On the radio - Lisa's stop smoking journey

Lisa worked with our coach Alex and bravely agreed to share her stop smoking journey on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

What was it like to quit live on the radio?

It was really effective. It was a little bit nerve-wracking but I was over that quite quickly.

Had you tried stopping smoking in the past? If so, how did it go?

I gave up about 7 years ago but then started again due to a bereavement. I found it incredibly difficult because lots of the people around me smoked. It made me feel like I was failing, embarrassed and it turned into a bit of a cycle.

How did you hear about the Healthy Lifestyles Service?

I originally heard about the Healthy Lifestyles Service at the Wellbeing Festival at Sober Parrot and I decided I wanted to try to stop smoking again.

What changes did you want to make to begin with?

I changed my morning routine. I stopped doing things that I associated with smoking. I also started walking during my lunch break instead of smoking. Evenings were easier as I didn’t want to go outside in the winter. The biggest challenge was that I gained weight, however I tried to stay focused on stopping smoking initially and exercise rather than beating myself up about it. Once over the first 6 weeks, with some support from my coach Alex, I started focusing on food more and we looked at reducing my weight alongside staying smokefree. The biggest change I made was to plan ahead for my food shop. I stopped buying rubbish and I started to prep more. I started by allowing myself a cheat day but that didn’t work. Instead I allowed myself healthy alternatives from time to time and I was flexible around social occasions, eating really healthily on good days to compensate for the not so great days.

What changes did you make?

I stopped smoking, increased my exercise levels massively, completely changed my attitude to food and managed to get my weight down to less than when I started. I felt comfortable on holiday which I had been really anxious about, especially given fears around stopping smoking and weight gain.

What advice would you give to someone starting or continuing their smokefree journey?

Be brave, be honest. The support is so much more effective when you are open.

How useful was it to have the additional support of a coach?

Essential! I wouldn’t have lasted longer than a week, mainly because I would have felt the other factors like weight gain, stress etc. would have become excuses. On one occasion in particular I was really struggling with my mental health. Alex was there to talk to about it and reminded me of the importance of seeking further support.

Would you recommend Gloucestershire Healthy Lifestyles Service?

Yes, absolutely and I have already. A couple of people have already started their journeys. BUT don’t start until you are ready. If you can’t do it, you will give yourself a hard time - but it’s just because you’re not ready.

What other advice would you give?

Make lots of small changes consistently over a significant period of time. They add up to a big difference. Don’t give yourself a hard time.

If, like Lisa, you're ready to start your journey to stop smoking call us free on 0800 122 3788.

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