When I worked in outpatient counseling we would occasionally show our groups movies that had been made about addiction. Most of these were badly acted movies produced on a small budget designed specifically to be bought by rehabs and outpatient programs to dramatize and educate while theoretically entertaining. One of these movies was called “I’ll Quit Tomorrow” and was about a man in danger of losing his wife and family as well as his job so he was coerced into entering rehab.
This fictional character was based on many “functional alcoholics”. He said that he could quit any time he wanted and was always telling his wife that he would quit “tomorrow” but every tomorrow he found an excuse to continue drinking.
Which is why - if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time - you will always see that I’m harping on not waiting but beginning a lifestyle change IMMEDIATELY. Because “tomorrow” never seems to come.
However, there has been some research done specifically on smokers. It showed that smokers who picked a quit date but allowed themselves to continue smoking without restriction leading up to that quit date were pretty successful.
So could that work in terms of weight loss? I mean you can’t pick a “quit date” to stop eating food, right? But you can make commitments to a lifestyle change.
Here are the smoking cessation strategies that might be applied based on the START acronym:
S = Set a quit date.
Choose a date within the next 2 weeks, so you have enough time to prepare without losing your motivation to quit. If you mainly smoke at work, quit on the weekend, so you have a few days to adjust to the change.
Ok, so this is easy enough - pick a start date - circle it on your calendar!
T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.
This is a tough one. People are really reluctant to announce to the world that they are going to make a big change for lots of reasons. But telling people does hold you accountable. And yes, maybe knowing that you’ll get that disapproving look when you head for the box of donuts will help you say no to them!
A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting.
Being prepared for things like sugar withdrawal and how you are going to handle next week’s work luncheon - those are all important things to consider.
R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car, and work.
Throw away all the crap food in your house. Get rid of the sodas. Clean you desk at work out of the candy. Go through your car and remove the candy bars that are stashed in your glove compartment! Lucky you, though, you get to replace them with healthy things!
T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.
There are medications that can be used to aid in weight loss, although in my opinion they should be the last resort. BUT, so many of us that want to lose weight have issues that our doctors can help us address to give us the best chance possible of being successful. Have him/her order a full blood panel. Make sure that your thyroid is in order, that you don’t have diabetes, that you blood pressure is normal before you start the lifestyle change. This is especially true if you are incorporating an exercise program!
So there you go. Quitting “tomorrow” may work for you. For me? Well, since I’m tapering and carb loading for the ½ marathon on Saturday, AND I’ve faced some challenges this week, I’m a little off track. So Monday, May 19th, is back on the wagon time!