Friday, March 6, 2015

Eight and a half months update on quitting smoking cold turkey

It was eight and a half months ago that I tried to quit smoking cold turkey. So was it a success?

YES

Easy peasy. I really have found it extremely easy to quit smoking the cold turkey method, which is simply to stop without cutting down. I was on 20+ cigarettes per day for 15 years and less for around 10 years before that.

How did I quit smoking so easily?

Cold turkey with candies, lots of candies.


I am now a little fatter, maybe 1 stone (I am guessing that is 10+Kg). So I have been trying to switch from hard candies to more fruit, nuts and sugar free candies.

Due to travel in Asia, this has not been too easy, hence my weight gain. However I am now going to make a concerted effort to cut down on the candy and replace them with sugar free options less often.

Do I still get cravings?


Not at all. I don't let the thought of smoking enter my mind. Even as I type this I am able to not let a full cigarettes image enter my mind. When in a smoky area like a bar I switch to breathing through my mouth. If there is an ash tray on our table I remove it before sitting down. Like I said easy peasy.

Would I recommend this method?


100% yes. I will begin to loose weight soon, I am confident of that. I just saw a photo of me on a beach and it was in a very unflattering angle. I met someone I hadn't seen in 2 years and she said "Wow you got so fat" lol. 

The weight gain isn't too bad. Like I said you can get some sugar free candy, switch to fruit which is healthier sugar and now I am eating more nuts and sugar free gum which lasts longer.

It is better to be a bit fatter for 1 year than to die 12 years too early in a painful, long death. I am certain I will not smoke again because I don't want to. I am now one of those people who looks down on smokers and thinks "dumb idiots".

I bought 12 years extra life just by swapping smoking for hard candies like Worthers Original and coffee candy. Now I am getting bored of these sweets I shall snack less and less, and gradually get back to my normal weight.

If you are considering stopping just go for it. Don't let the thought of smoking get in your head, drink cranberry juice for the first 3 days and suck on a hard candy when you get the urge to light up. 

I do not miss smoking at all. It is poisonous and therefore it doesn't make sense to smoke. Once you have quit for a while you will just have disdain for smoking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

1 Month After Quitting and It is Getting Easier and Easier

It is now over one month since I quit smoking. I am finding it very easy, the cravings are very rare now. I don't envy people smoking nearby. So I am pretty confident that I am now a bona fide ex-smoker.

Health wise I have not noticed anything different besides the lack of the occasional small sore throat and coughing. I have been complimented on my complexion, I have been told my colour is now better.

I had my first cigarette when I was 8 years old and probably started smoking more than 5 a day in my early to mid teens. By my twenties I was on 10-15 a day and by my thirties 20-25 a day. So I have been a smoker for around 20-25 years and my lungs are probably almost black.

At 36 years old I would have been over half way through life if I had continued smoking. My guess would of been death before 70. Now that I have quit I have almost as long as I have been alive for my lungs (and the rest of my body) to repair. That sounds like a good amount of time to me and I am now confident of getting into my 80s.

a few benefits to quitting...

  • I no longer have to go outside to smoke which is crap when it rains or in the cold.
  • I no longer get condescending looks from people who realise I smoke.
  • I don't have to leave any social situations to nip out for a cig e.g. wanting to walk out of the cinema, getting up in between courses in restaurants or having to deal with the day to day cravings when not allowed to smoke for any period of time.
  • I am going to save a lot of money.
  • Myself and my home smell normal now.
  • I will probably find exercise much easier (when I get round to it).
  • But best of all I am now likely to avoid being one of those people that gets cancer too early and cries out with regret with things like "I'm not ready to die, I don't want to die yet" (if you have been bedside with someone dying from cancer young, you will know what I mean), and then later wishes to die because the daily, never ending pain is too much to bear.
In all honesty quitting smoking was easy compared to what I expected. Sugary snacks helped a lot (I am still chewing on Mentos a lot). The first week surprised me how easy it was, then days 7-12 tested me mentally, but after that it got easier and easier. 



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Day 15 - It is getting easier now

I am now at the 2 weeks mark and haven't touched a cigarette. I'm not sure if it is psychological but what I read about the 9th day being bad and the 2 week mark getting better seems to be true.

My last post was a week after quitting and it was starting to get harder. I would say that peaked around day 9 which is when many people seem to give in and light up again. The last couple of days have got noticeably easier. Now that I have done 2 weeks I am very confident that it will only get easier from here on in.

I have probably put half a stone of weight on, but so what. The cravings are getting less so I am snacking less. I'll deal with the weight soon. I am now able to do most things without getting "pangs" for a smoke (previously little things like sitting at my desk would remind me of smoking). Drinking booze still makes me miss smoking but I guess when I've done that more it will also fade too.

The future is looking good, I just keep reminding myself that I have probably extended my life by around 14 years and drastically reduced the chances of a long, painful death like lung cancer. I started smoking when I was 8 so maybe I won't get the full 14 years back, but quitting now will certainly help.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quitting smoking isn't getting any easier - day 7

It is now day 7 in the morning and quitting smoking is not getting any easier. Actually just the opposite since my last post on day 4. It is now becoming more of a mental battle.

The little pangs I felt in the first few days have been overtaken by longings for a cigarette. The cranberry juice is not needed anymore as the nicotine leaves the body on day 3 or 4. I have tried to continue snacking often which helps with blood sugar levels to combat pangs.

Today I am just about to take a 5HTP tablet as I feel like my serotonin level needs a boost. I think I read somewhere that many people light up again on day 9 so these next few days are crucial. Then after 2 weeks things should noticeably get easier.

One resource I have been reading is http://whyquit.com/ which has lots of articles on it. I often find a page to read which relates to a specific feeling. For example there was one which helped me yesterday about longing for one "ideal" cigarette. It made me realise that I have been romanticising about the perfect cigarette instead of looking at the bigger picture.

For the initial few days I was thinking "quitting smoking cold turkey isn't hard at all". Now I am realising that it is the week that follows the first few days which is more testing. Fingers crossed I can prevent the thoughts longing for a smoke from winning over the next few days.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Is Cranberry Juice really a miracle quit smoking tool?

It is now day 4 in the morning and I am wondering why everyone says quitting smoking is so hard. I have an urge to smoke (possibly because there is no sugar in me yet) so I have just pored a glass of cranberry juice and started chewing gum. I jut let the cravings sit there and then pass away, I don't start fretting about it.

I'm not sure whether it is the cranberry juice or not but I really haven't struggled quitting smoking so far. Day 3 is supposed to be the worst, but it wasn't an issue. I even managed to have a couple of beers last night which I thought could be hard. It wasn't so bad.

Besides the cranberry juice so far I have kept busy (cycled 8 miles yesterday), avoided too much work (bought and played on a video game a lot yesterday), snacked (a lot) and just keep in mind the one reason to quit smoking (avoiding a long, drawn out premature death filled with suffering e.g. lung cancer).

I've not done massive amounts or reading online but I think the general consensus is that day 3/4 is when the nicotine leaves the body and cravings peak. Then after 2 weeks things should really improve. Along the way I should notice things like easier breathing which will help keep motivated.

One more thing - before quitting I bought some cheap knock-off cigarettes. They were horrific and I feel like I have a very minor sore throat from them. So perhaps trying to replicate this with very strong cigs or even cigars could be a helping factor too? I can feel a little something in my throat which just helps me reinforce the fact that I shouldn't be smoking when I get the urge to.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Quitting Smoking Day 2

Yesterday I took the plunge and decided to quit. It started pretty well and by afternoon I was feeling confident enough to throw away my cigarettes and ash trays.

I am now mid-way through day 2. I am getting cravings but they really aren't too bad. The worst is when I do something which reminds me of smoking. Then I get a kind of deja vu flash back which makes me miss having a smoke.

I am using cranberry juice as it is said to help with cravings (regulates sugar levels or something?) and may help flush nicotine out of the body faster. I've only been able to find 15% juice cartons so I had almost 3 litres of that yesterday.

I have also been snacking a lot. I really couldn't care less if I put some weight on. If snacking for a week or so helps me quit that is awesome. Peanuts, chips/crisps, chewing gum and chewy Mentos have been my friends in the past day and a half. Also had some Jasmine tea which is probably a good thing.

So far so good. I am just working from a single reason to quit- to prevent the very high chance of dying a smokers' death- a long, drawn out, painful death from something like lung cancer. So far that thought has overwhelmed the slight pangs I am getting to have a smoke.

I have also been doing more exercise and less work. I think it is the first 3-4 days which are supposed to be worst, then the body is nicotine free. So I plan on resuming regular eating and work habits soon. Any kind of sitting around doing nothing is bad and doing something new or outdoors is good as it helps to occupy the mind.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

This Blog Was An Idiotic Idea It's Time To Quit

So I started this blog in 2012 thinking there would be some cool ways of being a healthy smoker by eating certain foods and supplements. What sounded cool was really a silly idea. I never managed to come up with anything to support getting healthier whilst smoking.

After being a smoker for most of my life I have decided to give quitting a serious try. The one thing I will be using to help me is cranberry juice. Also hopefully posting on this blog will help keep me motivated. I am just going to use cranberry juice because I read online once that it can help:

"This really works because nicotine raises your blood sugar, juice does the same thing. If you keep your blood sugar level, quitting is so much easier. All the craziness and mood swings after quitting are blood sugar related. Usually straightens itself out after a week or two." source: a forum

The above comment on a forum was enough to convince me to try cranberry. I don't expect the drink to have a massive effect. Really my method will be cold turkey and if the juice can help a little that will be great.

Why cold turkey?
I tried Zyban once and it worked until I stupidly had just one cigarette when on holiday. It is a drug you take for something like 3 months and after 8 days or so I just didn't want to smoke anymore.

At the beginning of this year I tried the new drug Chantix. That didn't work at all for me and I am guessing that this is because I had used Zyban in the past. It does seem to work for most other people.

I have tried an electronic cigarette which didn't work for me. I just ended up using it for long haul flights.

I read the Alan Carr stop smoking book and another one. They didn't work for me either.

So that leaves me with holistic treatments (acupuncture, hypnosis etc...) or cold turkey. I have decided to just bite the bullet and go cold turkey. I'm not going to try and con my brain or anything, I am just going to try and ride it out until the cravings are (almost) gone. I doubt they will ever go away 100%.

I will probably start Googling for quitting aids as soon as I start, so I will let you know if anything helps. For now I just want to keep it in my mind that I will probably avoid a drawn out, painful death by quitting whilst still in my mid-thirties.