Monday, March 30, 2009


It's been over a week with no cigarettes. Whew :)

I could have gone until March 23rd with smoking, as that was the last day of the first week of Chantix, but I ran out of cigarettes that Saturday and, well, I know this will come as a shock to some of you, but...

I'm lazy.

Leave the house to go buy cigarettes when I'm already quitting in two days? On a SATURDAY? Oh hell to the no.

So the afternoon of Saturday, March 21st, I smoked my last cigarette.

The rest of that weekend was insane as far as wanting one was concerned. The physical cravings were curbed quite a bit by the medication, but habits are a pain to break.

I do still have cravings, especially if I mess up my Chantix dose timing (I'm asking for it today because I started eating breakfast early and taking my meds then -- ouch), but it could be much MUCH worse.

I miss smoking, in the sense that I miss the activity of it. I miss walking up the alley on a break, thinking to myself between puffs. I miss waking up to that first cigarette and coffee. I miss having that to fall back on when I'm stressed, because it's a great filler activity.

I don't miss the stench. I don't miss the cost. I don't miss the cough. I don't miss my children asking over and over, "Mommy, when are you going to quit smoking???"

I've been asked by some friends how I know it's going to stick this time. Do I know that? As much as I can. I have several good indicators. One, the male factor in my life is as dedicated to quitting as I am and has likewise been smoke-free for over a week. Two, the federal tobacco tax is increasing hugely, and I am CHEAP. And three, my boys would be crushed if I started again.

That's all outside of the "it's bad for me and will kill me" logic.


Now food intake while not smoking? Erm... well, it's coming along. The weekend I quit smoking I ate an entire box of Girl Scout Samoas. Didn't regret a bite of 'em. And I've been eating at the higher end of my 1200 - 1550 calorie range this past week, mostly hitting the calories in the evenings.

I've gone over some days. Oh well.

Ultimately, if I gain weight I've proven to myself I can lose it. Quitting smoking takes priority over hitting 130 lbs by mid-August. But I'd rather not regain what I've lost thus far, so I'm working on paying more attention to what I put in my mouth this week. I was trying to do that last week and didn't manage as well as I wish. I like to think, though, that if I hadn't tracked what I did last week that I'd have gone even more overboard. So basically, tracking was still helpful even thought it wasn't as detailed as it should have been.

I've got my food ready for this week, including snack options.

Bring. It. On.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Now I'm remembering why Chantix is good at helping people quit smoking. I just took my second day's dose a bit ago and I already feel like I need another cigarette. It seems that, for me at least, the nicotine-receptor blocking mechanism of Chantix makes it so my body says, "Hey! You know that nicotine stuff you've been feeding us the last fifteen years or so? Well we're not getting it, and we're pretty annoyed right now, so we're going to torment you. Just sayin'."


And then when I actually have a cigarette, the relief is minimal. Oh well, on the plus side this will help me drop them faster since it seems to affect me pretty swiftly. I'm thinking I won't have an issue dropping them by next Monday... or even by Friday of this week.

It'll be nice not to see that icky nicotine staining on my fingers. I think I'll also go get some new whitening strips for my teeth since I won't be sucking smoke through them daily and the whitening has a better chance of sticking.

Of course, the Diet Coke and coffee will likely mitigate the whitening somewhat, but they're gonna have to pry my caffeine out of my cold, dead, stain-free fingers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chantix Again

You know, I'm really good at quitting smoking. Gosh, in the past two years I've quit what... four times? At least?

It's the STAYING quit that's more the issue.

So here we go with the Chantix again. I just took my first day's dose.

What makes me nuts about this is that there is so much I don't like about smoking. I don't like the cost, I don't like how it looks, I don't like the taste, I don't like the stench (I swear, yesterday after coming in from my morning smoke break I checked my shoes to see if I'd stepped in a dog pile because it was That. Bad.)... but I keep doing it.

It's icky. The heck with deadly, it's just icky.

Okay, deadly is also a factor. And I'll admit it's the one thing that overrides my fear of gaining weight due to quitting. The bad part about this timing is that in January I started my push to get the last 30 pounds off. I'd gone down to 147 back in late 2007, regained 13 during 2008, and just now got back to 147 again, giving me 17 more pounds to go.

But as one of my friends' doctors told her: You can lose the weight. It's a bit harder to recover from death.

All that said, I've managed to go into total anxiety mode over quitting. The second I took that Chantix I had the biggest "I want a cigarette NOW!!" feeling. Those of you who smoke or have smoked know what I mean, when your head is feeling slightly numb, when it would be wise for those surrounding you to tread lightly lest they incur your wrath and/ or tears, and you just know IF YOU COULD HAVE THAT CIGARETTE YOU'D BE FINE, DAMMIT!! Now why in the hell is that phone ringing when I am TRYING TO GO SMOKE???

And actually, I can have that cigarette. I can keep smoking through this first week and to be honest, I'll go ahead and have my usual "run outside, stink up my clothes, run back inside" break in about 17 minutes. But I don't have the full week to quit since I made an agreement with someone and I'm going to have to cut this stuff out a bit more quickly.

Bleah. Oh well. I maintained 40 lbs. of a weight loss over a year. I lost 13 lbs in 8 weeks (don't freak folks -- it's just slightly over 1.5 lbs a week and that's going to slow WAY down due to the standard plateaus as well as the quitting smoking thing). Time to amp it up and get rid of the damned nicotine.

I'll keep ya'll posted.

P.S. The good news? More crazy, wacky Chantix dreams!! Wheeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pet Peeve

Note: this is cross-posted from my blog at I usually spare y'all my dietary rantings, but this is a pet peeve of mine... as you may have guessed from the post title. I'm AmandaJCD over there, if anyone is interested.

When you've been playing around in the diet and fitness game as long as I have (about seven years all told), there is one saying you'll inevitably run into:

"Nothing tastes as good as thin feels!"

Bah. My happy asterisk.

Food is good. I looooove food. And let's cut to the chase here: if nothing tasted as good as thin feels, then how in the world did so many of us get into this fix in the first place?

The implication that being thin is better than actually sitting down and enjoying a meal is counterproductive. I mean, I get the point of the adage. It's meant to help people pass up that brownie, to look at a menu critically in terms of fat and calorie content, just to THINK about what they're putting in their mouths.

But sometimes, you know what? That brownie is *exactly* what you need. And if you don't go ahead and HAVE the stupid brownie, it's all you're going to think of until you end up eating an entire pan of the danged things.

Ahem. Not that I've ever done this myself.


The key to this thing we're all doing is moderation. That is absolutely, full stop, the ONLY way this is a viable lifestyle change rather than a "diet". All diets are doomed to failure. It's a simple fact. The only people who lose pounds and then sustain that weight loss are those who learn how to incorporate healthier eating habits and exercise into their lives beyond that timeframe when they're in weightloss mode.

And by "healthier" I don't mean rice cakes and wheat germ. Shoot, just thinking about that makes me want to go dig into the ice cream I've got tucked away in the freezer.

It's all about balance, folks. If you want that brownie, hey, go for it! Just make sure you account for those calories. The problem comes in when it's EVERY day, EVERY meal... and that's also where the solution comes in.

There are so many delicious foods out there that are healthier, and lower in calories and saturated fats. If you're wanting pasta one night and your general standby sauce is an alfredo, try tossing some whole wheat pasta in a bit of olive oil and sprinkling on some parmesean instead. It may have been the carbs bellowing your name rather than the alfredo sauce.

And even if the evil alfredo sauce was the true culprit, then schedule it in on one of the following days. At least you gave curbing the craving with something more healthy a shot.

Absolutely count those calories. I entered today's lunch into my nutrition calculator, even though I knew I'd bombed out. And boy, did I EVER bomb out! I managed to suck down an entire day's worth of calories in one meal. Yep, I hosed it. And I'm good with that.

But I'm not doing it again tomorrow. Do my occasional indulgences affect the speed of my weight loss? I'm sure they have an impact. But I'd rather take the pounds off more slowly with a lifestyle I can sustain past the time when I hit my goal weight than power them off in a burst of speed that cannot be maintained.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. And I'm pacing myself, because this is a race that will last for the rest of my life.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Depression Dinner

The video below is one I found from a link on my local "mommies" forum. It features this amazing 91-year-old woman cooking what she calls Poorman's Meal, and she has several other cooking videos there as well.

She's just too cool. And actually, she inspired me for dinner last night.

Tracy Stardust from Second Life, file this one in your "Stuff About Ajay" folder, because I used spam.

Somebody toss a bucket of water on Tracy if you're near her, because I'm fairly sure she just fainted.

Anyway, the way I cooked this one is that I took 5 medium potatoes, diced in 1/2" squares, two medium onions, similarly diced, and a can of (God help me) SPAM. I let He Who Brought This Substance Into My Formerly Spam-free House handle dicing that one, because spam totally skeeves me out in its "natural" state, if there is any such thing for that food-like product.

Potatoes go into the skillet first (heat set on the high end of medium), until they've shown some signs of cooking. Then I tossed in the onions and shortly thereafter, that pork product which purports to be food.

Pepper to taste, season with favorite herbs (I went with garlic and rosemary), and salt with caution if you don't want to retain so much water you mistakenly think you've aged 10 years overnight, which happened to me after eating spam once. Eewww.

Ahem. Well, moving right along, we also grated an 8 oz. bar of cheddar and sprinkled that over the top when everything was cooked through. It was seriously not bad. And the male factor and sons really REALLY liked it.

We're already plotting variations, like using pepper jack cheese next time, a small green bell pepper, maybe diced tomato or even sundried tomatoes for color, additional flavor, and texture... and actual ham.

Note to Tracy: No, we will not be adding PEAS to this, regardless of any color or texture they might add. Or perhaps precisely because of that. :P

Of course, we're taking it out of depression mode, but it's sure fun to find a new base meal to play with. Even with the additions it's still cheap, and considering this economy, cheap is good.