit, but there’s no doubt you’ll be proud of yourself once you’re finished – and if you follow these tips, you’ll look and feel much better, too.
For more tips on getting support and staying quit, visit www.smokefree.gov, the website of the National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Control Research Branch.
Kathryn H. Cusimano is an assistant editor at BettyConfidential.
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