Practical Tips To Quit Smoking
“Don’t Say NEVER GOING TO SMOKE- It Doesn’t Make Sense”
——– Pallav Patankar (LGBTQIA Activist, Mumbai)
I hate quitters, but this ‘quitter’ I am going to say ‘I love and admire’, here’s why –
Pallav inspires many like me who smoke to quit the butt (ciggie).
So the other day when browsing through my Facebook feeds, I chanced upon a ‘handsome quitter’ – believe me, my day was made. Well, who wouldn’t have a ‘day made’ when there is ‘motivation’; and from Pallav, why not?
“Smoking is injurious to health”
How many times have we been told that – let’s rephrase – How many of us actually know it and yet wouldn’t do a thing about it, quitting isn’t everyone’s ball game i suppose. But hey wait; let’s hear it out from Pallav.
As you guys and dolls snoozed over the Sunday laziness, post lunch; I got on to my whatsapp and asked Pallav “May we talk”. The rest is for you to read, learn and to be inspired about. Oh yes, must I say, he had made me wait 5 seconds before we could begin, because of the ‘APPLE IN HIS MOUTH’ – and at that moment the song by ‘Salt N Pepa’ came to my mind “Whatta Man” – healthy snacking options in a man impresses me much!
Me: I recently read one of your FB posts on ‘quitting the butt anniversary’; tell me more
Pallav: I have been a teetotaller most of my life, not a puff I took while studying at the B School or even in the corporate world – I was a Late Kate at smoking (28 or 29 years old back then), and do not even ask me how it all began.
Yes, it did begin with one of the old stereotypical ways – ‘just a puff’ and before I knew it, I was denying the habit – it taught me how to smoke. I still remember, the first whisky shot at an office gathering, and while the downing of shots happened with bantering and talks, someone pointed out I only ‘mouth’ ciggies and not ‘smoke’ them – needless to say, when I took a puff too deep; the amalgamation of alcohol and the first deep puff, sent me home tottering!
Me: Do you feel the corporate life can be blamed for heavy smoking?
Pallav: The corporate life is a rat-raced life. I was also going through emotional upheavals, personally and professionally. Cigarettes were my succour, my relief sticks. What began as 2 or 3 a night, led onto a pack a day – I thought there was no turning back.
West Africa was where I was sent for work, I thought the saga with the nicotine stick would end there – needless to say, the moment I landed, I ran to the first retail store at the airport, looking for smokes.
Most reading this would agree; when you travel, you are alone- no family or loved ones around. But, I then decided to start making an effort too – I threw packets out of my house (some half full), I quit for 3-6 months at a time, but would be ‘Smoky Joe’ the next month again.
There are good days and bad days, when the battle is on…… Pallav
Post West Africa, I came to Chennai and things got worse. I had a boss, who smoked, and our discussions at work were over smokes – we were chain smokers. Those days I was into ‘staying fit’, ironic I know, but a ‘one and a half hour’ workout everyday at the gym was a must for me.
My body was in shape; but every time I was on the runner; I felt an incessant pain hurt my lungs. I knew my cardio was screwed or in the process of being so.
I would wake up with smelly nails, smelly hair, and everything around me smelt of nicotine; not what I wanted for life
I had to breakup with nicotine, nicotine engulfed me….. Pallav
Matters of the heart
This was also a time when unrequited love happened, it pained me for not receiving it back the way I wanted. I felt lonely at some point back then, and I was back to the nicotine habit; it helped me deal with loneliness – what was I thinking!
23rd August is when the ‘dark day’ finally met its end; I decided to make my life better. With a zest for life, I channelized all my negativity and darkness for a productive reason. And that angst was taken out; each day as it came, which is why I never said “I won’t smoke ever”.
ME: Did you have withdrawal symptoms?
Pallav: Yes, I did; the pains, the headaches, the migraines, the mood swings, the weight increase, name it and I had it. But, I focussed on being ‘productive’; you too should do the same. It’s not that I do not crave for a smoke these days, I do – I look back to the day when I decided to give Pallav a new lease of life – and I slowly did overcome the pangs.
ME: Tell us about how you stay fit
Pallav: I am careful about what I eat; when I used to smoke I would gorge like no man’s business. When my tongue and senses yearn for something ‘acrid’, which smokes gave me – I have a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves on my study to the rescue. I drink plenty of water; I do not touch too much tea – it makes me bloat.
Eating healthy is what I believe in, and I stay as much as possible away from junk and aerated drinks, alcohol included – which makes me bloat too. Psychologically, the hands always miss holding something warm or hot – ciggies. I don’t have a ‘smoke break of five minutes’, I rather have a hobby playing a game or maybe Candy Crush on my phone.
Who needs a cigarette for a break anymore!…. Pallav
Your advice for those who want to quit
- Don’t substitute your ciggies with alcohol
- Work out everyday
- Eat healthy
- Supplements and pills are fads – be normal and natural
- Proper breakfast, healthy lunch and a light dinner
- Be natural – refined foods and pills do not bless you with that
In the end I would say “We are real people sans the foundation, make-up and pancake photoshopped looks and with real bodies too. I want to be healthy and sexy as a real person.
Crux of it is take it as each day as it comes; dont let the ego issues come through; you would never fail and if you do it is OKAY – dont get emotional; you are human and you can restart! Be nice to yourself; and keep trying. Be realistic and be practical, and be clear of your goals. Do not get into the ‘i am not capable spiral’, or else you would lose”
If the story of Pallav Patankar has inspired you (remember, he is now six years into the ‘no-smoking’ zone) make a pledge to try and quit. You do not have to be like him, you have to be you, which is what Pallav says too.
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