I always do something to mark Lent – the 40 days that lead up to Easter. Some years I try to do something extra. Last year I tried to get more sleep (which proved logistically impossible!) Some years I try and give something up. One year I gave up using social media which tested my willpower to breaking point.
This year I have decided to give up sugar. I have defined this as cakes, biscuits, deserts, chocolates and sweets. It would probably be more accurate to say that I have given up sweet foods. I thought it would be a realistic challenge. It also seemed like a healthy thing to do before our upcoming beach holiday. I did bend the rules a tiny bit as I didn’t start my challenge until the day after Valentines day. I was making a lovely dinner for my husband and it seemed unromantic to skip desert!
How is it going so far?
The first day or two were quite easy. We have an area in my office that is constantly stocked up with cakes and sweets. I normally find it impossible to resist. I’m proud to say that I didn’t cheat at all. At home I put all of the chocolate and sweets up on a high shelf out of sight to stop them calling out to me. It was also half term so I was really busy with the kids. This proved to be a perfect distraction.
Discovering my inner abstainer
Gretchen Rubin, an author that writes about habit change and happiness suggests that there are two types of people – abstainers and moderators. Abstainers prefer to give up something completely. Moderators allow themselves treats in moderation. I always thought that I was a moderator. If I told myself that I couldn’t have something I thought it would make me crave it more.
To my surprise my sugar free challenge has taught me that I am actually more of an abstainer. Completely avoiding sweet treats means I don’t have to make any decisions when faced with temptation. When a big tub of sweets appears at work I don’t need to decide how many I’ll let myself have or debate with myself if I have had too many.
Things got much harder on Friday. Sam woke up covered in chicken pox. I was intending to take the kids out for the day, instead we had to stay at home. By the end of the day we had all started to go a bit stir crazy. I normally resort to stress chocolate and biscuits to get through tough days like these. I’ll be honest my resolve did waiver a little. I found myself thinking no one would actually know if I’d eaten some chocolate!
So far so good
6 days in I am proud to say that I have not cheated at all despite having some more challenging days with my poorly son. When I’ve needed a boost of stress relief I’ve been using a meditation app on my phone which has definitely helped. I’ll do another post towards the end of Lent to let you know how I got on.
Do you do anything to mark Lent? If so how are your 40 days going?