Sunday, August 2, 2015
Celebrating 5 years today as an ex-smoker.
Looking to quit? Tell yourself it will be easy instead of hard because your mind believes what you tell it. I wholeheartedly believe this because for me it was easy. I quit cold turkey and never experienced any cravings or withdrawals. Notable factors surrounding my quitting included drinking a ton of water and sweating profusely the few days prior which likely helped with withdrawal of the toxins from my system. I also really wanted to quit and towards the end, was choosing to be very conscious of every action- from the horrible taste, to the way it burned my throat on each inhale.
My habit was to light up each morning when I woke. That morning, August 2nd 2010, I took out a cigarette and looked at it and said to myself, "I could light this, or I could go for a walk." I chose to go for a walk. When I returned, I said, "I could smoke this now, or I could just be done with it." And that was that.
Changing a habit means changing your behavior. What if you make yourself get up at 3:00am to smoke? Would you like it as much? What if you made yourself walk backwards around the block every time you lit up? This might sound silly, but just see what happens when you shift the habits surrounding your habits.
Can I tell you about the elephant that used to live on my chest? Within just a few weeks of quitting, I noticed how much easier if was to walk up a big hill by my house. I said that it felt like there used to be an elephant sitting on my chest that had finally got up and left.
It is sometimes common to gain weight when people quit smoking. My weight was stable for a year after I quit. I began to gain weight after a year and then within a year and a half after that, was at my heaviest. I know that I was stress eating a very poor diet and quite sedentary. Being peri-menopausal for an eternity probably wasn't helping.
In October of 2012 I began taking a few yoga classes here and there. In June of 2013 I cut almost all refined sugar and refined flour from my diet and began to focus on eating more fruits, veg, and whole grains. In 2014 I set a goal to do yoga once a week. I finished the year having done it between 1-3 times a week. In 2015 I set a goal of twice a week, and with yoga teacher training, have surpassed that.
The last time I was on a scale, I was down roughly 35 pounds from my heaviest. It could be a little more than that right now. I've gone from barely fitting in 2XL clothes to L and XL. The inches lost through yoga have been quite dramatic.
I can honestly say that at 44 and at my heaviest, I had literally and completely given up. I would look in the mirror at my naked body and think to myself, "I guess this is just going to be how it is forever." I moved like an old person. Lacking body awareness, when walking, my foot didn't always go where my mind wanted me to place it.
One of the key factors in deciding to try yoga was seeing a 71 year old woman yogi move like a 40 year old. I thought to myself, "There must be something to it if she can still move with such ease." Thankfully, I was right.
I'm writing all this to let you know that you have choice. That you can change. That you aren't alone. That you have the power to do it. That sometimes it will be challenging but that the benefits will greatly outweigh any temporary discomforts.
I do believe that change is easiest when you really want it. Do you want it? Yes? Then now is the time.
With much love,
Stephanie Smith 08/02/15