What Giving Up Sugar for Lent Has Helped Me Realize
Friday, April 6, 2012
The recipe for this gorgeous pink juice: 10 strawberries, one pear, one apple.
Yup, I really haven't had sugar for almost 40 days now. You might remember that I did the same thing last year. While both years' Lent season has been trying, for some reason this one hasn't been nearly as bad. I think that my body was actually pretty happy that I'm not putting tons of processed junk into it all the time. Jordan gave up fast food for Lent this year, so naturally I haven't really had any either.
Honestly, it was about time. This semester has been really hard on me, what with having just moved to a new state, planning a wedding, and transferring to a much larger university than I was used to. I also have a 60 minute drive each way to campus and back, which gives me a big opportunity to grab unhealthy food on the go. Dealing with all of that stress, I've found myself relying on comfort food more than I ever should. And of course, it turns into a cycle of feeling down, eating unhealthy food as a coping attempt, then feeling even worse. I'm not saying that I think that comfort foods are always bad, but everything in moderation. And moderation hasn't been my strong suit these past few months. Having the chance to reevaluate what I'm eating every day has been such a blessing and a wake-up call.
To clarify, I focus on what I eat from a healthy-living viewpoint, not because I'm concerned about my weight. In fact, I never weigh myself. I think it's unhealthy to put any value on a number on a scale. My worry has been that I haven't been coping with stress and depression in a healthy way recently.
While I'm not sure if I think that whole foods really can cure depression or anxiety, I certainly believe that processed foods contribute to unhealthiness. Even more than that, I just want to find a way to deal with these problems that isn't going to end up making things worse. The healthy eating I've been doing the past month has given me more energy, which I'm thankful for. I've also taken the time to thing about why I'm craving unhealthy food. If it's for an emotional reason, I'm trying to deal with that emotion on my own, instead of depending on some outside form of temporary relief.
So overall, I'm almost sad that Lent is coming to an end. I hope that I can keep this kind of perspective throughout the rest of the year. I also hope that I continue to take the time to enjoy whole foods, instead of relying on quick, processed foods on busy nights. More than anything, I pray that God gives me the strength to keep dealing with depression and anxiety. I'm more than ready to get back to being the cheerful, optimistic person that I normally am.
To keep myself hopeful, I always adore listening to this song. These verses from the end of the song always strengthen me:
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
-Isaiah 40: 28-31