Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 471 Another Dreaded, Often Times Avoided Subject

Day 471

Another Dreaded, Often Times Avoided Subject

I’m preparing for a big year in review post for Thursday’s edition of this blog. I’ll have pictures, videos, and more! It’ll be fun putting it all together. I’m really looking forward to that post. 2009 will go down as the biggest turning point of my life. It’s been a breakthrough year to say the least. The thought of 2010 being even better is really exciting.

I promised to cook omelets for the girls this morning and I did. It was a nice breakfast with the two most important people in my life. In yesterday’s post I talked about setting a good example for my daughters and always being ready with good advice. But you must know, I’m not perfect. I’ve never claimed to be. My daughters know I'm not perfect. I was reminded of this after receiving an anonymous comment on yesterday’s blog asking me about smoking.

OK---Well, we talked about loose skin recently, now let’s chat about another avoided subject. Let me start by saying this: I will not run, hide, avoid, or pretend this addiction doesn’t exist in my life, it does. I’m not proud of it and I rarely mention it at all. But I have written about it in these writings.

Here’s an excerpt from Day 96 titled “My Dirty Little Not So Secret”

This blog has always been about losing weight while counting calories and exercising and all of the mental aspects that go along the way. It's been about humorous experiences and serious decisions too. When I say “good choices” I'm talking about food and exercise choices. With that said, there's one thing I've never talked about in the previous 95 days worth of blogs. I make nearly forty, sometimes more bad choices every day. I sometimes make the bad choice without even thinking, I just do it. I smoke cigarettes. I have since I was 17 years old. How am I not dead yet? A twenty year smoker with a top weight of over 500 pounds? That's committing slow suicide my friend. And yet, as I've grabbed control over my weight loss world, I've allowed the smoking to continue without regard to the possible consequences. How is it that I can completely get in the zone and re-teach myself how to eat and exercise to lose weight, but I can't seem to go too long without lighting a nasty cigarette? I'm completely addicted to nicotine, but that's not a valid excuse...I've been completely addicted to over-eating too. I have to say that losing weight is much easier than giving up the smokes. A doctor once told me to quit smoking first, then worry about the weight. The exact opposite of what I've been doing. It was the exact opposite of what I thought he'd say. I was sure he would say lose the weight now, quit smoking as soon as you can. That's pretty scary when a doctor feels it's safer to be nearly 300 pounds overweight than to smoke. I haven't addressed this topic out of shame. Although many people who read this and know me already know I smoke. And even though losing weight and quitting smoking are two different things, I still have felt like a hypocrite.

I still feel that way. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve even mentioned my nasty habit. It’s embarrassing really. If you’ve read every single day, then you already knew. And you might remember what the doctor told me. He said to keep losing weight and let the wanting and need for smokes gradually and naturally decline as I become smaller and smaller. He feared that if I tried quitting at that time maybe I would’ve completely wrecked my weight loss success. He wanted to see me succeed at losing this weight and I have and continue to lose---so maybe now’s the time to address the issue of smoking. I’ll allow nothing to stop my weight loss efforts. That’s not a concern of mine. Hasn't been for a while. So why haven’t I done it before now?

It’s a horrible example I’ve set for my kids, this smoking. The minute I read that comment I knew that it was time to bring up this subject again. My first instinct was to pretend the comment didn’t exist. It must have come from someone that knows me personally, a longtime reader, or someone who has read through the archives like a book. I quickly decided to face the subject again without fear and with 100% honesty. That’s what this blog is all about. Honesty, self-honesty---being real. This blog is a weight loss blog, and I take great pride in what we’ve done here. But if I’m ever to realize my dreams of making weight loss motivational speaking and writing a career---I seriously need to give up the smokes too. How can I talk and write about losing weight and getting healthy if I’m still a smoker? It is two different things, but still---it all falls under the overall topic of good versus bad health.

Again, it is two different animals. I don’t know what kind of fallout if any I’ll have over this subject, but come what may---the fundamental truths of this blog remain. If you want a successful weight loss blog, you’ve found it. Look around, there are many more just like me. I’ve cut through all of the crud that kept me over 500 pounds for nearly two decades. I’ve discovered my past weight loss flaws and corrected a lifetime of horrible food addiction along the way. It’s not perfect---and I’ve never claimed it was.

Oh how badly I wish I could have simply replied, “Yes, I quit a long while back!” But I didn’t. Have I cut down? Yes, actually I have, but that’s not good. The only good thing would be to stop completely. Maybe I should seek out a good stop smoking blog. I feel a responsibilty to set a better example for my daughters, first and foremost, and also those that follow and support my weight loss efforts. I will make this something of a priority in my life.

I spent nearly an hour in the fitness room tonight. I did the elliptical for 15 minutes and then did 2.5 miles on the treadmill. I should have pushed the walk/jog to 3.1 for the 5K, but decided an hour was good work. I returned home and waited on Courtney to get home. I normally don’t worry too much, but she’s a new driver and it was snowing. When she called and said she was staying at her mom’s place…I dropped in bed. It took me a while to go to sleep. I’ve allowed my schedule to get a little messed up with the time off. Plus, I lay there letting this smoking topic drive me nuts.

We watched a home video from last January right before Amber left today. I couldn’t believe my eyes at the difference. I had lost just over 90 pounds at that point. To me, I still looked like 505, but anyway. It’ll be interesting to post the year in review on Thursday night. I’ll have pictures from throughout this journey from the start to the present.

Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…

Good Choices,


  1. I have no idea if this will help you, but since you share your experiences in hopes that your experience will help others, I thought I could at least share my experience quitting smoking. I quit smoking in September 2004, so more than five years ago now. The critical thing for me was making a drastic change for several days. You want to be somewhere that is is impossible to smoke for three days. (I don't know why it's three days, but I've talked to lots of people about this and we all agree that the critical element of our success was the initial three days.) I just locked myself in my apartment without cigarettes, but I also know people who've gone camping in the middle of nowhere or gone to stay with a relative who refused to let them smoke at their house, etc. David Sedaris wrote a whole chapter in his latest book about using this method to quite smoking and he moved to Japan for three months just to get himself out of his old environment. Anyway, that's my best tip; totally change your environment and make it impossible to smoke for three days.

  2. I may have told you this before, but what you need to do is spend an hour in a locked room with my mother. Her sister died of lung cancer 25 years ago and she (and Horace) quit smoking that year. Now she's a zealot on the subject.

  3. I quit smoking 21 years ago by going cold turkey and to this day I sometimes look longingly at them. I know I couldn't even have one puff though as it would be one puff today, 20 whole ciggies tomorrow, lol!

    Mind you, these days there are lots of things to help you along, patches, gum and even a pill.

    I hope you can do it, it is worth a try at least, you never know, you just might like a life free of the worry, the smell, the expense and the addiction!

  4. My mother had "tried" to give up smoking several times in her life. One day she said she was going to stop smoking when she saw ciggerettes go up in price. I thought this was "just another time" but that time she stopped. No gimmicks, no patches. Cold turkey... just stopped.

    I've smoked Captian Black Pipe tobbacco since my college days. I've picked up and set down a pipe for months.

    All I can say is you have proven you can choose to do something and keep doing it by loosing a whole overweight person. I wouldn't gamble against you giving up smoking if *you* chose to. But the choice is yours.

    I've made a huge amount of bad food choices over the holiday. I could make great excuses but it boils down in the end to what do I really want?

    You could start saving up for a sports car with the smokes money?

    At Foolsfitness we don't need a match to be smoking!- Alan

  5. An addiction is an addiction, the rest is just details. (and yes, I used to smoke at least a pack a day, back in my twenties).

    When I started to really dig into the issues that got me to 460 pounds, I did a lot of reading by a behavioral psychologist. He said the same thing about addictions, and he said that the very same methods that he uses to help clients lose weight is the very same one he uses on other addictions, including smoking.

    We overeat for a reason. We smoke for a reason. Yes, there is a powerful physical nicotine addiction, but that will leave (albeit uncomfortably) relatively fast. The rest is psychological. You have found a weight loss approach that works for YOU. Can you adapt that same approach to your campaign to quit the smokes??

    I'm rooting for you,
    Loretta, an ex-smoker
    and soon to be skinnier person

  6. I tackled the smoking before the weight. I knew I couldn't do both. I quit Oct 07, I used Chantix. I know it's controvesal, but it worked for me. I only took it for 3 months...I had several friends sing it's praises so I had to try.

    Good luck finding your way to quit...i certanly know it's hard

  7. Oh how I hate this subject. You've got more guts than I do Sean....I haven't even mentioned my smoking on my blog yet, but I guess the cat's out of the bag now!! lol I chose to tackle one addiction at a time, and I chose the weight first. You always hear that when you quit smoking you gain a little weight until you break the hand-to-mouth habit. I decided if I was going to gain some, i wanted it to be from my goal weight of 170 lbs, and not from the 272 lbs that I started my blog at. We'll get it done, but for me, it's going to have to be one addiction at a time. :)

  8. Sean, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this topic. I think what makes your blog so helpful to me is that you don't try to be something you're not. Loose skin? Let's talk about it. Addicted to smoking? That's right. Thank you for always being honest and for not pretending that this journey is about perfection.

  9. Love your honesty. My favourite thing about you...and that wicked grin.

    I quit smoking almost twelve years ago. Cold turkey. It was the day after my sister's wedding and I had to bounce my drunken ex from the party. I bounced him from my home the next morning and figured I might as well quit two things at once. Two of my more clever moves!

    Good luck to you and I hope you find a way to quit.

  10. One day, my Dad, who smoked for over 40 years came to me and told me he was quitting on my birthday. No patch or anything. He just said I was worth more than cigarettes.

    That was 21 years ago.

  11. Hi Sean. I think it's brave of you to confront this issue. The main thing is that you have cut down. That is a major achievement as so many people turn to ciggies when they reduce their food intake. I've known quite a few people who were ex-smokers who went on a diet and the only way they could cope was to start smoking again. So at least you're not compensating for less food with more cigs.

    My only advice on this: think of the money!

    Bearfriend xx

  12. Oh, please quit smoking! My dad died of congestive heart failure and kidney disease...although he was not overweight, he smoked for years and even though he quit about 10 years before he died, the damage was done. The doctors said it greatly contributed to the seriousness of his condition and his eventual early demise. In other words, he had the underlying disease, genetically, but the smoking hastened and worsened it.

    So even though you are doing the other positive things (losing weight, exercising) smoking is the absolute worst thing you can do health wise. Okay, I'm not preaching...well, yes I am. But you have so much going for you...please do whatever you can to quit.

    Hypnosis helped me with my addition to chocolate... I haven't had any chocolate since 1996. Maybe hypnosis could help you.

  13. The worse part about smoking is you don't realize what it's doing to your body. Also, there's the mistaken impression that if you quit today and don't have anything wrong with you then you're safe. Your heart and lungs will heal themselves once you stop smoking.

    Sadly, this isn't true. My brother-in-law passed away very suddenly in November. He was 73. He had congestive heart failure and suffered a massive heart attack. He'd smoked for 40 years but had quit 12 years ago. For the last 12 years he worked out every day, ate totally healthy and didn't touch a cigarette.

    The surgeons said his heart problem was caused by the smoking. Even though he'd quit, the damage was done.

    Please get your heart thoroughly checked out to see if there's already been some damage done to it.

    And one more thing...please quit smoking.

  14. Former pack a day smoker myself. Quit 18 years ago during a bout of bronchial pneumonia. Was it the easiest thing I ever did? Nope. I was grumpy and stomped around for weeks. Was it the best thing I ever did? Surely one of the best for myself and my health.

    Having lost my boss to lung cancer on October 31st, all I can say is please stop for the sake of your loved ones. Make it one of your 2010 goals.

  15. I do not smoke but my husband does. I really wish that he would stop. It smells, is a waste of money and bad for his health. I know you can do it. Look at the amount of weight you have lost. Reading your blog I realize that you are the type of person that sets his mind on something and does it. I think that will help you out so much. Hope your 2010 rocks!!!

  16. I enjoy your blog very much. Though I do not have a blog myself, I follow many weight loss blogs. I have lost 70 pounds so far, began exercising at least 60 minutes every day and have gone from 5 insulin shots per day to none. Unfortunately, I'm like you. I haven't been able to quit smoking either. I keep thinking about it, but still have about 30 pounds to lose and don't want to jeporadize that. My father died of lung cancer 20 yrs ago yesterday, so I know what smoking can do to you. I feel your pain & embarassment.

  17. We all obviously know that smoking screws sh*t up, but it's your choice whether you quit or not. It doesn't take away from the fact that you have lost a lot of weight and are an inspiration to many people out there. I like your honesty :).

  18. I quit decades ago so I know how hard it is. I know that you will only be able to quit if YOU really "WANT" to quit not because everyone else wants you to quit.

    If you start by cutting down and waiting 10-15 minutes when you really want to smoke (don't smoke with your coffee or after eating a meal), take away all the nice ashtrays and use tin cans, etc. it helps getting away from the habit.

    My mother (40+ year smoker) and brother in law quit by using Chantix. You could also look into those electronic or fake cigs. to help with the oral fixation thing.

    Good luck in kicking the habit. You and your family will be happy you did. If you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for those beautiful daughters of yours.

  19. I love your honesty, so I'll be honest with you...After reading your blog pretty religiously for a couple of months, and NEVER suspecting that you smoke, the first thing I thought was;


    Funny how that is, I can be obese, and still judge you for smoking, lol. I guess I just never expected it from someone who has thrown all his energy into being healthier, extending his life. I wouldn't think you'd be the kind of person to throw any of it away to something as gross (sorry, can't help but think it) as cigarettes.

    I don't mean to say this to put you down, but to build you up. You have proven that you can break through an addiction, and I believe so much that you could stop smoking if you wanted to...because it is hard to believe in the first place that you do.

    I'm sure that in your own time you will add that to your amazing list of accomplishments. Who knows? Maybe in 2010! :)

    Have a happy new year! And keep up the great work, and inspiring/enlightening honesty.

  20. No judgment here, I used to smoke 2 1/2 packs a day, I quit about 20 years ago. It was really hard at first, but I got over it.


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