Last year, on November 4, I quit smoking. It just occurred to me today to look up the date and lo and behold, it's been a year! I had quit a few years ago, in February 2007, but by July 2008 I was smoking again, after having gained around 50 pounds. The two experiences were very different...how, you ask?
How did I quit?
Both times I quit cold turkey. The first time, my doctor made me pick a date and mark it on the calendar. That was extremely helpful. He wrote me a prescription for Chantix, but I couldn't afford it, and after doing some research I was glad I hadn't taken it - it can have serious side effects for someone suffering from depression. On quit day, I remember I had one cigarette left and I smoked it on my way to work, and for a long time I regretted that I hadn't sat down and really "enjoyed" it. I wasn't willing to buy another pack, though, so that's how it went.
This time, I probably made sure to "enjoy" it, but I honestly don't remember my last smoke!
How did I get through the first few days and weeks?
The first time I quit, I was acutely aware of exactly how many days it had been since I had quit. It was shockingly easier than I thought, although that may have been because I ate my way through all my triggers. I thought I would go easy on myself and allow myself to eat a little more than usual, but in reality I pretty much pulled my chair up to the buffet and never got up. I was proud of myself, though - I considered myself an ex-smoker, a successful quitter.
This time, it was totally different. I never remember my quit date - it just occurred to me this morning that I was probably close to a year of not smoking. I didn't count hours or days. I was exercising at that point, so I did not fall back into negative eating patterns (that happened later, after I quit exercising!). I must have felt ready and confident, since I chose to quit right before the holidays! My reward to myself for quitting was joining the gym and I actually quit the day of my first session with my trainer. It really felt much more like I just walked away from smoking rather than "quit." There was no struggle. In my mind now, I consider myself a non-smoker, not an ex-smoker.
What was the hardest part?
Well the most frustrating thing for sure is the way my metabolism seems to come to a grinding halt. My doctor told me that it can take up to a year for your metabolism to readjust after quitting, and I feel that for sure! The weight gain the first time is largely what drove me to start smoking again, I was just SO TIRED of being fat. At that time, I was very stressed out, going through a lot, and smoking seemed easier than, oh I don't know, exercising and trying to lead a healthier life!
I definitely feel that my metabolism was similarly affected this time, and as you know, I am experiencing major frustrations, but it never crosses my mind to start smoking again. And my kids are so proud of me, I would have a hard time disappointing them again! Or myself, for that matter.
No, not this time. The smell of someone smoking nauseates me. I can't believe that I ever convinced myself I could cover the smell! I am so sensitive to it now, I can smell someone in the next car over smoking!
Will it last?
I believe it's gonna stick this time. Despite having a hard time losing weight, there is too much that I want to do and a healthy lifestyle is too important to me now. I did not have that to fall back on last time. The key to my success this time is definitely continuing to be active and set new goals for myself.
Happy anniversary to me, Liz, the non-smoker!