Late this evening will mark two years since my last cigarette. I think proud is too strong a word to use, but I do feel satisfied with myself that I've been able to make it this far. There are times still when I miss smoking a heater and I suppose there always will be. They're manageable.
Looking back I did some things right and some things wrong. The advice I got to start the process by breaking habits one at a time worked very well for me. I quit smoking in the car. Then I quit lighting up right away when I got up in the morning, stretching the time before that first cigarette later and later. Then I quit smoking in the house, and right away after meals. After all of that over about a month or so, I was down to 1/2 a pack and it was time to quit.
I used the patch for about a week, then determined that it was wrong for me. Continuing to feed nicotine to my body, even in stepped down amounts, was going to make me fail. I needed to just get it out of my system and let the physical addiction cravings pass or I was going to end up buying a pack. And that worked. I can't say that I'll stay smoke-free forever, but I have no desire to start up again now.
What I did not handle so well was the weight gain. When I quit I was 5'11" and about 155 lbs. I had been that weight since I got out of basic training in 1983, though I had started to see a bit of middle age spread. I had restarted workouts in anticipation of my upcoming hand surgery and so I had this attitude that I could handle another 20 lbs. or so as long as I kept that up. I figured since I had never needed to watch calories before, the physical activity would make up the difference. Big mistake.
Despite the workouts I ballooned past my goal of 175 or so. I actually made it up to 205 before settling down to 190-195 now. That dramatic weight gain was definitely hard on my back for awhile and I'm pretty sure it didn't do my heart any good either. The problem was I had steeled myself to ignore the cravings for a smoke, but I was totally unprepared for the cravings for food. I was hungry all the time. No, I was ravenous all the time. I had totally miscalculated how cigarettes had suppressed my appetite for almost thirty years and it came roaring back with a vengeance.
I think I've got that appetite back under control now and overall I'm very glad that I've quit. Like I said, I still miss it at times and I probably will have moments like that the rest of my life. But, I feel better and I've saved a ton of money the last two years(well, saved for other things). If you smoke I would encourage you to think about quitting, because if i can do it after almost thirty years then you can too. It's just a matter of finding the quit plan that is right for you. It may take a little time, but eventually you'll be glad that you did.