I quit smoking. Which I talked about in my last post
. I told you that I read Allen Carr’s Easy Way method and loved it. It all just made sense. So much sense that I threw away a pack of cigarettes with 6 left in it and haven’t touched another cigarette since
“I have now stopped smoking for 3 weeks, 4 days, 10 hours, 44 seconds. That translates into 508 cigarettes NOT smoked, for a savings of $203.34! At 5 minutes per cigarette I have increased my life expectancy by 1 day, 18 hours, 21 minutes, 43 seconds.”
Even though mentally I have been doing great, physically my body has not been. After packing over 4,000 chemicals
in my system over the period of 13 years, you can imagine how much crap my body needs to get rid of after I was done smoking. So I knew there would be a detox period where my body would need to rid itself of the toxins and start the healing process. I just don’t remember it being this harsh when I quit a few years ago.
Week 1 was all about the sweating. I am not kidding. The weather was just starting to turn. Most evenings and mornings it was actually pretty cold. Our heater was broken and it took over a week for the repairman to figure out what was going on with it. During this week, the first week of quitting smoking, I would start sweating for no reason. Just out of nowhere I would be pouring down sweat. Little things, like walking fast down the street or being in a room with no air became a sweat fest for me. I made sure to cake on the deodorant and bring tissues to wipe the sweat with. I know you are cringing right now, imagine how I felt. But that wasn’t the worst, the worst was at night, waking up every hour either sweating or freezing. So all night long I would alternative between pouring down sweat, drenching myself, the covers, everything and then waking up shivering from the cold/being wet. I would have to get up, change everything, crawl back into bed, stick my cold feet on my husband and then finally fall asleep. An hour later, I was sweating again, pushing the covers off and sleeping as far away from the husband as I possibly could. I was getting next to no sleep and constantly sweating. It was so horrible. But I just kept telling myself that my body has to get rid of the toxins somehow and sweating was a good way.
Week 2 brought relief from the sweating. I was only waking up every other night sweating and being cold. Which was nice but something much worse tip toed in. The inability to sleep. Suddenly right before bed time I would be racked with night time cravings. My body physically would be screaming out to have just 1 before bed. But of course I didn’t want it mentally and I was a non smoker now. I would go to lay down and suddenly I was very wide awake. I would literally lie awake staring at the ceiling fan spinning in the dark. I would count the cars driving by (not that many since it is a quiet residential neighborhood). I would toss and turn. Finally I would pick up my book or Kindle to read for a bit. After a few hours of this I would finally fall into a light sleep and then everything woke me up. I was waking up every single hour most nights. Sleep became a distant memory. And since the husband was right behind me (about a little less than a week), he was suffering the no sleeping sweating phase as well. It was horrible. Snapping became how we spoke with each other. We walked around moody, someone said just one wrong thing and it was on. I went to work every day, where it has been SLAMMED BUSY and I don’t have a job where being exhausted is a good thing. So you can imagine at the end of each day I was just done. During this time I started eating at night when I couldn’t sleep. Not healthy food either, crap food, sugar, carbs, etc. I was also dealing with being physically ill from being so exhausted. I was now having light headed issues, stomach issues, pounding headaches and just generally feeling really really worn down. I got desperate, so I did some research on caffeine and quitting smoking
“Amazingly, nicotine somehow doubles the rate by which the body depletes caffeine. Smokers trying to quit were randomly assigned to either caffeine-use or caffeine-abstinence conditions in a 1997 study published in Addictive Behaviors. “Results showed a significant linear increase in caffeine sputum levels across 3 weeks post cessation for those who quit smoking and continued using caffeine. Three weeks after cessation, concentrations reached 203% of baseline for the caffeine user.”
Okay so no more 6-7 cups of caffeine a day anymore obviously. I cut myself down to 1 cup of coffee in the morning. Absolutely no caffeine after 12 p.m., no matter what. It meant some pounding headaches but eventually it leveled out. Which leads me into week 3.
Week 3 brought a lot of relief. Suddenly I was sleeping again. All through the night. What I was dealing with was a sore throat in the mornings, ear aches in the afternoon, some coughing and a lot of congestion. But I wasn’t sick. My stomach issues eased up a bit but not completely. But I wasn’t sweating anymore. I was sleeping. I wasn’t having any evening cravings. And I faced my first on the phone conversation. The phone has always been a trigger for me but I just made myself a nice warm cup of cranberry tea and enjoyed the stars outside on my porch. I was never even tempted to smoke. Not once.
Recently I noticed something though. Whenever I drink coffee, I get physical sick. I threw my coffee out this morning because I was fine up until I drank my coffee. Every morning I wake up starving, I make myself a green smoothie and it goes down just fine. Then my husband and I stop on our way to our jobs to get coffee. I don’t usually touch my 24 oz of coffee till I hit my desk. Then I start drinking it and it was then I was feeling sick. Weird but they seem linked in my opinion. So I did some research (because we all know I love research) and here is what I found out
“Most people tolerate a cup or two of coffee without any ill effects, but in excess, caffeine can cause nausea, according to the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center. To avoid feeling sick, advises MedlinePlus, limit your caffeine consumption to no more than three 8 ounce cups of coffee and five servings of caffeinated tea or diet soda per day. Avoid energy drinks and non-prescription weight loss pills which often have a high caffeine content.”
My theory (and I am not a doctor so ask a doctor of course) is that because my body isn’t breaking caffeine down as fast, it is somehow making me sick. I never drank coffee before I started smoking. For years I never even touched the stuff. Hated it. I didn’t start drinking coffee till a few years ago, when I was working full time and going to school full time. That is when I gained a coffee habit. So I wouldn’t know how coffee effects me as a non smoker because I wasn’t a coffee drinker the first time I quit. Actually I started out as a tea drinker and coffee didn’t come into the picture till recently. So this week I am cutting the coffee habit all together. I am on day 2 of just drinking cranberry tea in the morning (to help with detoxing faster) and so far I don’t feel too bad. Maybe a little sleepier than normal and my eyes are burning like when you are really tired but nothing I can’t handle. The stomach issues are easing up, so we shall see after a few days how it makes me feel.
I did a lot of research on stomach issues and quitting smoking, turns out a lot of other ex smokers have experienced the same weird stomach issues. Since smoking effects your digestive system as well, it can take about 8 weeks for most people to start feeling normal. It was suggested to eat smaller meals and eat a little slower. So that is what I will be doing.
This week is week 4 and I do feel better than I have the last few weeks. No cold symptoms, just a few allergy symptoms from the wind. I am sleeping completely through the night and tired at my normal bed time again. My lungs feel better. My stomach issues only arise when I eat poorly (or drink coffee obviously). No sweating. No crankiness. I feel really good. This week I am concentrating on exercising daily again, cutting the sugar out again and no more coffee. Those things should clear my stomach issues right up.
Things I have noticed since I quit smoking…
- I can smell everything, that is a good and bad thing. I can enjoy the good smells but when a bad smell hits it can be sickening. Also most peoples perfume is overpowering for me now and I can smell a cigarette from 2 miles away. The really bad, the smell of cigarettes actually bothers me now. I have become one of those highly annoying people that screws my nose up at smokers. I now know what all my non smoking friends suffered through when I smoked around them. I am sorry for that.
- I no longer have nervous ticks or anxiety. Okay I have a little anxiety but it has gone down a lot. I used to love and hate Fridays because it was go out to lunch with my coworkers day. It meant a great lunch out but it also meant limited smoking time because we usually have to walk to the restaurant. I hate walking and smoking. I hated the judgmental looks of people when I accidentally got some smoke in their direction. It was a mess and I would never enjoy my food because of it. Now I don’t care. I enjoy my lunch. I enjoy the walk. I enjoy the fresh air. I don’t nervously watch the clock, I don’t fidget till my coworkers are ready to leave and I don’t get a stomach ache from not getting a couple cigarettes on my lunch break. Feels great actually.
- I can breath and I can move faster. This became really clear last Friday when we walked to lunch. We decided on a French bakery but it was roughly 6-7 city blocks away. Which meant we needed to walk a little faster than normal to have enough time to eat. So we did, I kept up no problem, I wasn’t breathing heavy or complaining or lagging behind like I used to. I was happy walking in the fresh air, was actually moving faster than my coworkers a few times and my lungs felt great.
- I am actually hungry. A lot. But I can’t eat my normal portion sizes anymore. I have to eat small frequent meals all day long or else I feel horrible. I have been working on those small meals being things like an apple or some tomatoes or a sandwich.
- Things taste better. Food tastes better. Drinks taste better. Everything tastes better, even the bad food.
- My skin isn’t as dry anymore.
- My PCOS symptoms have eased up on me in a big way.
Quitting smoking was the best decision I made since getting my college degree and applying for my dream job. I feel great. If you are struggling with quitting mentally, I would suggest reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way book. It doesn’t cost much and it really helped me in a big way.