Dealing with the side effects of stopping smoking using hypnosis
‘How do I deal with weight increase when I stop smoking?’ is a common question from people that are in the processes of becoming a non-smoker. It is quite normal to gain some weight after giving up smoking. On average this is about 7 lbs but it is easily lost again. If weight keeps spiralling upwards then you are not a non-smoker but an ex-smoker who is substituting food for smoking. A non-smoker simply doesn’t need to substitute anything for smoking because now it is something that doesn’t exist any more.
Dealing with weight gain when stopping smoking
It is in the transitional period between being an ex-smoker and a non-smoker that weight gain after quitting smoking cigarettes has to be tackled for some people. One book I have come across which tackles this problem is, “Stop smoking, stay skinny” by Dr J. T. Martorano and C. B. Reingold. Avon Press. New York. They make the point that of all the excuses that the addicted smoker makes for not quitting gaining weight is the most common.
Weight control and the subconscious mind
One aim of hypnosis to stop smoking is to get down deep into the subconscious mind that becoming a non-smoker involves a change in the person’s lifestyle. It isn’t just about giving up smoking, it is about exercise; about having enough interests and other things to do so that the person doesn’t get bored and then turns to eating. People who keep busy don’t tend to think as much about food so I recommend that there should be as many alternatives activities in the person’s life as possible. Different forms of exercise are an alternative as it is difficult to eat when exercising though not impossible especially when just walking.
Alternatives to eating when stopping smoking
Giving up smoking involves dedication to a certain type of life style so that means changing what you are doing in quite a few ways. Drinking water, chewing gum, not buying certain types of food, moving house to an isolated area where there are no shops to buy fattening food or convenience food, getting different forms of exercise…there are many alternatives. Some are practical and some are not.
Coming up with alternatives as shown above is called “reframing”. In NLP this means the person is reframing the problem to see it in a new framework. This involves looking at a number of choices to solve the problem. A choice can be made of the best alternative and then it could be tried for several weeks. For example, you could have non-food treats such as going to a film or a play or some other form of entertainment.
Using self-hypnosis to control eating
I recommend that you do self-hypnosis and that when in a light trance you asks these questions:
- “Why do I want this food now?”
- “Is it compulsion, greed, hunger, habit, a replacement for cigarettes?”
- “Am I going to eat it now?”
I recommend that when the person comes out of the trance he/she will have said “yes” or “no” to the last question. In any case the idea is that a decision is made rather than you feeling compelled to have the food. If you are convinced through repetitive self-hypnosis that it is your decision, then you will feel more in control.
Other side effects of stopping smoking
There are are few other problems that people sometimes report when they stop smoking. These include:
- problems with concentration
- how to improve overall health
How will I deal with stress when I stop smoking?
Dealing with stress is a necessity. Whatever the source of stress the best way to deal with it is through the power of your own mind not through the help of a substance. Nicotine is a stimulant not a relaxing drug so in that sense it is the wrong one to use for relaxation. Any feelings of relaxation must be psychological rather than physical. The amount of stress the average smoker feels as health and wealth is affected over the years is enormous. To feel it relaxes in any real sense is an illusion. I am much more in control and relaxed since I stopped smoking and have become a non-smoker. ALL smokers who have truly become non-smokers know this to be true. A year or two down the line when interviewed they invariably say they feel more relaxed and in control.
Besides the obvious benefits in terms of health and wealth there is the further benefit of not constantly wanting the next fix especially in those key situations in which we are used to having it. For me that was smoking a pipe for about half a dozen times a day at the obvious intervals that made it possible in my job and at home. This became a problem at work when all the buildings in the college were made non-smoking so that smokers had to go outside to have a fix. No longer was it done in a social context and it was revealed for what it really was – an addiction. For me that was the beginning of the end of dying for the next fix. I am much more relaxed now that it is no longer on my mind.
Smoking is my only friend
I have a few smokers who come to me to become non-smokers who actually say this. My response is that if this is so why do you want to become a non-smoker? Because it is not a very good friend is the reply. Assuming that they are not being too serious when they make the comment about it being their only friend then why remain friends with something which is not a very good friend? The purpose of hypnosis is to reinforce the point that it isn’t going to happen. If having no friends is a real problem then hypnosis can be used successfully to deal with that too!
Boredom when you stop smoking
Most people indulge themselves in some way when they are bored. Boredom is a state of mind which is under our control. There is never any need to be bored. This is just as much a habit as anything else. It is a question of breaking the boredom habit. To do this write down a list of how many things you are grateful for today. Write down any “safe” risks you could take which don’t involve harm to yourself or others. People who take risks don’t get bored. Keep looking around you. People who get bored easily have blinkered vision and don’t see the possibilities that each day offers.
Concentration when you quit smoking
I used to think that smoking my pipe increased my concentration. However, as a non-smoker, it certainly has got no worse and in one way has actually improved. I now find it possible to work late at night, if I want to, without feeling earth shatteringly tired. I used to use my pipe to keep me awake for that extra hour of work at my desk at night and would feel much more tired while smoking it. Allen Carr too mentions improved concentration as a non-smoker. So how far was this just the power of negative suggestion that without smoking concentration levels would be inferior? Remember that once such a suggestion gets into your mind then it has an effect even if it is not true. This also works on the principle of conditioning or forming habits which then condition us to think that without the cigarette or pipe we will feel tired and lack concentration.
Smokers who are more concerned about having positive health behaviours generally are more likely to succeed in becoming non-smokers than those who are not. Health behaviours include such things as
- having a healthy diet
- concern about controlling weight
- getting exercise
Smokers who relapse often blame it on the fact that they put on weight. This is a real concern but there are several ways to solve the problem. You can go on a diet again because it is damaging to your health to be overweight though not as damaging as continuing to smoke. You can use the euphoria that comes initially from being a non-smoker to give you the feeling that you are also on your way to being a thin person (if you’re not already). In my hypnotic suggestions I say that the extra mental strength you have from being a non-smoker will be used for controlling how much you eat and what you eat.
A further health behaviour is getting sufficient exercise. Not only can this be an alternative to smoking but it also helps to at least keep the weight reasonably stable rather than you “balloon” when you stop smoking. Of course, controlling what you eat and getting enough exercise is a lot of effort but as I say to my clients hypnosis is meant to motivate you not remove all need to make any effort.
Becoming an ex-smoker or becoming a non-smoker?
The main issue is whether you become an ex-smoker or a non-smoker. If you still think about wanting a cigarette, even if it is a weak longing, then you are still a smoker though in the period of time that you are not smoking you are called an ex-smoker. A non-smoker doesn’t have the slightest need to smoke. This means that there is no temptation
Most children hate their parent’s smoking, but as they get older and are influenced by peers or even relatives they start to smoke and even “‘like” what they used to hate. After some years of this previously hated behaviour they decide they aren’t really attracted to it any more and that’s when they make the vow not to do it any more. Their period of time as a smoker then is like anything else in your life which you do for a number of years and then decide you no longer want it. This has happened for me in relation to a number of things such as not wanting to eat chips, peanuts, raisins, etc, all of which I ate in fairly large quantities for a number of years. My body in its wisdom just gave me the feeling that it didn’t need such things. For those who are fortunate enough to get the same feeling for not smoking find they don’t need to use willpower. One day their body says enough is enough and tells the mind that the last cigarette smoked is the last one ever.
If you are interested in a session of stop smoking hypnotherapy in Newport or Cardiff please contact me.