THE ROAD TO VICTORY: FIGHTING STRESS WITH HEALTHY HABITS

Quitting tobacco is one of the greatest decisions you can make — a huge first step on the road to a healthier life. Along the way, however, you’ll be faced with cravings, stress and other unhealthy distractions that will try to sidetrack you.

When quitting tobacco, learning how to reduce stress is key to staying on course. Developing healthy habits like exercise and eating better can build your strength and endurance to help you stand up to the stress and cravings, increasing your chances for victory against tobacco.

Don’t let quitting weigh you down.

While it’s true that some people gain weight when they quit tobacco, it’s important to be realistic about it. First, not everyone gains weight, and those who do tend to gain no more than 10 pounds. Plus, the benefits of quitting far outweigh the possibility of gaining weight. By exercising and eating better, you not only train your body to fight cravings, you’ll burn calories and keep weight gain in check.

You are what you eat.

When you eat healthy foods, you become a healthier person. As you learn to live a tobacco-free life, try to make healthy food choices at every meal. Here are some eating tips to help you build endurance and guide you to healthy stress management.

  • Replace high-calorie foods with healthy, low-calorie choices.
  • Look for low-calorie foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, such as yogurt and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat sugar-free candy or juice pops, or chew sugar-free gum.
  • Choose foods that take longer to eat and keep your hands busy, such as oranges or sunflower seeds in the shell.
  • Try crunchy foods so your mouth has to work—like pretzels, rice cakes or air-popped popcorn without butter.
  • Drink water during and between meals.
  • Pick foods that have less fat and sugar, such as low fat frozen yogurt.

Exercise and stress: Get moving to remove stress.

You can also manage stress with exercise. Exercise is a great way to reduce the stressful effects of nicotine withdrawal. The more exercise you can do, the better your chances for success.

Make time to be active every day. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day of the week. Can’t find 30 minutes? Splitting it up into three 10-minute chunks is just as effective.

The most important thing is to find activities you enjoy that will fit into your schedule. Simple things like taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination or stretching during breaks can help you reduce stress, burn calories and control weight gain.

Other activities you can try:

  • Walking or running
  • Dancing
  • Martial arts
  • Yoga
  • Basketball
  • Aerobics
  • Biking

When you start new healthy habits, the impossible starts to feel possible.

Whether you’re already on the road or just thinking about starting your journey, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers FREE, nonjudgmental support and services to help you along the way. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW or visit OKhelpline.com to learn more.