Tuesday, June 21, 2011


That's what my pedometer currently says:  19,007.  Magnum and I got these pedometers through his employer.  They have put these health incentives in place, and the latest thing is the "Health Miles" program.  Sign up, get a pedometer, download your daily steps, earn points.  Take the health challenge today! 

Today was a running day so I racked up over 15,000 steps before I even took a shower.  Weee!  Most recently, I got back from taking China the crazy dog for her daily beauty walk.  Net so far = 19,007.

I remember when this all started.  There were health screenings that paid $50.  We didn't even have to be healthy!  Just participate and get the $50.  So yeah, I got screened!  I recall one woman there, while we were in one of the waiting stations. 

"She just told me I'm fat.  I already KNOW I'm fat", she commented.

I suspect this is true for most.  We know that there are things we should do more of and things we should do less of.  It's just a matter of priorities.  I think it's really the psychological aspects that drive us to do what we do.  And to permanately change what we do, our psychology needs to change.

I had a friend who was quite an avid smoker.  Naturally, she knew it was bad for her, but it didn't worry her that much.  She always said she could quit if she wanted to, she just didn't want to. 

Then one day she just stopped.  Cold turkey.  She came in to work, declared that she no longer smoked and that was that.  Others didn't really believe her.  They looked on while wearing their nicotine patches or chewing their nicotine gum so much their chewing muscles were sore or visiting accupuncturists or trying to cut back.  How could she just be so calm and smug?

"It was that Yul Brynner commercial", she told me.

That's it.  That 30-second PSA made a non-smoker out of her for life.  Even when others would take smoke breaks, even when she went where others were smoking, even when she started putting on weight.  I haven't seen her in years, but I feel pretty certain that she hasn't smoked a puff since.  I could see it in her eyes.

Now I see that the U.S. is going to start putting graphic warning labels on cigarette packs.  My first thought was, "people already know that smoking is bad, I don't think this will really work". 

But what do I know?


Scott said...

I'm a recovered nicotine addict. Almost every day, I want a cigarette, at some point. I've smoked two times in my life, once for well over a decade, the other for just a few months. I didn't quit because of the fear of cancer or even the cost--I quit because of the agonizing coughing. I'd wake up in the middle of sleep and cough so much my head ached, it seemed to go on at least thirty minutes. Then the next morning, when I smoked, I coughed again. This went on till I couldn't stand it anymore. The last time I quit was in 2007. I attended a smoking cessation class at a local hospital, where I learned that nicotine was now proven to be more addictive than cocaine or heroin. And I believe it. We all had the same quit date, September 4, 2007--and I haven't had a cigarette since. One thing that keeps me on the wagon is this simple teaching from the class, "The urge will pass whether I smoke or not." And that is quite true. I don't wish I had no desire for cigarettes--I wish cigarettes were harmless! Perhaps in the distant future, they'll come up with a harmless strain of tobacco, but not likely in my lifetime. My advice to anyone is the same as Yul Brynner's (I saw that before too)--don't smoke, don't even start. If you've never smoked before, consider yourself lucky--and never even try it, no matter how curious you are. If you smoke now, the first thing you need to do is stop buying cigarettes--because if you have them in your residence, you will smoke them. And if there's a smoking-cessation class near you, that helps a great deal (they let you smoke the first four weeks (sessions), then you have four more sessions to help you deal with the withdrawal). And remember, it's never too late to quit, never. I was a serious chain-smoker, so I know all about it. (In fact, I drink alot of coffee, which helps replace the cigarettes.) Also, if you've never smoked, never judge anyone for smoking--you have no idea how addictive it is. I want a cigarette right now, just writing about this. But I won't get one, because I'm not going through that hell again. Some people can smoke one or two cigarettes a day--but most people cannot do that. Most smokers are chain smokers, because of the addictive nature of nicotine. I don't mean to ramble here, but this is a topic that is very close to home for me. Again, if you've never smoked, don't ever start. And if you're smoking now, stop buying the cigarettes. Also, if you quit cold-turkey, as I had to do both times, you'll go through three days of serious discomfort--but if you can make it through those three days, you'll begin to lose the urge. It may always be there (off and on), but it will get weaker and weaker (or less and less frequent) as time goes by. And if you can drink coffee or tea, do it--the caffeine gives you a similar high as the nicotine does. You may find yourself addicted to caffeine--as I definitely am. But that's a much safer addiction.

Duble said...

For most of my life I was the only member of my family that didn't smoke, that counted brother in laws (5) sisters (5), mom, stepmom, dad, step dad, grandma, grandpa, other set of grandparents and me.

I hate smoking, and wish people didn't do, but I hate when the goverment people claim it costs the states money to treat the illness that come from smoking.

Smokers (as well as fat people) live pay taxes, and work, then get retirement age, and die. I am fairly certain, someone that never draws retirement, and medicare, does not cost less than someone who does.

Nevermind that.

Don't smoke, but don't tell people to not smoke becuase of a false economic reason. Isn't don't smoke you'll die and smell like ass reason enough!

Also congrats to scott for quitting.

Abby said...

Scott - thanks for that interesting account! And good for you for having quit. I used to be an occassional smoker - just with coworkers on breaks. It always left me feeling sleepy, like the force of gravity was somehow made stronger from it. It was easy to stop because I didn't like to feel that way, but to this day, I miss the *act* of smoking. The meditative effects, the deep breathing, the moment to ponder, the socializing, etc.

Duble - I agree with you on the government claims. I also think that private businesses should be able to decide whether or not they want to be smoke-free.

terri said...

I smoked at various times in my life, sometimes only socially, but sometimes I was a full-fledged smoker. What finally got to me is that I was trying to hide it from everyone. I hated the way my clothes smelled and I hated the way my breath smelled. I hated the fact that I was always trying to sneak a smoke. One day I'd had enough and I quit (with the aid of nicotine gum.) I haven't had the urge to smoke since I got through those first few weeks. I took a puff of a friend's cigarette once after that, and I hated it. The urge to smoke has never returned, thank god! But now... one of my kids smokes. Man do I feel guilty about that. I feel like he might not have tried it if he hadn't seen his parents doing it. I talk to him about it a lot and hope and pray he'll wise up much sooner than I did and give it up.

guano said...

One of my coworkers is a retired Marine. 30yrs enlisted, one of the toughest guys I know.

Add he can't quit.

agg79 said...

It's good that your company is at least trying to give you some motivation/incentive to quit. I used to smoke in high school until one day the Coke I was drinking tasted like toilet water. After that, everything I ate tasted like kitty litter. I pretty much quit at that point and things went back to normal. I did pick up snuff/chewing tobacco while in college for a while, but I dropped that habit in the Army.

Given all the warnings and evidence on how bad it is, I'm not sure putting pictures on the pack will dissuade people. With today's shock news, pictures of devestation and the current movie gore, what's one more picture of rotting teeth or black lungs going to do?

Indigene said...

The first time I saw the commercial, I just cried! It still gets to me this day. I smoked 20 years ago, I've never regretted letting it go, and this commercial helped me, along with my son, who was watching it with me at the time! My son just looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, Mommy, please, please stop. I did and never went back! At 32, he still remembers that time...