As planned, I quit smoking AGAIN on Tuesday, June 20-some-odd, 2009. I prepared for this by changing my diet and adding exercise to my weekly schedule. Two major life changes! These are things that I did not want to give up or change. I’m no different than the rest of the world…I want my life to change in major ways…but I don’t want to have to change in major ways…and I certainly don’t want to step outside my comfort zone!
About a week before I quit, I began to ride horses with my daughter in the evening…awesome exercise! I also cut WAY down on sodas, diet sodas of course…I cut WAY down on the number of protein bars eaten PER day…and I added a bunch of fruit to my daily diet. I had just recently noticed that I was bloating even though I was still smoking…and I noticed that this occurred after a breakfast of diet soda and a protein bar…and a protein bar for lunch! MAJOR BLOAT! It went away in a few hours and did not cause weight gain though! However, I became mindful of a “while smoking bloating pattern.”
The Tuesday morning that I quit, I purchased a box of generic brand Nicorettes gum. I got the 4 mg strength for folks who smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day rather than the 2 mg strength for folks like me who smoke less than 25 per day. I did the math…it makes the gum half price for me! I would smoke about 15 a day, so I just chew a half piece several times a day. I chew it to keep some nicotine in my system to keep my body revved up so I don’t get so bloated and constipated…and gain 7-10 pounds in 7-10 days!
Everything went well the first couple days…but, everything wasn’t perfect. By Thursday afternoon, I hadn’t pooped for about 4 days…so, I bought a box of Correctol…a laxative that’s SUPPOSED TO BE very mild. The box says to take 1-3 tabs…well, not being a laxative queen, I took just one Thursday evening. Nothing happening by Friday afternoon, so, I took another one. Well…things began to happen Friday evening…and I think everything cleared out including the box of cherry tomatoes I had for lunch that day. Needless to say, my weight was good Saturday AM…and I’m not smoking…and I’m not bloated…nor constipated right now!
Laxatives are a major concern…and something I’ve taken about three times in my life because I absolutely don’t want to become addicted or dependent on laxatives. This will NOT be part of my weekly non-smoking plan! I purchased Activia yogurt yesterday…it’s guaranteed to increase regularity if you have one a day for two weeks. I’m trying that.
Some may think I am entirely crazy to be posting about bowel habits…however, if you go to this link and type in various keywords or keyword strings related to quitting smoking and bloating…or constipation…you will see that MANY people are having this problem. It will tell you how many times in the last month these keywords were entered into google for a search. Also, many people are reading this blog…so, there’s other people who are struggling with this as well. I write this as a help to others…and maybe, folks will benefit from my struggles and come up with a Game Plan to quit smoking that fits their lifestyle and needs.
Another point. I shared my struggles with my sister. She was going with my Dad to his cardiologist that day. She spoke with the heart doc and he was seemingly oblivious to this side effect of quitting smoking. He told her that if I was so constipated, I needed to see a Dr. immediately because I had something major going on! Boy, did she call me back with a great sense of urgency in her voice! FUN-NY! Also, my boy became ill this week and I took him to our family doctor. While there, I asked him what I could do about this problem. Because of what he was advising me, I told him several times that the MENTAL part of quitting was no big deal, it was the physical side-effects that were kicking my butt…and leading me to relapse. You know, I don’t think he ever really heard me because he continued to talk about mood, irritability, bitchiness, etc. Could this bloating–constipation thing be a side-effect that the medical profession isn’t noticing?
In case you’re curious, my Doc recommended Wellbutrin as a medication to help quit smoking. He says he’s had a very high success rate with this, around 85%. He said Chantix isn’t doing so well in his practice. He also recommended the nicotine patch. He didn’t like the idea of the gum because he said you can’t really control how much nicotine you’re getting…like chewing faster, longer, etc. His concern is that I’d end up with a nicotine gum habit to deal with!
I got the script for the Wellbutrin, but I’ll hold off filling it. Will finish the trial of what I am currently doing and I’ll see how it works. Will go to Plan H, I, or J if this current Game Plan doesn’t work!
Well, that’s the update. I hope I have good news at the end of this next week. So… so far so good…for the first 5 days of NO SMOKING attempt number 6 or 7 this year!