Wednesday, August 12

Up in Smoke

I told you I would warn you, and the day is at hand. Sort of.

Yep, I am trying to quit smoking.

I have to tell you, though, I am not doing very well. In fact, it has been a complete disaster so far. So, in usual Charlie fashion, I am going to whine and write out all my feelings about it on the blog. This is truly how I process stuff, and I find a great comfort in getting things out in the open. You need to know that I am real. That I am just like you. That I have issues. BIG ISSUES.

Here's my dilemma.

I am stuck in the low 180s. It's because I am scared. I am scared to hit 175 and then I will have to give up the camels. I feel myself "craving" food I don't need as soon as I get down to 180.2, because then I won't get close to 175.

I don't want to just quit smoking and get it over with because I am scared I will gain 30ish pounds like I did last time I kicked the habit. Every time I try (like last night) I find myself wandering in the kitchen looking for something to keep my mouth busy. Then it freaks me out because I have come so far on the weight loss journey and I don't want to go backwards.

I am in a classic catch 22. Don't want to lose weight because then I will have to quit. Don't want to quit because I am scared I will gain weight. So I am stuck with a non-shrinking butt and a box of patches I am terrified to use.

I know that not one of you loves me less because I am not perfect. In fact, my openness about who I really am- flaws, fat, farts, and all- seems to make you all rally to my side even more. However this situation has me at a total loss. What in the heck am I supposed to do here?

In my mind, this would be the ideal situation:

Every time I crave a smoke, I make myself run on the treadmill for 5 minutes. Every time I want to put something in my mouth, I drink 16 ounces of water. Every time I am crabby, I will grab my husband and snuggle. When I start to freak out about the whole thing, I grab my Bible and pray myself through it.

Because the reality is- I KNOW without a doubt that God is big enough to handle my mess. I just won't give it to Him. I keep telling Him, "Tomorrow it will be Yours. On Friday. On Monday. At 175. At 138. In 2010. Heck, I'll just wait till you call me into Your Kingdom when eternity begins." I did the same thing with the diet for 5 years. Now that I have found freedom from the fat pit, why am I so hesitant to give Him this last thing?

Because this really is the last thing. When I heard His still small voice in my heart, He told me 2 things had to go.

The weight. And the smokes.

So what if, and stick with me here, what if I am hiding behind a carton of junk just like I hid behind my weight for 20 years? Am I simply giving myself an excuse to not reach for my dreams by still hanging on to the smoking? Maybe I am telling myself that I am not worthy to have the life/ministry/opportunities that I see before me because who would ever want a female preacher/teacher who smokes and won't give it up!

Hmmmm. This could be the reason.

Because when it all comes down to the basics, I am scared to death I will let myself down. That I will let God down. That I will fall on my face and you will all be witness to it. Not just with the smoking. With everything.

Which is exactly why I started this blog in the first place. I knew the weight loss wouldn't be easy. But I knew if you were all watching, I just might stick with it. Even if I failed in a miserable way (and you can scroll through past postings to see that I have done that time and time again) I would find the courage to get back up and try this again. I would keep pushing for the end result that needed nothing more than a determination that wouldn't quit.

OK. I am going to try this with a different approach. Maybe this is how I need to quit smoking and keep losing weight at the same time.

I AM GOING TO FAIL AT LOSING WEIGHT. Not every day, but I am probably going to gain a few pounds. I give myself full permission to gain weight over the next month as I quit smoking.

I AM GOING TO FAIL AT QUITTING SMOKING. Sometimes, I am going to give in to the cravings. But the cravings I resist will be counted as a victory. It is ok if I don't do well. It's ok if I make a bad choice here and there. It will not be the end of life as I know it. I give myself full permission to not be perfect. Perfection is not a requirement to be who I am, and it never should have been in the first place.

JUST BECAUSE I AM NOT PERFECT DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT I HAVE 2 IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO THIS YEAR. My goals are not going to change. I am not going to wuss out like a cry-baby and say this is too hard for me. I am going to fight and rage against my fat and my smoking. I will understand that this is a process, and God will teach me valuable lessons as I have both victory and failure. I will embrace that this is going to be hard. I will accept that I need help and support along the way. I will be a failure today if it leads me to winning the battle tomorrow. I will not demand perfection from myself.

GOD IS ALL THE PERFECT I WILL EVER NEED. How easily I forget this fact. He never asked me to be perfect. That was a pipe dream I came up with all on my own. With the diet, when things weren't going the way I thought they should, He still did the shrinking- making me lose inches instead of pounds. So perhaps while I struggle with horrific cravings for tobacco, He will cause me to depend on Him in my weakness. Then it's all because of Him and His grace. Not because I had willpower or a patch or Chantix. I can quit because He gives me grace when I need it the most.

Sheesh. Being perfect is the last thing I need to be! If I am perfect, what would I need Him for?

Maybe I can embrace every craving, telling God that for the moment, right when I desire a camel menthol lite, I will want Him more. I will CRAVE HIM. Ask for His brand of perfection to wash over my camel habit. I will ask for His great waves of mercy to sweep me off my feet, and turn my ashes into a thing of beauty. I will call down the aroma of heaven to fill my lungs with the same smoke that led the Israelites out of captivity during the Exodus.

And that's it. That's the answer. I am going to smoke my Jesus.

Gives a whole new perspective of going up in smoke.


Anonymous said...

We are more afraid of our greatness (His greatness for us) than we are our weakness.

Hang in there Charlie!

Illinois girl (who worked out hard today and then ate a hot dog)

LeeAnnStoner said...

I hope I don't sound harsh, but look at your children when you want to smoke a cigarette. Know that you'll be around longer for them to see them grow up and see their children grow up. My dad died from lung cancer and saw my oldest when she was a baby one time right before he died. I'm not even sure how aware he was at that time.

Google pictures of lungs that are damaged by smoking. It's pretty nasty. Print one out and post it somewhere to remind you what your lungs look like. As soon as you stop smoking, your longs will start to heal and the damage can reverse itself.

If you want something to do with your mouth, try sugar-free gum. Keep a huge stash on hand.

I really believe you can do this! You are a strong woman. Look at what you have already overcome and accomplished. You don't need those cancer sticks, coffin nails, or whatever you want to call them. Change how you feel about them. Look at them and believe they are poison (they actually are), and you don't want to put that in your body. And if you get weak and smoke, remember that as you smoke that cigarette and watch it get shorter, your life is also getting shorter.

And don't be afraid to fail. We will all still love you and you won't be letting anyone down. In fact, if you end up going back to smoking, I won't even say another word. When you are completely ready, you will do it. I hope the time is now, but if the time is somewhere in the future, then that it good too. Quitting anytime is a good thing, and sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed. The permissions you are giving yourself are fantastic. Hopefully, it will lessen the stress of the whole thing and allow you a better chance for success. Good luck!

-Lee Ann

Nichole said...

When my husband quite smoking I bought him some sugar free suckers. It gave him something to do with his mouth and his hands when he had a craving. He said they helped a lot.

You've already proven how strong you are with your weight loss success. You can do this! :o)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I can say anything different than what you already have. And you said it perfectly: "I give myself full permission to not be perfect." You're going to have "bad" days at both the weight loss and the smoking. As we're always told at Weight Watchers: "there's no failure, only feedback".
Mostly, I just wanted to post and say I'm here for you and cheering you on!

Danielle said...

I commend you on trying to quit smoking... and I know you can do it, girl. Not by your own strength, but by God's. If you know it's His will for you to be in ministry and that is something that you feel will hinder you in some way, He will take it out of your path. It's when our own will gets in God's way... but you are willing. That's the first step.

I was where you are five years ago. I smoked for 13 years and had quick a time or two, but always went back to it because of my wicked flesh. But God is so merciful! Five years and counting and let me tell you, I smell a ciggie and I want to

Some advice... get candy. Lollies, hard candies, gum... sugar free if you want. Whatever you can add into your calories or points. Have them in the car, your purse, the livingroom, the kitchen... have them anywhere you spend any amount of time. It [helps]. My hardest times where in the car and right after eating a meal. Ak! Those times were hard.

I'll be praying for you, sister! And remember, you will stumble, you will fall, but just like with your dieting, allow God to pick you up, dust you off and send you on your way again... knowing that your forgiven.;-)

Now, go smoke you some Jesus!(I LOVE THAT!)

The Incredible Shrinking Woman said...

Danielle- you are a tricky one to track down. I hope you check this.... can you send me a quick email to the oscbb@yahoo? Your email address seems to be somewhat elusive, and I was going to chat with you for a bit.

All of you- Your encouragement is astounding. I am awe struck at the circle of support that formed just minutes after I posted this heart cry to be free. I am overwhelmed with a sisterhood that is honest, forthright, and loving. YOU ALL mean the world to me, and don't ever think for a second that ANY comment goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Your notes are like answered prayer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dancekmrl said...

Just wanted to let you know that the sugar-free hard candies and such have a laxative effect. Which might help you lose weight if you want to go through a colon cleanse again. Just read the package. Mine say excessive consumption, but not how many that is.

LeeAnnStoner said...

Not trying to be nit-picky, but all sugar-free stuff has a laxative effect. It's the actual sugar substitute that does that. It won't help you lose weight. In fact, for some people too much sugar substitute will cause stalls. As with everything...moderation is the key. The gum and lollies will be great tools to stop smoking. Just don't eat the whole bag. LOL!

-Lee Ann

PS: Oh, I just remembered...Crystal Light now makes a popsicle too. They are actually pretty good.

Anonymous said...

You can do this! I know you can!!!! You'll "falter" along the way, but you won't "fail", bc I know you'll turn it around and look back to Jesus! In our weaknesses, He makes us strong, and for that, there is no failure! Let Him use you, girl!
Love ya,

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