Tag Archives: stop smoking

10 months on – The daily fight

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Ten months on from stopping smoking, I don’t feel any fitter or healthier. My body has been through hell, ridding the nicotine and I never want to have to go through it again. Keeping cheerful has been difficult. We get to the coast as much as we can. This is me with my feet in the North Sea two weeks ago.

 

At the beginning, the constant gnawing and craving preoccupied me, but as my hormones began to party without the nicotine hanging on for a ride, my weight gain has become my focus.

That’s me in the purple and black in October 2017, and here’s me in March 2018

If one more slim, yogatastic, enlightened 30 something tells me to embrace this new part of being a woman and be excited about my crone phase, I’ll punch them in the face…not really, but you can hear my frustration. I didn’t ask for this. I thought stopping smoking would make me feel better…I’ve never felt so depressed and anxious.

Smoking held back some, but not all my menopausal symptoms. Everything has been heightened since stopping putting nicotine into my body, so my IBS has been chronic too. I feel like my body is returning to factory reset, shaking everything up along the way, but rather than settling, everything feels off kilter.

I had to stop running, my knees couldn’t cope, partly because I’m running on the road and there isn’t a single flat section anywhere near me, and probably because I already have knee damage and I’m heavier than I should be.

I am not alone. Thousands of women are waking up one morning to find their once taut bodies have softened. I haven’t been this fleshy since I was pregnant and the irony of that is like a stab to the heart…you’re no longer capable of conceiving a child, but your body looks like you’re carrying one. Wicked.

It isn’t all bad news… I’ve stuck to my walking every morning as soon as I get up, and my new morning best is 5.2k steps. I always do at least 2k, and often do 4k. Having said that, I do walk some lunchtimes too, but now the evenings are dark, I’m not walking in the evening. I’m guessing I put on two stone at the beginning of the year with eating a bit more and the change in hormones and have now lost one of those, but I still can’t get my clothes on. In fact, last week I bought bigger jeans. Gutting.

I am a fighter. Every morning when I walk, Dr Dain’s affirmation rings in my ears ‘All of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory’. Life is amazing. I have a wonderful partner. My friends and family are dear to me. I live in an amazing house in a fabulous part of the world, with a roof over my head. I’ve started doing a little yoga after my walk, just a few balances and stretches…the plan is to build up to more, making sure my thighs don’t get too bulky with all the extra walking. Loki likes to be carried around on my walks…He is a fidget though

There is other good news. I’ve gone back on my original HRT. I now sleep through most nights. I sweat less during those nights. The day time sweats are occasional.

But every day is a battle, making my steps count and attempting to balance my body. As you may know, my diet is already plant based and I cook most meals from scratch, so how I lose this lump orbiting my middle, I’m not sure. Food and I have battled for most of my life and I’m gutted I’m being forced to re-evaluate again, when I thought I was doing the right thing becoming plant based.

Women need to stand up and say, ‘This isn’t just hormones! Have you any idea how life changing their fluctuation can be?’

I’m re-inventing myself. I may have had to buy bigger jeans but I also bought the cutest pinafore dress, and I’ve booked in for a new tattoo. Support the women around you while they deal with this life changing transformation. No more jokes about menopausal women being grumpy!

 

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Getting the balance right part 2

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It’s life, isn’t it? Mind and body, work and play, life is all about balance.

Living in a renovation project makes balancing really difficult. There’s always something to do on the house, byre or land, but since stopping smoking on 21st January, I’ve struggled to find a balance for my body.

The terrible gnawing pangs in my stomach could not be sated with food. I found that out after a couple of weeks, but even though I stopped eating so many granola bars, my hormones were going balastic. My IBS symptoms and menopausal symptoms returned with a vengeance. The new HRT my doctor insisted on didn’t agree with me and I gained weight really fast. My usual six hours of dancing each week wasn’t enough to stop me continuing to gain weight and on top of that, I wanted to cry every morning because I couldn’t have a cigarette.

That’s when I decided to start walking and counting steps every morning. It began with 1k in the morning, and then I made it morning, noon and night. It quickly rose to 2k when I discovered that was approximately one mile. Every morning when the alarm goes off, I get up and walk around our land, sometimes accompanied by Loki, who loves being carried around.

I do the same at lunchtime and in the evening and these past two weeks I’ve added in 3 barrows full of brambles and 3 Wendy barrows of stones moved, to try to achieve every day. This gives all my arm and back muscles a good work out too.

But this exercise has to fit around my writing plans for August; to complete the fourth Lizzie Martin Witchlit book, The Eloquent Witch. And then, of course, there’s marketing and promotion. I’m using my power naps, but my family is visiting next week and I’ve less than half of the novel completed.

Have I got the balance wrong? I hope not because I’m feeling more energised. I don’t know if I’ve lost weight because I don’t have scales but there’s no doubt the equator-like ring around my middle is decreasing…and last night on the river bank, I jogged the length of it for the first time. I asked myself the question ‘Can you jog?’ It’s been over thirty years since I’ve run and I’m going to build up to 1k steps, 200 jog and 200 walk and repeat, by the end of the month.

Balance of mind and body has to be a personal thing, but if walking, dancing and maybe even jogging, give me more energy and keep my depression away, enabling me to write and enjoy life more, I’m going for it. I’m sure the plant based diet helps too, with fresh vegetables from the garden.

For tried and tested plant based recipes, type ‘plant based’ into the search box on the home page.

 

 

 

Toegate continued

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The broken toe is healing…slowly. Today I’m walking my steps for the first time in Wellington boots since the crunch.

(Not sure why I look like I’m hovering over the earth!)

I started a few months ago, getting up around 6am and starting my day with 2k steps for two reasons, both related to me stopping smoking. Firstly, I miss the first cigarette of the day with the same intense craving I’ve woken up with for forty years, so I’m trying a different start to the day. Secondly, I’ve put on weight around my middle and I don’t like it.

Teaching women to bellydance, I encourage them to love their bodies, I know, but this bit around the middle doesn’t belong to me. It has been sent by the Nicotine Monster because I won’t feed him anymore, and I refuse to sign and accept the delivery!

So I’m building up the steps again slowly; 1k in the morning, 1k at lunchtime and another 1k in the evening. Combined with 6 hours of dance each week, I’m hoping to see a difference by 1st September.

Tribal Unity Wales will be performing at the Lampeter Food Festival on 28th July and at the Cardigan Bellydance Festival on 4th August. After that, I’ll return to 2k every morning…why not join me?

 

 

Six months without a fag

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In ten days time, 21st July 2018, it will be six months since I last smoked nicotine.

How’s it been?

In some respects, it is easier. The gnawing, gut churning pangs have lessened which is great, as has the insomnia. Looking back, I might have three good days and nights in a row…but the craving is still there.

I’m like a crazy stalker if a smoker comes towards me in the high street, inhaling deeply as they get close and turning with them to make the most of their smoke.

I’ve seen smokers sitting on a bench and been tempted to ask them to blow smoke my way.

I’ve stuck to walking two thousand steps when I wake in the morning, but I come in exhausted and want a cigarette.

People don’t have to be very mean and I want to cry. If they shout at me, I want a cigarette really badly.

And the benefits?

My physical body is settling down. I’ve lost the weight I put on and the HRT is doing the job. I’m very aware that my body is not the same, however, so the body I’m building will be a different one.

I’m embracing this as a challenge (I didn’t to start with! I cried and shouted and stamped about the unfairness of it all!) because I have to. I refuse to accept that I have to ‘settle’ and that because I’m in my crone stage that I have to put up with aches and pains and tiredness.

My bottom is changing shape, my arms are toning up and though I still get a little out of breath walking up steep hills, I recover much quicker.

Other benefits?

I haven’t noticed any extra money in the coffers, but I suppose there must be. I’m proud of myself, sticking to the promise I made to myself, but there are still days when it isn’t much fun!

Will I be celebrating six months smoke free?

On the 21st July, and the 22nd, I’ve been invited to the Great Glasshouse at The National Botanic Gardens of Wales for a weekend of story telling, ‘Plant Pots’. I shall be there with all my books, including The Flowerpot Witch, so why not arrange a day out of flowers and stories? https://botanicgarden.wales/visit/whats-on/storytelling-weekend/

For more musings, magic, dance and words, sign up for Wendy Woo’s Round Robin here http://wendysteele.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=bd3cc38cba01c2dea4a5f386f&id=6210056252

Bright blessings xx

 

 

 

Phoenix without her Fire

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On January 21st 2018, I stopped smoking nicotine. I didn’t use patches or gum or vaping. I believed Allan Carr, that stopping smoking was easy, read the book, made a commitment and more than six weeks on, I’m able to look back and see how Phoenix coped without her fire. I want to say at this point, my partner stopped smoking at the same time but, if you want to know how it was for him, you’ll have to ask him.

So I put out my fire because the addictive poison was dulling my passion for life, my drive, my confidence and my belief in myself and the Universe. The good news is, I’m coming back, flames bursting through the kindling, ready to ignite the logs. The bad news is, it wasn’t and still isn’t, easy.

Without nicotine pumping through my veins, I was possessed not of body but mind. That’s where the nicotine monster was, shacked up all cosy, chain smoking and blowing it right in my face. He tried a plethora of tricks to thwart me but he didn’t succeed for one reason and one reason only…I made a promise to myself that I would no longer smoke nicotine. I’m hot on promises, they work for me.

Reading the book was useful. It confirmed the things I knew and wanted, banged home a few home truths I needed to hear and gave me the framework to give up; smoke while you read this book, follow the instructions, be certain, smoke your last cigarette and make your vow.  But once I stopped smoking, the book and the words in it no longer helped, in fact, they hindered. The ‘stop moping around and get on with your life’ way of thinking didn’t help me at all.

The support of family and friends played a huge part in me keeping my promise. Looking after two new members of our family helped too.

I danced lots and swore, screamed and cried.

After about three weeks, I calmed down. The first sparks were igniting. Freezing, icy, stormy weather focussed my mind on drinking water, wood for our burners and the safety of neighbours and away from smoking. Working hard to finish writing The Flowerpot Witch has been another point of focus. I’ve cooked and baked abundantly, cut back a lot of brambles and chopped a lot of logs

Every day, instead of poison, pure light fills my veins. I’m alive and intend to stay that way for a long time. This Phoenix is back on fire.