I always dread, and welcome, Lent.
The period that leads up to Easter marks the end to what I call the eating season.
That season starts around Halloween, with a harmless little snack pack of M&Ms swiped from the kids’ candy bowl.
It continues on a long, downward descent to Valentine’s Day, a funhouse slide that twists and turns through piles of turkeys, pies and cocktails.
Seriously, who thought to jam the most calorific holidays into a four-month period – for many of us the darkest, coldest, least outdoor-exercise-friendly part of the year??
Treadmills and stationary cycles stare at me in mute accusation. Jeans magically shrink in the wash.
My super-fit brother-in-law Paul, the author of this lovely GMaps site, keeps right on running, by the way. Grrrrr.
What gets me going
Then Lent comes, and it’s time for my sugar detox.
I do this every year, so I know what’s coming, but those first few days are tough.
I wait out the cravings and once they go away, I force myself back onto the treadmill. Run a few minutes.
And then maybe a few minutes more.
Soon, I’ve been off sugar for awhile and gotten a bit more sleek. Then I start to feel so optimistic, I populate my calendar with a race or two.
And maybe add in some weightlifting, and a yoga class, and join in with one of those gung-ho training groups I always see going by my house in packs.
Then, I have to keep running and eating healthy so I can have a decent level of fitness and not embarrass myself in the competition.
My motivation, at least for awhile, is spiritual. Maybe that moves you, too, to make a positive change.
But you can also tap into your dark side.
If you’re not the spiritual type or fell off the wagon after Lent (hello, Easter brunch!), there are other, less lofty incentives.
We’ve listed a few of them here.
- Annoyance. What about that healthy partner of yours who cheerfully racks up the miles every day while you’re still in bed? Stop tripping over their athletic shoes in the morning and join them out there.
- Pride. You don’t want to come in last in your first spring event, do you?
- Vanity/shame. Two little words that go with two other words: Swimsuit season. (But don’t hate on yourself. Check out these fat-shaming rebuttals for some body pride).
- Anger. That your neighbor had the time, energy and money to keep up their gym routine all winter.
Turn these all-too-human emotions to your benefit.
After all, it’s for a good cause.