How I kicked the habit

ο»ΏYesterday, I decided that I would do a two-a-day to make sure I incorporated more She-ra-esque moves into my week aside from just Wednesday (with the addition of running Mondays it’s taken some getting used to – but no excuses!) I packed up my gym back and headed to work and then went to the gym on my late dinner break.

2 a days are oh so fun!

I was very proud of my #partiallyPaleo lunch as well πŸ˜‰
I didn’t think about it until I was chatting with a co-worker about her goals of running a 5k (awesome 1st step!) but her also wanting to first quit smoking. I always use my own experience to relate to others, so when I told her I was an ex-smoker, her jaw almost hit the ground. I always get “you don’t look like you used to be a smoker!” look when that confession comes out of my mouth. Does a smoker have a ‘look’ per say anyway? I struck up a conversation with her about first tackling that goal and how she can also incorporate workouts as a way to alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms that can come when you stop smoking. It’s been a long time since I quit (the 2nd time around) and most of you would agree with me that I’m crazy in the first place since I’m Hello! ASTHMATIC! What was I thinking?! Obviously, I wasn’t thinking, but I know that I am one of many ex-smokers who kicked the habit and instead took up a healthy replacement: working out – and running in particular.
I started smoking when I was young and quit once when I was 23. Being ‘clean’ for 3 years I went through another bout of tough times (yes, no excuses, I know) and began for another 2 years before quitting at 27 for good. I’ve been a non-smoker now for 4 solid years πŸ™‚ ο»Ώ I knew it was time to quit when I couldn’t stand the taste or smell and wondered “what the heck are you doing? – you can buy so many more shoes with all that wasted money!” I now have absolutely no desire to smoke again and am theeee worst ex-smoker. If I smell it, I cringe and if I’m around it I run away…I can’t even breathe when it’s around me now.
I realize we’re all different…from the reasons why people smoke to their desire to quit and reasons for that as well. But I thought I’d share how I, myself, did it. Many of the fit people I know aren’t smokers, but some still are – and I know that it’s no easy feat to stop:

1) I knew it would be hard. I knew that I had a lofty goal to stop completely once and for all, and if it were so easy then most people wouldn’t be smoking in the first place. I wasn’t prepared for some other side effects (hacking up growdy stuff for about a month, for example – sorry, but it’s true) but just set the bar high for it being a tough cookie to tackle. I gave myself the wiggle room to make mistakes, should they happen, and to know that the first step was admitting I wanted to stop.

2) I quit cold turkey – once I knew I was quitting, I threw away my last pack and didn’t buy any more. I had to not have it around me at all – there’s no sense in adding temptation to the mix.
3) I was realistic with the expectation that I could gain weight. Most people forget that cigarettes have a stimulant in them (hello, nicotine) that speeds up their metabolism in some cases. (Good ol’ Wikipedia can shed more light on that for you here.) I knew once I stopped it’d take my body a while to adjust to that and I also knew that I don’t have the fasted metabolism in the first place.
4) To offset the expected weight gain, I worked out when I had the urge. I mean, in the car or out in public you can’t, I know. At home, I’d do push ups or sit ups or go for a run or walk to get that extra energy out of my system. Instead of sitting around tapping my fingernails on the table and becoming jittery or agitated, I expended my energy in a positive way as I knew it’d also help with the weight gain issue.

5) I chewed a lot of gum. I realized that smoking was more of a habit when I drove or after I ate…so instead of icky cigarettes, I chose to dabble in the variety of gum flavors available to me. There are, oh, so many.

6) I had a lot of support. I shared my goal with everyone I knew who would keep me accountable; much like many of us do with our goals in general. If I even spoke of smoking or wanted a cigarette, those close to me would call me out. I work well when challenged πŸ˜‰

Now, I’m not knocking those I know who smoke – to each their own. I just know that for me and for most, it isn’t healthy. I couldn’t have a realistic goal of running faster and farther when I had no lung capacity to do so. I had to stop! With all of the 70+ harsh chemicals found in cigarettes, they serve no purpose other than to put the smokers and those around them at risk for respiratory problems up to and including lung cancer.

If you are someone or know someone who wants to quit, there are oodles of sources available to help. This site offers great steps on how to start.

Today, I can breathe so much better because I’ve worked on my endurance so that my lungs can know their full capabilities – I’d rather breathe life in than what I was doing before πŸ˜‰

Did you used to smoke & have ways that helped you quit?
Do you have a secret past habit that you kicked?

 P.S. Don’t forget about the Pretty Muddy Race coming to Dade City/Tampa November 10!

(This girl WON’T be racing it, so if you’re in the earlier waves, I’m there at 8:30am in that wave, I’ll be the one frolicking around)
Use my code: sneakersandfingerpaints
for $10 off through 10/27/12!

HI! I'M KAT - I am a pug-mom, wife, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, & Fitness Coach focusing on living the fit life while tackling work, coaching others - doing it all! My blog is to hold me accountable for all the goals I plan on accomplishing and also a way for me to try to inspire others through my own experiences - if I can do it ANYONE can! Fitness is a huge part of my life as well as travel and seeing all that life has to be lived! PAY IT FORWARD!

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32 Comments
  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 2:03 pm

    That lunch looks crazy healthy! I must try to be healthy today… πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 2:08 pm

    Holy Moly woman!! I would have never guessed this! You’re full of surprises and I applaud you GREATLY for kicking it. This is a sensitive subject for me. I grew up with two smoking parents and a rather smoker heavy family. I am allergic to cigarette smoke – red eyes, runny nose, rash, coughing, headache, lose my voice if I am around it for a while – the whole shebang… I used to make my mother cry with the mean things I’d say to make her feel bad for smoking around me growing up. When my elementary teachers asked me if I was the one smoking because of the second hand smell, I knew it was bad. As soon as she’d leave a pack around I’d flush them all down the toilet and leave her notes inside the empty pack about how horrible it is for her health and her childrens’. I now have two smoker free parents for many years now. πŸ™‚ More so I hate how it makes my hair, clothes, and everything else I own stink. I will sadly miss a social outing if it happens to be at a smoking allowed venue(including other family members homes). To each their own, but it is definitely not for me in any form.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 2:31 pm

      My dad smoked and I somehow picked up the habit front friends growing up, it was my go to coping mechanism. So I feel you! I’m just full of deep dark secrets…I’ve grown a lot πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 2:14 pm

    congratulation on quitting smoking – that is awesome! It looks like you really thought through the process and I’m sure you can help so many other people!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 2:32 pm

      Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 2:22 pm

    That is awesome! Great job! I am actually a recovering alcoholic and I quite 2 1/2 years ago! Like you, I started running and working out right after I quit. That is what really helped me!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Congrats! Running is definitely the best therapy available out there…and free!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 2:34 pm

    What an amazing story Kat! Good for you for kicking that nasty habit! I’ve never even tried smoking…I’ve never liked the smell of it so couldn’t fathom trying it lol!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 2:37 pm

      That’s awesome! I just got sucked in with peer pressure and used smoking to cope…running was way better…and cheaper! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Congrats on being smoke-free!!!

    I used to be a social smoker back in high school. I quit cold turkey and never went back πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Girrrrlll i did not know!!! Well thats pretty amazing u quit for good.. i know that many can’t… u just keep on provin how strong u r!!!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 4:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story! I am a former pack a day smoker. I quit May 6th of this year. I’m finding lots of former smokers take up running. It’s almost like you feel you have to prove your lungs wrong! Every run is like a little victory against that nasty habit!
    Congrats!!!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 7:17 pm

      Yay you! Nice job! It is just proof that I never want to go back to it too!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Another amazing post Kat. I also join the surprised fans of yours. I would have never suspected you of being a smoker. Great tips, which I know will be able to help others who follow them. Excellent!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 7:03 pm

      Thanks Brad! Yes, I figured I’d share to help others πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 6:42 pm

    Congrats Kat on being smoke free. I had no idea either. I would be one of those people who wouldn’t have suspected that you were a smoker. And I will also be non-racing that race. I’m afraid that I’ll hurt myself. I can picture it. I’ll be sliding muddily through bubbles while falling without grace. I just don’t want to get hurt. That’s all I think about now.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 6:47 pm

      Yep, I’m seriously frolicking around…frolick with me πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      October 18, 2012, 1:22 pm

      I think we will all be “frolicking”!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 6:42 pm

    I used to be a social smoker in high school and in college. I’m still shocked that I did it! I can’t stand the smell of smoke now. I decided one day that it was gross and never went back!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2012, 6:46 pm

      Nice job lady!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012, 11:43 pm

    I’ve never been a smoker, but my husband is now. Oddly, he wasn’t when we met/married. When he first quit (around the time we met), it was cold turkey. When he started up again, it was because he kind of missed the feel of it. Sometimes, he says he wants to quit, but he doesn’t really. He really likes it. Unfortunately. I try to be as supportive as I can.

    I applaud you for quitting for good though!

    • Reply
      October 17, 2012, 12:07 am

      That stinks that he started again…I wonder what he means by feel? You have to definitely really want to quit to do it.. the first time I did I was tempted again .. hence why I did again, but this time was different. Thanks for the compliment!

    • Reply
      October 23, 2012, 10:57 pm

      He likes the feel of the smoke entering his lungs and being exhaled through his nose and mouth.

      I don’t really get it, either. *shrug*

  • Reply
    October 17, 2012, 1:00 am

    i love that you are so honest about having been a smoker (shocking yes) and i love that you are reaching out to help others quit! xo

    • Reply
      October 18, 2012, 1:21 am

      Thanks Michelle! It can de done!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2012, 1:32 am

    Yay for kicking the habit Kat!! I smoked for a little while when I was a teenager. Yay, rebellious years… I guess I did some sort of Bill Clinton smoking though (“I didn’t inhale”) since it was no problem to giving up. I’m totally glad that smoking repulses you; your lungs thank you!

    • Reply
      October 18, 2012, 1:20 am

      Hahaha thanks G! Growdy!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2012, 11:56 am

    I also used to be a smoker. Now I’m addicted to nicotine gum. I haven’t smoked in years, but I can’t give up the gum.

    • Reply
      October 18, 2012, 1:20 am

      I would have never guessed you either!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2012, 12:29 am

    I had to tweet this- totally great and well-lived advice… you continue to inspire me doll!

    • Reply
      October 18, 2012, 1:21 am

      Thanks boo! I appreciate that so much! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    October 18, 2012, 2:44 am

    you are awesome girly! Kicking the smoking habit I heard was hard! what an accomplishment!

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