What was your moment when I quit

Finally non-smokers: How I got rid of cigarettes

Dear smokers, this text is for those of you who would like to be non-smokers. A message of encouragement for the New Year, so to speak. No one who lifts the moral index finger (for that I smoked too much and for too long) or in which I tell you how much healthier it would be not to smoke (you know that yourself). This is my personal smoking story, which ended happily almost half a year ago. And maybe inspire one or the other of you to try quitting (again). Because I've noticed that it's very easy. I would never have thought that. I am really not a particularly disciplined person and yet: no nervousness, no bad mood. I wanted more sweets (more on that later) - otherwise there were no side effects. Easy, really.

Free time seemed less valuable to me without a cigarette. It's awesome.

Nicole Benke, BeatYesterday author

Vacation without a cigarette? Is the?

If you are now thinking "Oh, let her talk, she probably smoked three cigarettes in the evening and has no idea anyway" - that is not true. It was a box a day, every day. Sometimes more at the weekend. I started when I was 16 (in the outdoor pool - the classic!), Then just carried on, smoked more and more and at some point: smoked properly. From morning to night. It went on like this for 22 years and now it ended last summer. Final? That will show, but it feels like it. Probably no one seriously believed that I would really stop. Least of all myself. It was always a huge hurdle in my head that I didn't dare to take. Others may be able to do it, but I? No. I've associated so many moments with cigarettes: waiting for the bus. Coffee. Wine. Sun on the balcony. Have a good evening. Having a bad evening. You probably know that. And I loved smoking. It went so far that I couldn't even imagine a non-smoker vacation. What do you do with a sundowner in the evening if you don't smoke? Free time seemed less valuable to me without a cigarette. It's awesome.

I quit smoking because I wanted to be free

I have tried to quit twice over the past few years. It never worked. Why? Because I wanted to break up for reasons that were wrong for me. This time it's different: I didn't quit because smoking is unhealthy. I didn't quit because smoking is expensive. And I didn't stop either because someone else wanted me to. I stopped because I wanted to be free.

Yes, that sounds like esoteric nonsense. But that's how it is. I didn't want to worry about cigarettes anymore. Do I still have enough or do I still have to buy some? Where is there a cigarette machine? Is it allowed to smoke where we meet? Can I have a quick smoke before we go in? We don't even want to talk about long-haul flights. Smoking has robbed me of a lot of my freedom. And that felt very wrong at one point.

Smoking became more and more uncomfortable for me

In addition, the image of the smoker no longer matched my life for a long time. I eat healthy, buy organic vegetables (because they contain fewer pesticides, haha!), Do sports - and then smoke a box a day. Find the mistake. I became increasingly uncomfortable smoking, in front of others, but also in front of me. And I think this is my personal key to success: Instead of a reason I suddenly had an emotional motivation to quit smoking: I wanted to feel different. Straighten my self-image.

Two things helped me at the beginning: Whenever I had actually smoked, I would do 20 squats.

Nicole Benke, quit smoking after 22 years

Remember: breathing is life

I took my time. Quitting was a process. I thought about it for a long time, sometimes more, sometimes less intensely. Altogether almost a year in which I was looking for the right moment and listening carefully to other success stories. I asked if I really want that. And why. My family doctor once said: "Breathing is life, don't forget that." I still think about that sentence a lot today, maybe it was he who finally gave me the push to become a non-smoker. Breathing is life. In February 2017 I decided that it should be over by autumn at the latest. Why didn't I leave it right? At the time, I was very stressed at work. And didn't want to expect that from me. Psychologists confirm: timing is crucial when implementing good resolutions. Then in late summer a fat cold laid me flat, I couldn't smoke for three days, I took the chance and didn't start again afterwards.

Stop smoking app: success always in front of your eyes

The illness was a blessing for me, but otherwise I could have imagined trying acupuncture. Think about what could help you. Everyone works differently, there is no one way for everyone. Incidentally, I never really had a desire. Sure, I felt like (and still have) a cigarette every now and then. But it goes by in ten seconds. And I haven't changed a single one of my old habits, continue to drink my coffee, go to the smoking bar around the corner and go to a party with the smokers outside the door. I feel wonderful (and I don't smell anymore!). Two things helped me at the beginning: Whenever I had actually smoked, I would do 20 squats. And an app (there are quite a few, I use Rauchfrei Pro) showed me my successes every day: How long have I been holding out? How many cigarettes have I not smoked? How much money saved? How has my health changed since then? That motivates.

Quitting smoking was really easy for me, but I couldn't walk past a chocolate croissant, even though I knew it was poison for the figure right now.

Nicole Benke, had an increased desire for sweets in the first few weeks

No more smoking: the thing with the figure

But there is one more thing. The weight. Many women in particular do not stop because they do not want to gain weight. In all honesty: That was one of the reasons for me to keep smoking for a long time. Until the urge for freedom triumphed. And yes: I gained weight. So far four kilos. I also know why that is. I had - especially in the first few weeks - an insane desire for sweets that I didn't know at all. And which I couldn't resist. Crazy. Quitting smoking was really easy for me, but I couldn't walk past a chocolate croissant, even though I knew it was poison for the figure right now. Psychology calls this “food for the nerves”, because it has been proven that our body needs more glucose if we have a lot of discipline for something. So I can tell you: you have to work very hard not to gain weight at all. I had imagined that it would be much easier.

Be lenient with yourself after you quit

I decided to be lenient with myself, to treat myself to something every now and then, and set my “pain threshold” to plus five kilos. You can get it down again. For example, now in January I'm training my discipline and avoiding alcohol, sugar and fast carbohydrates, which works wonderfully. So I can only encourage you: try it too! It feels good. Really liberating. The bottom line is that you can only win. And if I can do it, your chances are pretty good too. Namaste!

My conclusion

As a passionate smoker, I am amazed at how easy it was to quit. You can do it too! Think about what your personal motivation is. What are you doing it for Half-heartedness doesn't make sense. To quit, choose a time when you're not stressed out, and tell friends and family about your plans. They will support you! Be proud of every day that you manage and be patient with yourself if the discipline falls short elsewhere (I only say sweet things ...). With a long-term healthy diet and exercise, you will eventually get the additional smoking kilos under control again. Health is the most important thing!