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My Quit Story Part 5: Replacing Cigarettes with Food

My Quit Story

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.

Previously, Dorothy shared how her first week smokefree was going.

Dorothy K., of Lansing, Illinois, shares her story of quitting smoking in the series, "My Quit Story."  Follow along, and share your own story on Facebook and Twitter with #MyQuitStory.

Related Topic: Tobacco & Smoking

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