For some strange reason I found myself craving a cigarette this weekend. I haven’t had that feeling in years. Occasionally, the feeling comes, usually when I’ve had a glass of wine or I’m feeling particularly anxious. I quit smoking almost 15 years ago, but I know that it’s one of those habits that could easily sneak back into my life if the circumstances were right and I was vulnerable to make poor choices.
Whenever you conquer something as monumental as smoking, people want to know how you did it. For me? The simple answer was, I never let myself believe I couldn’t have another cigarette. I just tried to see how long I could go without one – one day at a time.
The way I quit smoking is in many ways analogous with how I most successfully manage my weight. When I gave up on the idea that I’d never have another cigarette, I didn’t care so much. I didn’t feel so deprived. As many of us know from experience, depriving ourselves of the things we want can lead to over-indulgence. Especially, if the thing we’re giving up is food.
Quitting the nicotine habit is about abstinence. Giving up our favorite foods is made more complicated because we have to eat to live and we don’t want to feel cheated or deprived every day – and we shouldn’t. We want and need to eat well. I think the lesson may be in taking these big changes in our lives one day at a time. Setting realistic expectations and obtainable goals. Slow and steady wins the race. We’ll get there.