The season of Lent began yesterday, and I stumbled through the day, breaking almost all of my own rules by the end of the day. This year, I am endeavouring to be disciplined in my approach, yet still listening to the Spirit.
To back up a hair, I've been on a self-improvement project since November of 2012. Like most projects, it's a long and complicated process with plenty of bumps and disasters along the way, and I am not even close to being done. I'm not putting an end-date to the project because I don't know what that end looks like. It's not just the weight I need to lose, it's also the need to be fat, the reliance on food for reward or comfort, and the building of an active life where there has been minimal activity in the past.
It took me six months to not talk myself out of the gym at least once a week, calling in with excuses and lateness and sometimes even genuine sickness and sadness. The next six months, when I began to see changes in my body, slow but steady, I began to see the benefit of the activity and even, occasionally, that endorphin high from working out. The past four and a half months have seen me actually looking forward to going to the gym and trying to add more days of activity into my life (that's been super hard, but I keep trying). I feel like I am being lead to making more changes, this time in my way of eating -- not a diet. Diets don't work. It's a lateral change to healthier eating habits.
I am not generally an impulsive person (there are some exceptions), and it takes me a long time to think about things and make decisions, so I felt like the Spirit was moving in my life to help me make beneficial changes -- not without fear, but with faith that I can accomplish my goals.
One of the factors drawing me toward these changes is the growing conviction that eating organic, locally sourced products, and fewer chemicals/artificial whatnots would be better for both me and the environment. Lots of reading and movie-watching have convinced me of this. Again, it's a slow change, like turning around a freighter with a tugboat, but it's slowly becoming a habit. I've eliminated almost all fast food -- still have a Chick-Fil-A or Arby's occasionally, but that's it. I've eliminated soda almost completely and really don't miss it at all.
I felt like it was time to make the next step. I started looking at juice fasts at the beginning of the year. I want to do a three-day one, and I am going to begin on Monday. I'm going to try to use a local source, but I may also end up using some products obtained at the grocery store. I am not buying a juicer. Too much for me right now. My trainer and I talked about the Daniel Fast, and when I looked at the information, I was intrigued, but once I dug a little deeper, I knew that it was too radical a shift for me -- hard-core vegan -- and I needed to do something do-able. (Otherwise, I will not stick with it.) So here's what I am fasting from during Lent:
- caffeine (I will miss my occasional coffee and my frequent unsweetened iced tea)
- bread (sigh. I will miss ALL bread permutations.)
- deep fried food (I've been eating less and less of this, but I will miss my fries, fried seafood, etc.)
- beef and pork (cheeseburgers and bacon...need I say more)
- sugar (literally, my favorite thing in the whole world....this will be tough.)
Part of this discipline to to write about my day and to meditate as well. I've been slowly working my way through a book Forty Days to a Closer Walk With God, and I am going to pick that back up tonight and start over again (for the third time, I think.)
So, to account for yesterday -- I did have bacon and toast (two pieces of each) for breakfast -- to be fair, my hubby made the meal and he didn't know my guidelines, so I ate what he made (and savored my last bacon and toast). Dinner was at another church before the Lenten service, and I had a delicious vegetarian taco soup and a large salad, oh, and a corn muffin and a homemade brownie. Ah well.
Today was generally good, although I realized I'd made a mistake after I began drinking the Bolthouse protein drink -- Mocha Cappuccino -- and discovered that they use actual coffee...I'd already opened the container and begun drinking, so I finished it. Then there was the dilemma of the granola bar I'd packed for lunch (along with my Green drink, banana chips, hummus and pita chips). I did not eat the pita chips...will substitute carrots next Thursday...but I did eat the TLC dark chocolate mocha bar. I think, technically, a violation of the sugar prohibition....but dinner will be good (in a few minutes) -- marinated baked snapper, canned peas, garlic quinoa and brown rice. Popcorn later if I am still hungry, and meditation before bed as well.
Today's calendar says "Like a new bud, each day unfolds in splendid beauty." It might not have been beautiful outside today , but bit by bit, I am working on my inner splendid beauty.