Lent. 40 days of sacrifice. No, we're not going to sacrifice a goat or ask for divine intervention in your weight loss journey. (Though, I know sometimes it feels like that is what it will take!). Let me clarify before we get started - I'm not Catholic. But I do like set beginnings and endings for things - Here, go do THAT for THIS long. Makes my OCD brain happy. But I digress...
What does Lent have to do with your health and fitness journey? Well...a lot, actually. Let's ask ourselves some questions -
1. Have you fallen off the wagon a bit lately?
2. Is there something in your diet that you're having a hard time kicking?
3. Is there something in your program you want to challenge yourself to do?
4. Do you have a friend that is wishy washy about getting in better shape?
Any of those apply to you? I feel like I'm perpetually at Question #1. If those questions hit close to home, then, YES, Lent can be your best friend.
Pick a thing - no sugar, no caffeine - I used to do no caffeine. Now that would just be suicide. - no alcohol, running everyday, a salad every day, walk with a friend daily. Anything that you want to 86 out of your life OR establish a new habit. Same thing, most of the time...
You're thinking "I have to go cold turkey?? Just like that?" No, not necessarily. There are a few options for this Lent new-habit-for-you thing.
1. Yes, go cold turkey (where DID that phrase come from??). It's the simplest, you get the pain over faster. Like ripping off a band aid.
2. Ease into it. Try reducing sugar or caffeine (more on this in a sec) daily until you've cut it out.
3. Replace it with something. No, don't replace your coffee with a soda or espresso, silly. Replace it with green tea. Replace the sugary stuff with fruit.
4. Depending on what you are doing, there are stages for some of this. Sugar - cut out the sugary junk first. Then cut out added sugar. You'll be shocked when you start reading labels! Then go to naturally occurring sugar only.
Caffeine - Fine, I get it, some of you want to cut out caffeine. Good luck, I will NOT be joining you. However, there are ways to do this less painfully (hello, caffeine headache!). Start by drinking one less cup each day for a few days. Then make 1/2 and 1/2 coffee - half caffeinated and half not. Do this for a few days. Then cut another cup out. Then go decaf all the way OR switch to green tea. Not only are you getting rid of caffeine (make sure you buy the decaf kind!), but you are getting all the great health benefits of green tea!
What about ADDING things to your life?
You want to be more active but aren't sure where to start. Lent is here for you! Walk every day. That's it! Go for a 20 minute walk every day. Invite a friend, go with your spouse, take your dogs, walk the kids to the park.
You have a fitness goal of running a 5k. Use Lent! Goal 1 - jog every day. Yes, every day. You can change up your mileage to keep from over-training. 3 miles one day, 1 mile the next combined with walking. You get the picture. Your goal would to increase your 5k (3.1 miles) time over the course of Lent by running daily!
Something dietary - more veggies, more water, etc. Make a commitment to have a salad every night at dinner. I'm not gonna lie, there's night I just shove a pile of spinach in my mouth and call it good. More water? Get a four cups that you can dry erase marker on. Write the numbers 1-8 on the cups - 1 and 2 on the first cup, 3 and 4 on the second, etc, etc. When you drink the two cups of water represented by each cup, throw it in the sink to be rinsed and ready for the next day. I know some people have big gallon jug of water and they have to drink the whole thing each day. This works and is simple. Noon rolls around and you're not about halfway through the jug? Start sipping, sweetheart.
So, YES, Lent is very relevant to your health and fitness program. Use this time period that is so nicely organized to achieve your next goal!
What are you goals? How will you use Lent to achieve them? Drop me a line and let me know!