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How I Quit Smoking. For Good.

How I Quit Smoking. For Good.

If you’ve struggled to kick the smoking habit, here’s something you probably didn’t know: nicotine may be more addictive than heroin. On top of that, research shows that cigarette companies have figured out how to deliver higher doses of nicotine to your body more efficiently than ever before. The amount of nicotine in the average cigarette increased 15 percent between 1999 and 2011.

Despite this bleak news, you can quit smoking. Here are the lessons I learned when I tried to quit, and how you can quit too.

My Story

I had my first cigarette when I was in second grade. That’s no typo. My buddy stole some smokes from his mom, and my two 8-year-old friends and I took a few puffs in a park near our house. I remember coughing a lot and feeling dizzy.

I started smoking regularly during high school. First it was just a smoke or two on the weekends; then it grew into a pack-a-day habit. I continued to smoke all through college. After I graduated I decided to quit.

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I started by cutting back. I got down to 4–5 cigarettes a day, but weekends killed me. I’d go out drinking and end up smoking a pack in a night.

Then I decided I’d stop smoking during the week. This wasn’t that hard for me because I lived with my parents at the time, and I didn’t smoke at their house—mainly because I told them I quit and was embarrassed to admit I failed. But again, weekends were my downfall and I’d blow through several packs.

During my next attempt, I decided to go smokeless: I started chewing tobacco. This strategy worked for a while, and I was able to go a few weeks without smoking. But after a trip to the dentist revealed the damage dipping was doing to my gums, I stopped. Back to square one.

It was around this time I met the girl who I would eventually marry. I didn’t like smoking around her because I knew it bothered her.

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By this time I had attempted to quit six times. I kept making the same mistakes. I told myself the seventh would be the last.

How I Finally Quit Smoking

For some people, the patch works. For others, a prescription pill like Chantix. For me, it was cold turkey. I picked a day about two weeks down the road and told myself, “This is the day I will quit smoking for good.”

And that’s what I did.

I quit smoking on a random day in May 2008. I haven’t had one since.

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The first week was tortuous. I had withdrawal symptoms (sweats, trouble sleeping, weight gain, etc.). But I got through it. The second week was hard too, but a little easier than the first. And each successive week got easier and easier.

Top 3 Lessons Learned

1. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Through all this, I realized something: failure was an essential part of the quitting process for me. If you’ve tried to quit and failed, you’re ahead of most people. It took me seven attempts to quit smoking. It was hard as hell, both physically and mentally. Keep trying. If you’ve tried and failed, you’re on the right path.

2. Know your reason why.

During my previous six attempts, I was trying to quit smoking for myself. When my girlfriend/future wife entered the picture, I had another compelling reason to quit. I realized that it wasn’t all about me; others were depending on me. Think about your parents, your spouse, your kids—it’s not just about you.

3. Embrace other healthy habits.

While I was attempting to quit smoking, I started eating better and working out again. Healthy habits lead to other healthy habits, so if you’re looking to quit, get in the habit of exercising and eating healthy, and quitting smoking will be much easier. And, you’ll be better prepared to control the weight gain that comes with quitting smoking.

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After I quit, I started my first online business, a health and wellness website called The Healthy Eating Guide. I’m about to launch another. Quitting smoking will lead to a chain reaction of healthier behaviors that lead to amazing changes in your life. Take it one day at a time, and experiment with different methods. Resilience always wins, and you’ll come out a much stronger person from having gone through the arduous journey of quitting smoking.

Featured photo credit: massimo ankor via flickr.com

More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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