Lent starts today. For any of you who don’t know, Lent is a period in the Christian calendar which runs from Ash Wednesday (the day after Shrove Tuesday, or “pancake day”) until Easter Sunday. Lent has always been about penance and self-denial, and many people choose to give things up during this period. It is also supposed to be about prayer and charity.
Well, I’m already doing my bit for charity during this period, by volunteering for an event for Japan on March 11th and, although I won’t exactly be praying, the event is being held in a church.
I’m not a Christian, but I’ve often found that giving stuff up for Lent is a good way of imposing a rule on myself and forcing myself to do something. I can be very strong-willed, but I do need rules, and rules imposed by others are much easier to stick to. I could easily give something up for, say, a month, but when challenged by other people I find it hard to stick to my guns. However, if I can say, “well, I’ve given it up for Lent”, no one can really argue with that.
So, I have decided to give up chocolate from today until Easter Sunday (April 8th). From today, I will not be eating any chocolate in any form. No chocolate bars, no chocolate biscuits or cake, no mocha from Starbucks. No Options hot chocolate, Shape chocolate puddings, or chocolate coated raisins. Not even a Chocolate Button will pass my lips.
If you know me in the real world, please be kind and don’t try to break me!
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…! 😉