Well, for the first time in 16 years (that was the last time I quit for an extended period of time), I am in the process of becoming an ex smoker. I have gone from smoking 3 packs per day on Tuesday (for those who may be lucky enough not to know, there are 20 cigarettes per pack here in the U.S.) to yesterday, I smoked a total of 7 cigarettes. I’m not writing this to get kudos, I’m writing this because I had an epiphany yesterday, while sobbing because I wanted a cigarette so bad and was “such a loser” for giving in.
For 28 years, cigarettes have been my constant companion. They have been there for me through multiple relationship failures and were there when I met my husband (who is my best friend). Cigarettes were my secret friend when I was in that abusive relationship and supported me while I was fleeing on an Amtrak train in the middle of the night.
Cigarettes have been here for me when I had to scrape together change to buy toilet paper and they were there for me when I bought my first brand new truck. Aside from my biological family, cigarettes have been the only constant companion I have had throughout my adult life.
That was part of my epiphany yesterday. Here’s the other part: change out the word cigarette with any of these words: food/junk food/sweets/carbs. When we alter a behavior that has been so ingrained in every activity we participate in, why is it that so many people are surprised when we stumble? I have been working on my emotional issues for roughly a year and think that is why, all of a sudden, my husband and I (both at the same time) felt we were ready to stop smoking. He’s done fantastic (he hasn’t had a cigarette in two days) while I’m still stumbling along but I’ll get there.
Everyone knows that there is a detoxification process when a person stops smoking. I am coughing more than while I was smoking 3 packs/day. My body smells nasty. I have this god-awful taste in my mouth. I can smell things better (and that’s not always a good thing lol). I’m also breaking out all over my body (not acne but something similar). So, wouldn’t our bodies do this when we give up carbs? It seems logical. I don’t know that I’ve ever read anyone stating that.
I think the reason for this post is this: We need to be patient with ourselves. Who knows what our bodies are going through when we change our eating in such a significant way. Plus, for those like me who are emotional eaters, we have that issue to deal with also. That’s a lot for our bodies and brains to adapt to. So, be patient and accept that you will not be perfect but that doesn’t mean you have to lay on the ground like a sack of potatoes when you stumble. No matter how long it takes, get back up, brush the dirt off your clothes, and start walking again.