Greetings to my few and faithful readers! I would apologize for my lengthy absence, but I imagine at this point my apologies no longer seem sincere. I realize that my blog posts are coming sporadically, and are often followed by great lengths of silence. I really do feel badly for this, I think about my blog and the few faithful readers that I have a lot more often then I actually contribute to my blog. So I would like you all to know that even if I am not drafting fun and interesting posts for you to read, you are not far from my thoughts.
Now on to the business of LENT. A few years ago a friend of mine asked me, “What are you giving up for Lent?” My response was, “Nothing, I’m not Catholic.” She laughed and imparted a great revelation unto me. She said you don’t have to be Catholic to give something up for Lent. I thought about this, and mentioned the conversation to my mom, who like me, is a baptist. She told me that she usually gives us something up for Lent. This was a long time ago so I don’t remember the exact conversation, but she said something along the lines of how it’s good to sacrifice something for that short time as it helps with self-discipline and often times is something that you really need to take a break from. I have been observing Lent ever since. I can’t remember what I gave up the first two years I observed Lent, but I can tell you that this year is a doozy. This year I am giving up sugar and gluten. I’m sure you’re asking yourself ‘Why would she give up two of the things that make life so wonderful?’ Well, I’m glad you asked. Part of it is for health reasons, part of it is strictly in hopes of losing weight, but mostly it’s just to see if I can. Of course I don’t think that gluten is unhealthy, but since it can contribute to weight gain and there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Over the holidays I took a holiday from dieting. I ate whatever I wanted and I did not exercise a bit. Not At All. I knew I would gain weight over the holidays and I was OK with that. I had it in my head that once the holidays were over I would get right back into my regimen of eating salads, and doing Zumba, running, and that whatever weight I gained over the holidays would just fall off. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have a revelation for you. This was a pipe dream. I gained weight over the holidays and even though I did go back to eating salads for lunch and being careful about my portions for dinner and exercising, not quite as often as I had been before, I did not lose even half of what I gained over the holidays. Then my hubby and I went on an amazing vacation to the Bahamas. I ate whatever I wanted, I had dessert with every meal. Thankfully they had all kinds of activities, like Zumba and dance lessons for salsa lessons so I was able to burn off some of those calories I was putting in my body. Thanks to that I only gained 1 pound over vacation, the problem was I still hadn’t lost much of the weight I had gained over the holiday. Lent is my opportunity to kick start my weight-loss again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not terribly unhappy with the way I look. I wouldn’t mind slimming down a little bit, and I wouldn’t mind toning up a little bit. But unlike when I was younger, I don’t want to lose weight so that other people will think I look good, I want to lose weight so that I think I look good. I want to step out of the shower stark naked and glistening, look in the mirror and think damn that is a good-looking woman. I also want my son to see me trying to be healthy. Not so I can brag to him about how healthy I’m being, that would be dumb. My seven-year-old could care less about whether or not I eat carbohydrates, or how many calories I put into my system. However, I want him growing up thinking that eating healthy and exercising is just the way that people live. That way, he won’t have these struggles with his weight, because he will have been raised to be active and healthy. So far I have been successful at giving up added sugar. I say added sugar because I still eat fruit and sweet vegetables, like carrots, and I know that those have sugar in them but it’s natural sugar, and I’m not going to stop eating fruits or vegetables just because they might have sugar in them, that’s just silly. I have even stopped putting sugar in my coffee, and let me tell you, that that is just miserable. Coffee without sugar is just bad, unfortunately I can’t function without the caffeine coffee provides so I choke it down and continue about my day without fantasizing about murdering the people around me. I call that a win.
Technically on lent Sundays are cheat days. I don’t really want to cheat because I’m afraid that if I do I won’t stop cheating. That said, we took our son to the circus this past Sunday because it is the final show of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus extreme. According to my son, you cannot go to the circus and not have cotton candy. So we reached deep into our pockets and paid an extraordinary sum for circus cotton candy. I’m convinced that this cotton candy was spun not out of sugar, but out of gold bysome storybook character whose name starts with an R. I will admit that I had two small bites, no I’m sorry that’s a lie. I will admit that I had four small bites of cotton candy. It was a mistake, that amazing sugary goodness melting in my mouth made me want to grab the bag from my seven-year-old and stuff it all into my mouth. Thankfully I have a little more self-control than that, and I was able to stop myself after those five Little bites of cotton candy. Other than cheating, on the designated cheat day mind thank you very much, I have stuck to my guns. I believe that one day I had gluten by accident. At work they were serving red Thai curry soup, it turns out there was gluten in the red Thai curry soup, who knew? Other than that little accident, I have been pretty successful at cutting gluten from my diet. My first gluten free homemade meal was beef and cheese lettuce wraps. My son, who never would Eaten letter lettuce wraps even if I had told him that he could never play with his captain America ever again if he did not, ate beef and cheese quesadillas. Wel, l guess technically just beef quesadillas because quesadilla means there’s cheese in there…anyway. Last night I made grilled chicken with corn on the cob. When’s dinner was completed I realized I should’ve cooked up some kind of green vegetable to go with it. The plate looked awfully bare with two strips of chicken and half an ear of corn, but it was a little late by then. It has been more difficult to give up gluten at work. I work at a school so they provide our lunches. Most of the time they are very conscientious about people with special diets, and almost always have a gluten-free option. But this week is spring break. Yesterday my mom and I went out for lunch because they were having hotdogs. Seriously, why do they think a bunch of adults want hotdogs for lunch? I can understand having hot dogs during summer camp, but when there are no kids at school I think hotdogs should be banned from the menu. But I digress. Today was Asian day. They had spring rolls and sesame beef and fried rice. Thankfully they also had a spinach salad, so I had a spinach salad and fried rice. Hopefully the fried rice didn’t have soy sauce mixed in with it when it was cooked, since soy sauce has gluten in it. If it did then I cheated once again, whoops. The hardest part about giving up gluten though is picking up food on the go. This past Saturday my son and I were out running errands all morning. By the time we were done it was nearly 1 o’clock, we were both starving, and we were more than 30 minutes from home. Of course, all I had at home were ingredients. We needed food, and we needed it now. My son, of course, wanted to stop at the local McDonald’s or Burger King and play on the playground and eat chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of a single thing I could eat at McDonald’s or Burger King. Neither have fantastic salad selections, and I’m not about to pay six dollars for a burger so I can eat just the patty. We ended up stopping at a KFC that we passed. I got him the fried chicken meal and got myself a grilled chicken meal with corn on the side. It was delicious, it was gluten-free, and if my fitness pal is correct, it was pretty low calorie as well. However, I don’t plan on making stops at the local KFC part of my regular schedule. I haven’t heard any reports lately, but I remember there was a time when KFC was notorious for using chickens from factories that were treated horribly. I personally don’t think my food should have been treated horribly when it was alive. I think that if my food is being raised to slaughter, it should be treated wonderfully and live an amazing life before going to slaughter. I really don’t think it’s too much to ask to give our food good lives before we kill them. Anyway, despite these challenges, I plan on continuing my gluten fast. See I gave up gluten and sugar One week ago. I have since lost 2 pounds, I definitely call that a win. I also call it motivation. Motivation not to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I get home, motivation not to make myself macaroni and cheese for dinner because it’s easy and quick and my kid will eat it, and motivation to not raid my coworkers candy jar.
Currently, my plan is to continue posting about my journey without gluten and sugar. However I will not promise you anything, because I’ve made these promises before and then not spoken to you again for months. Hopefully that will not happen this time. Hopefully I can also find the motivation to sit down and write a few sentences for your viewing pleasure and my own catharsis. So I will end this particular blog post with hope.