My name is Katie. I am a nicotine junkie. I’ve been clean for 64 hours.
I know you’ve heard this all before. This is my third attempt to give up smoking. Once I gave up with patches, once I gave up with Champix and this time I’ve done it cold turkey.
The main thing that has kept me smoke-free these past three days is that if I have a cigarette, I go back to square-one and have to go through this discomfort all over again. Unlike some people who can give up at any time without any effort, it’s not easy for me. So I never want to do this again.
Like an alcoholic who can’t have a drink, I can’t have nicotine in my system. If I don’t get free now, I never will. I’ll end up that wrinkled old woman with grey skin hooked up to an IV trolley, with only one lung, outside in the hospital car park lighting up a cigarette.
[As an aside — I don’t think it’s acceptable to call smokers ‘filthy and disgusting’ because of their addiction. Believe me, almost every smoker wishes she never started. Instead of showing us clogged arteries, blood spotted tissues and oxygen masks on TV, instead of taking the moral high ground and judging us, maybe love instead of hate might help more people get free…]
The thing with cigarettes is although they seem to offer relief and soothe the craving, the cigarette is actually the cause of the craving. The anxiousness needing relief is the body’s reaction to the level of nicotine in the body subsiding. The nicotine in the cigarette makes the problem worse by introducing the addictive substance in the first place and then topping up the supply. No cigarette = no nicotine craving (once it’s completely left your system). The price of freedom is discomfort.
Cigarettes = Counting Calories
It reminds me of dieting (for normal weight women without medical or psychological conditions). When you eat too much because you’re hungry or missing your favourite food you gain a little weight and start to feel uncomfortable. To relieve the discomfort you embark on a diet, eat clean or eliminate treats. It feels like it works. You lose a bit of weight and feel better … for a while … until you find yourself eating too much at your friend’s party, on mother’s day or when you’re too tired to cook. You’re overeating again, you’re feeling uncomfortable again and you head straight for the same old dieting behaviour again and again.
Dieting causes overeating
Listen carefully. In the same way that cigarettes cause nicotine cravings, dieting causes overeating.
By restricting your food intake you trigger feelings of physical, emotional and/or psychological deprivation that simply make you want to eat more. To fix the problem of overeating you decide to diet. The medicine doesn’t cure the problem, it just makes it worse.
The price of freedom is discomfort
Here’s the hard part. Not many people are brave enough to put up with the discomfort of never dieting again like a smoker or an alcoholic has to with their particular drug. It’s no fun wanting a cigarette or wanting a drink and not having one.
And it’s no fun feeling heavy, soft and fat when you look in the mirror. Not many women can deal with it. Most women instead get back on the wagon, pull themselves into line, start paddling upstream or spout some other annoying bullshit term that means they are regimenting their food and exercise. Dieting is a quick and easy way to feel better … sadly though, it just makes it worse.
Stop with the diet already
Stop dieting and expect to feel shitty for a while. Your brain will tell you you’re fat and lazy, your ‘fitness friends’ will tell you you’ve let yourself go and you’ll doubt for a long time that it will even work.
But sooner than you think, you won’t overeat at all — not ever. Not when you’re stressed, not at a party, not at Easter or Christmas, not even when you give up smoking. You’ll be free.
When you look in the mirror you won’t think you look fat and soft any more, you’ll see how beautiful you are with a few more curves. You might not even notice your food choices are gravitating towards being healthy without conscious thought until your clothes start getting too big. In fact, you won’t think about food much at all.
You’ll be at peace with food just like those naturally thin women who’ve never been on a diet.
You won’t think about smoking just like those people who’ve never lit up a cigarette.
They’re free … we can be too … but the cost of an exit ticket from an addiction is discomfort.
→ Are you up for it??