Stamping out bad habits

Posted April 10th, 2006 by Penny Wise

Another Monday and Noel has given up smoking again. The latest new batch of nicotine patches is on the bedside table (these ones are Nicorette, but there's still an unfinished packet of Habitrol from a couple of weeks before next to them). At least he's trying I suppose, but I wish he would just get on and do it! Every week it's the same, the woeful regaling of how much he hates his habit, how dreadful it's making him feel, how he's never been so unfit. 'I'm really going to do it this time!' he tells me at least once a month. 'I have to do it, I'm so sick of it'. If we're lucky he lasts through the first day, on the second day he's an obnoxious and argumentative so and so and by the third he's so unbearable to live with that the kids and I are breathing a sigh of relief when he finally gives in and goes and buys a pack of ciggies. Now I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but he forgets I've done it too - three years ago I gave up a 30 a day habit, so I do know how hard it is, but I just got on with it and did it once and for all. I don't actually have a problem with him smoking, I'm not a reformed radical anti-smoker or anything; he never smokes in the house and I don't really notice it. He's the one with the problem!

The way I see it is, if he REALLY wanted to give up, if he really hated it that much, he would stop talking about it and just do it. As it is, we have probably spent almost as much on stop smoking aids for him over the years as we have on the cigarettes themselves. We have bought the gum, the capsules, the books, the patches, the affirmation tapes and he has even been hypnotised twice to no avail. The most successful attempt I knew of was when Fran sent him some homeopathic 'Smoke Stop' remedy last year. He was so perturbed at the amount of sweat and odour that came out of his system, particularly at night, as the remedy flushed the toxins out of his body, that he stopped taking the remedy and started smoking again instead. Noel's latest bout of quitting seems to have been set off by a couple of triggers. Firstly he is a rugby coach and with the new season just a fortnight away he is not relishing the thought of keeping up with 20 boisterous 10 year olds for several hours a week in his current state of health. The other trigger is a lot more serious - one of his friends and colleagues has just been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at the age of 43. He is leaving behind his wife and children the same age as ours. If that's not an incentive to make our Noelie kick the habit, I don't know what is.

Mind you, if I were in the same position as Noel, I would pay a visit to the Vault before shelling out on yet more quitting aids. There is so much brilliant information in there from people who have 'been there and done that' and stuck to it. Plus, it has only cost them a fraction of the price, or better still, nothing at all. Just typing 'smoking' in the Vault search bar brings up 31 results and some of these are really inspiring. I have tried to steer Noel in the direction of the Vault, but he insists he can quit by himself. I'll believe it when I see it, but who knows, he may still prove me wrong!

I'll get off my soap box now as I still have plenty of habits of my own to keep under control. I confess to not being as stringent on the diet front last week as I was the previous week - I find changes to routine easily wreak havoc with my best intentions. Last week was a busy week workwise, with several meetings in the evenings and I was finding although I was sticking to my menu plan and cooking proper meals for the rest of the family, I wasn't actually getting around to eating myself. On one such day I ended up just about passing out at 5pm due to not having any lunch, so grabbed a packet of crumpets at the shop on the way home from the boys' rugby practice and promptly got home and ate four on the trot. Of course by the time I had done that I was too full to eat a proper dinner so I went to my evening meeting, came back starving again and finished off the other two crumpets in the packet! Hardly a great example of a healthy diet, but as both Liam and I ended up with a 24 hour stomach bug the next day and I was unable to eat anything at all, my crumpet binge kind of evened itself out. Liam was mortified when he jumped on the scales and found he had lost a kilo, but I was delighted to discover I had done the same!

OK, so losing weight through being ill was technically cheating, but I am now two kilos down and I have managed to keep it off. I have my healthy eating back under control and am keeping up the exercise. It's a great feeling that, even though I still have a long way to go, I can at least now do up my shorts again without the Velcro fastening giving way every time I bend or sit down! Maxine and I walk religiously every day and I have recently added a regular dose of Oprah to my exercise regime! Like most working people I don't get a chance to watch daytime television, but I really enjoy most of Oprah's shows, which are an hour long. So the last few weeks I have been setting the video to record her shows, then dragging my exercise bike in front of the TV and watching them later when it's convenient while I pedal away. I'm so engrossed in the programme that there's no chance of getting bored with my exercise and it's amazing how many kilometers you can cover in an hour long show!

I also checked out another weight loss website on the recommendation of another member (thanks Michael!) is a friendly and funky looking website which is 100% free to join and helps you develop your own personalised weight loss and exercise program. It has quite a lot of the features used in the website I mentioned earlier, but is more user friendly and not quite so full of technical jargon (however, it still told me in plain English that I was definitely overweight so there's no escaping that!) It also does more of the work for you, so you are not clicking all over the site wondering 'where do I go next?' My nutrition plan tells me all in the same place how many total calories I should aim to consume in a day, how many carbs, protein and so on - plus it also tells me I should aim to drink eight cups of water a day (compared to the current several cans of Diet Coke a day, with the odd bottle of V guarana blast thrown in) - ahem! Best of all (for me anyway) is the site will even provide you with a personalised menu plan that actually includes - joy of joys - a vegetarian diet, woohoo! No kidding, this site is amazing and you can find it in the Vault under 'Weight loss community support online'. One way or another, the Wise family is going to shape up!

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