Lent (5)


So I should probably have kept a more detailed track of my goings on over lent, that way this experiment might actually be valid in some way…

But alas, I have been busy.

Despite this falling somewhat by the wayside, I have this to report: it is day 36 and I have almost entirely stopped feeling caffeine cravings!!!!!

It only took over a month but hey-ho, let’s forget about that… 😉 What I have found is that on certain days I will feel an almost constant craving, but it is very faint, and extremely easy to ignore. I only notice it on days when I’m feeling really run down or I’m really tired and take a break. It hits me when I’m sitting in a state of semi-relaxation. Nice, y’no, to be sitting there, resting, happy as a pig in shit, then suddenly become aware of this little gnawing emptiness, somewhere on another plane, but situated close to you heart. I think it might be a tiny unfulfilled part of my soul… But generally it hasn’t been that bad. In fact, as time has gone on, it has become significantly easier.

I do actually feel quite proud of myself. It has not just been 40 days and nights. Oooh no, it has been more like 40 Days of Night.

This past month or so has been one of the most stressful for a long while, perhaps even in the past year. There has just been so much to do, with Uni and friends and deadlines and work and family and trying to balance all of the above… it has just been something of a mammoth task. And in times of great stress or unrest or, indeed, unhappiness, we turn to out vices, our addictions. For me, that would have meant a steaming cup of Joe… but not this month.

That’s right, I held strong. I did not crack and for that I am just a tiny little bit proud. It is such a miniscule thing in the grand scheme of things, but it has been important to me. I have been able to put mind over matter and say no. I am glad to be joining the ranks of thousands of others who have accepted a similar challenge.

I think I will do this every year. Perhaps not coffee, but with something else. There is a whole host of superfluous nonsense floating about one’s periphery, it would be more difficult choosing what to get rid of than actually giving it up. But in some ways I have enjoyed the challenge.

nom nom nom...

A health benefit I did not expect to see from it is that I am not eating so many biscuits. I am still eating a fairly worrying amount of them, but it has certainly made me more aware of the sheer volume I am stuffing down my throat. An unfortunate thing about coffee is that it goes exceedingly well with all known manner of treat, sweet or savoury, hot or cold. There is nothing I can think of, dessert/munchie style, that cannot be complemented by a good cup of coffee. I would almost always sit with something to nibble when I had a coffee.

Now that that is gone, I was still getting the hunger pangs, and to begin with I couldn’t understand why. Because I did not have a drink in my hand, it did not click to me that it was time to have a munch. My stomach and I apparently have differing ideas on timing, however, and it responded with despondent groans when I did not fill it.

But I have decided to take control. I think out my day and the likely way it will go and slot in the places I am likely to need to eat and decide when I will have fruit and when I will have sweets or a cereal bar, so that I am always having a little energy boost yet I also get the benefit and the tastiness of the fruit, while allowing myself some snacks. It really has made me hyper aware of the fact that, instead of being a couple left in the second packet of my favourite coffee accompaniment at the end of the week, there is a barely half eaten lone packet, which I am only responsible for eating perhaps one or two of. Over the course of an entire week, Had this been before lent, I would be almost through my second pack of them. And that isn’t even the only things I was eating with them.

The snacks themselves were fairly low in calories and I did try to only eat them before or after exercise so that I would burn up the sugar in them, but still, they were high enough. I’m quite into the whole, exercise, it makes you healthy, thing, so I keep a loose eye on the amount of sugary things I eat. So while I was already aware I was eating tonnes of biscuits and still to an extent am, it hasn’t really affected my weight all that much.

I am interested to see if Gillian has had any health benefits or not. I could be imagining it, but I also feel my skin is a lot better. My diet change made it a little worse to begin with but that cleared right up after a couple of weeks. I figure that was just my teenage body regulating itself after an adjustment. But eating no bad things at all, that must be having some serious effects. I for one know that if it were me doing that, I would probably starve half to death if I didn’t make some pretty speedy adjustments to my lifestyle. For sure I’ve noticed her lack of fizzy juice. She has been going through screeds of “juice boxes”, as she so Americanisedly calls them (the little cartons of fruit juice) Every day she will go through about four of them. At least that way she is getting some vitamins from the juice – the girl hates fruit so there goes one way to get you sugar fix without junk food. But she has adapted very well. She rarely, if ever, complains. The same cannot be said for me…

Resist...

But definitely, I am feeling good about the whole lent thing. I feel it has probably done my internal system some good, having that break from a stimulant.

It has made me look more closely at the things around me that are clearly surplus. I do not need coffee, I like coffee, but other than feeling quite tires for a few days, there were really no extreme side-effects. I can easily go without it. Gillian is still alive – point proved! You do not need all that crap to keep your system going. People have survived for thousands of years like this. When one food source runs out, you find another. When your shelter is damaged, you fix it. When something is stolen, you replace it and catch and punish the one that did it. When one survival methods stops working you find another. It is just the way people need to be to survive. Adaptation to your current environment. Finding your niche and claiming your territory and your role within the pack, often through displays of dominance and tests of ability. Darwinism at it’s best.

I kind of feel like that is the way this has gone. We have been made to appreciate what we have, yet also understand that we do not need it in our lives. We like them, but they are extra. They are thing that we are lucky to have and should not take for granted because they might be taken away without warning. Take chocolate for example. A wonderful thing, for sure, but the basic principle is that it functions as a food source, as it is edible. However, if you not-so-closely examine chocolate… it has very little nutritional value. It tastes incredible, but you would be hard pushed to live your life without extensive vitamin supplements if you tried to live off of it.

Hey… did I just learn the meaning of lent?…

Til next time, when I shall most likely be reporting on my experiences of lent overall and what I have gained from it. …

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