November 22nd, 2016.
That’s a day I’ll keep in mind for awhile. For most people, it’s just a day like any other. It’s not a holiday or someone’s birthday or anniversary. It’s just another day really.
Only it’s not for me – It’s the day I quit smoking.
Well, sort of.
Some might say that I’ve just swapped once vice for a new one, as I’m now using a Vape e-cigarette instead of actually smoking. But to me, it’s just a stepping stone to actually becoming smoke-free in the future after about 25 years of it. I hope.
It hasn’t been a walk in the park, to say the least. I really loved the act of smoking (though not necessarily the smell of them). That first drag off of a badly needed cigarette was absolutely bliss, almost orgasmic. And the cravings for the act of smoking itself has been almost frenzied at times.
But I’m getting there, one day at a time.
For some reason, after the weekend previous to the above date, something in me snapped. Just the thought of having a cigarette made me cringe with disgust. For the first time in my life.
Firstly, like most people, it easily had to do with money. Since April, I’d mostly been smoking duty-free cigarettes I’d purchased from abroad or friends had picked them up for me on their travels.
Basically, the thought of going back to paying UK prices for cigarettes made me cringe. And with recent/new regulations, it meant things were just going to get more expensive.
But mostly I think it had to do with a (naked) house party I’d attended that weekend.
At one point during the party, I was chatting with a few guys near the garden door as I faffed with the host’s bathrobe (garden was overlooked, and it was easier than finding my clothes upstairs). And perhaps it was just my imagination, but there seemed to be a sense of pity from them about the lengths I was going to have a cigarette.
I suddenly felt desperate and slightly pathetic about it all. And I suddenly wondered why the hell I was still doing this to myself after two and a half decades… and just thinking about that length of time really pulled me up short. It was quite jarring to suddenly realise I had been smoking for more than half my life.
So that Monday morning, I only had 1 cigarette left in my pack which I smoked on my way to work. And I had absolutely no desire to buy another .. though I did bum a couple smokes off of a colleague that day to get me through.
Instead I’d decided I’d give vaping a try for a bit, and went to the local vape shop near my flat to see what options there were. I’d heard of many people who’d turned to vaping and seemed to be doing quite well. The model I’d decided on was out of stock, so had to come back the next evening.
So I bought my last 10 pack of cigarettes on my way home, purposely choosing a brand I didn’t normally smoke or enjoy.
And interestingly, neither cigarette made me want to buy a pack or start smoking again. That alone is a good sign.
But there has been a down side as well… I’ve been gaining weight like crazy since quitting. And as a bigger guy already, it was something I didn’t need.
I had hoped by switching to the vape that the weight gain could have been prevented, and that perhaps I would start getting a bit more active. But unfortunately, the on-and-off-again foot/ankle/knee issues I’ve been having since coming back from Canada in October haven’t helped at all.
In fact, it’s made me quite lazy.
So now here I am, more than 80 days later, and I’m having to work on my health issues alongside my pseudo non-smoking habits (I don’t really use the vape that much some days). I don’t necessarily eat that badly most days, but it’s more about the quantities and the lack of exercise.
And I definitely had a shock upon weighing myself last week… I’ve topped out at almost 21 stone (that’s around 300 lbs or 130 kg… fuck 😦 ).
So… now I’ve started to watch my caloric intake and make myself walk a bit every day, even part way to work/home a few times a week. And I’ve signed up for the free ‘gym & swim’ card at my local council’s leisure centre that will allow me to use the facilities in the afternoons on the weekends and any time on Fridays.
Hopefully with these little changes, things can improve somewhat. I’m sure a part of my recent lack of feeling social has a lot to do with this, and each have impacted the other.
Oh and hopefully I can lose a few pounds before my next holiday in Gran Canaria.. I’m fairly comfortable in just my skin and all, but not when I’m feeling like a beached-whale. 😉