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Alright everyone, I'm beginning to go into euphoria!  Laughing  Seriously!!!  Things have been going really good since the last blog.  For starters, at my weigh in on Saturday I found out I lost 6 pounds!  WOOHOO!  That takes care of the 5 I gained that one week, plus an extra one to help even the score with my post-smoking weight.  To that I say it's about dang time!  I was starting to think I was going to have to get my old pants out from after I turned 21 (that's another story–lets just say I miss drinking Budweiser, but the scale doesn't). 


Second, I have more energy–I don't feel so sluggish.  Remember a few weeks ago when I said I felt like so "blah"?  Ta-dah–it's gone!  Thank God, I was getting worried there for minute that I was morphing into Jabba or something.  Lastly, I have noticed an improvement in my complexion.  There have been no new breakouts and it feels more smooth and supple.  Hmm, I wonder how much I'll save on foundation….


At any rate, I have about another 5 pounds to lose to be where I was before I quit smoking (which by the way, I'm almost at 20 days smoke-free).  I still don't have the physical urges to smoke, but I do occasionally get a craving for one, just like one drag or something.  Don't worry–I'm not going to do it.  I've worked to hard this last month to get where I'm at to let it all go down the pooper!


My trip to the grocery store was fun (and thanks to the power of typed word, you can't sense the sarcasm in my tone).  It took twice as long to make it through, but in the end it was worth it.  Reading labels takes some time, but you would be surprised what a difference it can make in something as simple as oatmeal.


I have found my savor to chocolate cravings–Jell-O sugar free, fat free pudding.  Surprisingly people, it's actually good!  I've become an expert at opening a can of tuna and draining it in less than 30 seconds, so much so I'm considering buying stock in Starkist.  I'm mastering the size of a tbsp and tsp, and flaxseed has become my yogurt's new friend.  The dust has been cleared off of my Gazelle, and I'm getting ancy to go bike riding.


All in all, I'm liking this new, correct, way of eating.  However, when I lay tucked in my bed, visions of cheese conies still dance in my head. Tongue out

OK, so I've had a bit of a rollercoaster with the diet thing.  I went to my very first Personal Newtrition class on Monday night–woohoo!  I was totally pumped to meet Chrisy (who by the way, is soooo absolutely GREAT) and get this whole ball rolling.  After checking in, Holly weighed me in and took my blood pressure.  I think I about passed out–since last Friday I gained 5 pounds! Yell  What in the H-E-double hockey sticks did I do to gain 5 freakin' pounds?!  Granted I had Skyline on Friday night so I could get one good fast food in before I had to really watch everything, but geesh, 5 pounds?  I figured I'd probably gain a couple more, but not this much!  Certainly a few cheese coneys could not be the cause of this horid thing!


Ahh, once again, the culprit–my quitting smoking (which by the way, I'm still going strong–thank you, thank you).  Well, quitting and my lack of exercise.  Oh yeah, I want to add that it IS best that I am dieting along with my quitting.  Chrisy said that my body is recognizing nutients again, plus the metabolism thing, so doing them hand-in-hand will be better for me.


Alright, back to the class…


So sweet, nice, Holly keeps me from not breaking down and crying right there by reminding me how our weight can fluctuate during the day, and not to worry because as of that moment I'm doing something about it.  After the huge let down in the weigh in, I sat down in the conference room, tucking at my hoodie as if I was poking out of my clothes.  Nice me, reeaaalllyyy nice.  I think I have gained about 12 pounds since I quit smoking, not exactly a comforting thought, but Holly is right, I'm doing something about it.


We learned a lot on Monday.  I received my meal plan and calorie intake–1,400 calories a day–yikes!  Surprised  Of course everyone had a different plan, so don't take my plan for your own!  OK?  Remember, I'm just the patient, not the dietician here folks.  At any rate, we went through the dietary exchange book, which is really awesome.  This thing shows all the exchanges and helpful hints–it has become my new guide.  It is so amazing to see how much we eat that is not in correct portions.  I was reading the nutrional facts on a bag of frozen chicken breasts today…did you know the serving size is 1/2 of one of those breasts, not the whole thing?  I have never ate 1/2 a piece of chicken–unless it's after I ate full piece and was still hungry!  Undecided  Now think of what you eat when you go out–crazy, isn't it?


Well I felt good leaving the class.  I am on the way to a healthier (and thinner) me.  I would have done a cartwheel in the parking lot if I knew I could make it!  That lasted through the next day until I got home work.  I was trying to figure out what I could eat, and then I started freaking out.  I was hungry and for some reason every bit of common sense went out the door.  I was reading my exchange book like a monkey doing a math problem.  ARRGGHH!!!!  I was making the exchanges way harder then they are, but hunger must have turned me into a blubbering idiot.  In frustration I ate leftovers from the night before and went to bed pissed off at myself at 5:00.


I called Chrisy today to ask about the exchanges and some other things (like what to do with the Girl Scout cookies that came in yesterday).  I feel so relieved that I talked to her.  She helped me with my exchange questions, and took the time to go over some nutrtion labels of stuff I was thinking about eating.  She also helped me with my Girl Scout cookie dilema.  Looks like I won't be eating a sleeve of thin mints in one sitting this year!  Tongue out


So now I'm off to the grocery store.  I've made out a couple of meal plans on my own and I'm pretty impressed with myself.  I'm putting up my before picture today for all of my faithful readers to see.  It was taken a few weeks ago, so add a little more than the 10 the camera already puts on.


Well, unfortunately the weather caused my class to get cancelled on Saturday, but it has been rescheduled for Monday night.  So I'm sorry to say, there is no news yet on what new task lies before me.  I can't wait to get a start on this!  I stepped on the scale today and about cried.  Since I started everything back at the beginning of the month, I have gained around, ehh, 7 or 8 pounds.  I expected it–I think its a given when someone quits an addiction.  Trust me, its not that I'm comfortable with it by any means (come on, is anyone comfortable with it when their belt has to be let loose a notch?).  I guess it's that I knew it would happen, but at the same time, I know I'm in the works for doing something about it.  I am happy to say though that I am on day #10 with no cigarettes–yeah for me! Laughing


Tonight it dawned on me exactly what I'm doing.  I mean, I know somewhat of the game plan, bit I just finished watching a show on TLC and it really hit me….


The show was about compulsive eaters, how it is an addiction and eating disorder.  They had four people featured and doctors and experts discussed their individual calorie intake and what their bodies were doing.  They did something very interesting, which made me start to wonder about myself.  They took everything they eat on a daily basis and put it out on a table for them to see.  It was crazy!  There was one man who consumes over 36,000 calories in A DAY!  Yes, 36,000–what an average man consumes in two weeks!


The odd thing is each person didn't realize what they were doing to themselves until they seen the table spread of what they were eating.  One woman said that it made her salivate and feel sick at the same time.  How can we as humans get to this point?  Yes, a bowl of creamy chicken alfredo with a slice of rich, smooth cheesecake for dessert can make one feel that exact way, but how do we get to the point of disaster?


Each person who is overweight has their own turn-ons and weak points.  For me, it's my cravings for Friday night fast food and chocolate.  I love my steak and pasta.  I have to have my half a pot of coffee and vanilla creamer–the real creamer.


I have a feeling I don't have to completely say goodbye to my loves, but there is going to be some serious calorie counting from here on out.

This weather has kept me from posting up to date entries, so hopefully after this I should be up to date.  Look for a new entry this weekend and a "before" picture, as I start my 6 week program on Saturday!


Saturday, February 10th


Alright, day #2 of no smoking.  This morning has been quite the test for me.  I made my coffee and just sat here thinking about what was missing.  I want one so bad, it’s just unbelievable.  I’m sort of disoriented too.  I feel kind of fuzzy, like that feeling you get when you have to wake up hours before you are used to.  It’s like I’m doped up on some cold medicine.  All I know is this sucks.


I had some time to think last night.  I thought about where I was from a health stance.  My meeting with Holly was a serious wake up call.  As I filled out my paperwork, I told her about my dad’s heart attack and how it was so surprising when it all happened.  We talked about some other health stuff, and as we went through the process, I started putting pieces of the puzzle together.


As we started things out, she took my height and weight.  Good news is I am a quarter inch taller than what I thought I was, bad news is I’m about five pounds heavier than I was that morning.  Holly explained that’s normal, we can vary in weight throughout the day.  Still, when I seen her tap that marker higher and higher on the scale, I felt my heart just sink.  “What am I doing to myself?” I thought.  I have to keep telling myself my metabolism has slowed, that I knew this was going to happen with my quitting smoking, but it was just hard to swallow—no pun intended.


Next came the measurements, the dreaded time when I find out just how big my waistline is.  First she measured my arms and my legs, which I started to get a little too cocky about.  HA!  My arms and legs are the best part of my body!  At least one thing was going to look good on that paper!  Then came the waist…ohhh, the dreaded waist.  Holly put the measuring tape just under my bra,  and I was like, “Heck yeah, that’s the thinnest part!  My measurements are going to look good!”  My parade was very quickly rained on.  “Umm, no, I just hook the tape together there.  I need you to pull it down so it is even with your belly button.”  I felt like a deflating balloon, shriveling up to a wrinkled piece of latex.  Reluctantly I put it in the proper place, and squinted as I braced myself for the results.


Turns out my thin legs and arms aren’t so good.  Apparently my waistline is not in proportion with the other measurements, which means that my small extremities and big waist puts me at higher risk for heart disease.  That’s freakin’ spectacular.  Talk about hitting a brick wall—that wasn’t what I thought I was going to hear.  As if that wasn’t enough, the old body mass index chart got pulled out.  It looks like a chart on the back of a pantyhose box, and it’s divided into 3 colors from left to right:  white, yellow, and red.  Anyone want to take a wild guess as to which color I was in?  Ding, ding, ding!!!  If you guessed red, you are correct!  As she lined me up, I stammered out, “Ughhh, I’m in the red, aren’t I?”  God bless Holly.  She smiled reassuringly, and said, “Yes, but we are going to get you into the yellow.”


So here I sit, thinking about yesterday and what I’ve got to do now.  I’m in that grey area, where I’m not by medical terms morbidly obese, but I’m also not healthy.  Having my flaws wrote on paper stung, but not as bad as hearing my future health risks.  I don’t want to have what happened to my dad happen to me.  With him, it came out of nowhere—we were all blind sided by it, and heaven forbid the same thing happen to me down the road.  To be honest, it scared me to hear what I was being told, but I guess I need that swift kick to my butt.


Sunday, February 11th


Day #3 smoke free!  I can’t believe I’m doing it, or should I say making it!  I’m not going to lie, I have had quite a few moments where I thought about getting some cigarettes today.  I miss it, but I keep telling myself I’m doing the right thing.  It’s like a break-up.  It’s that urge to just call the guy one last time, but you know you are going to be the fool if you do.  The only thing is I don’t a friend here to slap the phone out of my hand when break down.  I just keep telling myself I’m almost there—and now for some odd reason I’m playing The Little Engine That Could in my head.  That’s another thing—at times I totally lose focus.  I’m still a little disoriented with that foggy feeling, and the headache is minimal.  I hope this goes away soon!


I have found some organizing projects to do since I seem to be wired and slightly edgy.  I went through EVERYTHING in the bathroom, from tossing old products to taking Q-tips to the rails on the sliding drawers.  Next came the hall closet where I cut up (and evenly folded) pieces of old t-shirts for Pledge rags.  Ahh, sometimes being obsessive can be such a relief!


Wish me luck as I face the first official work week with no smoke breaks!  I know I won’t miss standing out in the cold!


Wednesday, February 14th


Blah, all I can say is blah.  The weather is blah and I feel blah.  I feel so incredible sluggish, not to mention sick.  Our power was out all through the night, and I guess sleeping with a hat and gloves under 3 blankets just wasn’t enough.  I can’t quite tell what my body is doing.  I’m tired, drained, and my body feels like it is recuperating from a bad bug.  I don’t know if it is a result of being so cold, or if I’m slowing down as the nicotine gets out of my system.  Who knows, maybe it’s a combo of both.  If anyone else has experienced this while quitting, please, let me know.


Good news is I’m still going strong.  I don’t have the physical urge to smoke, but I often I find myself longing to sit back and take another drag off one.  Driving isn’t too bad, but of course the road conditions have helped me with the need to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times.  I did think about getting a pack the other day though.  I kept thinking how easy it would be to just swing by a drive-thru for one last pack, just to get that feeling of another drag.


It was hard yesterday to fight that feeling.  When the power went out in the middle of the afternoon, I got bored fast.  I paced and paced and paced, then paced some more.  I think I wore a path on the carpet I paced so much.  Ohh, all I wanted was a cigarette to occupy myself.  I could have even hovered over it to keep warm!  In the silence of the house, I could hear the sound of cigarette paper crackling as it burns with each drag.


It could have also been the sound of trees snapping under the pressure of the ice, but it sure didn’t help my imagination.


I'm almost there!


Monday, February 5th


I just got back from the store, and I have some mixed feelings with myself right now.  I bought another pack. Undecided I’m telling myself this will be my last one, and hopefully it is.  Yes, I caved, I’m beating myself up for it, but hear me out.  I finished the last cigarette from the pack I bought Thursday on a break at work today and it just didn’t feel right.  I don’t know how to exactly describe it, but it just wasn’t right.  I guess this is where the “it’s a mental thing” kicks in—it wasn’t how I planned it.  For starters I certainly didn’t want to have the last one at work.   I want it to be at home, my comfort zone.  It’s like I’m attending a funeral or something, like I have to prep myself and have one last special moment with a loved one before they are buried.  I have to say my farewells respectfully, make my peace with it.  LOL—I’m hoping that some of you reading this know what I’m feeling so I don’t sound like such a loon to others.


At any rate, I bought a different brand, plus they are ultra lights, so I’m hoping that helps.  I also bought two bags of Charms Blowpops (thank God for Valentines candy—I scored all cherry flavored bags).  See, I tried quitting another time and I found the Charms to work better for two reasons: 1) they last longer, and 2) I can gnaw at the sucker covered gum in frustration when I’m done. 


So here I am, with my last pack.  I’m going to cherish these next few days, spend some quality time with my nicotine friends.  I want to say good-bye the right way, and trust me, a time limit in a musty smoke hut just isn’t the way to go.


Wednesday, February 7th


Well, I survived the horrible traffic conditions and cabin fever the last two days.  Yesterday was atrocious, as you all know.  Fortunately, my shift ended early in the afternoon yesterday, and by the grace of God, I beat the horrible traffic backups.  Still, the drive home took almost an hour, and I only smoked one cigarette.  The drive to work today was just shy of my trip home, and I got two in.  My shift today is incredibly short, so I had most the day to stay in the house.  I smoked a little more than I wanted to, but I’ve got my timeline prepared, so I had to ration them out correctly.


I’ve figured it out to where I can smoke my last one at home tomorrow night.  I’m wondering how I’m going to do it, much less how I’m going to make it.  All I know is I can’t buy another pack once as I finish this one off.  I’ve had almost 3 weeks to prep myself for this, there is no excuse from here on out.  For some reason I keep getting this mental image of some hard-core personal trainer screaming in my face, “THERE ARE NO EXCUSES!  NO PAIN, NO GAIN!”  I literally shake my head to snap out of it.  Funny, I don’t remember hallucinations the last time I tried to quit.  I’m kind of nervous about tomorrow, but I’m even more nervous about the days after that.  I’ve had some headaches, some mood swings, but in the past I’ve gone right back to smoking.


Tomorrow is another day, but also the last day.  This really ought to be interesting.


Thursday, February 8th


Well, this is it.  Today is the day.  I’m actually sad!  I don’t know what the deal is, I just feel like I’m losing a friend.  I have spent over 8 years smoking.  Cigarettes have been my companion through broken hearts, arguments, and some very hard times.  I always found comfort in a cup of coffee, a smoke, and some alone time.  It’s hard to believe how a small object can have such an impact on my life.  I am literally emotional over never having another Camel again.


Of course the first couple years of my smoking weren’t bad.  I was still in high school and only smoked at work and on the weekends.  I think I hid it from parents until a few months after actually turning 18.  I think the world stopped turning for just a second when my family found out that I smoked.  How did this honor society, athletic, and well-mannered girl start smoking?  *GASP* absolutely appalling! Surprised


Maybe all of these emotions are just a part of the nicotine withdrawal—at least I’m hoping so.  I have one cigarette left.  It’s “THE” cigarette.  This is the moment I have built everything up to so far.  I don’t know at what point in the evening I will smoke it, but I’m going to have to do it sometime.


Friday, February 9th


Today has been a bit of a rollercoaster.  I ended up smoking that last cigarette this morning on my way to work.  I fell asleep on the couch shortly after writing my piece from yesterday, and by the time I woke up at midnight, I just didn’t have it in me to say goodbye while half asleep.  I think it was better this way.  After all, driving is my biggest trigger point, plus I had my coffee.  I had a sign as well.  Yes, as weird as it sounds, I totally believe in them, and man did I have one.  I decided it was time, and as I lit my last cigarette and breathed it in, I changed the radio to WEBN.  No sooner had I slowly blew out the smoke, the chorus of Linkin Park’s song sang to me loud and clear.  “I’m breaking the habit, I’m breaking the habit…”


That sealed the deal.  If that wasn’t a clear cut sign, I don’t know what is.  The funny thing is that it was settling.  It was as if that’s how that chapter of my life was supposed to end.  I just leaned back into my seat and savored every last bit of the cigarette with this, “Here’s to you kid,” smirk on my face.  As the moment came to give it once last flick, everything slowed down.  I let the window down a little, and then I let it go, watching the amber glow scatter onto the highway from my side mirror.  It was like that scene from “Titanic” where Rose has to let go of Jack and he falls slowly into the darkness of the ocean.  *sniff  sniff* Cry


The work day was long and nauseating.  I thought about asking for one when break time came, but I didn’t.  I certainly did not want to give in that easily.  Thank God I’m so dang stubborn.  I gnawed through my fair share of Blow Pops until 12:30.  Here is where the torture started.


At 4:30 I had my appointment with Holly from Personal Newtrition to get my “stats” for my classes next week.  The rule is no calorie or caffeine consumption 4 hours before the test.  All I could have was water for 4 hours.  No suckers, no gum, no Crystal Light—just pure agony.  Of course it probably wouldn’t have been sheer torture if I hadn’t smoked my last cigarette in the morning, but noooooooo, I had to give it all up today.  All I can say is I’m glad nobody ticked me off that afternoon, or else I might have been escorted out of the building.


The saga continues…


Monday, January 29th


Well, I survived today in pretty good shape.  I finished the pack I got on Friday by the end of the work day today, which is actually pretty good.  To last three days, much less it being the weekend, with one pack is amazing.  My normal work day cigarette count is 3 on the way in, 2 on both breaks, 3 on lunch, and 3 again on the way home.  So counting the few I might have throughout the night, I can go through a pack a day.


I made it to work today only smoking two.  Becky (the gal who is quitting with me) and I decided that we will cut back to 1 on breaks and 2 on lunch, then decrease again next week.  The trip home I also had two.  I picked up a pack when I left, so here’s to starting another pack countdown.


Tuesday, January 30th


ARRGGHHH!!!  Today was a bad day for my smoking.  I did so-so on the count, but boy was I hacked off at something with my Jeep.  Technically I should say I’m still hacked off, and really it’s with the guys at the shop.  Why is it that just because I am a female, car mechanics want to treat me like an incompetent, helpless, woman?  HELLO!  Just because I have breasts doesn’t mean I don’t know my way around a vehicle.  So I’m pissed to the 100th degree.  Having a flashback, I should have thrown their stupid tools out the shop doors!  I wanted to grab them by their shirt collars and scream, “I’m trying to quit smoking and you’re not helping me AT ALL, you, you judgmental *bleep*!!!!”  Yell I’m not going back there again, and I’m sure they don’t care—I had “attitude” and another choice word wrote all over me on my way out the doors.


Whew, alright, now that’s off my chest…


So I smoked a couple more than I wanted to today.  I’m kind of upset, but I’m OK with it.  I know had it been a month before this, I would have gone through half a pack just stewing about my ordeal at the shop.  I guess I can look at the bright side of this—I got my first situation to get pissed about out of the way.  Wow, I forgot how bad the moodiness can get with quitting!


Thursday, February 1st


Well I purchased my third, and hopefully my last, pack of cigarettes tonight.  I kind of went through my other pack fast, but I shared some on Wednesday with Becky.  Good news, I didn’t smoke at all on my way to work this morning.  Of course I had none, but I suppose I needed that. Undecided I bummed some from Becky during the day for breaks, and she gave me one for my ride home.  I ate dinner with some friends and didn’t have to step outside, of course because I still had none.  They were happy to hear about my quitting and all my life-altering changes I have planned, so it feels good to have that support.  After my trip to the grocery store, I smoked one, the last one for the day.


I’m starting to get a little nervous.  My last pack.  This is it.  I’ve already planned out how I’m going to ration them.  I feel like I’m stuck on a deserted island and I have no way to get more cigarettes.  Can I do it?  I’m beginning to question my decision not to use the patch or other quitting aides.  I bought the 100’s, thinking that will help me stretch it out long enough to get the nicotine out of my system.  Will it work?  I guess we’ll find out.


Friday, February 2nd


So I did alright on my count today.  I had one on my way to work, and two on my way home, which included some errands I had to run.  I started getting a headache at work today.  My first sign of nicotine withdrawal—goodie.  I’m guessing it was from yesterday and my severe cut back.  All I can think is, “grrreeeaat.”  I noticed another thing today that is apparently from my cut back.  I stepped on the scale this morning and wasn’t too happy.  I’ve already picked up a couple of pounds.  I was wondering when that was going to happen, now I know.  Not a good day folks, not a good day.Frown


I can see now why Chrisy from Personal Newtrition told me to quit before I go on this 6-week program.  Before the program you have a metabolic test done so they can figure out how your diet should go according to your metabolism.  In the case of someone who smokes, and isn’t quitting, they can’t have nicotine 1 hour before the test because smoking speeds up your metabolism.


I want to get on this diet now.  Personal Newtrition’s program is really going to help—I’ll go into detail on that a little later.  I’m thinking about getting a head start and jumping on my Tony Little Gazelle.  I can’t believe I’m already gaining weight!  I haven’t changed my eating habits at all, except for that extra chocolate I had on Wednesday.  Surely THAT couldn’t add a few pounds!  Headaches and now the scale is tipping.  What have I got myself into?  It takes every bit of me to convince myself I’m better off doing it now rather than later down the line.  I wanted to quit before I got my teeth fixed, so I need to just get it done and over with.  “Suck it up chump!” is all I have to tell myself.  If I can’t break this habit, how weak am I?  I honestly don’t want to answer that right now. 


Saturday February 3rd


Once again, I did alright with my cigarette count today.  In comparison to where I was 2 weeks ago, I’m doing well.  By now I would have easily gone through 8 packs, and I’m still on my 3rd.  So why am I feeling so down?


To all you people who have quit smoking out there, bless your nicotine-free hearts.  I have heard so many suggestions for ways to quit.  Cold turkey, weaning, take some from each new pack and toss them, the patch, gum, blah blah blah.  I’m getting aggravated and irritated with the thought of not having my filter-tipped companions.  This is hard—harder than I thought it was going to be.


I need to do this.  I want to do this.  I’ve put myself out there for everyone to see, I can’t give up.  I want people to read this and be able to relate to what I’m going through.  I want everyone who is facing weight loss or breaking the smoking habit to see they aren’t alone.  I’m a real person, not just some picture in a magazine with a woman wearing men’s jeans, holding them out like she “really” lost the weight.  I’m a real person, not some picture in an ad for a patch or pill.  This is the real deal.  It’s hard, I’m not going to lie, but it’s going to be soooo worth it in the long run.


I have to laugh sometimes.  I keep having this mental image of what I’m going to look like and feel like 6 months from now.  You know what’s odd when I think about that?  I’m so happy.  I picture myself smiling, just loving where I’m at.  It’s not that I’m not happy now, I love everything about my life.  It’s just that I see a better me, a more healthy me.  I’ve decided that’s my “goal picture”.  I might not have a physical picture to post up by my mirror or at my desk to see every day, but by God, I can still see it.


It’s gonna be a rough road, but I think I’m going to make.  I might stumble along the way, but I’ll get there.


Hello Cincy Chic readers! 

This is the first official blog entry, but I should give you a heads up first.  I had to start some journal entries before I could technically blog on the site, so I'm going to post the first week, then in a few days I'll post last week, followed by this week come Monday.  After that I should be in real-time.  Well, here we go!

Thursday, January 25th


Tomorrow starts my great life change.  I want to put this out there for all you women who are possibly attempting the same things I will be doing.  It’s sort of going to be a real life testimony, as well as something everyone can relate to—straight from my world to this blog.  Hopefully many of you can relate to what the future holds for me, and maybe provide you a good laugh along the way. 


I should start by telling everyone what exactly it is I am doing and why.  I suppose it all started about six or seven months ago when I was talking to an orthodontist about getting my teeth fixed.  See, I have had this horrible gap in my teeth from where a permanent tooth never came down, causing my mouth to never “fill” properly.  It’s my self-conscious thing—and of course its gotta be the first thing most people notice (great, isn’t it?). 


So anyways, I’m being told I will need oral surgery and veneers—which is frickin’ fantastic because I can skip the whole braces thing, but not so fantastic because it’s going to cost some serious dough to get my grill in shape.  It’s all good though, because this is something I need to get done, so 2007 will ring in a new smile for me.  Let’s all sing it, you know you want to, “Let me see yo’ grill—yo’ yo’ yo’ grill!”


Alright, so this leads to my first big step of the change, and probably the hardest.  I’m a *gasp*…smoker.  I’ve been told to quit numerous times by my doctor, not just for the typical reasons, but for family medical history.  My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and my father, although a seemingly healthy man, had a heart attack two years ago which resulted in a 5-way bypass.  Oh, and both of my grandfathers died of cancer.  Genetically, the odds are against me.


I’ve known I need to quit for a long time, but never had anything pushing me.  I always said that when the day comes I end up prego that it will seal the deal for quitting.  That is until I found out about my teeth.  I dread the dentist, and the thought of getting dry-socket or some other infection makes my skin crawl.  So my new goal was to quit when I get my teeth fixed.  I would like to add here that the new smoking ban has absolutely NOTHING to do with me quitting.  That’s a whole other beef I have, but I feel it’s important to state that I am quitting for personal reasons, not because of legislation.


Well, I got to thinking.  Why not do a whole health make-over?  There is that dreaded thought smokers have of gaining weight, and that is on half of my mind.  The other half comes down to that fact I need to eat better.  Actually, I should say I need to eat healthier.  So, I’m teaming up with Personal Newtrition to help with my “healthier me” quest.


Tomorrow starts the change…God’s speed me, may the force be with me.


Friday, January 26th


Ok, so my game plan is this:  weaning myself off of cigarettes.  It’s a modified cold turkey, but one of the nurses from Personal Newtrition suggested it.  I figured I’ll start this weekend so I have better odds of cutting back during those nice, cold breaks at work.  Which leads to another thing—work.  One of my gal pals also smokes and she wants to quit with me.  So this should work out good.  I’ve got the quitting buddy, which is going to help out when the cravings hit.


Ahh, the cravings.  Only a smoker knows the agony of quitting and getting through those, “I need a cigarette!” moments.  Some people are all, “You should quit!” or “Can’t you just wait to smoke?”  To that I say, “NO!” and “NO!”  Newsflash—it’s not like switching from regular pop to diet.  It’s an addiction, a physical and mental addiction.  I’ve been told it takes 3 days for nicotine to get out of your system and the rest is just mind over matter.  It’s all about those trigger points.  It’s amazing what your mind can do to you.  I’ve attempted quitting once before, and it was pure hell.  Headaches and mood swings, not to mention that voice in the back of my head saying, “just do it, one more, come on, it will taste so good!” 


Of course I tried quitting at the worst possible time.  A close friend had just left for Iraq, which I promised him I would quit before he came home.  I was also 21—that new, bar hopping, drinking age.  Emotional female + 21 years old =  not a chance.  That lasted a week, and all I got from that was an afternoon finding tools I had hurled into our yard (I mentioned the mood swings, right?).


Let’s just hope I don’t have another tool-tossing episode.  I’m thinking about investing in a dart board.


Saturday, January 27th


OK, so I think I might make it.  Of course I’m not even a day into it, but it’s been a good 15 hours.  This weaning thing just might work.  I guess I should make it known that I’m doing this with no patch or pill.  Sheer will power is my source, of course powered by my control freak-I can do it myself-I don’t need your stinkin’ help attitude.  Yes, I’m bullheaded, but I prefer to call it “strong willed”.


This is why I think I can do this—I drove for almost an hour last night, in stand-still traffic at that, and didn’t pull a Kathy Bates scene from Fried Green Tomatoes (“Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.”—haha, great movie!).  See, driving is a big smoking trigger for me.  I can go less than 5 minutes down the street, but I HAVE to burn a smoke the second I get I click that seatbelt.  It’s a compulsion.  I remember one time I ran out before I could another pack and I felt like a crack addict needing a fix the whole 10 minutes drive.  Pathetic, right?  Yes, I know.


Anyways, I was making the long haul to my mom’s house for some quality mother-daughter time, and typically I smoke, ehh, like four cigarettes during the drive, sometimes five.  I’m proud to say I smoked two!  Yes ladies (and gentleman who might be reading this), I said two!  It gets even better—I ate enough pizza to technically commit one of the seven deadly sins (ok, that’s not such a good thing), but I didn’t have an after-meal smoke.  Oh, and yes, there is such a thing, it’s like chocolate cake and a cup of coffee for smokers.  It’s one of those after dinner mints, something that settles the food.  I don’t know exactly how else to describe it, but trust me, it’s real.


So I made it through the night, with just those two cigarettes I had on the drive.  Then I had to face my next challenge—my morning coffee.  For me (and I’m sure other smokers can attest to this) there’s two drinks that go hand in hand with a cigarette—coffee and beer.  On the weekends I can just sit outside and relax for an hour with my coffee and smokes, probably going through about 4 cups of coffee and twice as many cigarettes.  Thank God this morning it was cold.  I brewed up my coffee, and piddled around as long as I could before I HAD to go smoke.  I think I made it about 30 minutes before I cracked.  I headed outside and I’m proud to say I smoked just one!  “Alright,” I thought, “just one, that’s good.  It’s not two or four , right?”


Another hour or so later, I got the uncontrollable urge to smoke again, which by the way, I had been fighting for 45 minutes.  Ah ha!  I decided to smoke ½ a cigarette, which turned out to be just enough.  I figured to save it for the drive home, so I put it out half way and headed back inside. 


I started to think that I needed to make a plan.  Some sort of weird plan that will help me with the dang urges I get while driving.  I have this weird thing I do with smoking in the car.  On trips that I make routinely, such as work, going to my moms, to the store, etc., I have land markers that I have to smoke by, such as exits, or buildings.  I need to do something about this—and fast.  That’s where this, “it’s all mental after a while” thing kicks in.  So my game plan for my trip home from my moms is that I couldn’t smoke until I had been driving for 5 miles.  After that, I had to wait another 10 before I could smoke another.


Well, I’m home now and I’m proud to say that I smoked that ½ cigarette from earlier this morning and one more.  I beat myself at my own game!  I could have squeezed another one in there, but I didn’t.  Woo hoo!!! Another point for me!  I think I just might get through this.


Sunday, January 28th


OK, last night was a true testament to the challenge that lies before me.  I had a birthday party for my friend’s kid out in Amelia.  The drive—45 minutes from my house.  After the birthday party, I had the Winter Blues Party off of Paddock Road—a 30 minute drive from Amelia.  Total cigarettes to Amelia, two; total cigarettes to Winter Blues, two.  Now here is the important part of why I feel so good about my cigarette consumption.  See, I sort of jumped back on the highway when I shouldn’t have.  Don’t ask, I’m typically good with directions.  So I have officially traveled practically the entire I-275 loop and gone all the way through Cincinnati.  I’m pissed, I’m frustrated with myself, I’m late, and now I’m lost.


After a phone call to my half-asleep father, I eventually found my way to the party.  I had officially been on the road for over an hour.  I think two cigarettes is pretty darn good, don’t you?  I made it through two hours at the event, even with drinking, and didn’t smoke once.  Hooray for me!  After Winter Blues, I headed to a house warming party, smoking once on that trip, none while I was there, and NONE on my 30 minute drive home!


I’m starting to think this is going to be easier than the last time.  So far I haven’t had a headache, I haven’t thrown anything, and my urges aren’t too bad.  We’ll see how I feel this week when I head into work—I’m hoping my opinion won’t change!