At that point, it wasn't because I thought it made me "cool". I enjoyed it. And for years it would continue to be something I enjoyed. I loved being a smoker.
Today, the smell makes me gag.
I quit when I had my boys, while I breastfed them for two years, and started right back up when they weaned, though never smoked in front of them, nor did I ever smoke in my house. New Years Eve, December 31, 2015, at 11:45 pm I smoked my last one. And then I crawled into an epsom salt bath before going to bed. I had quit numerous times in my life, and the most recent was in 2014 for about 4 months. At that point I gained 20 lbs. At first I didn't care because I needed to quit smoking and I was going to make it work. I figured when I was over the craving period I would then work on losing again. That never happened and I just started right back up again.
Fast forward to the months before this recent quit. My feet were always cold, I was always cold, and I was out of breath walking up my stairs, and I was still not losing any of that weight. I weighed as much as I did when I gave birth to my children. And while I was quite healthy mentally (thanks to some serious soul searching over the previous two years), I was completely ignoring the shape my physical self was in.
So, New Years Day, January 1, 2016, I awoke at the crack of dawn, grabbed Princess (my furbaby, who needed the workout just as much as I) and headed out to start the year with a much better habit......physical activity.! For the next three days straight I would do this. The first day up that trail, in 30 degree weather, I huffed and puffed and my heart felt like it was going to beat right out of my chest. But I kept going.
When the fourth day came and I had to go back to work, unable to begin the day with a hike, I felt it. All those previous days I didn't crave a cigarette in the least. I began to crave physical activity. My feet were no longer cold and the 30 degree weather actually felt good to be out in. The rest of the winter would not allow me to hike until nearly March. So I took to a lot more knitting.
Which brought 20 more pounds. Which made me 20 pounds more than what I weighed when I gave birth.
Four weeks ago I weighed 185 lbs. which is the most I've ever weighed and wasn't really good for my barely 5'1" frame. I ended up going to the ER with nothing wrong other than the fear that I had a blood clot because the symptoms I spent the weekend with all pointed to it. But all the tests they did pointed to me being pretty healthy, other than slightly elevated sugar levels that they did not show concern about.
That weekend I cut out all processed foods and swore myself to only consume natural and raw foods. No more sugars, no more breads, no more eating sushi multiple times a week, and no more caffeine in any form. And water. Lots and lots of it! I've also been slowly increasing the amount of steps I take each day, forcing myself to walk circles if it's what it takes to meet my goals.
Four weeks later and the list of things that have changed far surpass the changes that occurred when I quit smoking over six months ago. And they are changes that I've made, without the help of any self-help book on the market, without the assistance of some trendy diet supplement, and without the help of a gym. Here's a list that makes me feel good to write.
- I've lost 20 lbs.
- I've lost 2.5 inches from my waist.
- I take actual, intentional walks every single day.
- I crave those walks and when I don't get them I feel anxious.
- Connecting with nature provides much more than physical benefits.
- I am more aware of my body and how I feel inside of it.
- I actually like my body at this point even though I still have about 25-30 lbs. to go.
- I can see muscles forming. I can actually see my abs!
- I haven't been having issues with my neck and back.
- I no longer crave sweets, or thick heavy cheese covered sandwiches (though I still put cheese on my salads).
- Less brain fog.
- Saving a ton of money by not eating out and not buying processed snack foods.
- Ladies, my pms symptoms are practically non-existent. The month prior to making these changes, my boobs were so sore for the two weeks leading up to it, and this month there was barely a twinge of pain. Processed foods totally effect your cycle and completely fuck with your hormones.
- No caffeine at all and I have even more energy.
- I actually feel cleaner inside.
- I'm calmer.
- I'm less anxious.
- I find myself not wanting to "sit and relax" as often.
- I have a "need" to keep moving.
- I haven't spent a dime on any gym memberships, supplements or trendy diet stuff.
In the time I spent writing this blog post, my body continued to beg me to stop and get up and move. I'm craving a hike right now. I'm not craving chocolate. I'm not craving nicotine. I'm not craving wine (I actually rarely drink anyway).
I do give myself one day each week to grab a salad out and enjoy it in the company of a friend. I also allow myself one cooked meal each week, which is usually a small bowl of rosemary and garlic potato wedges with my kids. I also have only had chocolate once in the past four weeks, and it wasn't too awful, but a couple bites into it I was wishing a small was much smaller.
The one thing that has allowed me to make these changes and achieve these results is Me. With a capital ME. Me making the effort every single day to not allow myself to give in to cravings. Me making the effort every single day to not give up and say "oh I'll start over tomorrow". Me going to Pole Steeple even though I'm still pretty slow-moving on inclines. Me walking up the hill to my moms, again, because it's a good excuse to get another hug from her and I need to get the extra steps in. Me not stopping for ice cream because I'm pms-ing and "need" chocolate. Me coming home every day for lunch and making a fresh salad. Me forcing myself to not sabotage myself. Me making the effort. Me not making excuses for why I can't. Because I always can. And also because I will be in the Pacific Northwest soon and I want to be able to tear up at least one serious trail on the Pacific Coast Trail while I'm out there.
Feeling good feels really good.