Back in July 2010, at the mandatory meeting for City employees regarding upcoming changes to insurance, etc., we were told that the insurance premium would be going up after the first of the year 2011 for all smokers. My being a smoker for 30 years, this news at first seemed unfair. But the more I pondered on it; I had to admit that I would be a FOOL to continue buying the cigarettes and then a bigger fool to spend more money on my health insurance because I refused to stop doing what was harming my health. So, I decided to get my mindset on becoming an EX and kick the Nicodemon habit once and for all. So I set out to investigate my options of purchasing an aid to quit smoking, OTC or perhaps a prescription – either way, I would be spending more of my hard-earned money to get help on quitting. After researching side effects and reviews of the various aids available out there, I opted to find a natural way to quit and I opted to invest in Smoke-Away system. I also joined an online forum for people who are EX-smokers or want to be and learned many tips and received much-needed encouragement from fellow quitters. I set my goal date and prior to that date, I started weaning myself off of cigarettes, skipping the usual after meal smoke or prolonging the intervals between my smoke breaks until I was smoking less per day, each day. By the time my quit date arrived I was "conditioned” and ready to do it. My goal date was January 1, 2011, but I cheated myself a couple cigarettes between the 1st and the 3rd. On January 3, 2011, I lit up my last cigarette and vowed to live by "N.O.P.E.” (Not One Puff Ever). I even had my husband to assist me in performing a small bonfire to burn that last pack of smokes (just in case) and say Goodbye to smoking for good! It has now been over a year ~ I feel so much better and I no longer have that annoying "smoker's cough”, among many other advantages. I have a widget that tallies up my cigarettes I have NOT smoked and how much money I have saved…my stats are e-mailed to me daily and I hold myself accountable by posting my progress on my Facebook page.
In my effort to quit smoking, I was also aware that smokers who quit usually gain quite a bit of weight because they then begin to eat in place of smoking and then everything tastes so much better, so therefore overeating can be a substitute for giving up smoking. I did not want to do that, as I already needed to shed quite a few extra pounds as it was. So, I decided to focus my attention on my health – not just quitting smoking. I began to educate myself on eating low cholesterol and low fat. That's when I discovered Hungry Girl and I learned many new dishes that were lower in calories than what I had been eating and the portions were ample enough to fill me up at much less the cost in calories than traditional recipes. I used myfitnesspal.com to keep up with my calorie intake and logged my exercise. I managed to lose 25 pounds in 6 months and have been able to maintain that weight loss to date. I still have more to lose, and that is my focus for 2012.
When people ask me how did I quit smoking and lose the weight, I tell them that the City of Montgomery helped me to do it! If not for the City's initiatives, AND the required Health Assessments, I don't think I would be where I am now. For that, I am very thankful!
Becky Payne, Clerk IV
Montgomery Police Department