If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it properly. Well, most of the time, anyway. Which is why I seem to be taking this giving up thing to the extreme.
On my recent yoga retreat we discussed caffeine intake and I realised that, based on other people’s reactions, 12 cups of coffee and up to 10 teas a day was more than a little excessive, so a couple of weeks ago I cat down to four and 1, respectively. Four days after starting that, I stopped smoking.
I don’t deserve a lot of credit – I’ve gone for the belt, braces, zips and buttons approach with patches, an inhalator, e-mails, two apps on my ipad and a number of really patient colleagues who have been getting hourly updates on the number of hours and minutes I’ve achieved and / or how much money I have saved in that time (courtesy of my app). It is taking will power too though, especially in grumpy / stressful / happy / needing a break moments. OK, it’s still taking quite a bit of willpower, but I’ve done 9 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes and 25 seconds as I hit publish on this post. (Full disclosure: I have had two in this time- I’m not proud, but I’m not starting the clock from those times as it’s still 292 less than I would have had)
I know it has all sorts of health benefits, which are obviously the most important things (my breathy tubes feel ever so silky right now), but there are other side effects that I’d forgotten or not realised from previous attempts to give up. And they are not all good.
I can smell better. I can smell unwashed people at 50 paces, which is not good on a crowded commuter train. It’s also not good walking up the Strand early in the morning – you wouldn’t believe the number of people who clearly pee on the pavement.
I am warmer. I can keep my gloves on at all times, I can keep my car window shut and when working from home the heat all stays inside the conservatory rather than escaping out the back door on my cigarette breaks. Today I only had to wear three jumpers… (I said warmer, not warm. Not smoking does not change my toad status)
I have more pennies. I’ve spent all the ones saved so far. But that’s ok, because it was enough to pay the deposit on a holiday that – if I can keep on this giving up – I’ll have paid for in savings by the time I go. Twice.
I am less likely to be late*. Because I don’t have to have ‘one last cigarette’ before I leave the house. I even made it to the station early enough this week that I could walk from the car to the platform, rather than gallop with a pounding heart that the train might beat me to it.
*Note to Sisters 1, 2 and friends – this will only last as long as it takes for me to remember that I can start getting ready that little bit later…
I can taste things better. And am remembering that I don’t actually like everything I eat when I can actually taste it. When, in desperation to nibble something more healthy than biscuits while craving an actual cigarette the other day, I defrosted some celery I’d popped in the freezer for future soup making. I can confirm with authority that the only thing worse than fresh celery (which I don’t like anyway) is defrosted celery. Still, it put me off eating anything else for a good 10 minutes…
I can sleep. At the drop of a hat. Seriously, this almost entirely lack of stimulants is turning me into a sleep monster. No more crocheting until 2am…I’m tucked up by 10.30pm and could still happily have 40 winks at my desk if nobody was around.
So there you go, that’s my big news for the moment. Lots of nicotine but without the smoky stick, less caffeine, and a significant amount of snacking. I will have to turn sideways to get through doors soon if I manage to keep this up (assuming I can stay awake long enough to make the effort), but I have a plan for that forming in my smoke free brain. It might not be a very good plan, but either way, you’ll probably hear about it… :o)