The week started with another good weigh-in. For 3 weeks I’ve posted losses and was feeling pretty good about it. We needed a new printer for a while now and the kids had some Christmas money to spend so we decided to go into town and do some shopping. We also decided that we would go out for lunch as our cheat meal. We started at Walmart because I had a gift card I wanted to use up. We got a few things and then my wife took the kids to the bathroom. While she was gone I went back into the store, proceeded to the checkout, and bought a pack of cigarettes. Now before I go further, let me demonstrate the significance of that decision with a little background.
5 Years ago I was a pack-a-day smoker and weighed 320 pounds. My very first act toward living a healthier life was to quit smoking. It was the second toughest thing I’ve ever gone through (I’m still going through the first), but I did it and it was a great help. I was sleeping better, and had a sense that I had accomplished something important. I did gain some weight and topped out at 349 before I started focusing on my weight. Fast forward to last year; and the world was in a recession. My mom and sister both lost their jobs and the potential that I was going to lose mine was very high. Throw in the fact that we had just moved from NY to VA and I was pretty stressed out. On the day they announced a major layoff at my facility I smoked a cigarette. It tasted like crap, but that one cigarette triggered 6 months of slowly moving my way back to ½ a pack a day. At the end of the year I realized that I had to stop soon or I would be suffering as bad as I did 5 years ago, so I quit (again) on New Year’s Eve. I managed to go 3 weeks without smoking before heading into Walmart over this last weekend.
What’s strange is that I really didn’t feel a craving to smoke. In fact, the whole process of buying the pack and smoking that first one was more like being on autopilot; I just did it without even giving it anything thought at all. After that cigarette, however, my mind came back and the fireworks began. My brain starting playing out all sorts of discussions while we drove to the next store. I beat myself up, then I forgave myself… I blamed the diet, then I told myself to stop making excuses... I told myself to just throw them out, then I convinced myself that it was wasting money. It’s amazing how many thoughts went racing through my mind in just a very short period of time! After a few more stores, we ended up at a restaurant where I proceeded to eat much more than I planned to. Of course that only added to my sense of failure.
I spent most of Sunday as a slug on the couch. I didn't do bad eating but I was still working on that pack of cigarettes. Hanging around all day doing nothing just brought on more thinking only by the thoughts had spread from just failing at smoking to everything that's wrong with my life. this is what happens to me, I have a setback, and then I have to analyze everything that's wrong in my life (most of which is really unfounded).
By Sunday evening I was back to convincing myself to get on track so I threw out the last few cigarettes I had and renewed my commitment to living a healthy life.
Monday turned out to be a good day; I worked out in the morning and went all day without smoking. I felt like I was getting back on track.
Tuesday turned into another train wreck. I had to go into work at 4:00AM so I woke up tired and of course did not have time to work out. I got to work and found myself bumming cigarettes again. Once again the battles in my mind started back up.
I'm not going to run through the rest of my week day by day, but suffice it to say, it was very much a repeat of the beginning of the week. I didn't eat all that bad, and I did get some water in, but my head just wasn't into it. This is something that has derailed me before. I have a steback and my mind turns it into a major atrocity for which I should be flogged publicly at the town square. Next my mind holds me hostage preventing me from getting back on the wagon by filling me with doubts and reminders of all past failures. For those of you who can relate to what I'm saying, you know how defeating and frustrating it can be.
So I said I would try to remain positive so that's what I'm going to finish off with. Not everything is as bad as I make it out to myself:
- For starters, I did not eat all that bad this week and I did get my strength training workouts in. I am not expecting to lose weight, but I think I will come out somewhere around 0. It could've been much worse; I've had bad weeks before where I put on 5+ pounds.
- I'm also feeling a bit better today and I'm out of cigarettes. The urge to smoke at home is much less than the urge at work, so it gives me an opportunity to try again over the weekend.
- I'm also still here. I still have my job and both my mom and sister eventually found new employment. I still have all my limbs and I have a great family to provide me with motivation to continue on.
- Lastly, and this is important, I'm starting to recognize these patterns that lead to the destructive behavior. During the week I had some time to reflect on the situation and the more I thought through it, the easier it was to see the pattern. Now I laid it all out nicely in this entry for others to follow, but at the time these things were happening to me my mind was a big jumble of thoughts and emotions. Looking back at the week and analyzing where I could have made some small changes is a small step towards slaying my demons for good. I have to be ready because there will be more slips down the road.
Anyway, tomorrow is another day.