my lent sacrifice

Posted on Feb 12, 2013 in Motivation

cake

I’m not a religious person. But even though I don’t subscribe to organized religion, I do see a lot of value in some of the traditions and rituals associated within a lot of religions. And one of those traditions that really resonates with me and my lifestyle is Lent.

For me, (obviously) Lent isn’t about the traditional religious goals. But, for me, it is a great way to turn the focus inward for 40 days. I love spending that time really doing intensive work on strengthening my resolve, my spirit and my health. Granted, since my Lent isn’t really tied to holy days, I could technically wedge those 40 days into any time of the year, but I find that the traditional period is a really great time for me. It’s like spring cleaning for my body and soul. By the time Lent is through, the daffodils are blooming and I feel strong, healthy and ready for a new season!

cheesecake

There are a lot of elements to what I like to do during Lent, but I think sacrifice is the category that people are most familiar with. You know, the “I’m giving up Coke for Lent.” kinda thing. For me, I really love this part of Lent, because I have a tendency to get…well…bratty. I think I deserve things. I think I need things. I think I should be rewarded. And, sometimes, that’s true. But more often than not, it’s just a way for me to rationalize spending extra money on a new purse or eating another chocolate chip cookie. So I think every now and again, it’s nice to remind myself that my willpower is strong, and that life does go on if I don’t get that one thing that I think I need rightnowthisverysecond. It’s also a nice little opportunity to work on an aspect of my life that maybe isn’t as shiny and polished as I hope it to be.

cupcakes

If you’ve been paying careful attention over the past few weeks (and noticed the photos on this post), you can probably guess what I’m sacrificing for Lent—sugar. My attachment to sugar is really something I need to get ahold of. I literally feel a physical pull to sweets and sugar. It’s actually kind of a scary thing for me. So, I’m cutting out all sweeteners. Sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, anything. Basically, if I put it into something to make it sweeter, it’s out. Is this a permanent change? No way. But I think a clean slate can go a very long way to help shake my sugar addiction.

I’ve given up sugar before for short periods of time, and I always felt so incredible without sugar. I felt strong, I had a ton of energy, and I slept incredibly well. My body feels much better with less sugar, so I’m really excited for this reboot to get back to feeling my absolute best. Plus, there is just something really awesome about accomplishing something that is really hard for you. And this is going to be really hard for me.

cookies

I’ve heard before that humans have such a hard time regulating our sugar intake for biological reasons. Sugar means quick energy. And that used to be really good stuff to have kicking around (you know, when you were getting chased by a herd of wooly mammoths), but with our sit-down culture? Not so much. I’m not sure how much truth there is to that, but I’ve definitely seen in myself that moderating sugar is really, really hard. I can’t just have a “little bit” of sugar. Or, if I can, it’s just the beginning of a sugar snowball. One teaspoon of honey in tea? No big deal. Except then that doubles for me a week later. And doubles again and week after that. And before you know it, I’m sitting on the floor of the kitchen scooping honey into my face with my hands (not really, but still).

coconut cream pie

I’m working with Coach Krissie from Committed Coaching to help me get through this sacrifice and work through other spiritual and emotional challenges. I’m so very happy to have Krissie to back me up and worth with me through my physical and emotional attachment to sugar. It may sound silly to say I’m emotionally attached to dessert, but I know I am. It’s deeper than just wanting sweets because they taste good. There are emotional ties to sugar that I just can’t deny.

Wish me luck!

Do you practice Lent? What are you giving up (or adding in)?

17 Comments

  1. I don’t generally observe Lent anymore. But this year I decided I will. I’m going to give up cheese. I think it’s causing me tummy troubles anyway. So this will kind of be a test. It will be hard. I love cheese!

  2. Lent – the time of year when Catholics go on a diet.

    I’m giving up sugar as I always do. I’ve given up meat in the past but I find that too easy so this year it’s just sugar.

  3. I’ve never done the Lent thing, though I have a good idea of what to give up – complaining! #complaintfreelent all the way!

    I used to have a huge addiction to soft drinks back in high school and college. I switched to diet back in my early 20s, but I felt so awful even drinking the diet versions. I gave up all soda about 2 years ago and I feel so much better. I’ve had maybe 5 sodas since then.

    Good luck with giving up sugar!

  4. Awesome, Cassie! =) That will be challenging I am sure, but the reward of knowing you did it at the end of the 40ish days will be so empowering!

    I’ve decided to give up candy AND fried potatoes(not really an issue for me until the weekend. Then I think it is OK to eat french fries and hash browns 2-3x a weekend. Yeesh) It will be challenging for SURE, but I know we can do it!

  5. As an Irish Catholic gal, I do follow the Lenten practice of abstaining from a guilty pleasure. When I was in my 20s I wouldn’t always, but I’ve found I’ve picked it up again in the past few years.

    I think like you, I’m going to give up sugar. My addiction to sugar has become really unhealthy lately and my body also needs a reboot.

  6. Ok, as much as I’m terrified of the prospect (and more importantly, why I SHOULD) I will join you! I have been having more and more sugar in recent months and I need to get my consumption under control. Let’s do this!

  7. As a devout, traditional Catholic, I find your article highly offensive to the true meaning of the Lenten season.

    It would have been better to not associate your “sacrifice” with a Catholic tradition that has deeply religious roots.

    I’m afraid that someone who “is not a religious person” or who “doesn’t subscribe to organized religion” will not find grace and favor from God for not “eating sugar for 40 days”, or any other sacrifice, for that manner.

    It’s not about feeling “empowered” or “rebooting” or going on “a diet”.

    It’s much deeper than that and obviously very misunderstood.

    BTW…you don’t “practice lent” unless you are a faithful practicing Catholic.

    • I’m sorry if it is offensive to you and your beliefs, that was never my intention.

    • “BTW…you don’t “practice lent” unless you are a faithful practicing Catholic.”

      I really don’t usually jump in on these things, but I feel the need to point out that while Cassie was clearly not trying to be offensive, your statement is. Saying that you aren’t truly practicing lent unless you’re Catholic is exclusionary, ridiculous, and simply untrue. MANY Christian denominations–including the Episcopal church, which I belong to–have Lent as part of their liturgical canon. Regardless of your intentions, the phrasing of your statement equates to “you’re not a real Christian unless you’re Catholic.”

      I don’t see anything wrong with anybody–religious or not–being inspired by religious traditions, especially when they have such great intentions. In fact, I think it’s a very good thing. Cassie expressed her desire to embrace a period of reflection, introspection, and sacrifice for a period of 40 days. Hmm, who does that remind me of?

    • Ditto everything Gretchen said.

  8. After maintaining (wanted to be losing) my weight for about a month, then it going up 2KGS!! I have to admit that it’s sugar sugar sugar that’s my problem so I’m gonna join you! Sugar definately has an emotional attachment for me too..it’s hard eh!

  9. I’m giving up stress for Lent! (to the best of my ability!)

  10. Since someone else mentioned it, I’m going to throw out there that I was bothered by your calling it a “Lenten sacrifice” when you are non-religious. I see nothing wrong with challenging yourself, with cleaning the slate or with searching for the reason why you are so drawn to sugar. I see nothing wrong with doing this during the Lent season, since it also falls around spring which is traditionally a season of renewal and rebirth. There is also the added bonus that many in the blogging community will be giving something up, so there’s the added companionship that may not be there if you did this in July or a different month.

    However, as a Catholic, I think the point of my sacrifice is to honor Jesus for the sacrifice He made for us. It’s not about dieting or losing weight; it’s about finding a way to better myself so I can better serve Him. Since your challenge will be missing this aspect, I think calling it a Lenten sacrifice is (at very least) a misnomer and (at very worst) a misnomer that may offend and alienate readers. I am not necessarily offended, but I would have preferred to see this called a challenge that conveniently ran through the Lent season.

    So, getting off my soapbox, I am curiously also giving up sugar. I’m allowing myself honey and maple syrup, but I rarely eat those anyway, so I may skip them altogether.

    • Before I say what I want to say on Lent sacrifices I feel like I should make the disclaimer that this isn’t meant to offend. I realize everyone does things their own way.

      While I am religious (Catholic), I haven’t done a Lenten sacrifice since I was about 16, because I realized that I would usually give something up for selfish reasons instead of for improving my spirituality. I try to make Lenten “promises” instead. Last year it was to go to church on Sunday, which was obviously something I should have been doing anyway, but it did really help and I stuck with it after Lent. This year I plan to volunteer once a week.

      I guess what bothers me about Lent is when people do use it as an excuse to go on a diet. But I realize that each person has their own reasons for doing things.

  11. I’m not a Lent person, but I think that this is totally great and super admirable! Good luck :)

  12. Great goal Cassie! I am also practicing Lent trough not eating sugar, desserts, sweets, stuff from the bakery and lemonade except dark chocolate. In addition to that I joined several German Bloggers in their intention to make a “consumption lent” what means we don’t buy, order or purchase anything except the necessary things and if stuff runs out. It’s going to be hard but it’s going to end :) and afterwards I have less problems with sugar-addiction and more money to spend for my moving.

    All the best!
    Katrin

  13. Hi Cassie! I don’t typically give anything up for Lent. I’m not really a religious person. I’d define myself as faithful. However, I did go the entire month of January without any sugars (other than fruit). I felt pretty amazing. I did break my sugar addiction. I no longer feel the need to eat dessert to complete my day. Pretty awesome! I followed Whole30… It’s a strict form of Paleo.

    Anyways, I also wanted to say that I am a Hoosier born and raised (northern IN), but graduated from Purdue. I live out in Denver now. No idea how I came across your blog, but I’ve enjoyed following your adventures over the past year or so.

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