Lenten Promises

Tuesday was Mardi Gras which means that Wednesday was the start of the Lenten season. During Lent many make vows to give up something for the forty day period. Growing up going to a small Catholic elementary school I remember each Lent giving up chocolate or soda like most of the other kids in my class. Come the end of high school I started upping the ante to eliminating whole food groups like bread in an attempt to multi-task and sacrifice something as well as try to drop off my unwanted thirty pound weight gain.

I basically did the Atkins diet for the beginning of Lent and lost about fifteen pounds in a few weeks, but then I started craving anything bread like so badly that I was cranky and mean to anyone in the near vicinity of me who was consuming it. I decided that in order to stay sane and not veer off of my Lenten promise at the same time that I would eat granola bars or Zone protein bars whenever I wanted bread. I hadn’t had anything bread reminiscent in so long that once I tasted the bars I felt the need to binge on them, I ate them like Zone bars were going extinct, eating about ten in one sitting. My body was used to no starch by then and this big change of pace threw it for a loop – needless to say, I gained back all that I had lost plus some more weight.

Since then, I tried other ‘diet-like’ Lenten promises like telling myself I wouldn’t eat after eight pm, but I always found a way to work around it – I would just stay up until midnight then eat since it was technically the start of a new day, right? It hit me a few years later that all of my forty day promises were taking away my right to be an intuitive eater and were just enabling my all or nothing diet mind-frame rather than encouraging a healthy overall lifestyle.

I would encourage you (based on my past experience) to commit to do something instead of eliminate something this Lent. Here are some examples…please share what healthy changes you are committing to!

-Work out at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.
-Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
-Try out a new vegetable each week.
-Make meals for the homeless.
-Donate clothes to a charity.
My personal favorite is an idea from my mom, do something each day to make someone else’s life a little better!

Jessica Hummel, Nutrition Counselor