Lent: As good an excuse as any to give something up…

When I was a kid, I used to go to church.  I remember trying to give things up for Lent (the period from Ash Wednesday to Easter in Western Christianity).  The most successful time I remember was when I gave up some of my pocket money and then sent it to Shelter, a homeless charity.  I remember feeling very proud of myself for doing something good.

These days I’m not religious at all, but last night I was reminded (on Facebook, of all places) that it was Pancake Day (or, Shrove Tuesday) and that therefore Lent was next.  I had spent most of the day fretting about my weight and trying to figure out new dieting plans, without much success.  Suddenly, Lent seemed like the perfect chance, and just the excuse I had been looking for.

You see, I just don’t seem to have enough will-power at the moment to simply say “I’ll be good, I’ll diet”. I need more of a reason.  And what better reason than “I can’t eat that – I gave it up for Lent”?

So, why am I boring you with this post about dieting?  Well, as one of my friends pointed out to me on Facebook “how will we know if you cheat?”.  You won’t, of course.  You have to take my word for it.  But, how will I know if I cheat?  I figured I needed some rules to stick to, and sharing the rules with you might help me stick to them more, so here goes…

  • These rules apply from today, Wednesday 17th February until Easter, Sunday 4th April.
  • No Kit Kats – I can buy them and photograph them, but I can’t eat them!
  • No chocolate, biscuits, cakes, puddings, pastries. (Exception – a co-worker’s birthday is coming up and we always have cake. I’m allowed a very small bit, just to be sociable.)
  • No omiyage!  It’s a Japanese custom to share edible souvenirs whenever you go somewhere. As a result, my school is teeming with this ‘omiyage’, and we always have so much available to snack on.
  • I am allowed a maximum of one tall size Starbucks a week, so long as I ask for non-fat milk and no cream.
  • I am allowed to eat out with my friends as planned, but avoid dessert and try not to drink too much alcohol.
  • Eat lots of fruit.
  • Don’t buy ready-to-drink coffee from the convenience store – it’s loaded with calories!
  • Do my Davina McCall workout at least once a week.
  • Don’t go crazy when Easter comes…
  • Confess on this blog and on Facebook if I break any of these rules.

In theory, Lent could not only help me lose weight, it could help me save money, too.  My weight is not something I’m willing to share online, but I’ll record it for myself at the beginning and check it again at the end. Actually, I don’t much care what I weigh – it’s more about which clothes fit me.  I own two pairs of jeans right now. One pair is really tight and can give me a stomach ache if I wear them for too long. My aim is to be able to wear them comfortably by Easter.  So, watch this space…! 😉

"My Life List"

One rainy afternoon an inspired 15-year old boy named John Goddard sat down at his kitchen table in Los Angeles and wrote three words at the top of a yellow pad, “My Life List.” Under that heading he wrote down 127 goals.

These were not simple or easy goals. They included climbing the world’s major mountains, exploring from source to mouth the longest rivers of the world, piloting the world’s fastest aircraft, running a mile in five minutes and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

Now, a generation later, he has accomplished 109 of these quests, and has logged an impressive list of records in achieving them.

(Quote from: http://www.johngoddard.info)

Today I went to a meeting at my company’s head office.  Part of the meeting was about setting goals.  First, my trainer asked us “can you remember the goals you set when you first started at this company, on your very first day of training, when you had just arrived in Japan?”.  Only one of the ten or so people present could remember and actually had her list with her.  I made my list almost 22 months ago, and I have no idea what they were or where my list is.  I’m sure “improve my Japanese” would have been on there, though!

Next, my trainer said “reach as high as you can”.  We were sitting at this point, and I was the only person who stood up straight away (seemed obvious to me!).  Then he told us to try one more time, and then asked us “did you reach higher the second time?”.  We nodded.  “Why didn’t you reach that high the first time?  I told you to reach as high as you could”.  Interesting.

Then, my trainer told us about John Goddard, who I had never heard of before.  As you can see in the quote above, John started out as a 15-year old boy with big dreams.  Now, he is “the world’s greatest goal achiever”, and an actual paid adventurer!

You can see John’s list of 127 goals (of which he has achieved 109 so far) here: http://www.johngoddard.info/life_list.htm.  His goals are many and varied, but all thoroughly inspiring.  So inspiring, in fact, that I have decided to write my own list…

My list is here: http://muskett.wordpress.com/my-life-list/, and I will update it as and when I think of new goals (these 40 are just the first ones that spilled out of my head today!), and also when I have achieved goals I will cross them off and make a note in red.

I will aim to always reach as high as I possibly can! がんばります!:D