Secret Breakthrough in Food and Smoking Addiction
© 2014 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
As the Holiday Season and the New Year approach, it's worth noting that some of the most common New Year’s resolutions center around leading a healthier lifestyle and with that often comes the challenge of breaking addictive behaviors. The addictions that top most New Year’s resolution lists are smoking and overeating, two habits that can cause detrimental health effects over time. Unfortunately, many fail at their attempts to break these habits and ultimately fall back into their old patterns.
If you struggle with overeating, keep reading for tips to help you break free. Revealed is one simple secret few know or will tell you!
Experts say the way to breaking these addictions is through a process of behavioral change that involves the greatest amount of work taking place in your brain.
According to Dr. James Prochaska, Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center at the University of Rhode Island and co-author or the book Changing for Good, in order to make most behavioral changes you have to go through six stages:
Stage 1: Pre-contemplation
Stage 2: Contemplation -- Acknowledgment of the problem
Stage 3: Getting ready to make some changes
Stage 4: Action -- Working on changing the behavior
Stage 5: Maintenance -- Making sure not to fall off the wagon
Stage 6: Termination -- When the behavior is under control and is no longer a threat
If you are looking for immediate results be warned that experts say most behavioral changes take time and mistakes are going to happen throughout the process -- but "that’s okay", they say.
If you lapse -i.e.-- sneak a smoke or binge on birthday cake -- "the goal should be to go back to the plan as soon as possible,” said Kristin Gustashaw, MS, RD, LDN, a clinical dietitian at Rush University Medical Center. "It's OK to make a mistake … That's where most people fall apart; they don't learn from their mistakes and [they] give up,” she said.
Smoking is one of the most difficult addictive behaviors to conquer. Research has shown that even those who are successful in quitting the first time around suffer the same 75 percent relapse rate as recovering alcoholics and heroin addicts.
Americans Going up in Smoke
With the beginning of the New Year, more and more of the 24.8 million estimated smokers make a vow to give up their smoking habit. Oftentimes, they end up failing because they simply don’t know how to go about quitting. In addition to the fact that tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, there is an abundance of startling statistics that may serve as motivators to drive smokers’ desire to quit smoking:
Between 1964 and 2004, cigarette smoking caused an estimated 12 million deaths
Cigarette smoking results in more than 400,000 premature deaths in the United States each year -- about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths
Cigarette smoking accounts for about one-third of all cancers, including 90 percent of lung cancer cases.
Smoking causes lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
It increases the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, vascular disease, and aneurysm
Smoking has also been linked to leukemia, cataracts, and pneumonia
On average, adults who smoke die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers
Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of having a miscarriage, stillborn or premature infants, or low birthweight infants.
Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to break because of the strong addictive effects of nicotine, the main drug in tobacco. Nicotine quickly begins to make changes in your brain by building a tolerance for it, causing you to feel like you need to smoke more to get the same initial rush.
The challenge to quit smoking depends on three key factors:
The number of cigarettes you smoke daily
The number of people you surround yourself with who smoke such as friends, family and co-workers
The particular reasons you smoke whether it’s for weight control, enjoyment in social situations or due to peer pressure
The psychological challenge of quitting is based on the daily triggers, stimuli or situations that you equate to smoking. Such triggers could include driving pass the gas station where you normally buy cigarettes, having a certain food or drink, the habit of smoking after a good meal or meeting someone you normally smoke cigarettes. Everyone has different triggers. Discovering and acknowledging all of your triggers and being prepared ahead of time is a critical component in successfully quitting smoking.
Effective Treatments for Tobacco Addiction
Stopping your smoking habit cold turkey, then seeking behavioral therapy for support, experts say, is often an effective method to quit smoking for good. However, we have a simple secret that you may find more effective! Keep Reading!
Most people who are trying to quit smoking will discover that it may involve many attempts and, in some cases require outside intervention and resources like counseling sessions or behavioral therapy.
Usually the first few weeks of trying to quit are the most difficult but it tends to get much easier after the three-month mark. There are several techniques for quitting smoking and some that work for others may not necessarily work for you. The wisest strategy is to find the method that works best for you so that you can stick with it and accomplish your goal of quitting.
Here are two different techniques you can try:
Do it on your own by going cold turkey -- This is one of the most popular methods that 90 percent of the smoking population uses when trying to quit smoking. One of its appeals is that it’s free and it takes less time than going through counseling sessions.
We Have Found and Experienced for Ourselves a Very Simple Yet Effective Way to Break Through Addiction for Ourselves!
Replace (vs. Eliminate)
Consider, what this means? If you have ever come close to eliminating an addiction you have also likely developed new cravings or potential addictions as a result.
For instance, many ex-smokers replace their cigarettes with junk food.
When you have a strong compulsive reflex conditioned response to something it must be replaced with something as strong or stronger in order to break the addiction for it. This is due to the subconscious pre-conditioned reflex response, or "addiction".
Ideally, decide ahead of time which behavior you will use to replace your addiction, and ensure it is both healthy and controlled.
Add These Four Simple Lifestyle Changes to Increase Your Success Rate
In addition to smoking cessation techniques and the “replace versus eliminate” method, there are also some important things to remember that will significantly help you in your goal to quit smoking:
Identify your triggers so you can replace them with healthy choices that become reflex actions (replace vs. avoiding them) -- Once you know your triggers you can restructure your life to replace them with healthier choices, which will become your preferred behavior (vs. only running away and trying to avoid the situations that are connected to smoking). You may try both but always have your replacement. A glass of water may work well to replace the need to have and hold something in your hand. The water will help flush out the toxins and help you feel better sooner. This is especially important to do during the most difficult first three months, the time during which you are most tempted to start smoking again.
Be prepared to be challenged the most during the first few days of quitting -- The first few days of quitting are always the hardest, especially if you go “cold turkey.” Once you weather the storm beyond the first week, things will start to get easier.
Do whatever you can to be prepared to replace your cravings with healthy alternatives. Having a variety of alternatives, works for some works while having only one consistent replacement is all that is needed for others. Resist your craving to smoke via the replacement choices you have made -- It sounds simple, but each time you replace your smoking habit and don’t give in to your craving, you are increasing your chances of complete success. We all know there is a psychological need for replacement, as many smokers gain weight when replacing smoking with food. This addiction can be as unhealthy as smoking in the long term.
Get involved in a new activity with your non-smoking friends (especially in the times you would typically be going out for a smoke with your smoking friends, etc.) -- This will divert your attention from smoking and put you in a situation where you don’t have to worry about triggers.
The Difference Between Eating When You’re Hungry and Eating Just to Eat
Besides smoking, the other addictive behavior many people struggle with on a daily basis is overeating. This is a result of many societal norms we have been exposed to over the years -- fad diets, subliminal advertising, getting a treat for being well-behaved when we were kids; and the list goes on and on.
Over time, this distorts our way of thinking about food in and results in episodes of overeating.
Experts say that eating becomes a problem when you can no longer distinguish between eating because you are hungry and eating until you are satisfied.
There are several lifestyle factors that act as triggers for overeating and overindulging. As with smoking, the key is to familiarize yourself with your triggers and know what to do to overcome them.
Below are common overeating triggers along with techniques you can use to control them.
Not getting enough Zzzzz’s
Feeling groggy and mentally foggy aren’t the only things happening to your body following a sleepless night. Lack of sleep also sets off a cycle of metabolic changes that affect the hormones which control your appetite and satiety (leptin and ghrelin), which may be linked to the extra weight.
Another caveat: It is common to reach for high sugar, high carbohydrate foods for an energy lift when you are feeling exhausted.
If sleep deprivation is contributing to your weight gain you could:
Eat turkey or drink warm milk before bed as they contain tryptophan. Calcium and magnesium at bedtime have a relaxing effect on the body and can aid sleep.
Reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates and taper off caffeine, if applicable
Get outside for a mid-afternoon walk to ward off any sleep-deprived cravings.
Use your bedroom for sleeping and sex only. Strive to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night
Once you are in bed, listen to relaxing music or a sleep CD like "Sleep Easy" to help you "shift gears" and relax into sleep.
”Replace” Stress-Induced Weight Gain with Calm, Healthy Enjoyment
Over time constant stress on your body results in the production of high doses of hormones like cortisol that when mixed with insulin causes your body to store more visceral fat and increase your appetite, leading to overindulgence in foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
If your weight is being sabotaged by stress you can try replacing it with these calming highly focused enjoyable stress-reduction techniques:
Yoga or Tai Chi
Deep-breathing exercises to relieve tension
Listening to relaxing music
Stress management programs to keep stress levels at bay.
Playing a sport
Rewire Your Brain to Lessen Your Cravings by “Replacing” Each
Reduce Your Stress Levels to Help You Avoid Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
to actually help you to embark on a practice for transforming your stress into life-enhancing experiences.
Denying your cravings goes beyond willpower and could be blamed on your ancestral roots, a time when people hunted for every meal and depended on fat-rich foods to get extra energy and increase their chances of survival.
Complicating cravings are triggers you are faced with on a daily basis. Smelling aromas from fast-food restaurants as you drive by, seeing the picture or a commercial of a favorite fatty food or passing by a bakery that carries your favorite cookies can all stimulate cravings.
You can learn to tame your craving triggers by “REPLACING” them (vs. attempting to eliminate them, which rarely works since they are most often replaced by other addictions by chance rather than by choice):
Replace your unhealthy favorite treat with a healthy food
Avoid eating between meals especially when you’re feeling sad or depressed
Take the longer route to get home to avoid passing your favorite bakery or ice-cream shop
Listen to clues your body is telling you… replace unhealthy choices with healthy choices when a temptation strikes. Then think about the health benefits such as feeling less winded when you walk or how good your stomach feels an hour after eating healthy food (vs. feeling tired or sick an hour after eating unhealthy food)… all by becoming aware and not giving in to the temptation of your prior pre-conditioned behavior replaced with your new healthy desired behaviors!
Indulge in healthier versions of your favorites such as:
Munchies: i.e. dip raw pecans into hummus or guacamole (vs. chips and dip) for the same crunch and dip experience (only you’ll feel good about eating healthy)
Dessert treat: Eat sugar-free organic yogurt with almonds (instead of a hot fudge ice-cream sundae with the works).
Clues: Observe how your body feels one hour after eating a particular food. Do you feel good and more energized or worse with less energy? Food should fortify you and raise your energy level if you have replaced unhealthy food with the right combination of healthy food for your body! Get in tune with your body and don’t assume you are getting sick when you simply ate an unhealthy food that made you feel sick. Know when you feel good (one hour after eating) that you made the right decision with the best choice of healthy food replacements for you!
Don’t Keep Beating Yourself up if You Slip
Everyone makes mistakes and the trick is to get back on track toward your goals, and focus again on replacing your prior behaviors with new desired behaviors. There are four simple ways you can do this:
Forgive yourself and move on. Focus on what you may have done better and will to do it the next time.
Allow yourself to start again with healthier foods such as lean protein, veggies, healthy grains like brown rice, millet, and guinoa, and fruit.
Learn from your mistakes and recognize what triggered it so you can be aware of it in the future so you can “replace” the old behavior with an automatic reflex new behavior. See the old as toxic and the new as fresh clean and nourishing to your body that willmake you healthy and mentally and physically strong.
Exercise in ways that make you feel good, renewed and energetic (vs. as a form of punishment)! Get back on track and feel in control again with daily routines you can do quickly and often at home by scheduling it into your daily routine for 15 minutes!
Know that you can and will do it… once you make up your mind and commit!
Experts say there are techniques you can use to detect when you are beginning to feel full and have reached that comfortable level. Some of these eating techniques include:
Place half or less the serving size on a much smaller plate (vs. large plates), which makes the amount look the same (large plates conceal immense volumes of food. Most people who eat off of small plates feel fully satisfied after a smaller half-size meal as they had when they ate larger portions on larger plates. Eating less on a larger plate only reinforces the psychological desire for more food to fill the empty portion of the plate. Use a small plate).
When out to dinner: share or take home portions to cut servings in half (vs. eating the entire amount): 1) Order and share one meal together… or 2) if you have different meal preferences ask the waiter to place half the meal in a to-go container the moment the meal arrives. Cutting the volume in half (vs, eating all that is served) is half the calories plus a great cost savings. Barbra Walters shared that her lifestyle healthy weight maintenance “secrets,” include simply moving around the food on her plate with her fork when out to dinner, asking questions and staying eye-to-eye focused on the other party, eating small bites infrequently, and then asking for a to-go container when leaving.
Chew your food slowly (vs. fast) -- Taking your time to eat your meals allows the food satisfaction sensation signal to reach your brain.
Take in all the senses of your eating experience (savor each bite vs. downing it all too fast) -- Smell your food, take your time in between tastes and become more in tuned to the whole eating experience.This means eating at the table without distractions and, not in front of the computer, the tv or while driving.
Make your meals aesthetically pleasing (focus on making a small delicious beautiful portion presentation on a small plate... vs. large masses of food piled on a large plate) -- Put some effort into the presentation of your meals to increase your awareness and appreciation for the food.
Remember: Don’t just attempt to eliminate. Instead “replace” any addictive behavior or habit you seek to change with a new healthy form of activity.
Often, exercise is the best choice! Most people who try to eliminate one behavior usually gain a new addiction in the process. So choose carefully in advance. A small investment of time and a small amount of money "now" could save you tens of thousands of dollars later, plus make a world of difference in your improved health and well being!
American Heart Association
Web MD Smoking Cessation
WebMD Overcoming Overeating