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    AMYD726   16,739
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Smoking and Dieting

Friday, February 01, 2013

This morning, it occurred to me how similar quitting smoking and implementing a healthier lifestyle are to me. Maybe it's a little dramatic, or obvious to some, but comparing the addiction and emotional nature of food and cigarettes was a real "a-ha" moment for me.

I loved smoking, I really did. I had a cigarette as soon as I woke up in the morning. I dreaded a long flight because if I went longer than 2 hours without a cigarette I was jittery and irritable. I smoked for years even though my boyfriend (now husband) never smoked and found it disgusting. Smoking was my break, my comfort, my appetite suppressant, my anti-anxiety medication.

When I finally decided to quit, it was because I was sick of something that was ultimately killing me, being such a priority in and having so much control over my life. Not that this made anything easier. Just the thought of being without cigarettes was terrifying. What would I do now when I was stressed, angry, tired, having morning coffee?

What ultimately worked for me was the nicotine patch. I decreased my dose over time, all the while telling myself that it was too dangerous to slip up, even once. This was a change I needed to stick with for the rest of my life. Even still it was really sad for me, like losing an old friend.

I don't crave cigarettes anymore, thank goodness (ahem…except with the occasional cocktail!). But in some ways, I feel like food has become a replacement for the emotional needs that cigarettes used to soothe.

There are definitely times that I hit the vending machine at the office for chocolate because I am stressed. That I have a piece of birthday cake (despite the fact that I don't even really like it) because it's there, and I'm being social. I've been known to order pizza and sit in front of the TV with the family for relaxation. I am a big "bored" eater. I am truly attached to certain junk foods.

I know these things aren't good for me, and I already knew that I needed some changes in my life. But I never really looked at things a truly harmful, not as bad as smoking, anyway. But when it comes right down to it, poor relationships with food can absolutely kill you. Heart disease, depression, type 2 diabetes… I think it’s time I take it just as seriously as smoking. I can't spend years letting something slowly kill me just because I've formed irrational bonds with it.

I need to apply some of the things that I used while quitting smoking – taking it slow and looking for ways to replace the emotional aspects (and when I can't, knowing it's going to be okay anyway). Looking at it as a “forever” change, and (for now at least) not allowing myself trigger foods so I can avoid backsliding at all costs.

A lot of these things I’m already doing, but now I've had a subtle shift in perception, and a renewed sense of urgency. It's time to let go of another toxic "friend".

Anyone have any tips for letting go of something you really love, but know isn’t good for you?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AHAPPYLIFE 2/1/2013 5:04PM

    On Feb 7th, I'll celebrate a year being free from smoking. It took close to a year before that to finally convince myself that quitting smoking was more important that being thin. So almost 2 years later, I gained back all the weight I lost (80+ pounds). The cravings have disappeared & all I have are a few afterthoughts of smoking. I no longer snack in place of smoking so as of yesterday, I'm started my long journey back to good health & better weight. The way I look at it is if I can quit smoking, I can do ANYTHING!

Good luck on your health & congrats on quitting smoking!

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 2/1/2013 2:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CC3833 2/1/2013 1:48PM

    I love the quote "It's always your favorite sins that do you in". I don't really have an addiction to anything. I also am a bored eater. But if I have carrots in my reach I really have no problem choosing that instead of a cookie. I just want to eat, I like to eat. My goal is just to try and make it as easy as possible for myself to succeed. And if that means going food shopping and loading my fridge with fruits and veggies then so be it... Good luck and I hope you find your balance!

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KABMPH 2/1/2013 12:57PM

    For me, it is getting out of debt where I see similarities to my attempts at being truly healthy.

I have tracked every penny every day since 2006. I obsessively read articles and had to figure out which approach worked best for me. I read message boards and made friends through those boards who were in similar situations and totally supportive.

As for your question, I think it's constantly reminding yourself that what you love does not love you back! Remind yourself that you love yourself more than that temptation in the kitchen (or on the couch). For my getting out of debt, I had to deny myself so many "things"... I just kept saying that it was for my future stability that I was saying NO to things I wanted.

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