Here are a few tips for giving up smoking, becoming fitter and living a healthier life style.

Many people would love giving up smoking and adopt a fitter lifestyle and perhaps give triathlon a try, but it seems insurmountable.

“If only giving up smoking was not so difficult I could give triathlon a try”. It’s amazing how many times I have been doing a book signing at an expo and someone would make a statement very similar to that one when they came over to my booth to chat.

I understand completely where they are coming from because I was in that same position myself at one time.

giving up smoking  -cigarette butts

You need a good reason to butt out.

I as a heavy smoker though my teen years in high school right up until I was 27.


Even though giving up smoking for good was something I did 34 years ago I have vivid memories of how much smoking dictated my life before I was able to quit.

It seems that many of us smokers liked to drink as well. It’s amazing how the two seemed to be perfect companions. I could go through 25 cigarettes at a rip roaring party and probably not enjoy any of them.

It just seemed that every time I had a beer in my hand I had to light a cigarette for some reason. Many smokers also have unhealthy eating habits as well. The reasoning is, “why worry about making poor food choices when smoking is going to kill you anyway”?

It’s sort of like standing in a lake up to your neck and opening up an umbrella when it starts to rain. Why bother. You’re already wet.


Sure, you’ve tried to quit. Maybe you’ve tried those patches or acupuncture or a hypnotist.

Hell, maybe you’ve even tried to quit cold turkey. At times you will have some success and whatever method you try may work for a while, but almost always it never seems to last and most people end up lighting up again sooner or later.

I tried quitting lots of times, but I always ended up giving in after a few days or maybe a week or two.

There’s a reason why people can try over and over again but find giving up smoking too difficult and just fall back into their old habit. There seems to be only one sure way giving up smoking for good.


I discovered there was one very good reason why I never had any luck whenever I tried to quit smoking. I really, really convinced myself that I enjoyed smoking and that’s why I kept falling back into the habit no matter how many times I tried to quit.

There never seemed to be a good enough reason for me to quit. Nothing ever came along that I wanted to do so much that it compelled me to lose interest in smoking. Nothing ever came along that made it important for me to give up smoking.

At least not until that day when I decided I wanted to start running so I could get fit enough to run a marathon.

giving up smoking  -runners

Take up running. You just might like it.

I was smoking, drinking beer and channel surfing one weekend in Summer of 1976 and by chance landed on the finishing stages of the marathon in the Montreal Olympics. For some reason I was drawn to it and watched as the first runner came in to win the Olympic gold medal.

Runner after runner followed him and I was captivated and inspired to try and run a marathon of my own, as ludicrous as it seemed at the time. The very next week I began to run and it was such a struggle to run just a few laps around the inside of a gymnasium. But I persisted and ran a little more every day and it began to get easier.

I knew the cigarettes were holding me back so I quit. I made up my mind that this time I was giving up smoking for good and I never smoked again and never will. Ten months later I crossed the finish line of my first marathon in 3:28 and I never looked back.

It was the beginning of an endurance running and triathlon career that would last over 30 years.

So as far as I’m concerned, the real answer if you want to give up smoking for good is not found in wearing a patch, special medications, or acupuncture. It’s found in an overwhelming desire to reach a physical goal or realize a dream that requires you to be as fit as possible.

Smoking will not get you where you want to go and might just make it an impossibility as long as you let it control your life. Finally I had found something that was more important to me than smoking. I had found something that took away any enjoyment I convinced myself smoking was giving me.

Obviously it’s not enough to tell people that smoking will kill them. How can it be enough considering all the people that still smoke?There has to be more of a reward than just living longer to make people give up the habit. There has to be a “passion” for living and not just simply staying alive longer. That was what I had discovered.

I had discovered a passion for something that made me want to be as healthy as possible.


Of course it was still a challenge to give up smoking for good. I made it past the first stage of having a very good reason for quitting the habit. I ditched the cigarettes but there were still the physical reactions to deal with.

There is no doubt that smoking is an addiction and nicotine is an addictive drug. After spending years of saturating your body with nicotine it is going to take some doing to purge it from your system.

However, abstinence and time will get you there but physical fitness on a regular basis will certainly speed up the process. You will most likely suffer from dizzy spells after a few days without a drag on a cancer stick. Your nerves will be on edge and you will always be looking for something to do with your hands. Your food will taste odd. You have not tasted anything for years that was not clouded with the after-taste from your tar-coated tongue.

What is really happening is that you are discovering the true flavor of the food you are eating for the first time in a long time.

All these symptoms mean you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. To me it was great news. I saw it as a signal that the poison was beginning to leave my body.

With every passing day that I ran without smoking my breathing got easier and easier. The temptation was always there but I knew I would never start smoking again. I had too much go gain now.

Sure there are lots of unpleasant symptoms when you deny your body it’s fix of nicotine, but if you stick with it and embrace your new found fitness you will beat the smoking bug in record time.


I saw an interesting chart in my doctor’s office about what happens when people give up smoking. It’s pretty amazing, but just one week without cigarettes and your lungs begin to clear up considerably. The positive effects begin pretty much right away.

In just a few years of not smoking, your lungs can reach a level of health that is much like you never smoked at all.This is true even if you smoked for 25 years. They simply clear up and many positive signs began to take place. The dizziness soon disappears and the persistent coughing that usually comes as your lungs clear themselves when you begin giving up smoking is soon gone as well.

So if you want a really good reason for giving up smoking try becoming a triathlete. You just might love it and smoking might soon become a distant memory.

Learn how to swim if it’s new to you. If you can’t run, then walk at first and then run slowly as you get fitter. Get yourself a road bike. Begin slowly and you will be thrilled with just how quickly things improve.

Soon you will start to feel good about what you are doing and giving up smoking will not be as impossible as you once thought. The fitter you get, the easier it will be to deal with the withdrawal symptoms until the day comes when they are gone for good and you begin a new chapter in your life.

So yes, that’s the key if you want to giving up smoking for good. Develop a passion for a fitter way of life and once you embrace it and begin to feel so much better, you will “want” smoking out of your life for good.


Dangers of smoking. Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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