How I learned to stop worrying and just stop smoking


After extensive cutting and pasting I came to the conclusion that there was no right or wrong way to quit smoking and that every person has different needs. My key concerns were:

  • Detoxing and flushing out the nicotine as quickly as possible
  • Dealing with the munchies, increased appetite and consequently weight gain
  • Having something to do with my hands
  • Stopping myself going mental

biggerpromo-thirstaid.jpg                                    ooce_lg.gif

To combat these I have:

  • Consumed at least 3 litres of water a day
  • Stopped caffeine consumption
  • Gone a bit mental
  • Eaten loads of vegetables, nuts and seeds
  • Taken Cortitrim 3 times a day
  • Slept well

Most of these items are obvious, Cortitrim is detailed below…



This complementary medicine is used to:

* Aid or assist the body to adapt and cope with stressful situations and the effects of emotions, biological and environmental stress.
* Aid in the management stress hormone levels
* Assist with weight loss and weight management in conjunction with a diet and exercise program.
* Reduce calorie intake by suppressing the appetite.
* Regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.
* Improve physical and mental performance.
* Aid fat loss and promotes lean body mass, improving body composition.
* Improve energy levels and vitality in times of fatigue exhaustion tiredness
* Provide nutritional support for those embarking on an exercise and diet program
* Provide an antioxidant action

How does CortiTrim work?
Siberian Ginseng and Ashwagandha are adaptogenics, or anti-stress herbs, which exhibit an extraordinary capacity for enhancing our adaptive responses by exerting a non specific normalizing effect on our bodies. Adaptogenics can prevent stress from taking such a toll on our nervous, immune and hormonal systems. They promote adaptability to all types of stress, including environmental and emotional. Green Tea, Siberian Ginseng, and Withania assist physical fitness by improving physical performance, energy level by reducing fatigue tiredness and exhaustion that might be experienced during times of stress or strenuous diet and exercise programs. Cortitrim also contains B-complex and Chromium to aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, improve body composition and assist in fat loss and to help nutritional support during a low calorie diet program.

What results can I expect from Cortitrim?
Although results will vary from person to person due to metabolic and hormonal factors, when used in conjunction with proper diet and exercise Cortitrim may help reduce overall stress levels in as little as a few days, a visible reduction in belly fat within four to six weeks, and significant results within three months.

Support when quitting smoking


I signed up to the Nicotinell active stop programme which looked really good. When my quit day approached it warned me that is was going to ask which nicotinell product I was going to be using. I decided to make a clean break and end my nicotine addiction as quickly as possible and therefore chose not to use nicotine replacement but was happy to continue with their philanthropic support programme. As it turned out they cut me off on day two. No nicotine product, no support. Not even a goodbye.

Does Nicotinell want to help us to quit or does it want to continue to enslave us with nicotine under a smokefree disguise?

A wolf in sheeps clothing, nothing more, nothing less.

 I am on Day 16 as a non smoker.

Canteen – an amazing charity

canteen logo 

Ways you can help

 You can even donate the money you save from not smoking!!

I really want a cigarette

no smoking 

Why do you smoke?

You can control your smoking once you know why you smoke. Here is a checklist provided by world renowned chest physicians based on their experience. Check the probable reasons that come closest to yours in the list given below and also go through the ways you can cope with this problem if you want to quit smoking.

1. Smoking gives me more energy.

If you answer “often” or “sometimes” to the following questions, this is one reason you smoke.

  • I smoke to keep from slowing down.
  • I reach for a cigarette when I need a lift.
  • When I’m tired, smoking perks me up.

Many people use tobacco like they use coffee: to help them wake up, get moving, keep going when they feel worn out. The nicotine in tobacco, like the caffeine in coffee, is a stimulant. But you can find other ways to get more energy. These tips can help.


  • Get enough rest. With a good night’s sleep you’re more likely to feel fresh and alert.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise raises your overall energy level, so you may feel less need for a boost.
  • Take a brisk walk instead of smoking if you start feeling sluggish. Moving around is a drug-free stimulant.
  • Eat regular, nutritious meals. Healthful foods are a great natural source of energy.
  • Drink lots of cold water. It will refresh you as it helps clear your body of nicotine.
  • Avoid getting bored, which can make you feel tired. Keep your mind active, perhaps by calling a friend, reading a new magazine, or playing a game.

2. I like to touch and handle cigarettes.

Quiz: Do you smoke for this reason?
If you answer “often” or “sometimes” to the fol-lowing questions, this is one reason you smoke.

  • I feel more comfortable with a cigarette in my hand.
  • I enjoy getting a cigarette out of the pack and lighting up.
  • I like to watch the smoke when I exhale.

This type of smoker gets physical pleasure from handling cigarettes and the rituals of smoking. It just “feels right” to have a cigarette in his hand or mouth. In fact, many smokers say they’ve gone back to smoking because, “I had nothing to do with my hands.”

Getting over this obstacle can make it easier to quit smoking and stay smoke-free. The tips below suggest other ways to satisfy the handling urge.


  • Pick up a pen or pencil when you want to reach for a cigarette.
  • Play with a coin, twist your ring, or handle whatever harmless object is nearby.
  • Put a plastic cigarette in your hand or mouth.
  • Some have a minty taste to help you focus on how fresh your breath is without tobacco.
  • Hold a real cigarette if the touch is all you miss. But if handling a cigarette makes you want to light up, stick with the substitutes.
  • Eat regular meals to avoid being hungry. Don’t confuse needing to eat with the desire to put a cigarette in your mouth.
  • Take up a hobby that keeps your hands busy.
  • Try knitting, carpentry, painting, or making bread.

3. Smoking is a pleasure.

Quiz: Do you smoke for this reason?
If you answer “often” or “sometimes” to the following questions, this is one reason you smoke.

  • Smoking cigarettes is pleasant and enjoyable.
  • Smoking makes good times better.
  • I want a cigarette most when I am comfortable and relaxed.

Almost two out of three smokers say they just plain enjoy smoking. When you associate smoking with “the good times,” it can strengthen your smoking habit. But it can be easier to quit when you focus on enjoying yourself without tobacco. The tips below offer some ideas to help you miss cigarettes less.


  • Enjoy the pleasures of being tobacco-free.
  • Spend the money you save on cigarettes on another kind of pleasure: a shopping spree, a night out, a party to celebrate your success.
  • Remind yourself of the health benefits of quitting.
  • Giving up cigarettes can help you enjoy life’s other pleasures for many years to come.

4. Smoking helps me relax when I’m tense or upset.

Quiz: Do you smoke for this reason?
If you answer “often” or “sometimes” to the following questions, this is one reason you smoke.

  • I light up a cigarette when something makes me angry.
  • Smoking relaxes me in a stressful situation.
  • When I’m depressed I reach for a cigarette to feel better.

Lots of smokers use cigarettes to help them through bad times. If you’ve used cigarettes as a crutch, finding another way to cope with stress can help you stay quit. Otherwise, you may want to smoke again whenever problems arise. The tips below include ideas that have helped former smokers handle tense times without tobacco.


  • Use relaxation techniques to calm down when you are angry or upset. Deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and imagining yourself in a peaceful setting can make you feel less stressed.
  • Exercise regularly. Studies show that exercise relieves tension and improves your mood.
  • Remember that smoking never solves the problem; figure out what will, and act.
  • Avoid or get out of stressful situations that might tempt you to smoke.
  • Get enough rest. Take time each day to relax, no matter how busy you are.
  • Enjoy relaxation. Take a long hot bath. Have a massage. Lie in a garden hammock. Listen to soothing music.

5. I crave cigarettes ; I am addicted to smoking

Quiz: Do you smoke for this reason?
If you answer “often” or “sometimes” to the following questions,this is one reason you smoke.

  • When I run out of cigarettes, it’s almost unbearable until I get more.
  • I am very aware of not smoking when I don’t have a cigarette in my hand.
  • When I haven’t smoked for a while I get a gnawing hunger for a cigarette.

Many smokers are addicted or “hooked” on the nicotine in tobacco. When addicted smokers quit, many go through a withdrawal period. They may have both physical symptoms (feeling tired and irritable; headaches; nervousness) and an emotional need for a cigarette. One ex-smoker compared his continued craving for cigarettes to the longing you feel for a lost love.

It isn’t easy to get over an addiction to tobacco, but many people have succeeded often on a second or third try. But once you’re back in control, you won’t have to beat smoking again. For many ex-smokers, that’s a powerful motivation to stay tobacco-free. The tips below include ideas to help addicted smokers make it through withdrawal and stay away from cigarettes for good.


  • Ask your doctor about using some medication to help you avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Smoke more than you want to for a day or two before you quit. This “overkill” may spoil your taste for cigarettes.
  • Tell family and friends you’ve quit smoking. Ask for help if you need it. Keep away from cigarettes completely. Get rid of ashtrays. Destroy any cigarettes you have. Try to avoid people who smoke and smoke-filled places like bars if you’re having withdrawal symptoms or cigarette cravings.
  • Think of yourself as a non-smoker. Hang up “No Smoking” signs.
  • Don’t relive your days as a smoker.
  • Remember that physical withdrawal symptoms last about two weeks. Hang on!

6. Smoking is a habit.

Quiz: Do you smoke for this reason?
If you answer “often” or “sometimes” to the following questions, this is one reason you smoke.

  • I smoke cigarettes automatically without being aware of it.
  • I light up a cigarette without realizing I have one burning in an ashtray.
  • I find a cigarette in my mouth and don’t remember putting it there.

If you are this kind of smoker, you are no longer getting much satisfaction from your cigarettes. Unlike people who smoke for pleasure, you might not miss it very much if you stopped. The key is breaking your smoking patterns. The tips below can help.


  • Cut down gradually. Smoke fewer cigarettes each day or only smoke them halfway down. Inhale less often and less deeply. After several months it should be easier to stop completely.
  • Change your smoking routines. Keep your cigarettes in a different place. Smoke with your opposite hand. Don’t do anything else while smoking.
  • Limit smoking to certain places, such as outside or in one room at home.
  • When you want a cigarette, wait one minute. Try to think of something else to do instead of smoking.
  • Be aware of every cigarette you smoke. Ask yourself: Do I really want this cigarette? You may be surprised at how many you can easily pass up.
  • Set a date for giving up smoking altogether and stick to it.

Stop smoking – what to expect from nicotine withdrawl

Smoking skeleton

Stopping cigarette smoking is not always easy. If you quit cigarettes abruptly or for that matter, if you gradually decrease the amount of cigarettes you smoke, you ought to suffer from nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

The physical withdrawal symptoms caused due to quitting smoking is a temporary phase. Nonetheless, you can not ignore the amount of discomfort it may cause. The more the phase lasts the more uncomfortable you may get. This phase of withdrawal is given the nickname of ‘quitter’s flu’ as you may suffer from a cold or a mild case of flu during this period.

If you know about what to expect when you quit smoking and you are conscious about the symptoms, you can cope with them in a better way as you can pre-plan your reaction towards these symptoms.

Following is the list of the most common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal:

1) Your craving for smoking increases as time passes since the last puff that you smoked.

2) You may have trouble sleeping  and may, sometimes, suffer from insomnia.

3) You may suffer from fatigue.

4) You may find it difficult to concentrate.

5) You may have a severe headache.

6) You may suffer from cough and a  sore throat.

7) You may have a dry mouth.

8  You may have a constant postnasal drip.

9) You may feel a tightness in the chest.

10) You may become irritable and cranky. You may also suffer from constipation, stomach pain and gas.

You may suffer from any one or some of these withdrawal symptoms. But the chances are rare that you may have all of them at the same time. Different persons may suffer from different types of withdrawal symptoms. But, these discomforts are quite short-lived.

Stop smoking – the benefits over time

Cold Turkey 

When you give up smoking, your body starts going through good changes right away! Let’s take a quick look at some changes based on information from the American Cancer Society.


20 minutes

  • Your blood pressure drops to a normal rate for you.
  • The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.

8 hours

  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • The oxygen level in your blood goes up to normal.

24 hours

  • Your chance of a heart attack goes down.

48 hours

  • Nerve endings start re-growing.
  • Ability to smell and taste begins to improve.

2 weeks to 3 months

  • Your circulation improves.
  • Walking gets easier.
  • Your lungs perform up to 30 percent better.

1 to 9 months

  • There’s less coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness, and shortness of breath.
  • Cilia (tiny hairs) re-grow in your lungs to better handle mucous, clean your lungs, and reduce infection.

1 year after quitting

  • Your extra risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 to 15 years

  • Your stroke risk goes down to that of a nonsmoker.

10 years after quitting

  • The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a person who still smokes.
  • Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas goes down.

15 years after quitting

  • Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.

Eat Healthy

eat well 

8 tips for eating well

These practical tips can help you make healthier choices. The two keys to a healthy diet are eating the right amount of food for how active you are and eating a range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet. A healthy balanced diet contains a variety of types of food, including lots of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and lentils; and some dairy foods.  

1. Base your meals on starchy foods

Starchy foods such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes are a really important part of a healthy diet. Try to choose wholegrain varieties of starchy foods whenever you can.Starchy foods should make up about a third of the food we eat. They are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients in our diet. As well as starch, these foods contain fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins.  Most of us should eat more starchy foods – try to include at least one starchy food with each of your main meals. So you could start the day with a wholegrain breakfast cereal, have a sandwich for lunch, and potatoes, pasta or rice with your evening meal.Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain less than half the calories of fat. You just need to watch the fats you add when cooking and serving these foods, because this is what increases the calorie content. Why choose wholegrain foods? Wholegrain foods contain more fibre and other nutrients than white or refined starchy foods. We also digest wholegrain foods more slowly so they can help make us feel full for longer.Wholegrain foods include:· Wholemeal and wholegrain bread, pitta and chapatti · Wholewheat pasta and brown rice ·  Wholegrain breakfast cereals 

2. Eat lots of fruit and veg

Most people know we should be eating more fruit and veg. But most of us still aren’t eating enough. Try to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. It might be easier than you think.You could try adding up your portions during the day.For example, you could have:·                               a glass of juice and a sliced banana with your cereal at breakfast ·    a side salad at lunch

·   a pear as an afternoon snack

·    a portion of peas or other vegetables with your evening mealYou can choose from fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced, but remember potatoes count as a starchy food, not as portions of fruit and veg.  

3. Eat more fish

Most of us should be eating more fish – including a portion of oily fish each week. It’s an excellent source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish. You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned – but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.  What are oily fish? Some fish are called oily fish because they are rich in certain types of fats, called omega 3 fatty acids, which can help keep our hearts healthy.  How much oily fish? Although most of us should be eating more oily fish, women who might have a baby one day should have a maximum of 2 portions of oily fish a week (a portion is about 140g). And 4 is the recommended maximum number of portions for other adults.Examples of oily fish
Salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines, pilchards, eel
Examples of white or non-oily fish
Cod, haddock, plaice, coley, tinned tuna, skate, hake
Shark, swordfish and marlin
Don’t have more than one portion a week of these types of fish. This is because of the high levels of mercury in these fish.
Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try and choose as wide a variety as possible.For more information on fish and for advice – including recommended limits – for children, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying for a baby, see the link below.  

4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

Fats To stay healthy we need some fat in our diets. What is important is the kind of fat we are eating. There are two main types of fat:·                               saturated fat – having too much can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the chance of developing heart disease ·                               unsaturated fat – having unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat lowers blood cholesterolTry to cut down on food that is high in saturated fat and have foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead, such as vegetable oils (including sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil), oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.  

Foods high in saturated fatTry to eat these sorts of foods less often or in small amounts:

·                               meat pies, sausages, meat with visible white fat

·                               hard cheese

·                               butter and lard

·                               pastry

·                               cakes and biscuits

·                               cream, soured cream and crème fraîche

·                               coconut oil, coconut cream or palm oil

For a healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or a reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. And when you are having meat, try to choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.  How do I know if a food is high in fat?Look at the label to see how much fat a food contains. Generally the label will say how many grams (g) of fat there are in 100g of the food. Some foods also give a figure for saturated fat, or ‘saturates’.Use the following as a guide to work out if a food is high or low in fat.Total fat – what’s high and what’s low?High is more than 20g fat per 100g
Low is 3g fat or less per 100g
If the amount of fat per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of fat.

Saturated fat – what’s high and what’s low?

High is more than 5g saturates per 100g
Low is 1.5g saturates or less per 100g

If the amount of saturates per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of saturated fat.

Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much fat you will get from it.

Try to choose more foods that are low in fat and cut down on foods that are high in fat.   Sugar Most people in the UK are eating too much sugar. We should all be trying to eat fewer foods containing added sugar, such as sweets, cakes and biscuits, and drinking fewer sugary soft and fizzy drinks.Having sugary foods and drinks too often can cause tooth decay, especially if you have them between meals. Many foods that contain added sugar can also be high in calories so cutting down could help you control your weight.  How do I know if a food is high in added sugar? Take a look at the label. The ingredients list always starts with the biggest ingredient first.But watch out for other words used to describe added sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch and invert sugar, corn syrup and honey. If you see one of these near the top of the list, you know the food is likely to be high in added sugars.Another way to get an idea of how much sugar is in a food is to have a look for the ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ figure on the label. But this figure can’t tell you how much is from added sugars, which is the type we should try to cut down on.High is more than 15g sugars per 100g
Low is 5g sugars or less per 100g
If the amount of sugars per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of sugars.Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much sugars you will get from it.

Sometimes you will only see a figure for total ‘Carbohydrates’, not for ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’, which means the figure also includes the carbohydrate from starchy foods.  

5. Try to eat less salt – no more than 6g a day

Lots of people think they don’t eat much salt, especially if they don’t add it to their food. But don’t be so sure! Every day in the UK, 85% men and 69% women eat too much salt. Adults – and children over 11 – should have no more than 6g salt a day. Younger children should have even less. Three-quarters (75%) of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, sauces and ready meals. So you could easily be eating too much salt without realising it.Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. And people with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than people with normal blood pressure.  How do I know if a food is high in salt?Check the label to find out the figure for salt per 100g.High is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
If the amount of salt per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of salt.Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much salt you will get from it.   

6. Get active and try to be a healthy weight

It’s not a good idea to be either underweight or overweight. Being overweight can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. Being underweight could also affect your health. Check if you are the right weight for your height using the link below. If you’re worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice. But if you think you just need to lose a little weight, the main things to remember are:·                               only eat as much food as you need ·                               make healthy choices – it’s a good idea to choose low-fat and low-sugar varieties, eat plenty of fruit and veg and wholegrains ·                               get more active

It’s also important to eat a variety of types of food so you get all the nutrients your body needs. Physical activity is a good way of using up extra calories, and helps control our weight. But this doesn’t mean you need to join a gym.Just try to get active every day and build up the amount you do. For example, you could try to fit in as much walking as you can into your daily routine. Try to walk at a good pace.Whenever we eat more than our body needs, we put on weight. This is because we store any energy we don’t use up – usually as fat. Even small amounts of extra energy each day can lead to weight gain.But crash diets aren’t good for your health and they don’t work in the longer term. The way to reach a healthy weight – and stay there – is to change your lifestyle gradually. Aim to lose about 0.5 to 1kg (about 1 to 2lbs) a week, until you reach a healthy weight for your height.   7. Drink plenty of water

We should be drinking about 6 to 8 glasses (1.2 litres) of water, or other fluids, every day to stop us getting dehydrated.When the weather is warm or when we get active, our bodies need more than this. But avoid drinking soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugar.  Alcohol There is nothing wrong with the occasional drink. But drinking too much can cause problems. Alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down could help you control your weight.Women can drink up to 2 to 3 units of alcohol a day and men up to 3 to 4 units a day, without significant risk to their health. A unit is half a pint of standard strength (3 to 5% ABV) beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of spirit. A glass of wine is about 2 units and alcopops are about 1.5 units.For good health, it’s a good idea to spread your drinking throughout the week and avoid binge drinking. Drinking heavily over a long period of time can damage the liver.   

8. Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast can help give us the energy we need to face the day, as well as some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. But missing meals doesn’t help us lose weight and it isn’t good for us, because we can miss out on essential nutrients.There is some evidence to suggest that eating breakfast can actually help people control their weight.So why not go for a bowl of wholegrain cereal with some sliced banana and a glass of fruit juice for a healthy start to the day?

Vitamins for Male Health

foods high in zinc 

Everyone benefits from taking a good multivitamin daily, but there are specific needs for men:

  • Vitamins A, C, E, F and Folic Acid are required for sperm production;
  • Zinc is important for hormonal balance and is important to keep up sex drive;
  • Drinking alcohol depletes zinc stores;
  • Alcohol also depletes B vitamins which are important for the nervous system; 

‘A diet high in saturated fats – full cream milk, red meat, cheese – can prevent the uptake of essential fatty acids which are required for healthy functioning of heart, immune system and mental health,’ says nutritionist, Ingrid Haitink.

The importance of zinc

Every ejaculation, according to Ingrid, accounts for 1.5mg of zinc lost! Zinc is stored by the prostate gland and if it is deficient sperm count is reduced and it can cause impotence, mental lethargy, emotional problems and a lack of libido. 

A high source of zinc is oysters –the reason why they are considered to be an aphrodisiac!

If a man has enough zinc through his food or supplementation it may even keep his prostate gland healthy reducing the incidence of infections and inflammation. Foods high in zinc: 

  • Oysters
  • Sesame seeds
  • Ginger
  • Liver
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts, pecans and peanuts
  • Wholewheat bread
  • Shrimps and crab
  • Beef and lamb
  • Cheese
  • Rye and oats
  • Wholemeal flour
  • Eggs
  • Turnips

Stop Smoking – don’t gain weight

Fatty Arbuckle 

Why you might gain weight after stopping smoking

1. Because smoking suppresses the appetite and increases you metabolism, most people find that when they ditch the fags their appetite returns making them feel hungrier than normal.

2. Your body actually needs extra energy. Think of it like this – you’ve stopped poisoning your body, so it will be hungrier as it needs energy to repair the damage.

3.In particular, nicotine suppresses your body’s appetite for carbohydrates, so when you give up you’ll be craving filling and sugary foods.

4. Smokers generally associate having a puff with certain occasions such as after dinner, at their coffee break at work and first thing in the morning. The temptation is to replace smoking with eating. After a meal they might have a desert, whereas usually they’d have a coffee and a cigarette or a biscuit with a cup of tea instead of a cigarette during a teabreak.

5. Smokers are in the habit of putting their hand to their mouth. When they try to quit, lots of smokers recreate this action by putting their hand to their mouth to eat!

6. And of course lots of smokers see smoking as a treat. Take smoking away and they might treat themselves with food.


NUTRITIONIST Kate Cook says: “A typical reason for smoking is a crisis. If you get stressed, you have high blood sugar levels as adrenaline speeds around your body. You then crash when it’s over and adrenaline levels are low. Your body is left needing a high and this comes in the form of a cigarette. “Cigarettes are a stimulant and the nicotine gives you a ‘high’. Once you’ve quit, the temptation is there to reach for snacks instead.” To avoid the crash and burn, try Kate’s tips:

1. While quitting, eat five smaller meals a day to help stop the snacking.

2. Eat breakfast – slow-burning carbohydrates like porridge or brown toast will stop cravings.

3. If you work, make your lunch at home – apples, rice cakes and nuts are good.

4. During coffee breaks, crunch on a couple of carrot sticks – the vitamins will help to repair the damage done by smoking.

5. Beware eating out – a glass wine and you may weaken. Also order fruit salad.

6. Drink water – every diet will tell you this.


ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS: These will repair damaged hair and skin, which can dry out when smoking. Found in: Nuts, seeds and fish.

B VITAMINS: Your nervous system will benefit from these as B vitamins are used when you are stressed – if you are suffering from a nicotine craving, vitamin B will help sooth you. Found in: whole grains, turkey, cabbage, wheat germ, peppers, bananas.

CHROMIUM: This helps stabilise blood sugar levels to help stop the cravings.  Found in: Nuts, mushrooms, chicken.

ZINC: Supplies of zinc are depleted when you’re smoking, so stock up on these after you’ve given up. Found in: Pumpkin seeds, lentils and eggs.

ANTIOXIDANTS: You should eat lots of these anyway, but they’re good for ex- smokers as they repair the damage caused by the toxins in cigarettes. Found in: All brightly coloured foods – tomatoes, shellfish, leafy vegetables, eggs, dairy, broccoli

Stop smoking without gaining weight

Mr Creosote 

A two-month nutritional/lifestyle plan to quit without gaining weight

This plan works on the principle of stabilising blood sugar and hormone levels. Withdrawal effects from nicotine are a direct effect of its action on your blood sugar, so follow some basic nutritional principles: 1. Combine carbohydrate and protein foods – salmon and rice with salad, chicken stir fry with noodles, and so on.2. Eat 3 meals per day plus 2 healthy snacks.3. Eat foods rich in B vitamins (fish, green vegetables, wholegrains, mushrooms, eggs) and Vitamin C (peppers, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, kiwi fruit, oranges, tomatoes).4. Eat foods rich in magnesium (almonds, cashew nuts, green vegetables), calcium (cheese, almonds, seeds, green vegetables, prunes), zinc (lamb, seafood, nuts, fish, egg yolk, wholegrains) and iron (pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, raisins, pork).5. Avoid refined/processed/sugary foods.6. Avoid other stimulants like coffee and tea if you can – drink more water, fruit and herbal teas. 

Stage 1: Breaking The Associated Habits 

It’s important to understand your smoking first – do you smoke when you are tired, hungry, upset, after a meal, with a drink? Keep a diary for 1 week (don’t attempt to change smoking habits at this stage), note every situation when you smoke – how do you feel before and after each cigarette? At the end of the week add up how many cigarettes you have smoked associated with each situation, forexample: After a meal – 6 cigarettesWith alcohol – 5 cigarettes If you spot smoking triggers write down how you could deal with them if you were to stop smoking – agood way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one. For another couple of weeks smoke as much as you like – but not with the associated habit – and continue until all you do is smoke without the associated habits. For example, if you normally smoke straight after a meal, wait at least 30 minutes until you have a cigarette. 

Stage 2: Reducing Your Nicotine Load – It can help to reduce your nicotine load slowly. 

Take supplements of 1,000mg of Vitamin C and 200mcg of chromium/50mg B3 daily (to help reduce cravings). Also to help reduce cravings – eat a diet high in fruit, vegetables and seeds. Whenever you feel a craving for a cigarette, first eat some fruit – this will raise a low blood sugar level, which is often the trigger for the craving.  Regular exercise can also help – exercise can reduce stress and is mood boosting. Now reduce the number of cigarettes to no more than 5 a day, each with a nicotine content of 2mg or less, or have nicotine gum (two strengths – 4mg and 2mg). You want to be down to a maximum of 10mg of nicotine a day before quitting. Although gradually cutting down works for some people, if this does not work for you it may be best to commit to a quit date and then give up completely. 

Stage 3: Time to Quit 

Giving up smoking is easier if you have support, even if it’s just encouragement from your friends and family.Your chances of successfully quitting are better still if you take nicotine replacement products, or prescription-only medicine. For people who commit to a quit date, these can be prescribed by GPs. Smokers who get professional help, including medicines, are four times more likely to successfully quit than people who try with willpower alone. 

Coping with difficult situations 

As smoking may have been part of your normal routine for so long, there will be occasions when it is especially difficult to resist cigarettes. Some tips to help you are listed below.

For a while after you quit, try to avoid places where lots of other people smoke or that you associate with smoking, such as pubs. Smoking is often associated with drinking alcohol.

If people offer cigarettes, ask them not to. Remind yourself that most smokers also wish they could stop. Say “No thanks, I am not a smoker”.

Avoid situations that you associate with smoking. For example, if you usually smoke after dinner, leave the table and do something else instead.

If you do have a lapse, don’t use it as an excuse to start smoking regularly. Many ex-smokers make the odd mistake, but remain smoke-free. 

BUPA’s Health Information Team, Penny Williams, Nutritional Therapist, LifeFirst, 2005,