I remember a couple of years ago, as per my routine, I’d walked out of the gym, sparked up a cigarette and immediately thought to myself ‘I definitely definitely should not be doing this’. It’s weird though because even though I knew that smoking while trying to be healthy was a massive contradiction, my paradoxical brain was telling me exactly what I wanted to hear: “Maybe being active and healthy outweighs being a smoker”… I mean Clint Eastwood is still alive and kickin’, and he loves a good ronnie roll-up.
Well, believe it or not, being active doesn’t mean you can smoke and get away with it.
People, like myself at the time, often overlook the ways that smoking damages your athletic performance and capabilities. For example:
- With gross, thick, sticky, nicotine-y blood, you aren’t going to be able to supply muscles with oxygen as quickly.
- Your resting heartrate is going to be higher, meaning your heart has to do more work than it should, just to keep you alive when you’re laid in bed.
- Your lungs take a battering too. Tar from the smoke lines your lungs which affects the elasticisty of the air sacs (anyone who smokes inside will see the scaled up version when they notice their walls going brown, so if that’s happening on a big scale, imagine what it must look like in your lungs right now).
And here’s the thing, when you put it down on paper, the pros and cons of smoking tend to look hilariously one-sided. It kind of makes smokers cringe to look at it because it’s so true. I’ll show you how the list usually turns out when I do this with people:
- Shortens life.
- Damages internal organs.
- Smells bad.
- Is expensive.
- Damages teeth and skin.
- Increases risk of cancer.
- I like smoking.
If you can think of another benefit of smoking please feel free to drop it in the comments below. When I look back to my reasons for smoking my only response is: “I err… Just liked smoking I guess”. I actually started when I was really young because I thought it was cool to smoke. I mean everyone who watched ganster films in their teens knows the feeling.
So anyway when you look at that list and you’re like ‘oh yeah, smoking is bad’, the next thing you’re probably going to think is ‘I should probably quit’ and then the next thing you’re going to think is ‘how the f*** am I going to do that?’
Well don’t sweat it, I’ve been there too and I’m going to help you out. This is my approach to quitting which I feel is a good way to go about it.
Step 1: Pick A Method
- Everything from quitting cold-turkey to replacing cigarettes with vaping and all the space in between. There is a method for everyone, have a look into what might be the best for you.
- Personally I went for the cold turkey approach, but these days there are a plethora of products: self-help books, nicotine patches, gum, tablets (champix), vaporizers, etc.
Step 2: Find A Replacement
- I used to smoke the most when I was at work. Going out for sneaky ciggy-breaks was way too easy so when it came to quitting, I quickly realised I was going to need some kind of a replacement activity: Eating nuts.
- Instead of smoking at work, I would just take in a few small bags of nuts and nip outside for one of them instead.
Step 3: Don’t Go Crazy
- Yeah, it can be quite stressful and difficult at times, especially if your mates or loved-ones smoke.
- But remind yourself to stay focussed. It’s all down to will-power when it comes to quitting. You have to believe in yourself.
- Try not to stress yourself out about it.
Step 4: Celebrate Milestones
- Made it two weeks? Amazing work, it’s good to reward your hard efforts at milestones as a little reminder that what you’re doing is paying off.
- My mates actually helped out with this, try get your pals involved in helping you feel like you’ve accomplished something after 2, 4, 6 and 8 week, and then maybe once a month after.
Step 5: Focus On Health
- The further down the healthy rabbit-hole you get, the more of a compounding effect you’ll tend to notice.
- Things like quitting smoking, eating a good diet and exercising more all push each other. By focussing your efforts on being healthy, you’ll find it much easier to avoid cigarettes.
Hopefully by following those steps you’ll be able to begin again with a fresh start and a healthier body. It is a difficult journey but YOU CAN AND SHOULD DO IT. For the betterment your health (and your wallet) there’s absolutely no reason to continue smoking.
I quit 2 years ago and I’ve never looked back, it occasionally can be a little bit tempting but as I say perseverance will prevail.
If you want to give a self-help BOOK a go, a friend of mine is currently reading ‘The Truth Of Addiction’ and has recommended I pop it in this article. GET IT HERE.