Friday, December 18, 2015

The Continued Benefits

I sit here nearly 4 years after the day I parted ways with tobacco and I have been asked by many of you for an update.

The cravings are a distant memory and it has been 2 years since I last used the e-cigarette crutch. Since my first blog entry, there has been a lot more research into the safety of these e-cigarettes. None of these reports have any bearing on the way that I feel about them. I know that if I had not tried them, I would have smoked until the day I died.

The changes in my health over the last four years have been staggering. In 2011 I was overweight with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and little energy. Today I have been given a clear bill of health, I have been removed from all of the prescription drugs used to control my dangerous numbers, and I can run upwards of 30 miles per week. There are still goals to reach, but I am very happy with the progress that I have made.

I am still in awe of the number of people that have read this blog. To date there have been nearly 50,000 of you. I want to thank you all. I know from some of the feedback that this project has inspired several of you to quit smoking, as well. That has been the best part of all of this.

I have several new ideas for life-changing blogs and will begin posting those in the coming weeks. I hope that you will all continue to follow me as I set out on my next adventures.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The True Feeling of Success

It has now been 16 months without tobacco. I no longer have the physical addiction to nicotine, and my mental triggers(i.e. after eating, while driving, while drinking, with morning coffee, etc.) are all but gone. I do still carry my e-cig from time to time, but I have found that I will go weeks without using it.

The true feeling of success came earlier this month. It was time for a new health insurance plan, and for the first time in my life, I was able to put "non tobacco" on an application. This is a feeling that I never thought was possible when I started this journey. I was also able to show normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol readings which I attribute directly to being a non-smoker. Two years ago, I was a time bomb waiting for my first heart attack or stroke.

This blog has been highly motivational for me. I'm not entirely sure that I would have been as successful without it. Knowing that there were so many of you following my progress led me to evaluate the temptations in a different way. I have to thank you for the inspiration.

As always, I wish you luck in your journeys.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Year One - The Anniversary

Today marks one year without tobacco. It is difficult to believe that time can go by so quickly. But, I have survived without a single relapse due, in great part, to my E-Cig.

Over the last year I have weaned myself off of nicotine. The cartridges in my E-Cig are now only water vapor. I don't physically need it any longer, but it is nice to have the crutch if a temptation should arise. The temptations are fewer and further between with every passing day.

If you are considering using the E-Cig to quit smoking, there is one recommendation that I can make. Pick an exercise goal (run a 5k, walk up the stairs without being winded, complete a triathlon, etc.) and focus your energy on achieving that. My personal goal was to run a 5k. I can now do that. It is certainly not easy, but I remember that first day when I was gasping for breath and lying on the ground after 500 yards.  I now have a new goal, to compete in Tough Mudder (If you have never heard of this, check it out online. It is intense!). The point is-if you focus on getting healthy, quitting tobacco will feel less daunting. As you begin achieving your intermediate goals (run 1/2 mile without stopping, walk 2 flights of stairs without stopping, etc.), you will find the motivation to continue with the E-Cig and leave tobacco behind forever.

I will continue to add updates to this blog as new revelations come to mind. There have been over 20,000 views of this site since I began one year ago. Hopefully it has helped some of you to quit smoking. It certainly has helped me!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2 Months - The Temptations

You would think that after 2 months of being tobacco-free, the temptation to smoke cigarettes would go away. It doesn't. They happen less often as time goes by, but they do still happen. The past two weeks were the most difficult since I quit 2 months ago. I was at a conference in NYC and, surprisingly, I found myself surrounded by smokers most of the week. The e-cig really saved me. But, the most surprising temptation came from a Scotch whiskey pairing dinner in Phoenix. Cigars were never a big part of my tobacco intake, but for some reason they now smelled great in combination with the aromas of the Scotch. E-cig calmed those cravings, also.

The reinforcement that I needed came this week from my doctor. Three months ago I had high cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood pressure.  As of today, I am well into the normal range for all of them. The cholesterol was the most serious with a reading exceeding 320 last year (normal is under 200). Yesterday my score was 159. Oh, and I have also lost 17 pounds. The moral of the story-Give up tobacco, exercise a little and modify your diet. Amazing things can happen!

For any of you that are also struggling with these kinds of health problems, I will share with you how I started on the road to recovery. This was many months before giving up tobacco. I bought a pedometer(less than $10 at most stores with sports equipment) and a lot of Active Lifestyle instant oatmeal( less than .25 per serving). Every morning, I had oatmeal instead of my normal breakfast. Then, I went for a walk. The pedometer would record the amount of steps that I took. I tried to hit 10,000 steps every day, but I did not beat myself up on the days that I didn't get there. After 8 months of doing this, my cholesterol levels had dropped 100 points. Still high, but now manageable. The last 60 points came off in the 2 months since purchasing e-cig.

Until next time- Good luck and good health

Thursday, March 15, 2012

7 Weeks - The Feeling of Accomplishment

I actually feel like an ex-smoker now, and I am using my e-cigarette less and less. I originally ordered enough cartridges to last 3 months. It looks like it may be more like 9 months before I have to order them again. When that day comes, I will decide if I even need the crutch any longer. I may just order cartridges that don't contain nicotine.

I have been using a personal trainer for 3 weeks now, and the difference is amazing. The weight that I gained when I initially stopped using tobacco is now gone plus a few more pounds. She puts me through intense workouts that are designed to strengthen my lung function as well as my muscles. And, I actually made it through an entire 1 hour "Spin" class yesterday. I was drenched with sweat and could barely talk, but I made it through without stopping. 7 weeks ago, I would have fallen off of that bike and vomited before the 5 minute point.

The benefits of quitting tobacco have followed the timeline that I talked about a few weeks ago. The most noticeable are  increased energy and a sharpened sense of taste. I really want to eat constantly. Everything I eat is like I am tasting it for the first time. Fighting that urge is very difficult. But, knowing how hard it will be to burn the extra calories at the gym has kept me mostly under control. You do have to reward yourself occasionally, though.

I hope that everyone on this journey with me is having as much success as I have had.

Good luck and good health!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 27 - The Personal Trainer

The day of my last post, I found my gym and my personal trainer. I have been in the gym at least 2 hours per day ever since.

If you want to see just how out of shape cigarette smoking has made you, hire a personal trainer. Things that should be easy are now nausea inducing torture. But fear not, the nausea goes away after about 2 or 3 sessions. Ultimately, you will feel great. I actually look forward to my training sessions now.

I know that personal trainers are not in everyone's budget, so there are some great exercise DVDs out there. Try to find one that will focus on full body aerobic conditioning (i.e. Boot Camp, Jillian Michaels) and stretching.

Each step in the process of re-gaining my health is another memory that will keep me from ever touching tobacco again. I use the e-cig less and less every day. Four weeks ago, I was going through one cartridge (1 pack nicotine equivalent) every other day. Now one cartridge has lasted over one week. At this rate, I may be nicotine-free by summer.

Good luck to everyone out there that is struggling with the grips of tobacco.

Next :

The New Diet

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 19 - The Struggle with Weight

I spent all of last week in San Francisco for work. The e-cig is still working very well and I am now 19 days tobacco-free. There is an unfortunate side-effect, and it is the same one that plagues most people that quit smoking - weight gain.

I have tried to run at least every other day, but that does not seem to be helping my weight. It has been helping my cardio-vascular system.

I have decided that I will not quit smoking and then become ill with obesity related illnesses. So, today begins the search for a gym that I enjoy, and a personal trainer to push me.

As time goes on, these posts will be geared more toward re-gaining your overall health as opposed to only e-cig options. I know that a lot of you that have quit tobacco are now in need of the next step (myself included). So, look forward to tips from personal trainers and nutritionists from now on.

Next Time:
Finding an exercise program that is right for you