Stoptober – 2/3 Weeks Smoke Free

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Okay, I’m going to be honest here, after the success of my first week smoke free I have somewhat let myself down over the last week and a half. Lets just say I’ve had a few “moments of weakness.” According to my Stoptober app, at this point I should be in control of my cravings rather than being controlled by them and they should be gradually decreasing by the day, in other words I should have almost cracked it. As I write this I realise I am much more disappointed in myself than I thought, I am forced to ask myself the question, was it worth it? The answer of course, is no.

My first slip-up was last Saturday night during a long-overdue night out. I actually bought a packet of cigarettes – which is almost unheard of for me – but honestly, I think I was craving the idea rather than the actual smoke itself. After I spent the first two battling through the truly awful taste, I gave up. I suppose this is the silver lining here, realising that what you’ve been telling yourself is true, smoking is horrid. Sometimes you just need to make sure.

However I still didn’t learn my lesson, one morning last week I woke up severely lacking in motivation. As ridiculous as it sounds, it was as if the part of me which had been telling me not to smoke just didn’t wake up that day. In a moment of madness, I purchased my first packet of tobacco since the beginning of the challenge, fully intending to smoke the whole lot, I smoked two. I am both pleased and relieved to say that this (still full) packet is now lying dormant somewhere on my bedroom floor, and hasn’t been touched since.

As I near to entering the final week, my sense of achievement is severely lacking due to these discrepancies, which I feel are over-shadowing the main positive. I can only console myself with the fact that I haven’t given up all together, in fact it actually shows great willpower to slip up, get over it and get back on track.

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Taking On Stoptober…

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I like to think of myself as a relatively healthy person. I eat my spinach, I drag myself out for a run a few times a week and of late I’ve even ditched the coffee. I make a conscious effort try to maintain my health as best I can in both the physical and mental aspects of my life, but as I sit here writing my blog, a blog which ultimately stands for the health of the body and mind, I feel a touch hypocritical. There is one thing about me which is not healthy in the slightest, I am (or was – can I say that yet or is it too soon?) a smoker. We all have our bad habits and this one has become mine.

Before I go on, I should set the scene a little. I’m not a packet-a-day smoker, I smoke on average maybe five a day – more if you give me alcohol. I have never really seen my smoking as an issue, I’ve never been one of those people who religiously tries to quit every Monday morning, I’ve always felt that if the time came when I didn’t want to do it anymore I could just, not do it anymore.

That time came the other day as I inhaled on my rather pathetic looking rolled up cigarette on my way home from work, and I thought, as I often do, “I’m not even enjoying this.” Later when I was scrolling down my Facebook timeline the advert for Stoptober popped up, it was decided.

There are endless reasons to give up smoking aside from the three choices the Stoptober App gives you, those being health, money and family. Of course I want to look after my health, save money and make all my Mum’s Christmases come at once, but I also wanted to set myself a challenge.

If I’m being totally honest, I suppose I wanted to see how easy it would actually be for me to stop, and at the end of day one I can tell you that the answer is not very, not very easy at all. It’s been an emotional day, I’ve gone from super positive and motivated, to pure self-hatred, to pretty much mourning the loss of cigarettes. It’s okay though, my app tells me that the first day is the hardest.

Kesha – Showing the World She is a Warrior

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On Friday, singer Kesha became the latest celebrity to speak out about her eating disorder, when she checked into the Timberline Knolls Centre and gave this statement to the press:

“I’m a crusader for being yourself and loving yourself but I’ve found it hard to practice, I’ll be unavailable for the next 30 days, seeking treatment for my eating disorder … [and] to learn to love myself again. Exactly as I am.”

Being in the public eye, a celebrity always receives much more of a reaction from society when going public with an issue like this, which is why I have to admire Kesha’s bravery and that of the other celebrities who have spoken openly about their problems over the years.

However, going public is a gamble and there are both positive and negative repercussions when a celebrity admits to having an eating disorder. In some cases it can be a valuable and important message to others who may be suffering, particularly young girls who might idolise and look up to these celebrities, and I would like to think that it may encourage others to get help themselves.

However, unfortunately, the media has a tendency to focus on the negative aspects. I have already read a number of online articles scrutinising Kesha’s weight over the years and discussing her previous diet and exercise regimes. The other worry is the glamorisation of eating disorders, which often happens when they appear in the public eye associated with celebrities and supermodels. As much as society has started to move away from the idea that anorexia and bulimia are glamorous lifestyle choices, rather than serious diseases, there is still no doubt that young people and teenagers are susceptible to being influenced by the lifestyles of celebrities.

Although Kesha has done an extremely courageous and brave thing by getting the help she needs and doing it publicly, what her fans and the rest of the general public will never see or hear is the hardship she will face on her journey to recovery and for long afterwards. When celebrities do speak about their eating disorders the common occurrence is for them to emerge from rehab after a short time and as far as anyone is concerned, they are perfectly healthy again, all relationships with food restored. In reality of course this is not the case and Kesha among many others will still be battling her eating disorder behind closed doors for a long time to come.

These factors make me question just how positive celebrities speaking out actually can be, does it paint an unrealistic picture of an eating disorder? In 30 days time when Kesha makes her post-treatment statement to the press, some will know what is going on beneath the bravado, the challenges she has still to face and what recovery from an eating disorder is really like. I hope that her courage continues and that her influence will encourage others to take the same brave steps.