Despite having happily become a slave to my vices many years ago, I had always promised myself I would stop smoking before I turned 40. And 40 is looming… soon… too soon. *insert colourful language that would make a sailor blush* But that is a blog entry all on its own.
With D Day looming, at the beginning of the year I picked a date, a long weekend to give up and I warned The Highlander, also a smoker, that he was going to be stuck with a very mean, very unpleasant, rabid shrew – if only I was exaggerating. To my surprise, a few weeks before the All Hell is About to Break Loose date he informed me that he was planning on giving giving up a go too.*
A few days before D Day, I prepared myself – I bought half a bakkie** full of gum and the super duper triple strength nicotine replacement gum based on the assumption that The Highlander would be chewing too. At the time he was on about 4 packs a day hence the super duper triple strength. And he ended up not using them.
To make a long story short, after three days of chewing instead of smoking, I gave up the gum too because the gum was becoming rather enjoyable. And The Highlander went cold turkey – very impressive!
It’s been just over four months for both of us, nicotine free. Granted, our relationship ended, I hated the world and everything else. But we patched up our nicotine free relationship and I stopped hating the world and most things. What has been interesting is the post-apocalypse me and other people’s reaction to my being nicotine free – that rhymes, I deserve a cookie!
One thing I knew was going to happen was I was going to put on weight but, hey, it’s to be expected but easy enough to deal with. Ha bloody ha on a stick! One Monday morning, about two months after my last cigarette, I was getting dressed and… nothing fit. Not my trousers, not my shirt, even my knickers and bra produced unslightly bulges. I might not have mentioned this but, whoever lived in this garden cottage before us was passionately in love with themselves – the bathroom walls are mirrors, almost floor to ceiling. It’s wonderful, I can see my over stuffed sausage physique from all angles, ad infinitum.
In desperation, I went on a diet. It’s one of those ‘challenges’ thrown out by cereal producing companies guaranteeing you a ridiculous amount of weight loss if you stick to their plan for two weeks. I heard about it from one of the girls at work and, we women tend to fall for these kinds of things.
The outcome? I think I put on weight.
Then I decided to fall back on old faithful – a fat free diet I got from a dietician many, many years ago, when I was young and svelte. I was on it for about three weeks.
The outcome? Nothing.
The solution – I’m going to see a dietician at the end of the month because, as my doctor put it, “Losing weight is so much more difficult at our age.” That perked me up no end. Oh, and until then, I get to do Jabba the Hut impersonations every morning when I get dressed, in front of all the mirrors.
I’ve noticed quite a few other things too, about myself. One thing all those chemicals do is give you patience and tolerance. It’s definitely false, an illusion brought on by being in a haze, a nicotine high. And then you take that high away and… people annoy you.
Once the nicotine goggles are gone, you find yourself standing listening to an ‘old friend’ and wonder “Do you EVER have ANYTHING nice to say about ANYONE or ANYTHING?” or “Oh wow, have you ALWAYS been this boring?” And then you think back and realise, it was like that BS (Before Stopping) only you were a lot more tolerant.
The best was people’s reaction to the fact that you had stopped smoking. I had random strangers coming up to me at a family event telling me how proud they are that I have stopped smoking. I thought it was impolite to say “Well, considering I don’t really know who you are, you can take that pride and… um… give it to someone else.” By the time random stranger number 57 came up to me and threw some unrequired pride my way, I threw my hands in the air and asked the heavens “Did someone take out a two page ad in the Sunday Times?” Okay, I exaggerate, I didn’t do the hand thing but it was outside a church and probably would have been appropriate if I had.
Apart from the oodles of pride being thrown at us both in bucket loads, there was another interesting reaction I couldn’t help
fall victim to notice. As previously whined about mentioned, stopping smoking basically meant I shovelled on the weight – since high school I have suspected that I am destined to either die of an obesity induced heart attack or lung cancer. Lung cancer is kind of scary so I’m taking my chances with the heart attack.
And with regards to the weight gain/loss, it isn’t as if I haven’t tried to do something about it. So, I think I was entitled to the occasional fit of depression. What? Give me a break! I’m about to turn 40 and the only things that are going to fit soon are muumuus. That is such a Florida retiree cliché.
Anyways, in a fit of depression I desperately posted the following on my social media status: “I stop smoking and now I have to buy my clothes from rent-a-tent.”
It doesn’t really take a stretch of the imagination to realise that the new situation isn’t too healthy either. But what I did find rather amusing and very annoying were the responses. The general consensus was “Oh, well done!” and my personal favourite was that I was told on numerous occasions to just buy a new wardrobe.
Great! So, obesity is okay, smoking is not. No… no, that doesn’t make sense. I don’t think “Well done” is an appropriate response to “Help, I’m turning into a double decker bus.” Oh, and buying a new wardrobe? Sure, who do I send the bill to?
However, as previously mentioned, it has been four months and four days (to be exact) of nicotine freedom. And while my lungs are thanking me, the top button of my jeans isn’t.
* Did your brain just melt too?
** Bakkie: SA Slang, a Pick Up truck, a 4×4 with no rear hood (taken from here).