Chapter Five

The 3 Lies about

Cravings, Withdrawals and Weight Gain

Lie #5

The nicotine is what causes cravings and withdrawals

when you quit.

Lie #6

When you do quit you will have cravings and withdrawals

because everybody does.

Lie #7

If you quit you will gain weight, because everybody

overeats and gains when they quit smoking.

What really causes the cravings and withdrawals?

What about the cravings and withdrawals that people have when they quit smoking? Some people, when they quit, and try to use will power to force themselves not to do something that psychologically they need to do (smoke), they experience sensations in their mind and body and label these sensations cravings and withdrawals. And these "carvings" and "withdrawals" that they experience are physically experienced in the body, sometimes even as real physical pain. So maybe you’re one of those people who ask me in my seminars, "If it’s a psychological addiction, why do I experience real physical pain?" Obviously the answer to the question is self evident. Can psychological addictions cause real physical pain? Of course. When you lose a way to get a psychological feeling or benefit, when you lose a way to get what you need psychologically, can that cause people to feel an emptiness inside, and miss whatever it is and even have physical pain? When people lose a loved one or break off a long term relationship with someone, does that cause an empty feeling, a longing, "cravings", and "withdrawals" from the unique feelings that they got when they were with the person?

When you lose a loved one, neurologically what occurs is, your mind misses the unique feelings that it enjoyed when you were with that person: love, affection, joy, intimacy, satisfaction of one or more needs, etc. To the brain, it seems that those feelings are linked uniquely to that person (which they are) and when you lose the person, it seems that the ability to experience that kind of happiness, those kinds of feelings are lost as well. This is what creates those feelings, neurologically speaking. I don’t know if you noticed or not, as you were reading, that sounds a lot like quitting smoking…doesn’t it. It sounds familiar because neurologically, the structure is almost identical.

Your old friend: cigarettes

Have you ever said to yourself, or out loud, one or more of the following statements"

"I need a cigarette!"

"Smoking is the only way I can relax."

"When my __________________ (boss, kids, spouse, fill-in-the-blank) does that to me, I have to smoke a cigarette."

"A cigarette is the only way I can get going in the morning."

"I just wouldn’t be the same without my cigarette with my cup of coffee."

One of the real interesting things about the unconscious mind is that it has very little analytical ability and it tends to take almost everything literally, much like a four year old child does. So what do you think your unconscious mind believes when you tell it: The only way I can relax is…or…I need cigarettes. It takes that literally – translated:Without cigarettes, I couldn’t be myself, I would never be able to relax again, and I need them so my very survival would be in jeopardy!

Have you ever had a crisis or worse a tragedy in your life. And when you did, as you think about that time now, do you remember how you relied on cigarettes to help you cope, deal, and momentarily give your mind a break and take your mind off of it. During times such as these, your cigarettes became your best friend, like a security blanket… didn’t they? So this is how you created the part of you that has been responsible for smoking (and making it miserable for you when you tried to quit) and this is how you validated that part of gave it power. So, now it is beginning to make sense to you, why a part of you didn’t want to quit even though your conscious mind, the logical part of you wanted to quit.

Does everyone have cravings and withdrawals?

Ask yourself: "Does everybody who quits smoking have cravings and withdrawals and gain weight?" Now really think about that. Thousands of people simply decided that they were done with smoking and put them down. You may know someone like this. Hundreds of thousands of people each year in the U.S. go to therapists and hypnotherapists (individually and in groups) and quit smoking without cravings and withdrawals. I have personally worked with thousands of people in my Stop Smoking seminars who have quit smoking without cravings or withdrawals or gaining weight. Once the underlying need is satisfied in new ways as a non-smoker, and once that unconscious part is convinced that it truly prefers to be a non-smoker – that being a non-smoker is better than being a smoker, of course there are no cravings and withdrawals. As new non-smokers are getting used to being non-smokers and their new healthy, happy, in-control lifestyles, sometimes they think about cigarettes or smoking. That is just their message that they need to relax or go have some fun or something else. Thinking about a cigarette, and being reminded of cigarettes in some situation that used to cause you to smoke is not the same thing as cravings and withdrawals.

Why do people gain weight?

The last time you lost a loved one or experienced some other crisis or tragedy, did you have a tendency to use whatever you could to cope with the situation – including eating more than you needed to eat, or eating as a nervous habit as you were trying to adjust to the new circumstances or the changes you were going through? This is why some people start overeating when they quit smoking. They are trying to compensate for the new feelings they are experiencing and deal with the changes that are occurring.

If someone is very unhappy, unsatisfied with their lives, and refuses to face their challenges head on and grow as a person by accepting those challenges, then one way to escape is through smoking. And if they quit smoking, and still aren’t facing what they need to face in their lives, then overeating would be a logical substitute to take their mind off their problems. Once you become a non-smoker, integrate your unconscious parts and taking responsibility for your emotions rather than trying to hide them under cigarette smoke, then you will not need to compensate by overeating. In the next chapters I will offer you specific techniques you can use to assist yourself in getting used to being a non-smoker so that you will not be tempted to overeat and gain weight.

In my experience, only people who already have a tendency to overeat gain weight when quitting. Naturally thin people (people who don’t overeat) do not gain weight when quitting. In addition to this book, if you have had a problem in the past with weight control, or if you currently struggle with weight control, know that you do not have to. You can actually learn to be a `naturally thin’ person; see my NLP weight loss book, Eating the Natural Way.

 

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