Friday, October 16, 2009

No butts about it...

After reading Menden's guest post over at DefiningWellness today I was inspired to write about my own experience with quitting smoking.  I just had my one year anniversary of being a non-smoker a few weeks ago and I have to agree with Menden 100% when she said quitting smoking enabled her to achieve other healthy goals.

In the last few years before I quit I started to feel really embarrassed by the fact that I was a smoker.  I hid it from the people I went to school with and of course from my parents.  I'm actually still pretty embarrassed about it and this post is kind of hard for me to write! 

Smoking really became a crutch for me and an excuse to continue an unhealthy lifestyle.  I started smoking when I was in high school where I would dismiss exercise or other physical activity because "I was a smoker".  Because I couldn't (wouldn't) exercise I used that as an excuse to not eat so good.   This was fine when I was younger and had a different metabolism, but as I got older this lifestyle added on the pounds.

I tried to quit a million times.  Ok, really probably about 5 times.  That's really trying to quit, not just saying I was going to quit!  One day I woke up and felt horrible; my chest hurt, my mouth felt disgusting, my hair smelled- I was done.  I decided to quit.  Just like that it was for real.

Don't get me wrong- quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I really wanted to smoke!  But I really wanted to not smoke more.  I told my friends and asked for their support.  Alot of my friends smoked at the time so I knew it would be hard to be around them.  I had nicotine gum if I needed it but it turned out I didn't need it very often.  Over the last 6 months of being a smoker I switched to ultra lights and cut down to 4 or 5 cigarettes a day.  By the time I decided I was ready to give it up, I wasn't getting very much nicotine.  My quit was more of a mental challenge than a chemical addiction.

It was definitely a challenge to quit and sometimes it still is!  My biggest trigger is social drinking, which I try to stay away from now.  I still have to have internal conversations with myself where I explain that I don't really want to smoke.  Exercising is one of the best ways to motivate myself to keep it up!  I started adding physical activity about 2 months after I quit.  One of the first things I noticed was I could do 20 minutes on the elliptical without gasping for air.  Before, I couldn't stay on for even 5 minutes!  Once I started exercising, it was easier to make other healthy decisions.  I felt so bogged down by smoking- like it pigeon-holed me into a type of person, a person I didn't want to be.  It was amazing how changing one habit helped me in so many other areas- it was my springboard! 

Now I exercise regularly and eat pretty good too!  Smoking was hindering me from becoming the healthy person I wanted to be.  And now I'm on my way...

I really want to encourage anyone who smokes (even in-the-closet smokers!) to really think about quitting.  You will know when it's the right time for you!  And you can do it!



  1. Hey Kat! I feel like this post is almost word for word the same as my experience when I was smoking and when I decided to quit! Wow. Anyway - wanted to say thanks for sharing - and congratulations on being a "quitter" :)

    I'll look forward to visiting your blog again!


  2. Great post Kat ;-) Wow, it's amazing to think a year has passed since you had your last cigarette. As a friend, I'm so glad you made this decision. It takes discipline and dedication to make the commitment you have. I'm proud of you lady!

  3. Congratulations on a year of being smoke free!! Its the way to be ;) What a really great post that I think will really help others thinking about quitting