Smoking or Non Smoking

Good and Very Bad

     The Good and The Very Bad

We are fast approaching that time when we make our resolutions for the coming year, and we find ourselves at midnight on December 31st full of good intentions, and ready to face whatever life will thrown at us in the coming year. But so often by the 2nd or 3rd of January the resolutions have been broken and the good intentions seem to melt into that distant haze, there to remain for another year. It is for that reason, if you are going to make a serious change in your life get the festivities out of the way first, and then make that serious commitment to yourself. One of the most popular resolutions these days has to be “I am going to give up smoking” and when you look at the picture supporting this post it really is a no brainer.

I am no doctor or healthcare worker, but I have been a very heavy smoker at various times in my life, and I know exactly how addictive nicotine can be. I have given up smoking twice, the first time I stopped for just over six years, and the second time, well I haven’t smoked since. The first time I stopped was because I wanted too, basically I just got fed up with smoking, the coughing in the morning, and constantly smelling like an ashtray, so it was relatively easy. The last time I was told by my doctor to stop, this she assured me would be easy as I was going to be prescribed Nicotine Patches, and what a disaster they turned out to be. If you are using the Nicotine Patches and you have a cigarette you get this supercharged nicotine rush, and that’s the last thing you need if you want to quit. The problem with all these aids is that you still associate  them with smoking, and the non smoking industry know that, and that’s why they can afford to spend millions on advertising this time of year, because they know they are going to make a fortune, selling their various pills, patches and potions.

There is another way, which costs nothing to use and is extremely effective, it worked with me the first time I used it, and the same with several of my friends and colleagues. This is a system that actually programs your brain and body too not smoke, and there is nothing to be associated with smoking when you stop. You need at least ten days but fourteen is better for the system to be most effective. The first step is to set the date you are going to stop smoking, this wants to be at least ten days, but it could be twenty one days if you wanted, the longer it is the more you are conditioned to stop. Step two, is to take a sheet of paper and write ” I (your name e.g. John Smith) am going to stop smoking on (date you set e.g. January 9th 2014) and I will not smoke again.” Step three, every day up to the day you have set to stop smoking you copy what you have written, directly under the previous line, this then starts to work as an affirmation instructing the brain that you wish to stop smoking on the set date. On the day before you stop, make sure you finish all you cigarettes, put away ashtrays, lighters and any other smoking paraphernalia. When the big day comes you just don’t smoke, you are bound to get a few moments when you fancy a smoke, but you just resist and it soon passes, because you are now a non-smoker. A close friend of mine had tried patches, different types of gum, and even one of the electronic cigarettes, all without much success, she then tried this method and hasn’t smoked since, that now is about twenty months ago.

Sometimes the worst thing is the actual fear of stopping, I know that I was very concerned about how I would cope without smoking, but it doesn’t take very long before you feel so much better, food tastes better, and you start to feel cleaner inside. Anybody trying this method who needs some extra support can email: and we will make every effort to support and help.

Tai Chi and the Senior Citizen

Woman practicing tai chi

Woman practising Tai Chi

Anybody who has been following this site will know it is aimed at the more senior age groups, with tips on weight loss, diet and exercise, plus I enrolled myself into a course of Tai Chi, to check if there are any benefits to be gained for the older age groups. Where do I begin, firstly I have had a couple of emails from people stating that fat people can’t do Tai Chi, well the same people probably find it hard to get up off the sofa, and always have a good excuse not to do any exercise. I am probably the fattest person in my Tai Chi class by a long way, and I have to admit that for me it is a lot harder than for some of the younger, slimmer, and much fitter members, but it just takes more effort, and practise. It’s very easy to say “oh it’s too hard” or “oh I’m just too fat for that” but like most things in life the rewards for achieving something difficult far outweigh the effort required to get there.

I am rapidly coming to the end of my first three month term of classes, and I have to say that my conception of what Tai Chi is about has been totally turned on its head. Before I began I thought that I would be able to learn the movements in a few weeks and then be able to practise them in my local park, in the same way as you see video of the Chinese practising outdoors. How wrong can you be, I now strongly believe that when you start Tai Chi you start out on a journey, and that journey can take you the rest of your life? It’s a journey of self discovery and development, with so many benefits for our health and well being that it is not surprising that this culture has survived from the late fifth century. To watch Tai Chi being performed by a teacher is inspiring, as their movements are graceful and flowing, and you look forward to the day when you can move in a similar way.

So what are the benefits for the more senior citizens, well I can only speak for myself, but like many people my age I had lost a lot of my joint flexibility, and the way my excess weight is distributed my balance was not too good either. I now have far more movement in my hips than I have had for some time, and also in my knees, actually all my joints have improved movement, all the stiffness has gone, and I can twist my body far more than I could. My balance is getting better, it was really poor when I started, but most of the problem is my weight distribution, too much of it around my stomach, but it is getting better. I think if you can walk without any problems and your arms still work you can benefit from practising Tai Chi, as it gives you a total low impact exercise workout, improves your breathing, it also really helps to improve your posture, and generally makes you feel good, but like most things in life the more effort you put in then the more you will gain. One thing I feel I must stress, if you want to try it, and I truly recommend that you should, find a class, just Google Tai Chi and your area, you will be surprised at how many classes there are, this really is important. There are books and even video and on-line courses but, I would say that unless you are a professional dancer used to checking movement and positioning using studio mirrors, then you really need a teacher to help you and correct any mistakes you are making, as getting the movements wrong can be totally counter-productive.