This was a typical morning for me, during my weight loss journey: I would wake up, weigh myself, log my weight in my calorie counting app, take my vitamins, perfectly measure the unsweetened almond milk and stevia sweetener I would be adding to my coffee, pick up my phone to post about my weight loss and commitment to health, then go smoke a cigarette on the porch. I know, one of these things is not like the others! lol
I’d have another cigarette in the car on my way to the trail for my morning hike, then a third in the parking area of the trail before I started my hike. Sometimes I would wonder what people thought when they saw me smoking a cigarette before hiking or exercising (many days I smoked in front of the gym, too), but I never wondered long enough to care because I just wasn’t ready to quit yet.
After my hike I would smoke two more cigarettes on the way home. That’s five cigarettes before breakfast on a typical day, and one more right after breakfast. I was smoking just about a full pack of cigarettes every day.
Many times I tried to quit and failed, but this time I was finally ready. Much like the many failed diets I attempted prior to losing 175 pounds, my attempts before were short lived and I was quickly back to my old ways. What finally made me quit? Many of the reasons I will list in this post were motivations to finally quit, but when I decided to become a personal trainer I could no longer make excuses to keep smoking. As a CPT my job is to inspire a healthy lifestyle, and under no circumstances could I expect to be taken seriously as a smoker. So, I finally quit. Cold turkey.
Here are my top 7 reasons why I am happy I quit!
Time. I did not smoke in my house, so each time I had a cigarette, I would walk out to my car, unlock it, light the cigarette, and stand outside smoking it. I put anything productive on hold while I smoked. Each cigarette I smoked was an investment of about ten minutes and I smoked 20 a day! Over three hours of putting my life on hold every single day!!! Once I quit I was able to get so much more done and I came to the hard realization that I wasn’t just potentially shortening my life span, I was wasting real time I could have spent perusing my goals every single day. This realization gave me a lot of shame and regret at first, but now I am just thankful that I quit and I am moving on.
Money. Speaking of shame and regret, I’m absolutely sick with myself when I think of all the late bills, telling my kids we can’t afford to go to the movies, never buying anything that wasn’t off brand, and avoiding going out with friends all because I said I could not afford it. Meanwhile, I always had cigarettes. On average a pack of Newport Menthol 100’s was $8.56 at the gas station where I stopped every day, but I frequently bought myself a diet soda too. If my kids were in the car, I’d grab them something to drink (that they didn’t need) too. So, every time I stopped for cigarettes I was spending about $13, but for ease let’s say $10. $300 a month wasted!! Now I am putting that money away towards the extra skin removal surgery I need.
This is a two in one- SMELL! First, I no longer smell bad. I had gotten immune to the smell of cigarette smoke on all my clothing, in my hair, and on my breath- but the people around me sure had not! I tried to cover up the scent for a long time, but I wasn’t always successful. And speaking of smell, my scene of smell is so much better. I’ve recently become infatuated with the healing abilities of essential oils and aroma therapy!
Longer, thicker finger nails. As a smoker my finger nails grew out brittle and broke easily- especially on my right hand that I mostly held ciggarettes in. Since I quit my nails are not breaking as easily and I am starting to see them grow in thicker.
Younger Looking Skin. At 37 I was begrudgingly accepting subtle wrinkles and dry skin as the way of life, but in the past week alone three strangers have told me I have a beautiful complexion. That has been so nice to hear!
Being a better influence on my kids. This list is in no particular order, but if I were to order it by priority, this would be first! I never smoked in front of my kids, but they knew I did smoke and would see me occasionally. My kids would come home and tell me all the terrible things they learned in school about smoking and ask me why I was killing myself. It was then in those moments, and for them, that I should have quit, but I wasn’t ready. I was still working on weight loss and had a lot going on so I would make the excuse to myself “one big life change at a time” and keep smoking. Now that I have quit, I can talk to them openly about the dangers of smoking without being a hypocrite.
Taste. Before I quit smoking I was so worried about the terrible, rumored, uncontrollable cravings for junk food. I worked so hard to lose over half my body weight and I fought so many urges already. The fear of gaining weight and dealing with extra urges was honestly the number one thing that kept me smoking for so long. But, then I quit and I was pleasantly surprised. The urges have been manageable and I actually crave less junk because my sense of taste is so dramatically improved that I really enjoy the food I eat. When I do have a sweet craving, I have been adding crystal light in my water and that helps.
In another post I will share more about how I quit smoking so stay tuned to my blog. If you have a friend who needs help getting motivated to quit smoking, please share this post!