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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

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Scott Christ

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

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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