Sunday, March 4, 2012

Are you “Lent-ing”?

It’s that time of year again. If you are a Catholic, you’ve probably made your decision about what to give up this season. But this season of sacrifice is not only limited to Catholics, as many religions use this as a season of sacrifice and reflection as well. So what are you giving up this season?

Historically, people have mostly given up food items because that seems like the ultimate sacrifice. I mean, if you can train yourself to not eat something you want badly for 40 days, then there’s not much you can’t survive without.

I know the season has already started, but if you were still deciding what to give up, or if you were thinking of skipping the season entirely, why not lent for your health as well? Here are a few ideas of food items you can give up for your health:

  • Become a vegetarian: Just for 40 days! It’s hard to give up meat because where I come from, meat is the base for EVERYTHING. But even if you have tofu and other meat-substitutes, you can make changes by making your own meals, and using a lot of vegetables and spices. Being a vegetarian has several health benefits, even if you do it for a short time. The biggest positive impact of giving up meat is heart health. Plant proteins generally contain lower cholesterol than animal proteins, especially red meat. This helps to keep your heart healthier. You can even take it a step further and go vegan, giving up dairy products as well.
  • Home-cook your meals: This could be pretty difficult if you work a 9 to 5 job and eat lunch out. But you could considerably improve your health by just cooking your own meals. When you cook, you can control portions, change ingredients, and make it healthier to suit your goals. Plus, you know every ingredient, and so you don’t question the calorie content or how natural the ingredients are. And let’s not forget that you could save yourself a ton of money!
  • Stop the frying: Need I say more? Nowadays, it seems like everything is fried; from meat to potatoes to sauces. For 40 days, why not give up the frying and stick to boiling or baking? You could considerably reduce the number of calories you consume every day, and you could help lock in the nutrients in your food by not destroying them in the deep fry pan.
  • Drink healthy as well: We all know that soda does nothing for us. So why not use this opportunity to wean your body off the liquid crack? Try sticking to water, fresh juices, and tea. You’ll have so much more energy, and you’ll be saving yourself a ton of empty calories every day. The same goes for alcohol. Don’t moan; it’s only 40 days.
  • Get off the sugar high: Let’s talk about dessert. Yea, I see you sitting in front of the TV with your big bowl of ice-cream late at night. Yes, you. Use this lent season as an opportunity to skip the desserts and late night sweets. If you are the type that needs a dessert after every meal, you’ll be saving yourself a ton of calories each day, and that could dramatically help you achieve your weight loss goals in a shorter time.
So what are you giving up this season? And how have you done so far?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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