PUBLISHED: 4:02 PM on Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Quitting smoking is a lifestyle change
Why is lifestyle change part of the quitting process?

You may have been living a smoking lifestyle for many years. Tobacco use has been woven into every aspect of your life, so much so that you are not even fully aware of all the areas that it has touched. Because this may have taken many years, it only seems logical, that to reverse this process, a re-conditioning must occur. You need to allow yourself time and perseverance for this reversal to occur. Making lifestyle changes in areas where you formerly smoked will initially seem unnatural and awkward, but, eventually will be part of the new "non smoking" you. Lifestyle change is critical to staying quit long term.

You will need to act somewhat differently in social situations; thus practicing beforehand helps this transition more easily.

Some people gain weight when they quit smoking. A certain amount of weight gain is expected and will resolve itself within approximately six months as your body adjusts to not smoking, if all else remains the same. Staying aware of your eating habits, maintaining good nutrition and increasing your physical activity, or as we say, participating in "active fun" will all help keep this concern under control.

Exercise, or physical activity, is probably the one most valuable lifestyle change in keeping someone smoke free for the long term. It has been shown to decrease cravings in addition to providing so many other health benefits.

Learning to be more assertive can help in keeping someone smoke free and managing stress. Assertiveness, as opposed to passivity or aggression, helps make our thoughts and feelings known and acknowledged. These other feelings when kept inside can lead to stress and depression. You have a right to make your feelings and opinions known but in a way that does not hurt others.

As you can see, if you have read all of the past articles, there is a lot involved in quitting smoking, and staying quit. Our Freedom from Smoking Group Clinic at Bartlett Hospital addresses all of these things and more. We can give you the help and support you need to be successful. There is also a lot you can and will need to do on your own. Remember, "you never fail unless you stop trying."