Give it up - did I manage the Lent challenge?

40 days - it’s a long time! Especially when you cut out something that you’re used to having without restriction. I generally try giving up something every year for Lent. There’s normally something that you eat more of than you should, so it’s a great chance to get out of the habit of eating it for 40 days. How did I fare?

I decided this year to give up refined sugar, as I’d got into the bad habit of wanting something sweet every day. It’s not something I used to have, but it’s something that had become a habit. My hope was that 40 days without it would curb the cravings.

It started ok. I’ve got a great book (The Detox Kitchen) that I got for my birthday in January and so would happily plan out my weeks’ worth of healthy meals. But, then I made the mistake of making some beetroot brownies. Now, they were extremely healthy ones (you could taste the earthiness of the beetroot), as they didn’t contain refined sugars, BUT, what I was really doing was just substituting. Yes, it was a healthy alternative but it wasn’t going to get me out of the ‘habit’ I’d formed. So from the following week I neglected to bake (something I just love doing) and it was tough. And annoyingly it didn’t stop my cravings – this time I just went for bread! It was wholegrain bread so not the refined variety, but it basically meant my sugar habit morphed into a carb habit instead. I imagine my job has something to do with this, as I do need the energy to keep me going and carbs do give me that, but I was definitely eating more than necessary.

Technically the 40 days don’t include Sundays. This is something that I have never adhered to in the past, as I’m doing this from a health perspective and not a religious one, but this year I have to admit there were a couple of Sundays where I just thought sod it – Mother’s day was one where my daughter had baked a cookie for me at school and I just couldn’t not eat it and I’d also baked a lemon drizzle for my mother-in-law, as well as a weekend in France where we had crepes for breakfast (when in France….and all that).

To surmise, yes technically I did it (well I do have a couple more days to go), but do I feel happy with how I did? No, not really. I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I couldn’t do it without substituting, even if they were healthier alternatives, and also that I wimped out on a few of the Sundays. This was admittedly the hardest Lent challenge I’ve done – sugar is in everything so you really have to give up a huge amount of food stuffs. I don’t know what’s become of my ‘habit’ and if, when Lent finishes this weekend, I find it easier not to reach for the sweet stuff…….that I will have to let you know.

Did you give anything up? Did you find it easy or hard? Did you make it to the end? I’ve love to hear about your experience.

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