Lenten Challenge


Hi everybody! Happy Hump Day! So as you likely know, today is the first day of Lent. One of my favorite weight loss blogs is Fat Bridesmaid. Its author, Miranda, leads a “Lenten Challenge” every year in which she pushes herself to make healthy changes and form new habits. In 2009 she gave up laziness and worked out every day for all 40 days. In 2010 she gave up non-essential spending, keeping to a strict grocery budget and avoiding eating out and shopping. This year she’s giving up TV–completely–which really blows my mind! I’m not sure I could live without Food Network, HGTV, 30 Rock and Modern Family! 🙂

For the past few weeks I’ve been considering embarking on my own Lenten challenge. I know I’ve gained a few pounds over the winter. I’ve always been extremely sensitive to Seasonal Affective Disorder, and this winter was a little challenging. When combined with the countless feet of snow Boston received this winter and my gym closing the location near me, I slacked on workouts and eating basically all winter. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it, but the truth is I’m about 20 pounds heavier than I was last summer, when I reached the lowest weight I’ve seen in about five years. I lost weight on a high-protein, extremely low carb diet. For a couple months, I probably only ate around 900 calories a day. No surprise I dropped weight really quickly! But as I’m discovering, it wasn’t sustainable. I went off the diet, stopped weighing myself and quickly gained back about 10 pounds. Combined with another 10 put on this winter, I’m not feeling too great about my weight at the moment. I wish the wedding motivated me, but for some reason I’ve been coping with stress about the wedding with food and laziness! Not too logical, I know, but it just goes to show that trying to lose weight for a specific event doesn’t provide true motivation; it has to come from within. Honestly, I want to drop these pounds so I feel healthier and confident. I was laying in bed reading a few days ago, and it occured to me that I feel out of shape and old.

In general, my issues with weight maintenance boil down to:

  • Lack of consistency in diet and exercise
  • Scale avoidance
  • Negative self talk

Here’s my pattern: I go “off plan” for a day or two, stop working out and watching my food and avoid the scale indefinitely. By the time I realize I’m spiraling away from my goals, I beat myself up for my failures and comfort myself with food and alcohol. I avoid weighing myself for months, letting small gains turn into large gains.

My Lenten challenge is focused on combating this pattern and attempting to form some new habits. Here are my resolutions for the next 40 days:

  • Weigh myself every day and track my weight on my iPhone. This will help me observe how food and alcohol affect my weight and get gains under control before they become a real problem.
  • Train for a 5K. I signed up for the Westford Road Race on May 1! I’m running it with my friend and co-worker, Katie, who has run several marathons. She’s just running for fun and to support me, so we can go as slow as necessary. However, I’m definitely motivated to at least not embarrass myself in front of her! I’m following the Couch to 5K program and am currently on Week 2!
  • Track calories every day on my iPhone via the “Lose It!” app. My biggest issue with food is absolutely consistency. While I’ll be attempting to keep my calories in the “weight loss” zone, the main point of this exercise is to get in the habit of paying attention to everything that goes in my mouth, including days when I go completely batshit crazy with food! What good does it do to pretend those days don’t happen? I’m only hurting myself in the long run.

So there’s my plan! I’m hoping by committing to these behaviors for 40 days, I’ll form some better habits and get in a good groove. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted.

Lastly, I wanted to share a really inspirational quote I read in an article by a rabbi on The Huffington Post. The rabbi discussed how often we’re blind to possibilities before us because we assume an outcome.

Our lives would be transformed if we could let go of what we expect to find before we begin the search. If we could wait for the question before settling on the answer. Like Hagar when she was cast out by Abraham, if we could lift up our eyes, we might begin to see a pool of water instead of a desert before us.

Too often I infuse my weight loss efforts with a tinge of negativity, saying to myself, “Here we go again on another weight loss effort. I’ll probably just fail again, and even if I don’t the whole process will be miserable. Why do I have such a hard time losing weight?!?”

That has to stop if I ever want long-term success. So I’m waiting for the question before settling on the answer. And I just might find an oasis before me.


2 responses »

  1. Aww thanks for the shout out!

    I think your goals for Lent are AWESOME! I loved C25k (it works, I swear it does) and if you keep a healthy attitude I think you’ll see great results. One note of unsolicited advice? Be prepared to see big fluctuations in your daily weigh-ins. It’s totally normal and NOTHING to get worked up about. It’s hard to avoid letting one “bad” day throw you off track, but you can do it!

  2. Thanks, Miranda! Good call on the fluctuations. I think that will actually be another great lesson for me–to learn that sometimes the number doesn’t mean anything. I think weighing every day will help me learn about my body but ALSO help desensitize me to the number itself.

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