05 Oct Kerry chose to quit and lose weight with our help
Kerry accessed our services to quit smoking and lose weight, she’s provided her story and given her feedback on how we helped.
This Stoptober, learn how we can help you quit smoking and lose weight. Kerry is telling her story and how we played a big part.
Kerry: “I know it sounds shocking, but I started smoking at aged 11. My friends and I used to go to the local woods to smoke after school. My Mum and Dad smoked, so they couldn’t really say anything when they realised I was too. Over the years I tried to give up but I always went back to it. I would make some excuse then I’d feel justified about starting again. Lots of family members and friends smoked anyway so I thought ‘well, I’m going to die of cancer anyway so why stop?’
When I tried to quit it made me so miserable. All that craving and irritability NEVER goes away. Well that’s what my Mum’s friend told me, and she’d given up 10 years previously. 10 years, and she still craved a cigarette? Wow.
Then in 2006 I was at work and a client mentioned her Mum had given up smoking using tablets (Champix) and she claimed her Mum didn’t WANT a cigarette anymore. It was as easy as that. Now, that was my problem – getting over WANTING one. So, I tried it and got my Mum to try it too! We were finally smoke free! Couldn’t believe it. Me and Mum. We’d done it!
In July 2007, life happened. We lived in the Midlands and our house was flooded. Mum, my husband and I were out until gone 4am sweeping floodwater away from the house for hours. Then, relief, the rain finally stopped. My husband said, ‘it’s times like this when you could do with a cigarette!’ Mum said ‘Well, I think I have some’. And so, a year after we’d given up, we had one and then another and thus started again.
Life moved on. In 2016 my beloved Labrador died and a week later, my Mum died of cancer. I was bereft. It was my wake-up call. By June 2018 my husband and I moved to the south coast when I went to my new GP and said I wanted to try Champix again.
After the initial conversation I realised where I had gone wrong, and this is so important. Yes, I had become smoke free. But what no-one had told me was, if I had even one more cigarette, then the WANTING would come straight back again. I knew I really needed to do this and give it one more try. My daughter would be getting married and having children and I really wanted to live long enough to meet them. My beautiful dogs needed me to be fit enough to walk them. I knew I could do it properly this time because I knew why I had failed. I just wished someone had given me that nugget the last time – do not smoke even one more!
In October 2018 I was ready for Champix for the last time. Unlike before I didn’t suffer nerve ache in my tooth or numb tingles in my right-hand thumb. Perfect. I was smoke free! I can’t tell you how that felt. People could not believe I gave up JUST LIKE THAT. I had to keep going back to the GPs surgery for a few weeks to blow into the tube that proves you haven’t smoked – I aced that obviously! I felt brilliant.
Then, as often happens, I started to gain weight. My brother belonged to a gym locally, so I joined. It didn’t help and I got so discouraged. My diet and my knowledge of what was healthy and what wasn’t was all over the place after years of fad diets. I went back to the GP for help. I did NOT want to go back to smoking ever again, even though that thought had already crossed my mind!
Thankfully, she told me of the Adult Weight Management Course called ‘One You East Sussex.’ I could join the group and get motivated to lose weight and get fit – and it was free!
I wasn’t holding out much hope; I thought I’d probably go for a week, then realise it wasn’t for me and then not bother. I thought they would announce my weight to all and sundry and make me feel ashamed and down. I thought they would say eat your greens and stay away from biscuits. Must admit,I wasn’t looking forward to it.
I signed up anyway, which was really easy. I contacted them and gave over my details and I was contacted straight away. But just as we were about to start the course, we went into lockdown. That didn’t stop us however, and we moved to Zoom, which is virtual meetings on the PC. I hadn’t heard much about Zoom but all the instructions were there and it looked easy enough. This worked brilliantly for me; everyone was so friendly and accommodating. I am not at my best in the mornings and so I didn’t have to turn my camera on and ‘appear’ on Zoom at all, which was brilliant.
Over the years, I had tried every diet known to woman on the search to lose weight. A lot of my information was out of date and confusing because of this. The One You East Sussex course is obviously bang up-to-date, well-researched, comprehensive, friendly, definitely non-shaming, really helpful and inclusive. In fact, it is everything it needs to be. You can ask questions as you go along and have private chats with the tutors who are all really lovely! There is a private Facebook page for people to chat and even a Virtual Gym that is free. This was right up my street. I’m still using that now.
The thing is, as I’d given up smoking, I felt better. Then I joined One You East Sussex’s Adult Weight Management group to lose weight and I felt better. I gained more knowledge on diet, food groups, calorie density, how to strengthen my body and I felt better.
So much better that now I jog in the sea for a couple of hours at a stretch (with a tea break and biscuit in between!) I walk my dogs on the South Downs every day and I can get out of my bath after a shower without fear of falling. I just literally step out. I can go up and downstairs without effort and I’m not unconsciously nursing my left knee. That all feels so much better and therefore, I feel great!
For so many years I worried that I would end up in my chair watching TV everyday until I was no more. But now I have energy and motivation. I can breathe, exercise, I enjoy nutritious delicious meals and I look forward to every day. My husband (62) has been on this journey with me too and has been very supportive. We are both meat, fish and dairy free and eat wholefood plant-based food now (although you do not have to for this course).
Without Champix and One You East Sussex helping and supporting me I would still be lost now.
I’d still be smoking, not exercising and not eating healthily as I was having trouble trying to get all my plates in the air at the same time. I am SO glad I did this. It was pain free and I really did look forward to the next weekly session of the course. I can also get in touch with the team even though I’ve finished it if I need to – just knowing that made me feel secure and supported. These improvements didn’t even take that long and now I am getting near my ideal weight and fitness level. Brilliant!!!
We are off kayaking this weekend and I’m sure I will be sea jogging as well. Look out for me!”