Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Took a few months off to address my health.

As of today, it has been:

3 months since I had coffee
2 months since I had a cigarette
1 week I've been off of high blood pressure pills

I am officially off of ALL pharmaceuticals. Six months ago I was on 6 different meds in orange bottles, now there are none. This is so much better for my health.

I have lost 28 pounds as well!

Many people have asked me, how did I quit the coffee and cigs, so I'll share.

Substitution, patience, and distractions are what helped me to quit (along with a burning desire to be healthy).

I quit the coffee first, and substituted herbal teas and lots of water to compensate. I made sure I always had *something* ready to drink in the morning, usually by preparing it the night before. Some days it was apple juice, some tomato juice, some days Gatorade. But I didn't go to bed without making sure there was something there in place of the coffee first, so it would be available to me in the morning when I woke. Did you know that apple juice is more effective at waking you up in the morning than coffee?

I waited a full month after going off coffee to quit smoking. For me, coffee and cigarettes were so linked together, I don't think I would have been able to successfully quit smoking if I hadn't quit coffee first. I certainly tried to quit smoking several times before- I had smoked for 27 years! Like many former smokers, I had said "I quit" dozens of times, and always relapsed. Here's what worked this time:

1. I removed habits linked to it first (coffee).
2. I was mentally ready to quit and sincerely wanted to quit for ME.
3. I did not set a quit date; instead I looked at the supply I had on hand and said, "when that's gone, I'm done" and did not buy any more. Wound up running out at about 11:30 am and was okay with that. Previously, I looked for a magic quit date and magic quit time- if I had run out mid-morning I would have bought another pack, "Just to get through the day", with the intent of the last one before bed being the LAST one. Of course, this never worked.
4. I drank lots and lots and lots of water.
5. I distracted myself with lots of TV and movies. Any time I felt a craving, I distracted myself with something else. I didn't focus on the craving, I just gave my mind something else to be occupied with, usually a new series that I marathoned on Netflix.
6. I never talked about it. I think this one right here made the most difference. Previously, I always told people I was about to quit, that I quit, that it was 2 days since I'd had a smoke, etc. I finally realized, all that did was serve to keep it on my mind, to keep bringing my attention and focus back to cigarettes. So I didn't talk about it at all, to anyone. No one knew I had quit until it had been six weeks. By then, I felt secure enough in my non-smoking state to bring it up and discuss it.

That's it. No gum, no patches, no switching to a vape or e-cig. After struggling to quit smoking for over two decades, we did it. Oh yes, WE. My husband quit too- and he had smoked for over 40 years, Marlboro Reds 2 packs a day.

We're both happy with our new bodies, our new taste buds and sense of smell.

I'm happy that quitting smoking lowered my blood pressure enough I was able to quit the beta blockers I had been taking for over a year!

Now that I am feeling better, expect to see more posts.

I hope this post gives you hope. We are 42 and 51 years old, if we can take charge of our health at this age and break habits that have ruled us for the majority of our lives, YOU CAN TOO!