Quitting Smoking One Day at a Time...

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Friday, December 5, 2008

I Miss Blogging! Final Hot for the Holidays Weight Loss Post

Hey There!
I cannot believe that I have not posted anything since my year anniversary off cigarettes! Amazingly enough, I still do not smoke cigarettes and even though I think about them, I know that if I actually light up, I do not know if or when I will be able to quit again. I always try to remember that I am "A puff away from a pack a day habit" and I really do not want to go back to being a slave to Nicotine or should I say Nico-demon! When I went to the doctor's the other day he told me they were getting a ton of reports about Chantix side effects and all I can say is I am glad it worked so well for me. I am glad that I was able to take it and have it successfully assist me in my quit! Blogging helped quite a bit also. Support is always nice.

I really miss blogging but have been too busy to even post anything. Also, since I am working two jobs, I am feeling too lazy! I guess I really am an all or nothing kind of girl as I either really blog, work out, eat right, quit smoking or I don't. I have been kind of so-so with my eating plan but really wanted to post since its the end of the Hot for the Holidays contest. I also felt bad after a couple people were kind enough to e-mail me, and ask exactly where the hell I was. I figured I should at least check in.

First, I want to send a shout out to Christie O. over at "Baby Tea Leaves" Blog. She so rocks for hosting the Hot for the Holidays Contest. It is a really motivating experience to know even if I screw up for the week, someone else is going to motivate me to get on task for the next week. I do not know how much I have lost since the beginning of the "Hot for the Holidays" contest, but I do know that I have lost a total of 20 pounds since August 16, 2008. This week I lost two pounds which put me at 20 pound mark instead of 18! For whatever reason, I just like the sound of a solid 20 better!

Even thought my diet and exercise program is FAR from perfect, I have made significant changes that I can pretty much stick with. I STILL pack my lunch daily and do not eat a ton of junk! I have had only one meal in the school cafeteria and that was out of desperation! I try to avoid junk foods for the most part and have cut certain foods out of my diet completely or eat them really rarely. Soda is like a once a month treat! I could not go back to eating the way I was and when I have eaten a couple of really bad meals or I ate too much, I got very sick! My body just cannot process food the way it used to! That could be considered a good or a bad thing. For example, I went to Magianno's for Thanksgiving dinner and basically stuffed myself! The food there is AMAZING and it was "All you can eat." Lets just say I got SUPER sick and just because "All you can eat" is offered does not mean I need to take the restaurant up on it! I need to be able to see at least half my plate and then see the food on it! I do not think I will eat like that again any time soon. Anyway, thanks for all of the motivation Christie and fellow bloggers! I am not going to go nuts now that the contest is over...in fact my plan is to SCHEDULE more exercise into my week! I see these two women I work with walking around the school every morning like clockwork and the are literally MELTING away....since September they have lost a ton of weight and their determination has motivated me! I see them walking for probably a half hour EVERY morning no matter what the weather and the results speak for themselves! I have taken it as far as I can go with dietary change! I really need to commit to more exercise!

Anyway, for all of you who have been participating in this challenge, keep up the good work and congratulations to everyone on their losses.

Fierce Diva

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Hey all! I actually made it...a year and one day off cigarettes! I have REALLY wanted one the last couple of days but I keep telling my head, "Thanks for sharing.....it will pass!" I kept remembering the pick of the lady smoking through her neck and pulled it up. It reminds me of the insanity of nicotine addiction! I have kind of resigned myself to the idea that I will probably always think of smoking but I don't have to light one up! I know how sneaky that evil drug Nicotine is....its always waiting for a trigger or a weak moment. Blogging has helped me as much as the Chantix has. I will have to keep posting. I decided to post the picture of the gross smoking neck more for myself than to shock others! Every time I want a cigarette I always think about this! If you are thinking about quitting, it really is worth it! Most of the time, I really do not miss this horrible habit!


Monday, November 10, 2008

This Time the Revolution WILL be Televised!

Lets just say gay folks and people who believe in equal rights for all Americans in California have taken it to the streets....literally! Lots of people are pissed about the religious right paying millions of dollars to pass Proposition 8 in California which outlaws gay marriage. I must say, I knew it was gonna be on when the farm animal bill passed that gave chickens the right to a certain amount of space in a cage and the rights of gays to marry were taken away in the very same election! Many people are outraged and not just gay folk. The day a chicken gets more rights than me is the day its time to stand up and organize. Washington here we come!



One Year Off Cigarettes Tomorrow Nomember 11, 2009!

When I began the process of quittubg smoking in September of last year, I never thought I would make it 30 days let alone a year! It was a rough start with lots of slippage and then I moved from the Nicotine Ptch to Chantix as my primary method of getting off cigarettes once and for all! Between lots of on-line support, (Thanks fellow bloggers!) a quit smoking program with a great facillitator, taking the drug Chantix and utilizing the on-line suggestions, I will have made it a year off Nicotine tomorrow! Talk about a miracle! I was as strung out and stung can be on Nicotine and STILL think about lighting up from time to time. Talk about an powerful drug!! When I start craving a smoke I use the suggestions I learned early on: I just delay the act of smoking, do something else or drink a glass of water and wait the feelings do pass....they do eventually! I have saved thousands of dollars and my health is a lot better! Yeah, I still miss the instant gratification of stuffing my feelings with a cigarette but I know that I made the best decision of my life when I got willing to do what it took to stay off Nicotine. I know that I am a "puff away from a pack a day" so I know if I pick up I might as well start lighting my money on fire and throwing it out the window! Not to mention that my body does not handle second-hand smoke well at all these days! I am the one who used to think that the idea of non-smokers were suffering from my second-hand smoke was government propaganda not to be believed! I was a smoker who wanted my right to smoke whereever and whenever I so choose to do it! Boy have my opinions changed! Don't get me wrong, I do not think smokers should be treated as social lepers but I do think that going outside to smoke is much better for all concerned!

Recently, I went out with some smokers to the protest to overturn Proposition 8 and there were a ton of people smoking...the second-hand smoke got me kind of sick! (Yep, tobacco companies LOVE to target minority communites...hence the high level of gay people who smoke...right up there with Asians! ) I later went and saw a band lay at a club in Hollywood and I watched the the guitar player as he was smoking onstage and playing at the same time and was wondering how cool did he think he was? It was a small club and the air quality was already bad! I am glad I am over thinking that cigarettes are cool! Some people still buy into the "cool" image but how cool is he going to look hooked up to an oxygen tank? Go figure!

To celebrate, I took the day off today since I have tomorrow off and am going to go to the casino to gamble a little bit! I have not been in at least three months! Maybe I will get lucky! Wish me luck! Gotta run and get ready! I think I will go play the slots in the non-smoking section....what a novel concept huh? Thanks for all of the support everyone and if you are thinking about quitting, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day! Vote Obama!

I will be going to the polls today with tons of other Americans! I am hoping Obama becomes our new President and that Proposition 8 here in California does NOT pass! I want to live in a country where Civil Rights are guaranteed for all! We will see what happens! People have a right to choose and vote how they want. I mean, after all, it IS a free country. Hopefully common sense will prevail! Lets all go to the polls and exercise our freedoms as Americans.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Fat Ticker Friday! Happy Halloween!

Hey All!

Well, I have indulged in too many sweet treats and gained a pound! I am not going to change my weight tracker unless the pound is still on when I weigh in next Friday! If I am still up a pound I will change my weight tracker to fifteen pounds lost. Call it denial, but I do not think I ate THAT much candy! I have eaten a bit more processed foods than usual so sodium could be at work here. A week of "detox" meaning no added sodium and healthy moderate carb should bring m back to where I need to be. All in all, I must say that the damage could be worse! Hope everyone did better than me and actually LOST instead of gained! Hope everyone is having a wonderful Halloween!


PS: In eleven days, on November 11th I will have a year off cigarettes! Amazing huh?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cameo Catch Up Blog Post!

Hey all,
I have had a bit of the stomach flu that has been going around so I have not really feeling too well or like posting much....for that reason I am labeling today is cameo catch up day!

First, I cannot believe that I have not lost any weight! I mean, having the stomach flu should have SOME benefits, but nope, apparently not for me! I am still at a 16 pound loss but in the last couple weeks, no loss, no gain! I guess I cannot complain. I have not done all that much in terms of meeting my weight loss goals so I can't really complain....but I am complaining! Oh well, there is always next week! The one thing I need to remember is when I work really hard on something, I achieve. When I half step and half ass, I accomplish very little! What a novel concept huh? Do something, get something! Do nothing, get nothing! I was more in the latter than the former so I guess I shouldn't be too upset! Besides, there is always next week!

The smoking thing was really hard a couple days this week. I wanted one so much I could taste it so I went back to my "quit class" to check in! I will have a year off the crap on November 11 and I really want to make it! It was cool to go check in...my facilitator was glad to see me and asked me to share with the class! Seeing people struggle hard to get a day off nicotine make me realize that delaying smoking a cigarette is way better than actually smoking one! I have not craved a cigarette in quite some time. Lets just say whenever I am under the weather, I want to smoke cigarettes and think about menthol's quit a bit! I don't really understand why it happens! Before I quit smoking, I would always crave getting high. I don't act on the feelings but they come up every time I am sick or rundown! I am feeling a lot better today fortunately.

Gotta run and catch up on some paperwork but first I am going back to bed for fifteen minutes!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Fit Ticker Friday--Couldn't Weigh In

I have had a crazy week and could not get to a scale. Back to School Night, tutoring at the group home and a ton of other things I won't go into. I will get to a scale ASAP. If I had to gage my progress by the way my clothing fits, I would say no loss, not gain. Hope everyone kicked ass and rocked this week!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I cannot believe that its been eleven months off cigarettes! Go Chantix and fellow bloggers and blogging! I never would have imaged it...eleven months off of that crap Nocodemon! Nicotine is an addictive substance that it had me strung out for thirty years! I am really grateful to be off of it; one day at a time. I just need to remember that I am a puff away from a pack a day and if I pick up I never know when I will be able to put them down. Kinda like those Wheat Thin Crackers I picked up from the store last week! I am done eating them now an do not plan on buying another box anytime soon!

For those of you who have ever read my blog, the number eleven is super symbolic of change in my life and has been ever since I woke up out of the fog of drugs back in 1987! Nmber eleven has been sending me messages for a long time! Since this is the eleventh month of my quit, I am feeling nostalgic!! Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to hitting a year on my actual quit date (11/11/09) but I am going to reminise a bit today because I am in the 1th month and yeah, eleven is special to me!

Today when I woke up as well as last night, I am wondering what new direction my life is headed. This time last year was one of the WORST times in my life....really! I would never have chosen to quit smoking during such a stressful period....it was just time! During these last eleven months, I have been pushed to do things I never thought I would do! Because of this I have a true belief in a higher power, all I could think was that I was being directed to someplace in life that I was not sure of. All I could do was keep the faith and just deal with the experience. Believe me, it wasn't easy!

Right when I first started trying to I quit smoking , I knew I could not stay at my job any longer and kick tailed it into high gear to get another one. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) was talking about cutting positions while I was busy trying to find one! Then, when I was busy looking for a new job, there was a hiring freeze and I couldn't get a new job or even a transfer to save my life! It ended up working out. I got a new job when the freeze ended which was one day before school started! This experience was super stressful because there were pending legal issues along with the job stuff. At his point, I realized that waiting for change to happen is often more stressful than the actual change! I am so glad that that part of my life is on the right track.

Even thought last year was filled with nothing but change or "Reinvention" as I like to call it, I did some things I never really expected to do. I had to privilege and honor to study under professor Skip Gates at Harvard University. That experience had a very profound effect on my life and taught me to never sell myself short and I can do ANYTHING I want to do! I am following up on my plans for move into a different area of education, most likely social philanthropy. There are so many great programs for people who want to make a difference and change the world! That would be me. I never planned on staying a classroom teacher until I retired even thought I think it is a noble career. I am currently shopping graduate school programs and I will let you guys know what I find! There are a ton of fellowship opportunities and I learned that if you do not apply, you can not get accepted or denied!

Another huge change for me was this summer I went to a "Fitcamp" and was trained by Isabeau Miller from the "Biggest Loser" I wanted to train with someone who KNOWS how hard it is to change your life when it comes to weight loss and exercise and had dealt with the struggle aspect personally. I have had trainers who were pretty much athletes their entire life and I think they have a really hard time understanding the mindset of obesity. I wanted to work with someone who was not physically "perfect" but doing everything that could be done to change the physical as well as emotional self and knows that every day is a challenge and a choice! I got the privilege to work out and train with a ton of amazing people who wanted more for themselves and their lives! The power of having eight or ten people with the same mindset is a really powerful thing! Jimmy Moore and his wife Christine who run a blog called Livin' La Vida Low Carb videotaped the entire journey of all of the fitcamp attendees and posted the videos on Youtube. It was a hard but necessary two weeks for everyone and I learned so much that I cannot even explain how it changed me! I would love to see more people be able to have this experience and a career in philanthropy would allow me to focus on seeing these types of programs get funding. I love that Jimmy provided scholarships for people who really wanted to make changes in their lives. That is the kind of stuff I hope to be able to do one day!
Anyway, while all of these changes were occurring, (there were a TON more I just won't bore you with them) I kept plugging along, reading other people's blogs like Maggie, Mamaflo, Lynda and Brandie and Stan. I would read blogs, post blogs and just not light up. Even when I wanted to smoke with my entire being, I just didn't or I would just delay it until I no longer wanted one. Its funny, when I first started blogging with these people, I seemingly had nothing really in common with them except that we all were trying to quit smoking! We were all different people from different regions....or so I though! Stan and I actually live in the same state, same valley and go to many of the same places (although not together!) The girls I blog with have families and different lifestyles but we are like a little community....and I have to say thank you guys for being so supportive! There are others too that I have met in the last eleven months of this journey....if I did not mention you personally, sorry! (Some of you have blogs in other places, private blogs or different circumstances) just know I really appreciate all the people who have been there for me during my quit!

Gotta run, I am off to celebrate with a mani/pedi!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Fat Ticker Friday--Fell off the Fitness Wagon!

Hey All You Hot for the Holiday Folks:
Well, this was not a good week on the weight loss front. The two pounds I lost I put right back on! I may have gained more, who knows. This little slip up make me remember a couple of really important things this week. They are as follows:
1.) First, I need to always remember to pack my food for the day. This Tuesday I was running late and I did not pack my lunch, no water, nothing! I ultimately ended up in the school cafeteria. Yep, the food is HORRIBLE! (Since I eat small meals or snacks frequently throughout the day, by the time lunch hit I was starving!) I ended up eating macaroni and cheese which was served with garlic toast! Talk about carb overload! It was all downhill from there. Too many processed carbs for me makes me feel sluggish and rundown. Unfortunately, even though too many carbs (especially processed carbs and/or white sugar/flour) make me feel bad, once I start eating them, my body starts to crave more. Once I got started it was REALLY hard to stop putting them in my body! Today (Friday) was the first day I am back to a more normalized diet. Since I do not eat white flour anymore, I think that the white bread and regular macaroni I ate had a profoundly addictive effect on my body. Maybe its my imagination but I swear I was craving carbs like I was on drugs! I mean, I even ate a whole box of wheat thins! Fortunately for me I had purchased the smaller box!

2.) Bad eating is like smoking one cigarette... Once bad eating or smoking or whatever starts, its super easy to say "F*C^ It" and keep going! What started out with one bad meal lasted three days and I am still not totally sure if I am done! (Just being honest!) I will have it all out of my system by Sunday for sure!

3.) I make a daily choice to do what I need to do as opposed to what I want to do. I know that if I keep doing what I am doing I will keep getting what I am getting......and that can be good OR bad! When I eat properly and work out, I lose weight. When I eat poorly I feel badly and gain weight. Life is about choices and this week I made some really bad ones!

4.) I alone can choose to change my circumstances. Next week I will make sure I am up early enough to pack a lunch and go to the store to buy groceries. If I do not buy processed foods like Wheat Thins, I will not have them to eat! By the way for those of you like me who at one time believed that Wheat Thins were "healthy," According to many nutritional articles, "Wheat Thins are made from wheat, which is a grain but in reality what started off as a whole grain in the end the product doesn’t even resemble its former self. Wheat thins are enriched, contain high-fructose corn syrup, oils, and artificial additives. Also, there’s hardly any fiber, so they are digested quickly and will definitely spike your sugar levels." This is what happened to me and I think caused a carb load induced eating binge! Lets just say I did not stick with the recommended serving size of 13 crackers!

I hope everyone did well this week.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It Looks Just as Stupid When You Do It.....or I Do It!

These are some of the pictures from a folder I was given today from the TUPE (Tobacco Usage and Prevention) coordinator... if he only knew! The folder was decorated with lots of smoking animals and truthfully, I did feel kind of silly thinking about a cigarette after looking at it! I am close to 11 months off of that crap and need to keep it that way! Thought I would pass it along! As a former smoker for over THIRTY YEARS, its kind of embarrassing to think I once thought that smoking cigarettes looked cool!  


Friday, October 3, 2008

Hot For The Holidays...Friday Weigh In

Well, its time to get one of those weight loss tickers. I am down a total of 16 pounds since August 15th when I began this journey. I'm not sure exactly how many weeks that is but I am almost positive its seven. This week I lost between 1.5 and 2 lbs. I weighed myself late so I am posting now. I am glad I am seeing some progress as I didn't lose anything last week. Last week I was happy not to have gained, this week I wanted to see some fruits of my labor. My new goal is to be at a minimum of a 20 pound weight loss total by the end of the month. This seems like a realistic goal. Truthfully , a 25 pound loss would be great but I am setting my goal at a minimum five pounds loss by Halloween. I hope everyone participating is doing well.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Craving a Smoke and Other Bits of Madness....

I don't know why but I am craving a cigarette something fierce today and was yesterday too. I mean, come on....we all know they put additives and a ton of other junk intere already but I have been off of them for quite awhile now. I think I just need to remember all of the junk they stick in there.... Yesterday another teacher was in my classroom as he had left some stuff behind and was taking it out of the storage closet. I was kind of surprised when he asked me if I smoked. I told him, "No, I quit last year." He said he quit also but he happened to have some leftover cigs in with his belongings. We then got into a discussion on why we both made the decision to quit. I happened to catch a glimpse of the Marlboro Lights box and was thinking to myself, "Damn, those sure look good!" I have been craving one since yesterday. I know the feeling will pass....it always does. Besides, I am coming up on 11 months on the 11th so I am in the homestretch of making it a year. I want to keep going on this journey of being a non-smoker so I am using one of the tools I have learned and that is writing about it. Besides, looking at the picture I selected to illustrate this blog brings it all back! The Nicodemon is always going to tell me "one would be nice." I just have to think happy thoughts and do something else and eventually the craving will pass.

Its funny, I really do not see myself as a smoker anymore even though I am craving a cigarette. I got together with some friends a couple weeks ago and we went to an NA meeting and they were puffing away. I could notice how nasty it smelled and that they had brown spots on their teeth! They were cool and surprised that I quit and tried to move away when they lit up. They are just getting clean again so I know why lighting up is important to them. I was the same way when I got clean. Now, I am just glad I have managed to stay off cigarettes so long, one day at a time. I have saved around $1,400 and smell A LOT better! A big shout out goes out to MammaFlo for reaching her year smoke free! MammaFlo started on Chantix about six weeks prior to me and she made it over a year off cigs and is holding strong. I know if all these other people can do it, I can too! Ok, I feel better already just knowing the feeling and desire to smoke will pass! I wish I waited for the Chinese food craving to pass last night! I was dying for some fried rice and I did go get some. It was good but I could definitely taste the "fried" component. I have not eaten any kind of fried food in months. I will be back to the preferred eating plan tomorrow. Gotta run.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wanting Greatness.....

I finally figured out what my problem is....I just can't settle for being average or for mediocrity. I can deal with it in others but in myself, hell no! Don't get me wrong, I did not always strive for excellence in life. For a long time I was happy to be the worst at whatever I was doing, It was really easy to settle for being a total Fuck-up (The first 22 years of my life was far from great...I took a ton of pride in being one of the worst drug addicts and general screw-ups you would ever want to meet. Most people wrote me off as incorrigible and predicted incarceration. I was a gifted underachiever or so the story goes) Truthfully, I never thought I would live to see 25 or I would probably started this whole health regime when I was a lot younger.

When I got clean, I never wanted to strive for total greatness and in fact, being considered "OK" was fine by me! I always thought people who worked too hard were not very swift! I mean I could show up, half step and make no real commitment and still get by. My whole mentality was do the least possible and hope no one was bright enough to be paying too much attention.My whole mentality was that work was for other people and not for me. I always managed to find a way to do exactly what I set out to do which was not expend too much time or energy on much of anything productive. When I did get interested in something and expend even a quarter of the energy that most people did, I would excel in a very real and almost scary way! Even when I was loaded, I was in a journalism program at a local community college and excelled to a level in that program that I found extremely frightening. I excelled to the point of greatness when all I was trying to do was blend in and be "average".

I have no idea what pushed me to be so ambitious or how "average" became totally unacceptable to me. I am not being disrespectful to those who consider themselves "OK." I kind of wish I was more able to be "OK" instead of striving to be better all the time. I am really envious of people who can just do their job, go home when the day is over and show back up the next day. They do an "OK" or even a "good" job when they are there and don't think too much about responsibilities when they leave. I want to be more like that! At least that's how I feel today....tomorrow I may change my mind on the whole discussion. I am doing the "Hot for trhe Holidays" contest along with some other bloggers and have had to deal with levels of just doing "OK" and its driving me nuts! Maybe its not just all about weight loss....maybe its also about acceptance and allowing myself to be doing an "average" amount of work towards reaching my fitness goals. More will be revealed.



Friday, September 19, 2008

Fat Ticker Friday...Too Much Change! Stop the Roller Coaster, I Want to Get Off!!

Just a quick check in.....since I went to Fitcamp (August 15--30 2008) I have lost a total of 15 pounds! I lost three more pounds and am finally back in a full size smaller clothing! I had a half a closet full of clothes that I could not fit into and it was really a wake up call to have to go buy clothes in a bigger size because I could not fit into anything that was in my closet! This is a quality problem and I am happy with the results, I just wish it wasn't so much work! It is so easy to gain a pound and so hard to take one off.....kind of like its easy to spend money but not that easy to get it! Again, these are quality problems but any change is still a tad bit stressful and I do not deal with stress well at all! I have anxiety attacks and then get asthma so I have to watch my stress levels!

Maybe I am just tired! I am working like crazy at the new school site and its a lot of hard work! I wake up at 5:30 AM and don't get home until usually 6:00 PM. There is so much to learn I just can't keep up! It seems as if EVERYTHING in my life is changing....I know it is necessary but again, its a lot of work. I don't mind working hard but I have been teaching for over ten years and I feel like I am brand new! I know I will get it and I think its just sometimes its uncomfortable when you need to change everything! I didn't really plan on dealing with a new job, a new way of eating, preparing food differently, the huge learning curve of things I need to learn like yesterday. Tomorrow I need to go to a training and grade a ton of papers! I know this is a challenging period and I will get through it. Right now I just feel like I am drowning and need a life jacket. Maybe I am just exhausted and I need to take a break! I am glad that I am going to a nice catered wedding reception after the training I have tomorrow.

Gotta Run. I miss everyone and hope all is going well with my fellow bloggers! As for smoking, it occurred to me to light up and then I was like, "Why?" I will have a year off cigarettes on November 11th, 2008 and I really want to make my year! I can always have my misery refunded if I want that lifestyle back. I went and checked in with my smoking therapist and she was so happy to see me back she had me give the newbies a pep talk! Who would have thought?


Monday, September 15, 2008

Wassup? I Do Not Think All Christians are Crazy....Just the Ones Posting Like They are Trying to Start A Cult!

After avoiding my own blog for a couple of days because some crazy people (OK, one) who feels the need to post their opinions over and over and try to force their beliefs on others, I just got really annoyed! Some people give Christianity a bad name.  Most "real" Christians, Jews, Buddhists, AA members or whatever do not feel the need to recruit people to their religion and figure if people are interested in their beliefs, they will ask! Its called attraction rather than promotion! I am pretty much a live and let live kind of person but since I have been bombarded with comments about AA and being told that Alcoholic Anonymous is of the devil, I am going to hell etc,. I have decided that I think that some people are just bored and feel the need to force their belief systems on others. They should try talking to people who are actually interested and have expressed interest in their organization!  While I have been a member of a Twelve Step Program for over twenty years, I am not on here  trying to recruit new members. If people are interested, they will ask. Its not my job to promote AA and I don't care one way or another if someone wants to be a part of the program or not.  Now if someone expresses interest, I am more than willing to discuss my experience with the organization.  All I have to say is if I don't ask you for spiritual assistance, don't feel the need to save me! I am doing just fine......really! 

To the people who read my blog who are Christian, I am in no way being disrespectful to the religion. I am just saying that I think that people who call themselves "Christians" and do nothing but post over and over and on people's blogs who are OBVIOUSLY not interested should follow some basic principals of respect. In my opinion, people who feel the need to "force" their belief system on others in person or posting on the net are just obsessive compulsive and are missing the point of spiritual programs. This is America and one of the things that makes this country great is there is no mandated religion.  I say live and let live.  I am a grown up who is capable of deciding if I want organized religion in my life. If I were searching for a spiritual program or organized religion,  I would be so turned off by some of the judgemental posts I have received that I would never consider Christianity as a way to better my life, in fact, I would see it as the enemy! 

On a happier note, I am working like crazy at my new job, getting a lot of training and working on my eating and exercise program.  My pants are starting to get really baggy which is a good thing! I miss everyone and am bummed I don't have much time to blog or post! I will weigh myself this week! 


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hi there....it has been a crazy couple weeks! As most of you know, my life is going through a ton of changes. I started a new job, have been trying to eat better which requires planning and shopping and I have been working on getting to the gym! Lets just say I need a better organizational system because I feel like hamster on a wheel and I really want to get off! I know there is a price for reinvention but I need to figure out a better sense of balance and an easier way to do it all. I believe in working smarter, not harder but lately its been the exact opposite! My gym time needs to be increased and the organizing and cleaning of the new classroom has bound to be finished.....well, it will be eventually! They keep bringing more stuff into the room and I have no real place to put it! Its pretty well known that when a classroom becomes "empty" people scavenge whatever they happen to need; chairs, desks, bookcases etc. I have spent WAY too much time trying to get this and that. I will be going in this weekend to work and then hopefully it will not look like a bomb went off inside the room! I need to put up bulletin boards and stuff also.

Anyway, it is September 11th and while that day is a day full of tragedy and sorrow, it is a good day for me today. It symbolizes ten months off of cigarettes and all nicotine products,,,,,,no chew, SNUS, gum, patches NADA! It is still hard some days but I have some great support here in blogger land and I am more committed than ever to not pick up again! It really does get easier and oh my God, the money I have saved is really amazing! It was like I was setting $20.00 bills on fire and throwing them out the window! I am off to work but for those who are trying to quit or struggling to stay quit, its really the best gift you can ever give yourself and your family.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Man, the
 changes just keep coming! I asked for a reinvention but this is ridiculous! I have been interviewing for different teaching positions for quite a few months but due to budget cuts and hiring freezes, it has been close to impossible to get another position. I had put in for a transfer and it was already approved and they had no where to send me so the school district I work for assigned me to a sub pool! Oh what fun!  Being a sub is not exactly a party! Just when I accepted that that was where I was going, the district called me when I was in Tennessee and told me to report back to my previous school. I really had no idea what was up and then I got a call about the school I really wanted! I got it....just in time I might add; school starts tomorrow! 

A few months ago, I was discussing a job offer for a school that I really wanted but didn't get....well, this is the school I ended up getting hired at. Its WAY closer to my house and with gas prices being what they are, thats a good thing!  Originally, this school thought I was "too creative" to teach the scripted program that they were hiring for.  They thought that because I wouldn't really have to think, I would want to get creative! I had to convince them that after working for five years in a program where I had like five preps and was always having to revamp what I was doing, not having to think too hard sounded pretty damn good! Unfortunatly, thee people who interviewed me found it really hard to believe. I finally figured that it was a done deal and had resigned myself to just going wherever I ended up.  I just turned it over so to speak and was just willing to do the footwork and go where I ended up.  Since I was in Tennessee, I had no real power or desire to hustle jobs! Funny thing is, another position became available at the school that originally thought I was too creative.  We were going back and forth discussing if the position was going to be a good fit when I was training in Tennessee.  Well, it finally happened! I got the job and started today! My classroom looks a wreck and I am clueless about a lot of things but I am really excited! This is a new challenge that I am scared about but know its a necessary evil.

I am going to be crazy busy planning, decorating and packing healthy lunches.  If I don't post for awhile, you guys know what's up. Also, I pulled a muscle and have felt better.  Well, happy school days and wish me luck! I will probably need it! 


Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm Back and 12 Pounds Lighter...I Survived Fitcamp!

Hey all,
Just a quick post before I go grocery shopping.....gotta get rid of the really unhealthy food and go shopping for what is on my eating plan. The regular salt stuff has definitely gotta go! For those interested, in the final weigh in, I lost 12 pounds total and a ton of inches!! I was really happy and plan to continue this journey towards overall better health. I will continue to keep a food journal and I was surprised that they have really good ones online! After being FORCED to do a food journal everyday, I am now in the habit and it really keeps me accountable for what I put in my mouth. The numbers don't lie! Its amazing how many calories I could consume simply "grazing" or "taking a bite or two" of something!

I am a bit tired as I got in late last night but it feels great to be home. I strained my left side a bit during the last couple days of camp but dragging a heavy piece of luggage through the airport really did me in! I am going to make a chiropractor appointment for this week and take today as a rest day.

I missed my cat and at first she was furious with me and now she is being a sweet girl. Siamese cats are like that...they will hold a grudge if ya piss em off! Time to get in the shower and go grocery shopping.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The final Stretch of Fitcamp or Should I Say Last Chance Workouts Anyone?

Hey Everyone....

Is there anyone still out there in blog land checking in on me?  If your watching the videos, what do you think? I have heard everything from we need psychiatric help to we are working out too hard.   Give me a holla if you can as I have two more days to go and I fly back Sunday.  I have one more day of actual "camp" meaning lots of exercise tomorrow morning and then we go to the "Grand Old Opery" in our new outfits! We weigh in on Sunday.   I have been kinda homesick the last couple of days. I miss my cat and creature comforts. Don't get me wrong, this is one of the best decisions I have made for myself, aside from quitting cigarettes and have learned a ton about fitness, weight loss and accepting who you are wherever you are in your fitness journey  (or whatever place your in.)   I guess I am ready to go back to life and take what I have learned with me.  I have met some amazing people and it is the jump start I needed for the "Diva Reinvention."  

Anyway, I gotta run and eat.... Its funny, since starting this food plan I get to eat so much lean protein, fruits and veggies with some pure grain that sometimes its hard getting to the caloric amount I am assigned. When we are working out a lot, skipping meals is a HUGE no, no!  I feel way better when I eat six small meals as opposed to two HUGE meals. I am glad I am making the commitment to change my lifestyle; particularly this bad habit.  I am sure I will write a ton about this experience when I get home but for now, I am just checking in.


PS:  I am still off cigarettes and its amazing to be able to do things I NEVER would have though of doing. I mean spin class with a lit cigarettte? I think not! Its funny, you don't see too many people running with a lit cigarette either....unless they are being chased by the police. Just something to think about....or at least its something for me to think about! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Well, I have been at Fitcamp for nine days and have been pushed extremely hard physically. I keep thinking that I am going to blog and reflect day on my experience but it does not seem to be working out that way. I think I am going to do more reflection of the experience when I get home and have the time. I really just wanted to check in and give some good recaps to give everyone an idea of my fitness journey.  If you are really bored, curious or a combination of both, feel free to log onto my fellow fitcamper Jimmy Moore's Livin La Vida Low Carb website and check out the video footage.  For entertainment, watch yesterday's episode #13 where we ran parking lot suicides and pushed a mini van!  We had a competition fondly referred to as "The Push Off," with the losers (that would be our team) being required to push the van by themselves! It was pretty intense to say the least! 

Anyway, I have been staying away from the evil cigarettes even though lots of people out here in tobacco country still smoke! I finally figured it out! Say you were going to Broadway to hang out in the Honky Tonks (clubs, bars, etc.) one side of the street is smoking and the other isn't. If you go see a band on the "other" side of the street, smoking is still happening outside which is more normal to me than smoking happening INSIDE the club. I did go to one gay bar to watch Karaoke and was pretty shocked to see people inside the club puffing away! It grossed me out and I really didn't want one at all. I also knew I had to do a GANG of cardio the next day and it would hurt my lungs rather than help them!  Anyway, I have been free from tobacco since November 11, 2008 and have over nine and a half months away from smoking cigarettes! I like what my quitting friend Maggie said in a recent post about "Its much easier to stay on the track than get back on it," or something to that effect. I know that I am one cigarette away from a pack a day if I decide to pick up again and what is so wonderful about this fitness experience is I am learning to look at eating and exercise in the same way. If I eat a healthier diet, and then take one day off to eat what I want, that is pretty reasonable. If I eat horribly and never exercise, its really hard to get into the habit.  As for exercise, I want to incorporate at least four to five hours of cardio a week and some weights. After this experience, that will be a reasonable goal.  Before I got here, not such a reasonable goal.  The only exercise I was getting prior to Fitcamp was typing on the computer and using the remote control to change channels on my TV set.  I am an either or kinda girl and where I am at.....lets just say its an "All' kinda program.

Anyway, here are is the quick version of Trim Up Tuesday.  I am having a hard time figuring out stuff on my new Mac and am pressed for time so I am just going to do it freehand!  Thank you Brandi for the shoutout...I;m kinda lonely and could use some extra motivation! Two weeks is a long time! I really miss Los Angeles and my friends and family.  I am also anxious about going back to work. I should find out what my transfer options are this week so I am going through a lot of changes to say the least.  Change is hard.....necessary, but hard.  I know I will be glad in the long run that I have taken the steps necessary to change my life but for the short term, I am not having so much fun.  It is challenging, but I am not really sure about fun. There are a ton of fun moments but all in all, its as much as a challenge as quitting is.


* I lost ten pounds last week! I was the "Biggest Loser" of week one at Fitcamp! I think a lot of the weight I lost was from my body detoxing from salt, sugar and all processed foods! I was extremely bloated when I got here and my body was retaining  a ton of water.  I felt pretty horrible physically to say the least.

*  I am 63 lbs away from my first goal weight!  We will see how I feel from there.


*  Since I have been here, we work out about four hours a day. We have taken one full day off and one afternoon off.  We do circuit training, weights, cardio, spin-class, treadmills, elliptical machines and other stuff.  If we seem over trained, we cut back. Today we only did an hour cardiio and believe me, it was plenty as we have Iasbeau this afternoon and she will really kick our butts!


* I am currently on a low calorie diet of 1400 calories.  On my free day, I got 2,000 calories to consume. Some days we add additional calories and other days we eat a little less. (about 100)

*  We are eating an organic diet that includes lean protein, carbs that are not processed (stuff like sweet potato's, brown rice, gluton free pasta and lots of veggies and fruits.


* Finish Fitcamp and plan how to incorporate healthy eating into "the real world."

Gotta run, its shower time.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fitcamp Day Four--I Can Run Even After Smoking a Pack a Day for 30 Years!

I cannot believe that it is already day four here at fitcamp. I must say changing my diet and getting significant exercise is one of the hardest things I have done next to quitting cigarettes. Actually, earlier in the day I was so feeling one. I remembered back in the day (long, long ago) when I used to go to the gym, do 20 minutes on the treadmill, do a step aerobics class and then do 20-30 minutes on the treadmill to cool down. I had a really high capacity for exercise fourteen years ago. After I was done, I would go outside and smoke a cigarette and it was like my treat for doing a great job! Now, I realize how ridiculous that is and told myself , "Thank you for sharing! " Running is  hard enough without adding the cigarette factor it. Speaking of running, my first day here I told Isabeau that I needed to hold onto the treadmill because I didn't think I could do it without holding on. My balance is not all that good to begin with and my cardiovascular endurance is horrible! Well, today I was RUNNING.....yeah I mean really running! On the treadmill AND in the gym during circuit training! I was impressed that I managed to even jog but run....who would have thought it! If you would have asked me if I would be running here on day four I would have told you," Hell no!"  I am finding I can do way more than I ever thought possible.  I think most of the people who are here are discovering the same thing. While the workouts are intense and challenging, I do not feel like I am incapable of moving. They push you hard but not so hard that you feel like you will end up traction.  Well, actually today was pretty bad...I was lying on the hardwood floor feeling like I was going to die and now I feel OK.  I asked Jimmy Moore's wife to take some pictures so I can post em so I will do that later.   I am feeling almost too tired to post pictures!  My days are spent planning meals, cooking, going to the gym twice daily and then reflecting on the process. Me and the other people are starting to bond. Its easy to do when you are with the same people 2/4/7.  

Yesterday we had a day off.  Being the history geek that I am, I went to the Hermitage; Andrew Jackson's home and plantation. Most of the girls went and got a massage and did some shopping, a few of the people went to the Nashville Zoo and Jimmy stayed here and worked on the video that he posted today.  You can see it over at: http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/  I got some awesome pics of the Hermitage and will post them as well. Right now I need to take a shower....and prepare my next meal. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Video of Fitcamp Day Two

Fitcamp is kicking my behind....literally! We have been doing non-stop circuit training and most of the campers were extremely sore! After the workout with Jacob (above in the video) I went home and collapsed! After my nap, it was time to eat lunch and then back to the gym where we had an hour treadmill workout! Isabeau showed us a way to work out on a treadmill that I would have NEVER thought possible! Imagine doing pushups and pullups on a treadmill! I had a bit of an asthma episode from the cardio but took some medicine and was fine. I feel better and stronger after each workout. For those looking to see the full series, feel free to log onto Jimmy's Livin La Vida Low carb youtube page. The address is: http://youtube.com/livinlowcarbman

Gotta run...we must eat every three hours and it is that time!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Diva of Reinvention at Fitcamp

Hi all,
I am in Nashville and today is my first real workout day at fit camp. Yesterday, we got measured, weighed and were given groceries which consisted of lean proteins, veggies and whole grain/wheat carbs and were required to plan menus so we can eat six times daily while staying within our caloric allotment.  We also toured the gym and it was truly amazing! The gym even has a movie theatre sized cardio theatre room where they show movies and as you watch you work out on treadmills, elliptical machines and other gym equipment instead of eating popcorn.  I am excited and scared at the same time. I have been pretty inactive for quite a long time and will be working out twice a day as well as eating really cleanly. There are a total of eight of us and we are training with two different trainers. One of the trainers is Isabeau Miller who was one of the final four on "The Biggest Loser" season four and the other is Jacob Carringer, an ex marine who trained her for the finale.

When we first arrived and went over everything, Isabeau kept telling us that we were going to be sore. Actually she said it so often that I wondered if she was over exaggerating. I guess we will see as the first few days go by. If you are interested in seeing some of my journey as well as the other people I am with,or you want to know more about fitcamp and low carb living, you can see it on Jimmy Moore's Living La Vida Low Carb Blog. He is here participating and he and his wife are documenting the whole experience for the readers of his blog. His blog has a ton of information on low carb living. He will also be posting video clips daily so if your desperate for some excitement, take a look!  

Anyway, today was our first workout with Jacob and I did an hour of cardio and then another hour workout with Jacob.  The groups were split into two groups and we flip-flopped. Four of us did cardio and then four worked out with Jacob. (there are a total of eight of us)    Lets just say this vacation will not be an eating through the south tour which is basically what I did last year when I was on the Civil Rights tour for work.  I did go and eat at Corkeys BBQ last night....the proverbial last supper so to speak. Today the detox from prefabricated foods begins!

As for smoking....let's just say that I am glad that I am not a smoker trying to get in shape as it is bad enough being a former smoker trying to get into shape.  I need to go and eat lunch as we go back to the gym at 1:30.  We are required to eat small amounts every three hours so our body will be fueled properly.  I am off to make my low carb (no bread-lettuce leafs instead) turkey sandwich.  I also need to menu plan so if you guys know any good low cal recipes for chicken breast etc. let me know! 


Friday, August 15, 2008

Vacation to Nashville, Tenn

Getting ready to take off for Nashville. I need to turn my computer into my job today, do some last minute shopping and get on the plane tomorrow. I have tons of errands to do today and will hopefully get everything I need to get done, done! This vacation is the start of a whole new chapter of reinvention for me. I will post when I get a chance....
Gotta run,

Monday, August 11, 2008

NIne Months Today.....Life is Good!

I still count my days because this really is a one day at at a time kinda thing but I also look at milestones. Nine months is 3/4s of a year. I am blown away that it has been nine months! It seems just like the other day I was researching online if I wanted to give the Chantix a try because I was on Nicotine patches and when I "Stepped down" to the 14 milligram ones, they were not working well at all for me. I was slipping and sliding all over the place. I went on Chantx, dealt with some really obnoxious side effects and have been off the drug for about three months now!

For those of you who think this is an effortless quit, this has been far from a party but definitely worth it! Since I quit, I have saved a ton of money, am not a slave to a big Marlboro and don't stink. I have two more hours additional time every day because I do not have to go wander around looking for a place to smoke! Don't get me wrong, I still go through rough patches and I still want to smoke at times; but I just don't do it. I have learned through this journey to take opposite actions and the feelings will pass. The other day I posted a really long blog because I was super pissed. When I am pissed, it triggers my desire to smoke. Writing is a way better outlet than smoking. By the time I was done with that post, I not only had no desire to smoke but I actually felt empathy for the lady and her addiction and went back and rewrote some stuff as my feelings had changed about what was happening. What that situation was unpleasant, it could not have come at a better time. It confirmed my desire to stay a non-smoker and made me realize that I have no desire to go back to being a slave to big Nicotine Could I slip and smoke? Sure... but taking actions that I know are going to help me rather than drag me back to cigarettes is how I have to do it, one day at a time.

I want to give a shout out to all my fellow on-line pals who are or have been blogging about their own quit journey. If you were around longer than me, started after me or even if you went back to smoking; I truly appreciate all the feedback I have received from everyone. You guys rock! I feel super grateful that I have gotten to get to know such a great group of people. I am off to go do some shopping for my trip to Nashville. I am leaving on Saturday and will be gone for two weeks! I am really excited as it is a new beginning for me in terms of diet and exercise.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

People are Outta Thier Minds! I am SO Glad I Quit Smoking!

Hey All,

The other day I went to go visit a friend and after dealing with a whole lotta DRAMA, I decided that there are tons of people in life that are outta their frickin minds and the best thing to do is avoid them! Here is what happened: When I got to my friends house she informed me that she had to go pick up her friend really quickly because she was arguing with her boyfriend. I was like, "Ok." We went and got gas, drove to her friends and met her in a parking lot! That's right folks, a parking lot! Not only were we in a parking lot, we were in a parking lot in the hood! Not only were we in a parking lot in the hood, but we were in the parking lot of the San Bernadino Social Services Offices where people go to their court mandated counseling service, anger management classes, drug counseling etc. There was a GANG of people kicking it in the parking lot waiting for God-only knows what! At that point, I knew there was gonna be drama and sure nuff, it was just around the corner! I know I should always listen to my instincts but did not....bad call on my part.

Well, anyway come to find out that the reason were were in this particular parking lot was this lady was HIDING the car from her boyfriend. What better place to hid a vehicle the REPO man and an irate boyfriend are trying to find other than in a social services building parking lot! OK.....After about an half hour had passed, we had to stop by her house so she could pack a bag...I walked in the door and the smell was DISGUSTING! The smell of stale cigarettes permeated throughout the entire house! Now, I do my best to not be one of those obnoxious former smokers who is rude to people who happen to have the same addiction that I have been given a reprieve from (one day at a time anyway.) I just think I was just in shock how bad an apartment can spell that has four smokers who actually SMOKE IN THE HOUSE! All I could say was, "Oh my God....it was that bad!

I knew there was a reason I quit smoking indoors over 15 years ago... I quit smoking in the house WAY before I even considered kicking the love of my life Marlboro Man to the curb! The major reason being the smell and what it does to the the walls, furniture and everything else. The walls in this lady's house were totally YELLOW and from what I found out, they have only been living there for like nine months! The lady decided she was going to get something to eat, argue with her boyfriend and THEN pack a bag! This is all before she decided that she had to tell him she thought they needed "a time out from each other!" Well, he decided that if she was leaving for a "time out" he was taking the car! And it only took him five or ten minutes to"notice" that it was gone from their apartment. At this point the argument and the drama began to pick up and I realized that this whole thing had nothing to do with me or my friend. I started making hints that I was uncomfortable with the whole thing and was telling my friend, "I really need to go, I am not used to dealing with this kind of drama." The lady piped in and said,"Oh this isn't nothing....drama is when the police come!" I was like "Oh hell to the no!"

At that point, I was getting more and more pissed as the minutes passed. I felt like I did when I kicked drugs and would agree to go hang out with old friends who were still using. Well, even with the best of intentions they would want to stop here and there, usually at some drug dealers house. I finally got hip to the fact that I should probably not see them often and speaking on the phone was a way better plan. After awhile, there was really no reason to talk because I really had nothing in common with them. Fortunately, later in life many of these people cleaned up so I got to resume being friends with some of the people I had grown up with.
This situation was worse in a couple of ways. For one, I didn't even know this lady and secondly, I have no problem going out of my way to help people who are trying to help themselves. She could have taken care of all the drama herself and no one would have had to be aggravated! Not only was I pissed off that my time was being wasted. (I come from the world where time is money; and people do not get paid if there is unproductive nonsense happening and I don't just mean in the legit work world.)

What pissed me of the most was I started having an asthma attack and could not breathe.
Between the arguing and the cigarette smoke, I was done! Even after I pulled out the asthma pump, the people there still continued to puff away! I was really surprised but then again, I wasn't. I was a smoker for over thirty years and it finally hit me what a selfish habit smoking really is. I STILL know people who have kids who smoke in their homes even though they know about the hazards of second-hand smoke on children's respiratory systems. I'm not saying I am perfect or would not have been one of those types of parents, I mean my mom smoked her whole life inside the house and in the car! If we didn't like it, oh well! Why would I be any different than what I grew up with? I know one lady who has kids who considers herself a great parent and in most areas I think she is. I am not here to judge. What I am judging is even though she knows what the research says about secondhand smoke and two out of three of her kids have asthma,she STILL continues to smoke in the house and pretty much refuses to go outside and smoke. I think that the addictive nature of the drug nicotine makes people really selfish when it comes to getting their "fix" I know because I was the same way! I defended my right to kill myself constantly and I used to think all these laws that prohibited smoking in public places and in a car with children were a bit much. I am now beginning to rethink my position on this issue. I mean really now! Kids are not making the decision to kill themselves or damage their health and I kind of see that maybe these laws are necessary to protect the innocent people who choose not to kill themselves with cigarettes. If it will improve one kids health to make smoking in a car a ticketable offense, I say so be it. If I saw someone having an asthma attack and they told me that they were leaving to go outside because of it, I would probably put my cigarette out....but then again it may depend on how bad I was fiending for one! I know from firsthand experience how addictive nicotine is. As mad as I was that the lady and her boyfriend for smokling, I am sure they felt like they needed a cigarette! I know I have behaved the same way when it came to smoking. They were like the addicts that I grew up with...they needed their fix no matter what the consequences were to themselves or others. In this situation, since I did not like what was happening, I needed to be the one to leave.

I told my friend that I was feeling sick and needed to go outside. When my friend came out, I had to do everything in my power not to totally lose my temper! I told her, "I know that your trying to be a friend to this lady but you have to be back to meet your study group to study for you final and she is not the least bit concerned that you miss your appointment. " Not only that, I can't breathe in there and am not staying. This is complete bullshit! Yeah its her house but its just rude! I don't need to be around a situation like this that feels uncomfortable. My friend finally got the lady in the car and then she decided she needed to go back to her car but was not sure if her husband was following her. We ended up dropping her back at the vehicle and told her to meet us at the house. We saw her rolling back to the apartment most likely to continue to argue with her boyfriend.

I finally had to tell my friend that sometimes saying "no" is the best word we can use, especially when it comes to self preservation. The woman thought I was being a bitch because I was trying to get her to hurry up and was not interested in watching her and her boyfriend engage in their argument. Truthfully, I didn't really care! Since I was in a shaky smoking situation, my first priority was to me, myself and I. Fortunately, the cigarette smoking was a complete turn-off as was dealing with people who were completely selfish and self centered about their habit/addiction. After that little adventure, I was feeling like I wanted nothing to do with cigarettes or people who engage in drama at other people's expense or who are unwilling to take productive action in their life. I am committed to staying off cigarettes even more than ever! Its an ugly habit.....one that I had for far too long! As for the lady thinking I was a bitch because I stood up for myself, oh well. They say that people's rejection is often God's protection so I guess I was spared from nonsense and foolery yet again! I am not religious but I must say God had been really good to me. It will be nine months for me on the 11th which is Monday!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fitness, Weight Gain and Getting off the Couch!

Hey all,
Thanks so much for the support. There definitely seemed to be something in water when I started reading other blogs and seeing I was not the only one who was having cravings! Maybe it was the moon alignment or the planets or something but whatever it was, I am glad that it has passed and I did not light up.

I was reading some posts from another quitter VJ Sleight at http://stopsmokingstayquit.blogspot.com/ and the post "Quitting is not a One Time Event" really hit home! I have been off cigarettes for almost nine months! (The 11th is the big day!) Its easy to forget that every little accomplishment creates a situation where even if I have a really strong urge, I know it will eventually go away! Just knowing that I can get through things without lighting up a cigarette is a miracle that is easy to take for granted! I cannot afford to take this gift for granted...its too easy to go back to active addiction so I continue to blog about it which brings me to my next topic....Weight gain and fitness (or lack thereof) after quitting. I must say, I feel like VJ is writing topics especially for me and I have been on her blog a lot! Her last post, Weight Gain Tied to Emotional Issues when Quitting Smoking almost made me fall off my computer chair! I mean, I definitely wasn't going to fall off my treadmill! Anyway, in that same post, VJ stated, "Quitters will often replace food as a source of comfort just like they had been using their cigarettes. With each emotion is an emotional need that needs to be addressed instead of covering it up with a substance." Now when I first read that, I was like ,"Oh hell no!" and I did not want to admit that some of the additional eating could be happening to cover emotions or to fill up what most addicts of one thing or another call "that feeling of emptiness" When I started looking at this level of weight gain honestly, I have to address two things: I am partly eating to deal with emotions and what I am choosing to eat is not what I would call a nutritionally sound diet! I mean, how healthy can the .99 cent cheeseburger at McDonalds be anyway?

I am looking for others bloggers who are working on a fitness plan as a I need one! Anyone who knows some good support sites, let me know. The online support thing seems to work for me! For the record....and its an ugly record but I have to get honest here: I have gained about 35 pounds since I quit smoking and I was not small to start with! I mean, I am carrying around the extra weight of a toddler! I am started to get concerned! I told Christine O. that I wanted to join the weigh-in on Fridays because her "Summer of Me slim down" fitness and exercise contest seemed so cool! I wish I would have been ready to get ummmm "moving" earlier in the summer!
Lets just say, whether or not I am ready, it is going to happen. For those of you who do not know, I signed up for a fitness camp in Nashville, Tenn and I will be there for two weeks starting on the 16th. I will be moving A LOTand eating healthy nutritious food whether I like it or not! I will definitely be getting off the couch as the fit camp staff comes and picks you up at your hotel and takes you to the gym twice a day!
Gotta run,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Just When I Thought My Smoking Problems Went Away....

Its funny, no matter how long I am off cigarettes, I can get a problem with them REALLY QUICKLY if I am not willing to deal with the issues that make me want to smoke. For those wondering, Fortunately the answer is "NO," I did not pick up a cigarette today but I did take half a Chantix. Could it be psychological? Probably. For those of you who have been following my journey, I have been off cigarettes for almost 8.5 months. On August 11th, it will be nine months with no nicotine replacement whatsoever. I did pick up those free SNUS packages for my sister who is trying to quit and thought about trying one but I did not. I gave them to her as I had planned. Do I think that made me want to smoke, probably not.

One of the big issues I deal with is anxiety. I don't know if I have ever mentioned it before but when I get really stressed out I get serious anxiety/asthma attacks. Most people don't know about it and I rarely discuss it. I had asthma since I was a little kid-- all that second-hand smoke from my mom's cigarettes didn't help me any. Anyway, when I started getting high and drinking, my asthma and anxiety disappeared for like ten years! When I got sober, I ended up in the ER room at about a year and a half clean. I really believe that asthma is partly triggered by people's emotional status and/or stress levels--(especially mine) and as crazy as it sounds, smoking cigarettes helped me deal with stress so I got way less asthma attacks even as a smoker.

The big question of the day is, how do you guys deal with stress and emotional upheavals now that you have quit? I am forcing myself to get dressed and go do a productive activity. Pay some bills, take a walk and then I will see how I am feeling later tonite. Thanks for listening as always.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not Exactly Thirteen Thursday But Close! More than 13 More pics from My Trip

I promised to post some cool pics from my trip to Cambridege and not just the awful dorms so here they are. I originally tried to do the 13 Thursday Meme but ended up with something else.
More Than 13 Pictures from Cambridge, MA (Mostly Harvard University)
When we first arrived on campus, this was the reception hall we had our first networking meeing at. It was also the place we would be meeting in for our daily lectures. We were told that we would be creating a project and presenting at the end of the seminar. (Yep, they actually wanted us to study! ) The building itself was spectacular!

This is why some people were so happy... good service and tons of free booze!

This are some close-ups of the hall decor. The pieces were pretty amazing huh? I love old, historical stuff that can tell a story on its own.

This is where my group worked on our project. Well, actually we had some drama with the group thing. Me and this other guy seceded from our assigned group and did our own project! Being in a scholarly program IS EXACTLY like being on a reality TV show but that is another post for another day.

This is the statue of John Harvard that is located in front of University Hall. I passed it every day before getting to class. It is also known as the statue of "Three Lies."Although the inscription reads "John Harvard, Founder, 1638," none of these three statements is true. The seated figure is not really John Harvard, since no authentic pictures of Mr. Harvard existed; John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard College; and the College was founded in 1636. The statue is an immensely popular draw for tourists, and thousands of visitors a year rub John Harvard's shoe for luck.
The gates to the university which led to the building where my class was held. My Professor, Skip Gates usually only works on Mondays and teaches only two classes a YEAR, one in Spring and one in Fall. He was getting ready to go finish shooting a documentary on Lincoln after the class wrapped. Now that is the kind of teaching schedule I need.

The main library and yes, it is HUGE inside!
I never saw more people reading in my life!

Our days were pretty full. We had daily lectures and went on some field trips also.
There are really random things of beauty in Cambridge. Lots of people have these flower boxes in their windows. They are really pretty!

This is the old burial ground right next to the campus....I love old grave sites like this.

Skip took us all to Bartley's Burgers for lunch one day....I have never seen a bigger burger and the onion rings and sweet potato fries were amazing...or a heart attack waiting to happen! The burgers are named after rock stars and political figures. There was even a "Professor Skip" burger on the menu! Bartley's works their employees really hard (I have never seen a line that long for a burger) but provides them a living wage, medical insurance and profit sharing!

This is the Weld Boathouse where the Harvard Rowing Crew practices off the Charles River. All Harvard students and faculty with a valid Harvard I.D. are invited to use Weld's assortment of sculls (one-person rowing shells). I think I will save that for another trip....

Gotta run.....Happy Travels to Everyone! If you are a teacher and are considering applying for a fellowship grant such as Teaching American History or Gilder Lehrman, I would definitely recommend it! It totally changed my perspective of education in more ways than one.