Personally, I've only observed Lent since I was a senior in undergrad, but I never really knew what to give up. So I gave up sweets, the same as my roommates. I don't think it was terribly difficult, but I know people who give up soda, alcohol, fried food, junk food, AND dessert...basically they would go on some form of the same clean diet I gladly eat everyday. So I love watching the good change happen and it's always a shock! They drop 20+ pounds changing nothing but their diet and yet, the day Lent is over, they go back to the way they used to eat just to gain it all back and then some. What the heck? Maybe instead, try this:
- Eat Clean with an emphasis on green vegetables (to give yourself the difficulty you were hoping for with Lent)
- Eat one reasonable cheat/treat meal per week (to teach yourself moderation so you don't binge back where you started when Lent is over)
Reasonable right? You can do it! The food cravings can be the awesome penitence you were hoping to feel for 6 weeks and by the time Lent is over, it wont feel like a chore anymore. You can do anything for 6 weeks...so stick with it and see how amazing you'll feel!
Anyhow, I still don't know what I want to give up for Lent, which is part of why I'm posting a topic about Lent a couple weeks early. (I need some ideas!) Maybe it'll be food related, who knows, but I know a food related one won't be too difficult even with the following in mind: 1) I'll be celebrating Valentines Day over the weekend after Lent begins and 2) my birthday is near the end of it. I guess the greatest part about these dates are, my vacation starts the day Lent ends...YES! So I can be thrilled about that...not that'll it'll change much about vacation. I still don't plan to drink (because I don't care to) and I still don't plan to binge (because it's stupid and I'll be wearing tiny clothes). So...
What's the best thing you ever gave up for Lent?
Last year was my ultimate great pick and I have to share it with you all. (It's the other reason I'm posting this so early so we can spread the word about this great idea!) I gave up:
- the one thing that I was seriously addicted to
- the thing that hurt me many times emotionally
- the thing that truly meant nothing
Sounds pretty abusive, huh? It took the pain of Lent to ween me off my addiction to figure out its worthlessness. I gave up...the scale. Some of you may be laughing, but I know many of you determine your self worth based on how small you can make that number. I know, I did it too. I would weigh myself without clothes before eating and drinking. I would weigh myself at least 3 times a day: once in the morning to see if I was any lighter than the morning before and pre and post workouts to see if I worked hard enough. I know the science and realize that any gain or loss within a single workout session is due to water. I also know that muscle is denser than fat, but I didn't care. If that number wasn't going down knowing all the hard work I put in with workouts and diet, my mind would go crazy and I would hate myself. Even worse, what if your weight went up after working out? It was awful! Sometimes, I would give up on myself. Sometimes, I would binge or other times, I would starve. It was very unhealthy.
So I gave it up and it was very difficult to do, but I started to realize how much better I felt not knowing my weight. I started to see amazing change in my physique through progress photos. It took WEEKS for me to see any change...like 8 weeks of a different diet and workout, but either way, I wasn't looking at the scale. It didn't stop at Lent either. I never went back to using my scale. I didn't even know my competition weight last Fall like most girls did. I didn't know until I stepped on a funny scale in Vegas for a laugh and honestly, my weight didn't bother me (because I knew I looked fricken fantastic). I didn't weigh as little as most of the women with my height claim they weighed, but we're all different and weight looks different on each of us, which is why the term "losing weight" is ridiculous. "Losing fat" is more appropriate, if that's the goal.
While the scale doesn't own me anymore, I don't go out of my way to step on it either. Even with my healthier relationship with myself, I still don't enjoy seeing the number. So every time the doctor weighs me, I think...WHY? So I just look away and ask they not tell me. I don't care to know and for the most part, I'm not ashamed of being heavier than many/most of my fitness friends. Now, this is just a guess, but I think my 5'6.5" frame probably weighs around 138-145 these days. I'm okay with it. I feel comfortable at this weight and I'm still fit. When up against my military male coworkers, I can still kick their asses at PT and as long as I can run, do push ups, pull ups, sit ups, squats, and play sports, I'll feel good about me! So I hope you feel good about you!
So if you are working hard at the gym, eating well, and have a negative relationship with the scale, I suggest you give it up for Lent and see how you feel after the experience. Use progress photos instead. (Again, they aren't good photos ever, but at least they all suck! Lol.)
P.S. I had to search around my house to find my scale for the photo below. I forgot where we put it. :-)