Feren (feren) wrote,

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The Bad Habits, four months in.

With the recent conclusion of April we're four months into the year and a full third of the way through. This also means I am four months into a pair of changes I made to my lifestyle with the new year's arrival. I hadn't written about them until now, partially because I didn't feel it was worth talking about and partially because I wanted to wait until I knew for a fact that things were going down the right path.

To recap, back in January the People's Republic of Illinois enacted a new law that banned any and all smoking inside public space such as bars, restaurants, government buildings and office buildings. There's also no smoking within fifteen feet of the entrances or windows or ventilation intakes for any of these public spaces. This ban went into effect at midnight on January first. While I'm not a big fan of the infamous New Year's Resolution, the enacting of the indoor smoking ban on January 1st seemed to nicely coincide with things so that's when I opted to quit smoking. The decision was made for a few reasons -- the steadily increasing cost of cigarettes, the indoor smoking ban (good bye designated smoking lounge at the office!) and most importantly the warning signs that my blood pressure was giving me. At the same time I decided to quit cigarettes I also gave up another old friend and longtime coworker, caffeine, which meant I was to bid farewell to my beloved Lo-Carb Monster energy drink -- though roho and now ottr have both taken up my slack. The dropping of caffeine from my regular diet was partially for my blood pressure but mostly for my sanity, as I quit in the hopes that removal of stimulants would lead to me sleeping better at night.

Woah. Quitting caffeine and cigarettes at the same time? Was I crazy?

Probably! But happily enough everything seems to have worked out for the best. I wasn't sure I'd be able to give up two of my favorite vices and, more importantly, stay off them. I've had plenty of triggers set up over the years. As one example, it's tempting to smoke when I'm being social -- often even more tempting as a large number of my friends are still active smokers. When I hang out with them it can be challenging to resist the urge to bum a cig "just this once." Since drinking and smoking tend to compliment one another the temptation was also quite strong when being social with my smoking friends and having drinks. Still, I have not picked up a cigarette or cigar since I stopped in January. As an added bonus I haven't put on more than a pound or two of extra weight as a consequence of kicking the cigarette habit.

Kicking the caffeine habit has been successful as well. If we're at a restaurant I either get a soft drink with no caffeine like 7up or I stick with water. At home I'm well stocked with caffeine-free Diet Pepsi. The only time I've "slipped" on avoiding caffeine was two weeks ago when visiting colliedoc and hypersnazz, because the only good thing they had in the house that mixed with vodka was Amp energy drink. I don't think I'll beat myself up too much about it. One night out of over one hundred and twenty is pretty much nothing. Unfortunately the desired outcome of quitting this habit, better sleep patterns, has pretty much failed to materialize: I still have an incredibly poor quality of sleep. I'm waking up often during the night, anywhere between five to seven times in an 8 hour period. I still toss and turn a lot in bed, much to lady_curmudgeon's annoyance. I don't get more than two or three hours of continuous, uninterrupted sleep even when I take sleep aids like Advil PM. So that's a bummer.

Completely unrelated to the topic behind the cut, I have new LJ icons from zhivagod!
: :

And tonight? Curmudgeon and I go to see Rick Springfield perform in Milwaukee.

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