And so it begins!
Yesterday, I ate pancakes. Five pancakes, with lots of butter and maple syrup. And I had a piece of cream-filled, icing-laden cake. I put sweetener in my coffee. And my tea. I had a big mug of hot chocolate, and topped it with all of the remaining mini marshmallows in my cupboard.
They don’t call it “Fat Tuesday” for nothin’, folks!
I savoured and enjoyed it all, because today it really begins.
Lent. And my promise to give up sugar & artificial sweeteners.
I did really well on the weekend “getting rid of” (ie – eating all of) the sugary stuff that was lingering in the corners of my cupboards and fridge and freezer. I have no more Christmas or Valentine’s Day candy or baking floating around (aside from my “Perfect Man”, who is now hidden at the back of the freezer), I drank the last of the Coffeemate, I ate the few Oreos that were left, and any of the Christmas baking that remains is all way down in the basement freezer, where I rarely even go. The diet pop is also hidden.
And as I said, the last of those beastly little mini marshmallows went into that final mug of hot chocolate last night.
There’s nothing left.
And I know it’s only Day 1, but I feel really good about this.
I feel like I’ve been off-track with my food choices for quite some time now. Post-Christmas, I ate very clean for a few weeks, but somewhere along the way, the treats crept back in to my daily life, and I started craving them again.
I see Lent as the perfect opportunity to nip this new sweet tooth I’ve developed in the bud. I do well when I enforce challenges upon myself. I’m competitive, and I like to prove to myself that I can do something. So no, this doesn’t hold much religious connotation in my life right now – although, I have the feeling I’ll be praying for strength and willpower in the weeks to come! – but I think it’s perfect timing for a little challenge, and if it happens to be because of Lent, then so be it.
I haven’t let the fact that Lent is a time to draw closer to God become completely lost in all of this. I know the religious aspect of these forty days leading up to Easter, and in order to fully experience that, I will also be taking part in the Mission & Service Lenten coin box program that our church sets up every year. We’re each offered the opportunity to take a coin box and a calendar, which each day has you examining the blessings in your life and adding coins to the box in honour of them. (For instance, today is “add a coin for every year of your age”, tomorrow is “add $0.25 for each member of your family”, etc). On Easter Sunday, we’re to bring our coin boxes back and the money collected goes towards our church’s Mission & Service fund. I laugh at my mom each year for making this calendar, because I assure her that “nobody actually follows it, they all just throw their spare change in and bring it on Easter Sunday!” She assures me that I’m wrong. So I decided that, for the first time, I will follow the M&S coin box calendar too.
That, my friends, is a Lenten double-whammy for this kid!
I’m excited for both, but I have to admit, I’m most excited to see the benefits of giving up sugar. As you might have noticed, I indulged big-time this past weekend leading up to this “famine”, and my gut has been suffering for it. I’ve been waking up at night feeling sick, I’ve been bloated, and I’ve been uncomfortable. (Oddly enough, I’m relieved to know that my body has become so unaccustomed to unhealthy foods that it revolts when I do eat too much of them.)
I’m ready for that yucky feeling to go away as I re-introduce my clean-eating practices that I once followed so faithfully.
I’m ready to feel good again, and I’m ready to stop myself from sabotaging my progress with poor/sugary choices.
It started this morning with a cup of coffee with only a tablespoon of skim milk in it. And I can honestly say I think I’m going to get used to it. I certainly haven’t enjoyed the natural sweeteners I tested out over the weekend (honey, maple syrup), so why not teach myself to drink it with just a bit of milk?
My sister picked up a bag of Stevia In the Raw for me yesterday (it’s not available at my local grocery store), and aside from the honey, maple syrup, and fruit, that will be the only sweetener in my house for the next 40 days. I’m excited to try it out too, as I’ve never had Stevia before.
It’s Day 1. I know I can do this.
Let’s get this Lenten show on the road!! ;)