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Giving Up Sugary, Processed Foods for Lent

February 17, 2010

I am not Catholic, or even Christian (far from it, actually, since I’m Unitarian, and we may still be considered a “cult” in some circles. ^_^), and I mean no disrespect to anyone for my lack of knowledge about Lent and it’s traditions, but what I do know is that starting today, Ash Wednesday, people all around the world are going to be going without for forty days. I know I’ve been told (and I could just as easily look it up), but I don’t remember exactly why.

For me, though, the why isn’t terribly important right at this moment. Right at this moment, the important thing is that I am going to participate this year. I don’t know a lot about the tradition, but I do like the idea of giving something up for 40 days. I think it can be cleansing, both literally and spiritually. (The fact that I can say to anyone, “I gave up such-and-such for Lent” and get support and understanding also makes it very appealing to make a change at this time.)

A little backstory: Since I have been working from home, I have developed a bad habit of reaching for the easiest thing to satisfy my hunger (my blood sugar cycle is shorter than most, so I usually eat four or five times through out the day, just smaller meals), which usually means either overly-processed, sweet, or both.

Not too long ago (a few months ago now), I reached my goal weight of 165 pounds. Down from 185 two years ago, and my highest weight of 200 pounds six years ago (I wasn’t actively trying to lose weight, but I was watching what I ate and making sure to exercise. I knew I’d get there eventually; after I hit 175 going down I didn’t really care how fast I got there. I hadn’t weight 175 since middle school).

Anyway, the last time I stepped on the scale, the numbers were starting to creep back up again. Now that I’ve reached my goal weight, I’d love to stay there, and actually losing the last bit of fat and building some lean muscle would be great.

Re-enter my plan to give up sugary, processed foods for Lent.

Sugar, by itself, is not terribly bad for you in moderation. And savory processed foods, while not the best thing for you, are something that I already try to limit in my diet. If I have a choice between a hot pocket and boiling water for some noodles, I will usually (usually) pick the noodles. Or whatever.

But sweet, processed foods: things like cookies, cakes, poptarts, sugary cereals… those are a big weakness. And since most of them are easy and briefly satisfying, not to mention more available than usual due to our current living situation, I have let my willpower slide just a little, and have been indulging more than I should.

My plan: For the next forty days, I will not eat anything that is sugary and processed.

This includes store bought sweets, cakes, cookies, candies, pop tarts, chewy granola bars, snack cakes, and so forth. I will also continue to avoid pop (although I do this anyway; I had to fill twelve cavities while uninsured due to my mountain dew addiction in college. Never again.)

This does not include home-made baked goods, so long as I know what went into them, but I will refrain from baking during the forty days.

This does not include fruits or juices (so long as they don’t have sugar added).

So that’s my plan. Forty days, starting today.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Elizabeth Dell permalink
    February 17, 2010 10:24 pm

    GO MEGAN!!!!! We could help each other with reaching our goals. I will be giving up fast food and swearing, along with Nick. So go us!!!

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