On February 10th, we attended a World Marriage Day mass at Santa Soledad Parish in which Father Ike challenged us to eschew something significant for Lent as a form of spiritual discipline, repentance and moderation. I had never practiced Lent but it made sense and I decided at that moment to act upon his words. Its purpose is to set aside 40 days to reflect on Jesus' suffering and sacrifice for us. I know other friends who opted to give up rice, alcohol, facebook, soda, video games, etc.
|Father Isaac Ayuyu at the World Marriage Day mass|
I chose sweets in general as my object of renunciation, ranging from the occasional candy bar, diet soda, cupcake to French toast, pancakes, fruit popsicle, cookies, etc. Not only did it allow me to closely examine my food intake, I also benefited from an 8lb weight loss. I went from 116lbs to 108lbs, the lightest I've been in a decade (I've weighed 115lbs since high school). Not only do I fit into all my clothes without any strain, I feel stronger and healthier. I am in no way emaciated and realize that those 8lbs signaled excess weight that was just strapped to my body from eating junk. Whenever I had an urge to eat something sweet or processed, I thought about the temptation as it presented itself as dessert at a potluck meal or restaurant or the boxes of my favorite Royce chocolates in the downstairs freezer. I then reflected back to the significance of Lent and decided that I can forgo something because Christ gave up His life for me. It also helped to tell as many people as possible so that I could be held accountable.
Physically, I first drank a tall glass of water or green tea and then ate fruit or one of my gluten free muffins to substitute the craving. And, I kept drinking water, green or barley tea throughout the day. I increased recipes that included fresh vegetables, quinoa and lean fish and meats and resolved to buy lots of fresh produce, regardless of the cost. The benefits of eating well are many, but it still needs to be a part of a healthy lifestyle which comprises the "big picture". I had read books from Dr. Joel Fuhrman and his nutritarian lifestyle where he presents the incredible aspects of losing weight and reversing disease like Type II Diabetes from eating a whole-food plant-based diet. He claims that you can eat as much healthy food as you like and I did. I didn't count calories and the weight dropped rather quickly. It was also fun to discover new recipes that tasted great. I would be interested to see how many points I've lost in my cholesterol and triglycerides as well. http://www.drfuhrman.com/
For exercise, I continued spin classes, personal training, work out at Gold's, biking and added swimming and circuit training for variety. I slept 6-8 hours per night, kept stress at a minimum and spent time with people I enjoyed.
|Sunrise Easter Service|
40 days has come and gone and I haven't diverted from my newly acquired habit. Do I miss junk food? Not really. I know that I'll eat some sweets at some time in the near future, but it definitely won't tempt me as it had before. I love good food, whether I'm attempting to create my own or dining out at one of our favorite restaurants. I realize that I'd rather feel lighter and healthier than eat something that only provides temporary satisfaction. It's a choice to either indulge, moderate or restrain myself. For now, I choose moderation and will only eat sweets that I completely savor. The other stuff simply isn't worth it.