Thursday, 30 January 2014

Stop Smoking - Post-match Analysis

How did you get started on the road to stopping?
I really wanted to turn my life around. Stopping smoking is one of the things I knew would have the biggest impact on improving my self-esteem. It would make the later challenges easier to do, such as running and losing weight.

Also, the financial side of smoking was a big motivator. When you're out of work and trying to scrape together money for tobacco, you suddenly realise just how much this addiction has got it's claws into you.

So, I decided enough was enough and put a plan in motion.

What support have you had and how has it helped?

All of my family and friends have supported me in this challenge. The Westenders pantomime group, my neighbors, my close friends, have all encouraged me to stay a non-smoker.

My wife has stayed by me through a lot last year. Knowing that she is there, willing me to succeed is a huge encouragement to stay a non-smoker.

How did smoking affect your social life?

I never liked smoking around non-smokers. If I was out drinking with friends and went out for a cigarette, I'd always feel self-conscious about how I smelt when I came back in. I'd also never smoke around family, so a family get-together would always mean I'd be waiting all day for a cigarette. By the end of the day, I'd be really impatient and anxious to be able to have a smoke. It's pathetic, when I think back, at how much power those little sticks have over you, and you don't even realise it at the time.

What improvements have you noticed in your health?

It might sound cliche but, I have a lot less salt on my food now. I notice flavours a lot better than I used to. Also, stopping smoking has made me sub-consciously eat slightly healthier. I think that as I'm doing this to improve myself, I've been trying to be healthier in other ways as well, without realising it.

What are your top tips for someone that wants to stop smoking?

Get the book Allen Carr's Easy Way To Stop Smoking. I found it so easy to become a non-smoker thanks to this book. Stopping smoking doesn't have to be stressful, difficult or painful. Read it.

There is never a 'good' time to stop. In fact, if you have a stressful event coming up, stop smoking before hand. Getting through the stress without having a cigarette, will help to boost your confidence in your own ability to cope.

How has the book helped?

The book takes what you think you know about stopping smoking, and turns it on it's head. Plus, you don't stop smoking until the end of the book. In fact, he tells you to keep smoking until you get to the end!

Usually the preconceptions of stopping smoking are that it's going to be difficult, you'll constantly be craving a cigarette etc. The book shows you it doesn't have to be like that. You end up looking at others smoking and saying to yourself "Huh, I don't need those any more. Wow, it feels great to be free!" You only feel positive things about stopping.

What advice do you have if someone close to you has stopped smoking?

If they have stopped cold turkey and are struggling, buy them the book. It'll make it a lot easier for them to stay a non-smoker.

Let them know how proud you are of them and the progress they have made.

If they slip up, don't berate them. Encourage them to get back up and continue. Remind them of their achievements so far and help them to continue.

If you're a smoker, don't smoke around them. Don't offer them a cigarette just to "test" them.


Coming up next month: Eat vegan!

01 - January Challenge - Stop Smoking
02 - Stop Smoking - The Start
03 - Stop Smoking - Panic at the Bus Stop 
04 - Stop Smoking - It's behind you! 
05 - Stop Smoking - Post-match Analysis