Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts/babblings and by no means are intended to “Preach” or force my beliefs on others.
I wonder if the Church purposely placed Lent to follow 3 of the biggest gorging holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years) or if it just happened that way. After 3 months of treating ourselves like Kings at the banquet along comes a time of fasting and reflection. It’s almost as if the powers that be know what we are going to do over the holidays and gave us a way to get back on track. Be it spiritual or physical or both.
Growing up I dreaded Lent. Why do we have to suffer by giving up what we love? But as it turns out I’ve learned that Lent isn’t just about suffering it’s about reflecting on bettering yourself. Maybe this means that you give up smoking, a vice you’ve carried for as long as you can remember only to find that by the end of the 40 days you find you no longer need to smoke and feel better about yourself; a positive result from stopping a negative activity. Lent is like the second New Year’s; it’s a chance to reset your resolution and try again.
What makes Lent different from a New Year’s Resolutions, in my mind, is that it’s a short term goal. Spark always talks about setting goals. With Lent you have a definite start date (Ash Wednesday) and a finish (Easter or Good Friday, depending on how your parents raised you). This short term goal setting stage is the perfect opportunity to make a change in your life towards a better you. If your New Year’s resolution was to stop smoking or drinking or eating too much junk food did you set a realistic finish line or just 31 Dec? When visualizing the calendar 365 days is a really long time but 40 days is a bit more realistic.
My official Spark journey began 13 Jun 2009 however I essentially started it on 25 Feb 2009 when I gave up desserts/sweets for Lent. After the first week or so I was terrified to even smell cake. By the end I felt almost liberated (still terrified though) and instead of treating myself to a large chocolate bunny I settled for sugar free jelly beans. Not even close to the chocolate bunny so I didn’t finish them. In fact, I just threw them out the other day.
Towards the end of Lent I changed my thinking from fasting to how long can I go, setting my own streak. Who knew I’d later find SparkPeople and see that this is one of their key elements to assisting with goals? Unfortunately I didn’t weigh myself before I started so I had no idea what the overall result was. But what I did find is that the longer I went without, the less I craved and even more so the more I was able to stay in control.
This past holiday season was a huge test, my first holiday while on SparkPeople. I did my best to focus on the good foods vs. evil ones and I did slip but I was able to control how far I slipped. Instead of sliding back into the “can’t stop at one” self-gorging habit I was able to limit myself. One small slice of pie isn’t so bad, half the pie is.
This year I’ve already decided how I plan on bettering myself during Lent, at least in the physical sense. My plan is to get back into weight training. I slacked off due to an illness after Thanksgiving and haven’t found the motivation to get back on track. Now’s the time.