Sunday, June 29, 2008

Alternatives to Medications to Stop Smoking

There are a number of reasons why some smokers resist using medications to help ease them through the withdrawal stage when they stop smoking. There are a number of things you can do to help:

Nicotine is water soluble so drink plenty of fluids. Cold water supplemented with fruit juices with Vitamin C is best. Drink enough until the color of your urine is clear. Avoid coffee if it is a trigger to smoke.

An increase in the oxygen you breathe can have the same calming effect as smoking a cigarette. Start the habit of deep breathing. Most smokers are shallow breathers yet our lungs are quite large. Practice breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, expanding your abdomen.

Smoking generates an acidic condition and an alkaline diets consisting of fruits and vegetables helps in detoxification and withdrawals. So start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably raw. Stock up on crunchy low fat foods such as carrots, celery, radishes, broccoli, bell peppers, apples, pears, cinnamon sticks, sugarless candy, unbuttered popcorn, rice cakes, cereal. This will also help with weight gain since since withdrawing from nicotine can lower the blood sugar, it's better to reach for fruit for natural sugar instead of a candy bar or pastry.

Take a multi-vitamin with extra vitamin C and vitamin B’s. Smoking robs the body of vitamin C and this lowers the immune system making the smoker more likely to catch a cold or get the flu when they quit. Vitamin B's will help calm the nervous system.

Get plenty of rest. Do not take on extra responsibilities at this time. When quitting the smokers body is going through tremendous stress, this is not the time to burn the candle at both ends but to treat yourself gently and focus on what is important.

Exercise helps with unwanted weight gain and uncontrolled stress. Walk briskly for 20 minutes each day.

Avoid alcohol for several weeks. Alcohol impairs your judgment. If you will not stop drinking alcohol, you may want to look at your reasons why. 85% of hard core alcoholics smoke yet smoking is more likely to kill an alcoholic than their liquor.

Change the way you think about withdrawals--they are actually recovery symptoms, telling you that your body is healing itself.

If you have any health problems, speak with your physician before making any changes in your routine or starting an exercise program. If you are taking medications, the dosages may need adjusting after you stop smoking. If after 3 to 4 weeks, you are still having physical problems, go see your doctor. Smoking mask physical problems that quitting exposes. A middle age man in one of my workshops complained that every time he quit smoking, his stomach hurt, so he would go back to smoking. It turned out that he had an ulcer but the smoking was masking the pain. Quitting didn't cause the ulcer, but helped him get a diagnosis and get it treated.

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