Monday, 10 January 2011

A shadow of my former self......

I'm one week into 2011 and my health regime is firmly underway. I have managed to lose 8lbs in a week, give up smoking and refrain from drinking alcohol. I've somehow achieved all of that without having any kind of breakdown and whilst Mel insists I have been withdrawn and grumpy I'm surprised she can notice the difference to my natural state. I've even watched Manchester City twice on TV without creating new swear words so I really am making good progress.

I'm determined to get back into shape and that shape is not the wheezing sack of potatoes that I have been doing an impression of for the last several years. One of my four chins has already disappeared and two of the other three are looking distinctly concerned for their future.

I've given up smoking with the help of Champix which is a drug you start taking whilst still smoking. Gradually, over the course of a week, the urge to smoke becomes less and less and each cigarette becomes slightly more repulsive. By last Tuesday the thought of a cigarette was making me want to heave and stopping altogether was a relief.

Champix is not without side effects. It makes you feel nauseous particularly straight after taking it, which has also helped ensure that I don't revert to eating the entire contents of the fridge. The other major side effect is more enjoyable and comes in the form of psychadelic, twisted dreams that are difficult to emerge from. I quite like it.

I have used an application on my iPad called Livestrong which helps me track everything I eat and any exercise I do (which so far I hasten to add has amounted to one brisk walk due to injuries sustained whilst hurtling headlong down by sister-in-laws stairs on Christmas day). I am limiting myself to 1500 calories a day which providing I eat the right kind of foods is not proving too much of a struggle. My fruit and vegetable intake has increased tenfold (admittedly from a low starting point) and my fat intake vastly reduced.

I don't particularly feel like I've suffered. Going back to work has kept me busy and has also allowed me to vent my spleen once or twice before resuming a zen like calm befitting my new monastic lifestyle.

Not drinking has meant that I am not hungover which means I don't feel the need to eat junk.The lack of alcohol is also ensuring any remaining nicotine cravings are minimal and manageable.

I realise that my current regime is not sustainable long-term but I'm committed to maintaining it for a month at least at which point I hope to have kicked the fags for good and can then move to a more sensible calorie intake and a few drinks every now and again.

Next week is Mel's birthday and we have a night away at Northcote Manor near Preston which is as fine a restaurant as any in the UK and we are also staying over for the night. We have gone for a 'gourmet tasting menu' and the excitement levels in our house are reaching a crescendo at the prospect of putting abstinence on the back burner for one night at least. Mels parents and her sister Penny are coming with us and it should be a lovely night.

Two days later, Fred and I are flying out to France for three days to assess progress, pay workers and plan the next stages of the project. I am really looking forward to seeing the work completed and am really keen to push on to concluding the renovation. I always enjoy time spent with Fred, he knows everything about everything and we amaze each other. I am amazed at the extent of his knowledge and the skills he possesses and he is amazed at the lack of mine. I think it's called a symbiotic relationship.


  1. This is all good. Re the Champix, apart from the first few days, I didn't get the dreams, definitely didn't get the aversion reaction, and (now in my second day of abstinence) don't notice a drop in the craving. I didn't get nauseous either, to be honest.

    Though, on the plus side, I'm still clear of fags and have not displayed any of the really bad psychological reactions I've been reading about. Good luck in your health quest!

  2. This is my second attempt with Champix. I cracked it the first time for 3 months then foolishly started having a few crafty fags with a couple of beers and then lo and behold.....

    The dreams may start in a few days as they did not kick in for 2 weeks with me but they are not entirely unpleasant. The nausea is subsiding for me now but you are lucky not to have had it, its by far the most common side effect.

    Did you not even notice your cigarettes tasting strange? Like the first time you smoked one?

    I'm determined to do it this time though.....

  3. I'm just past the two week mark now. I cracked it (or not) for about 6 months a couple of years ago using an inhalator, which I may revert to once more as I find the whole non-activity of mouth and hands difficult. I'm always up for a bit of psychedelia, so am looking forward to 'what dreams may come'. Guess I am lucky with the nausea, though my stomach is not entirely untroubled...

    No sign of any change in taste of the cigs, though because I've had such a bad cold, I haven't been able to taste much of anything at all.

    I'm determined also. Good luck to you!