How to Curb Cravings When You Quit Smoking

The Hurdle Beyond the Hurdle

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It seems inevitable; the moment nicotine isn't in your system, it becomes harder and harder to deny the allure of food. Not just food, but all the foods you crave. Aspiring non-smokers may find themselves buying another pack over buying (and eating) fast food when those cravings come. However, it's a serious pitfall to equate that new and powerful hunger to the absence of nicotine.

It's true that nicotine suppresses appetite. That said, the cravings you feel when you aren't smoking are the same cravings that caused you to habitually smoke. Your body is missing something, and whether you like it or not, you've trained it to fill your mind with visions of cake and tacos when it notices a deficit.

So, what exactly is it that you're missing? When you already eat three square meals a day, shouldn't it be enough to help you resist the urge to eat more, or eat badly? What does the desire to smoke have to do with wanting an order of fries?

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Sweet, Sweet Science

It's not a little-known fact that the Standard American Diet doesn't provide very well for us nutritionally. Just look at the food pyramid it's held up on a base of bread and grains. As disappointing as it is, there's not much to be gained from wheat or other grains. Yes, they blow up in your belly and make it impossible to eat any more, but that doesn't necessarily stop you from wanting to try!

This is because starch is a carbohydrate made from compounded glucose. In layman's terms, that means the bread is made of the same stuff as table sugar but compounded. It's appetizing, not nutritious. Just to make things extra hard, it turns out humans naturally crave sugars for our own good. Craving sugar is how we know to pursue the foods that are edible to us.

Unfortunately, the microbes in your gut don't care if that sugar came from the bag in your pantry or a ripe apple. So you can eat a whole loaf if you want, and the cravings to eat (or smoke) will still trouble you unless you're getting nutrition. 

Not All Sugars (are Created Equal)

You'll find your cravings for nicotine, and junk food alike plummets if you turn instead to sucrose. Sucrose is plant sugar. It differs from glucose (and therefore starch) in that its molecular structure is efficient for how your body digests.

In short: plant foods provide a sweet taste and practically digest themselves to boot. On top of that, all the base nutrition living things need comes from plants. The meat in the burger you're craving is made of cells. Those cells built themselves from plant nutrition you're just getting it secondhand.

Now, that doesn't mean you have to limit your diet to fruit salad and kale. It does mean that you can turn the tide in the fight against all your cravings with something as simple as orange juice. If you're used to starting your morning smoking, try replacing it with some fresh berries and granola over yogurt. Eat your favorite oatmeal flavor sweetened by raisins. Treat yourself to a real fruit smoothie. Even if you have to pay to drink it, it's no different than shelling out for patches, smokes, or fast food.

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Getting over the Hump

Like any habit, it will take a little experimentation and willpower to get under your belt. However, the benefits you'll feel from having even a little more real nutrition in your body will be obvious within a week. Remember: changing habits is difficult and takes time. Stay motivated, not stressed.

If you stop for a hash brown burrito in the morning instead of yogurt, that's okay. If you stop for a hash brown burrito every morning for a month, that's okay. Coping with stress is another major reason why people ingest cigarettes, junk food, and all kinds of other substances. It's natural to want to feel content.

(But remember--fruit contains serotonin, the chemical in your brain where happiness originates!)

In closing, keep this advice close to your chest: Fruit makes you cute, and green makes you clean. Even the smallest bite will make you a little more of both!

For additional support, please take the time to contact us. You can make it on your own but you don't have to. 

Download the '13 Seldom Talked About Smoking Triggers'to find out what might be causing you to smoke.

Smoking Triggers



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