Quitting Smoking One Day at a Time...

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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.