Over three weeks ago, I decided to embark on the greatest struggle of my life. Lent.
I remember as clever children we might say “I’m giving up Crunchies for Lent”, knowing full well that we never ate Crunchies. Take that, religious tradition. Then when we got a bit older and a bit more hilarious we would say “I’m giving up homework” or, the single greatest one-liner one could say in primary school “I’m giving up giving up things for Lent!” Classic.
But this year, inspired by my much stronger friend, I decided to give up the sweet stuff. I did not commit to this lightly, I knew that, given my dependancy on sugar, it would be a struggle. But I needed to go on a diet and I figured might as well use this as an excuse. It’s weirdly easier to say “I’m doing Lent” than it is to say “I’m on a diet”. People are quicker to accept me as a devout Catholic than as someone who might want to fit into jeans that don’t have an elastic waistband. Honestly, I’m happy enough with my curves but for my 25th birthday I don’t really want diabetes (stationary or a nice candle, if you’re asking).
So I cut it out. And from day 1, I didn’t think I could make it. No donuts for breakfast, coke for lunch or biscuits with my tea. No more bingeing. If someone offers me a Malteaser, I say “No, thank you”. Three little words that are so simple yet so challenging for me.
I guess I’m hoping it will help me curb some bad habits. I consistently overeat. I can’t have just one biscuit, it needs to be the packet. I don’t bother putting ice cream into a bowl because I know I’ll finish the tub. I might not be hungry but I’ll keep munching until it’s gone or I feel sick. Eating becomes more of a compulsion than a means of nutrition and I’m not even enjoying the food, I’m just stuffing myself with it.
This needs to end. I know that forty SEVEN days won’t equal a lifestyle change but I hope that going cold turkey will help me appreciate food more.
I’ve slipped up. About two weeks in I ate a slice of my going away cake on my last day of my internship. Lent was on pause, I said, for a special occasion. The next day I planned to go straight back on lent. But three days later was my dad’s birthday, so the whole family was over and the house was full of cake. So I indulged. It was another special occasion.
I went to Dingle last week to run a workshop and, of course, I had to have some of the famous Murphy’s ice-cream. Even though there is a Murphy’s in Dublin. I didn’t even come up with a proper excuse for the dessert I had after dinner that night. It’s a slippery slope.
But despite falling off the wagon, I haven’t given up. It would have been so easy to say fuck it and go back to my old eating habits, but I said I was going to do Lent and I am going to finish it if it kills me. Though I’m aiming for the opposite.