What I’m thinking right now

My stop-smoking guidelines

1. Remember, once you quit smoking you can concentrate on weight. Quitting smoking is PART OF THE PROCESS of losing weight.
2. Try everything. If lozenges and microtabs don’t work, try Champix. If that doesn’t work, try hypnotherapy.
3. This is MORE IMPORTANT than anything else, including a new job. This will win you twenty extra years to fulfil your dreams – perhaps more.
4. Remember how it felt not to be able to breathe.
5. If you really have to, eat shit rather than smoke a cigarette.
6. If you buy cigarettes, don’t open them. If you open them, don’t light one. If you light one, take just one drag. If you smoke it all, throw the rest away. YOU WILL CRACK SOMETIMES; Don’t let it stop you.


It's time.

I can’t believe this isn’t already in my goals list. This has been a goal of mine since I was 18, only a few years after I started smoking. I don’t think I ever really felt OK with smoking. How could I? It’s disgusting, it’s expensive, and it kills you.

And it’s that last which is really beginning to eat away at me. I lost my mother to cancer, and though that wasn’t because of smoking, it let me see first-hand just how agonising that disease is. I’ll be 30 in a few weeks, and I’m beginning to realise, cliche though it is, how short life is. I’m already so behind schedule in achieving the things I want to in life – how can I keep doing something which could shorten my life by years, or decades? My father died when he was less than twice my age: he smoked, and was overweight, and both contributed to his death.

I’m putting aside my primary rationalisation: that stopping smoking will cause me to put on even more weight. It might. But stopping will free me to focus on my weight, and give me more energy for exercise. And if – when – I succeed, it’ll be a tremendous confidence boost.

My methods? Mostly, I only crave smoking in certain situations. One is late at night, at home. My smoking flatmate has agreed not to give me cigarettes or tobacco when I ask for them, and to keep the living room free of smoking materials. And the other is social. I’m fully prepared to dial down my social life for a while, if that’s what it takes. I’ll use nicotine lozenges, microtabs, and whatever else works to handle cravings. If they don’t work, I’ll try pills or hypnosis. I’m fully prepared to spend money, if that’s what it takes. And, if I sometimes need to stuff down a cream cake so as not to smoke, I will.

It won’t be easy. But people who smoke 20 a day manage it. How can I not manage it, when I only smoke once or twice a week? Most crucially, I have to get back on the wagon if I fall off: if I smoke one cigarette, throw away the rest of the packet. I can’t tell myself that’s a waste of money: smoking is a waste of life.

It’s time.

passage from an imaginary novel

When i first moved to London i remember i was shocked the first time i saw a group of lads on the tube in football shorts, coming back from a game somewhere. I remember thinking that they didn’t belong somehow. London wasn’t for football, it was for fashion, for art; for gays, and smart young career women, and talented young geeks with a hilariously ironic fascination with trash culture. Footballers could have everywhere else, and did. London was for us.

As i grew older and more accustomed to the city’s dull parade, and my ever-increasing loneliness began to outweigh my snobbishness, and my only response when i saw a group of lads in football shorts was to note which ones had nice legs.

New goal: sleep in on the weekends

This might sound odd, given that I’m trying to be more productive. But my social life does cause me to go out late on Friday and Saturday nights and, though I don’t like staying out till dawn like I used to, I’m not ready to start going home from a party at midnight either. I’ve perfected the art of staying in during the week, and when the weekend comes I want to reward myself.

The problem is that I tend to wake up at 9.30am or so the next day, often leaving me with only 4-5hrs sleep. This leaves me grumpy and hungry all day. It’d be much better to sleep till noon, wake up rested, and still get things done in the afternoon.

So how to do it? My unscientific answer, for now, is: medicate. Nytol seems to ensure I sleep a good eight hours, even if I go to bed very late. In the long run, I’d like that to be unnecessary, and I think cutting down on caffeine when I’m out will help. But for now, that seems to work.

New goal: Go to bed at 11pm every weekday

I don’t have to get up till 8, so I needn’t go to bed that early. But right now I spend the 11-12 hour watching TV, and all too often that turns into the 12-1 hour. I want to regularise my schedule and stop working late, and that means locking in bedtime.

I don’t have to go to sleep right away; I can read. But no reading on the iPod touch or the computer, only paper, or i seem to get overstimulated and stay up.

(by “weekday”, for this, I mean Sunday-Thursday, by the way)

I’ve set the alarm on my watch to remind me. But I think it’ll be hard. Last week I did it on Monday, then on Tuesday, even though I had to get up at 7 the next day, I just stayed up till 1am watching BLOODY Flashforward.

New Goal: lose five stone

Not really a new goal, just a new, more organised approach to it. I know it’s a lot. But that’s what I need to lose to be a healthy BMI of around 22. Right now I’m at 33, to my horror.

In a way it shouldn’t be too hard – I know if I cycle to work, cut out snacks and eat sensible meals I do tend to lose weight. It’s just that doing that consistently is surprisingly difficult.

I’m considering starting going to Weight Watchers meetings again – the one I went to before was crap, but that might have been a one-off.

New Goal: swim every weekday

My current plan is to start swimming three times a week. This would normally be tuesday and thursday lunchtimes, and once at the weekend. if i’m going away at the weekend i’ll have to squeeze in another during the week, probably friday.

the good thing is my work is in camden, and i live in hackney, and both their pools are run by GLL, so I can have a shared membership.