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"I lied to my mom": saif ali khan

By: Men's Health Magazine, IndiaFM
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
As saif ali khan works hard to drop 10kg of his post-smoking flab, he shares the mental make-up that keeps him going

While his Bollywood career is on an upswing, on a personal note, actor saif ali khan has been having it tough. Besides the emotional agony of failed relationship, the 36-year-old actor has had a bad health spell, too. Jolted into awareness, he has changed his perspective of life. "I have been given a lifestyle-changing opportunity and I am going to do it," he asserts.

Saif has given up on his killer habit- smoking. Nothing can make him take a puff again, this self-con-fessed wildlife lover vows. However, as a result, an excess 10kg sits on his muscular frame, weight that Saif is trying very hard to shift.

On how smoking kills

When you are young, you tend to feel it's cool to smoke. Peer pressure and the desire to live a wild life gets one started and then you are hooked to nicotine. But the only things you can look forward to be are lung cancer or-as in my case-a heart attack.

I started smoking in school when I was 16, only to be cool, to add some excitement to my life. I lied to my mom that I smoked only once every two days, thought it was much more than that. I would hide in the bathroom and smoke. Frankly speaking, smoking does not really give any great kick. It's just a smelly and dangerous distraction, more like all smoke and no fire. In my opinion, nobody should smoke.

On kicking the addiction

It's difficult but not impossible. The golden rule is: don't say you are giving up anything. You have to believe that you are doing something that is best for you, that you are choosing a better option. Mental determination and self - realization are the key factors. You should treat craving like a scab over a healing wound. Don't feel miserable and never give in to the desire; just focus on the healing. The first three weeks are supposed to be the toughest - I was in hospital under medication so it became easier for me. I had tried to quit earlier but had failed. This time the fear of death did the trick.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be let off with a warning like me. So control the source of the craving: spend time with people who don't smoke or drink. I would smoke when I had a drink but now I've quit drinks, too. I am absolutely fine now - haven't smoked for quite some time now and don't miss it either. Today, when I see people smoking, I feel sorry for them. They don't know what poison they are inhaling.

10 tips on how to kick the butt

1. Have a cigarette while plugged into an ECG machine and see the effect of smoking on your heart. Remember that and you will definitely quit smoking.

2. Don't feel you are giving up. Think you are improving your life. Nobody likes to give up anything.

3. Having friends who do not smoke really helps.

4. This one's a cool psychological trick: every time you crave a smoke, it means the body is healing from the nicotine. The longing is because it is leaving the system-it is like a scab forming over a wound. Instead of giving in, focus and enjoy the agony of quitting as a healing process.

5. Lung cancer and impotence are some of the things you can look forward to lf you don't stop smoking.

6. If you smoke, bad breath is one reason women would not enjoy kissing you. 7. Focus on the positive things of not smoking which are countless - looking better, living better, and being fitter.

8. It is an expensive habit. Why waste the money?

9. Smokers add to the pollution around.

10. Heart disease certainly shakes hands with smoking.

Excerpts from Men's Health Magazine, July 07 issue.

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