My Quit Story: Replacing Cigarettes with Food
The first week I quit smoking, my granddaughter was making treats for her friends and bought an extra package of doubled-stuff cookies. I ate the entire thing in a day!
I smoked for 41 years when I decided to quit, those first weeks came with some pretty intense smoking cravings. To beat them, I needed to keep my hands moving and that meant eating. Food became my replacement for smoking. When I got bored and wanted a cigarette, instead of going to find my cigarettes in the kitchen, I reached into the refrigerator and cupboards.
My husband was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago, so we made dietary changes in our house and kept more fruits and veggies around. But when I quit smoking, junk food seemed like an easy way to beat a craving. There'd be a bowl of chips and a bowl of grapes on the table, but I kept choosing the chips. In those first few days, I felt like I needed to do whatever I could to get through those few minutes until the urge to smoke was gone.
Salty and sweet snack foods also seemed like a reward. I was already quitting smoking, didn't I deserve a treat? I figured that I would take one thing at a time and then focus on my eating habits later.
But it wasn't long before I realized that my pants were fitting a bit too tight. All the cookies, chocolate bon bons and chips had caught up to me. I realized that I was replacing cigarettes with food, and that I needed to start being more thoughtful about what I ate.
Before I quit smoking, I threw out all of my cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters, so I did the same with the junk food. This week, I started fresh. When I went to the grocery store, I skipped the junk food aisle so it's not around when I'm restless and want to smoke. It also helps that my cravings for cigarettes aren't as intense, and now I use a fidget spinner to keep my hands busy or go I into another room and clean for a bit.
Quitting smoking has also given me a whole new sense of taste. I used to think that I liked egg salad, but now that I don't smoke, I realize I hate it. I also never thought that I liked eggplant, but it turns out that I love it!
It was really easy to fall in the junk food trap, but I realize that I can't use my quit journey as an excuse to eat whatever I want. Now that I am beyond the first week, when my cravings seemed the strongest, I want to have a better diet. Even if it's been challenging, I am still smokefree and that's an incredible accomplishment.