Tag Archives: Lent

Comfort and Deprivation {Lent 2022}

27 Mar

We’re about halfway through the Lenten season. I don’t always give up something for Lent (I don’t believe it’s biblically necessary to do so) but I do like how it increases the anticipation of Easter, much like Advent does for Christmas.

Often when someone gives something up for Lent, they use the time or resources they would’ve spent on said thing and focus on God instead. Instead of scrolling social media, they pray. Instead of buying Starbucks, they donate to a charity. Travis and I gave up grains for Lent, which hasn’t really resulted in either a time or money savings (in fact, it has cost more money and taken more time to prepare foods that don’t contain grains).

So what’s the purpose then? Well, not eating grains has prevented me from eating the usual low-hanging fruit of cereal, bagels, quesadillas, toast, mac & cheese. And those first few days were rough, because it felt like I was hungry all the time, but couldn’t just go grab something. I had to slow down and make something to eat. As I reflected on that, I saw how my soul is constantly thirsty, but I often try to appease it by grabbing the easiest thing — another cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a movie, a book, shopping, social media. My real need is to slow down and nourish my soul with God’s word.

After those first few days, we adapted and it wasn’t as big of a struggle to not eat grains. But as the days went by, I noticed how much comfort I usually derive from my food. Not that I was emotionally overeating before, but I never felt deprived. Now I felt deprived, because certain foods that I enjoyed and wanted to eat were off-limits. The feeling of deprivation is the reason why I don’t do diets, but for the period of Lent, I let that feeling remind me that I’m not supposed to feel comfortable and satisfied here on Earth. This world is not my home. I am a sojourner, an exile.

Because we stopped buying bread, tortillas, mac & cheese, etc. during this time, the kids have also been “deprived” of their normal foods (though they do still eat some grains in the form of crackers and stuff). They have done well overall with the difference, but it gave us an opportunity to talk with the girls about the anticipation of heaven, and how we shouldn’t feel completely at home here, because the world does not love Jesus.

I will confess that I haven’t stuck to no grains 100%. There have been a few times when I was so. hungry. (breastfeeding mom here!) that I caved and ate a bowl of oatmeal. It’s also birthday season in our house (all our kids’ birthdays are March, April, and May), and we had Neola’s dedication. So there’s been some cake. But giving up something for Lent is about the heart, not some legalistic requirement. Since it has caused me to reflect on and examine my desires for creature comforts and the lack of deprivation in any area of my life (except sleep!), I would say that it has accomplished its purpose so far.

It has also shown me that while I don’t plan to continue the no-grains thing indefinitely, I do differentiate between grains that are worth eating, and grains that are not. A grain that is worth it for me is a burger bun. Eating a burger without a bun is just soooo not the same. Another would be pizza — I love me some pizza (though the cauliflower crust kind from Costco is great too!). A grain that is not worth it for me is spaghetti, or really any type of pasta. I don’t ever crave pasta, so I don’t feel deprived not eating it.

Only 3 weeks to go until Easter!

Keeping the wheels from falling off

28 Mar

Can you believe it’s almost the end of March? And that Easter is only a little more than a week away? Crazy, I tell ya.

Because of that, I thought I’d give another update on how my eating plan for Lent is going. When I first started tracking my food, I realized that my eating was haphazard. I already knew that I did well until about 4 pm and then ate everything in sight. A couple of weeks ago, I said that I was being more mindful of what I eat, but I was still struggling with emotional eating.

Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the wheels still fall off my eating habits around 4 pm, or more specifically, the minute I walk in the door after work. It probably doesn’t help that I plan what I’m going to eat on my drive home…

The problem is two-fold. The main issue is that I come home from work hungry. That is caused by either not bringing substantial enough snacks/lunch to work, or by eating my afternoon snack too soon after lunch, leaving me hungry by the time I go home. This whole ‘figuring out exactly what I will eat for the day at 8 am in the morning’ thing is tricky. Most days, I get it right. Other days, I totally underestimate (I guess I’m optimistic about my willpower early in the morning).

The other issue that causes the wheels to fall off is that I eat while trying to avoid doing what I know I should do. A couple of days this week, I came home from work and just didn’t want to run. While I was hemming and hawing and talking myself into putting my running clothes on already, I had a snack, almost always in the form of refined carbs. The things I crave the most often usually come in the form of cereal and white grains – bread, buns, tortillas. Usually topped with butter. Mmm…

My remedy to these issues is also two-fold. Stop coming home from work hungry and stop stalling by eating. (duh) To actually make these happen, I need to get creative. I’ve tried the whole “I’ll bring a snack for that afternoon slump” and eaten it at 10 am instead, because let’s face it, it’s the best snack I bring. I would totally be up for a salad then (because I’m still in love with salads right now) but my lungs vehemently disagree that a salad is good pre-run fuel. I’ve also thought about bringing a box of granola bars to stash in my office but that could be dangerous…

Anyway, the good news is that beyond my hunger-induced and distraction-providing eating snafus, I’ve been doing pretty well. Some victories: I went to a baby shower last Saturday, a situation which usually causes me to eat more than I should (I don’t know why, but for some reason, I eat more when I’m around people than I would by myself), and left feeling like I had eaten the perfect amount.

Travis wanted ice cream tonight and even though we went to Dairy Queen to get him something, I didn’t have anything because I honestly didn’t feel like ice cream. Funny how some people just naturally would choose that, but other people (like me) have to make that conscious choice – and it feels good.

And this isn’t a victory, per se, but more of an interesting observation. I’ve been keeping track of my calories since starting this journal (but not changing what I eat based on the number – it’s just for recording purposes) and have seen the amazing power of the body to regulate itself. Consider this: the average calorie intake for my “rough” week that involved quite a bit of emotional eating and made me feel gross was 2,398 calories a day. But that week was followed by a week that averaged 2,008 calories a day. The average for a month (2/27 – 3/25) was 2,203 calories a day. So even though I had a “bad” week, by listening to my hunger cues, my body corrected itself. That’s why I think it’s so easy for me to maintain the weight I’m at – it’s my “happy weight”, as they say.

Finally, to lighten up this copy-heavy post, here are some adorable pictures of my pooches:

Charlies likes to chew on blankets (naughty!), and she gets the blanket strands stuck in her floppy lips. It’s hilarious.

And Katy hates getting her picture taken. She refuses to look at the camera.

But she’s still cute.

That’s the blanket that Charlie gets stuck in her lips. It’s actually really cute because she likes to adjust her bed with her mouth. When I see her doing it, I’ll just sit there and watch her. If she sees me watching her, she’ll stop right away, like Crap, she saw me.

Do your pets have any quirky behaviors?

So tired. Need chocolate.

8 Mar

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I was starting a food log as part of the Love to Eat, Hate to Eat book study I’m doing with my church, and as a way to be more mindful of what I eat. I have been faithful in logging my food everyday, even on Tuesday when I was stuck in a meeting in the same freezing room for 12. hours. straight. Well, we did get a few breaks. But it was a looong day. Everyone at work was still exhausted yesterday. I feel mostly recovered. Wowza.

At first, I thought that my eating log wouldn’t be a true representation of my eating habits – wouldn’t knowing I was going to write it all down motivate me to choose wiser than normal? Perhaps it did for the first few days. But just like I can slouch on an exercise ball, I can eat for emotional reasons even if I’m tracking it.

I have been encouraged to see that 85% of my eating is not emotional. Some days I don’t even make one emotional choice. But then I have days like yesterday, when I’m exhausted and grumpy, and I just want sugar, sugar and more sugar, and throw all discipline and control out the window.

The biggest surprise shock has been to actually see how many calories I eat. In the past when I’ve counted calories or tracked my eating, I’ve conveniently ignored the times when I eat a little bit too much, or regret my dinner choice. “The damage is done – I’m moving on” was my mentality.

But if I am really trying to please God with my eating habits, I can’t just ignore the ugly parts. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). So to bring everything into the light, I’ve kept track of everything – the little bites here and there, the candy, the condiments, everything (even Tums!).

During the first week, I counted calories as I wrote my food down. But I could feel the temptation to become obsessed with the numbers and this is supposed to be about gaining insight and not about making changes. So last week, I decided that I’d leave that part off.

This morning, though, I went through my log from last week and tallied it up (mostly out of curiosity). I don’t believe that our bodies operate on a 24-hour schedule like we do, so I am using a 7-day average as the measuring stick. While some days are scary high (pushing 3,000 calories), the weekly averages for both last week and the first week are around 2,190 calories a day. According to this calculator of Daily Calorie Needs for a moderate activity level (I sit around at work but am fairly active otherwise), I’m eating the right amount for my body size and activity level. My scale agrees. I’m still at the same weight I was 2 weeks ago, 2 months ago, and 2 years ago. My body just likes this weight. So while the sticker shock has yet to wear off, I think that I’m feeding my body an appropriate amount.

That leaves me to tackle the whole emotional aspect of my eating habits. I wish it were as easy to solve that issue as it is to tally a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. But it isn’t. On days like yesterday, when I am so moody and emotional in general, the idea of not eating the delicious-though-they-cost-$1.25 Reese’s peanut butter cups awaiting me in the vending machine makes me want to yell or hit the first person who dares to annoy me. Glorify God? Respect the temple? I. Don’t. Care. 

Even though I don’t have the solution figured out when I’m already in a bad mood, I do have one insight into prevention: SLEEP. It is no coincidence that yesterday was my roughest day eating-wise, and also the day I felt like a walking zombie. I’ve known for a while that Tiredness + Kathy = Bad Life Food Decisions. I think I also channeled my frustration over having to be at work into eating – Maybe this donut will send me into a wonderfully numb sugar coma so that I don’t realize I’m still here.

“Need to get more sleep” has been written on my log more days than not over the past 2 weeks. I haven’t been doing my morning routine of Bible + writing because I wake up sooooo tired (which is not normal for me). Several days, I’ve woken up to see that I had been hitting my snooze for 45 minutes without even realizing it. Yesterday after work, I walked in the door and promptly laid down on the couch. I didn’t even take my jacket off. I seriously would’ve gone to bed right after dinner if I hadn’t had my ladies group, and I would’ve skipped that, if I hadn’t been the one leading the discussion. I left right after we were done, went straight to bed when I got home, and then… I couldn’t fall asleep. {My mind was running a mile a minute. Even about work stuff. Seriously? So I finished reading Robinson Crusoe. The book was okay. It was pretty slow moving, which isn’t that surprising since it was first published in 1719 (100 years before Dickens was even born!).}

Anyway, to sum it all up, my eating log has helped me be more mindful of what I’m eating, but I have yet to eradicate emotional eating. Stay tuned for more on that…

Do you like reading old classics like Dickens, Tolstoy, or Twain? Which book is your favorite?

Eating Plan for Lent

22 Feb

Quickly, I just want to mention that it’s 56* in Denver today. Absolutely wonderful. I just want all the snow to melt already so that I can stop wiping off dirty dog paws!

On to today’s topic:


Ever since my January goal of not eating sweets ended, my eating has been kind of haphazard. I do really well until about 4:00 and then the wheels fall off. I get home from work hungry and have a snack before I run. Then I have a snack when I get back from my run while I’m cooking dinner. Then I have a drink or treat before bed.

I also discovered that while my tastebuds enjoyed my new favorite breakfast, my stomach did not. After almost a whole week of feeling incredibly bloated and gassy, I realized that the only consistent thing that had changed about my diet was that I was eating Fiber One and Uncle Sam cereal every day – often combined. Both cereals are high in fiber. And contrary to the hype that fiber should be added to every single food possible, there is such a thing as too much fiber.

My body should be no stranger to fiber. I eat  at least 3-4 servings of fruit and 2-3 servings of vegetables daily, plus plenty of whole grains. So the only thing I could think of was that by adding the high fiber cereals, my body was getting too much fiber. I stopped eating those cereals and within 2 days, I felt normal again. Travis is thankful that I am no longer gassing him out of the house (ah, the beauties of marriage).

Yesterday afternoon, I thought maybe it was just the Fiber One cereal that had been giving me problems. So I ate 1/4 cup of Uncle Sam with some yogurt. Bad idea.

Welp, I guess I’ll just have to go back to my trusty, sugar-filled Honey Bunches of Oats and Frosted Mini-Wheats. Such a hard life…

Even though the fiber bloat is gone, I’m still feeling meh with my body right now. Maybe it’s because I was running 10 miles a week and eating like I was doing 25? I don’t know. But I do know that I have found myself bringing my normal snacks to work, and within an hour of eating a healthy, well-balanced snack, I’m hungry again. I feel like I am always. eating.

When I read another chapter in Love to Eat, Hate to Eat the other morning, and the author suggested keeping a food log, I decided to try it, hoping that it would help me to be more mindful of when and how much I’m eating. Enter the food log:

Mine looks different than the one she includes in the book, mostly because there is no way I could fit my handwriting into the tiny squares of her graph. But also because I like tracking my food in meals/snacks instead of by food group.

I’m recording:

  • What I ate for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and 3 Snacks (including pre-/post-workout fuel)
  • When I ate it
  • What my mood or feeling was when I ate it (specifically if it was emotional or not)
  • How much water I drink
  • If I complete my morning routine of reading the Bible and writing
  • If I complete my training schedule for the day
  • Any victories
  • Areas that need growth

And at the bottom, I have these 2 verses that inspire me to more disciplined eating:

“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Romans 13:14)

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)


For some reason, I have a hard time believing that God cares about my eating habits. But reading through this book with a group of women from church, I am little by little accepting that God does care. Because it obviously affects me a lot and occupies quite a few of my thoughts. So my main goal with tracking my eating this way is to be mindful of when and why I’m eating, so that I stop running to food for reward and pleasure, and start running to God instead.

It just so happens that today is the first day of Lent. In the past, when I’ve given something up for Lent, it hasn’t had the desired result of helping me be more mindful of my relationship with God. But this, I think, has potential. So I am going to commit to tracking my food this way for Lent. 40 days.

Here we go.

Do you observe Lent? 

Chocolate, finally!

24 Mar

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, which meant the end of Lent, which meant the end of my chocolate famine. For breakfast at home, I had a Reese’s peanut butter egg. (Yum!) We were supposed to have the new members class at church but they didn’t have it because of Easter (except we didn’t know that) so after we showed up at the church awaiting a bagel and coffee but rather finding empty countertops and an empty classroom, we went to Einstein Bros where I had a chocolate chip bagel with plain lite cream cheese. I didn’t have any chocolate for lunch because we ate with some friends from church but when we got home, Travis gave me my Easter present: an adorably sweet card and a little bar of Toblerone. So I had 3 chunks of that as well. Then I had a Dove milk chocolate with caramel. Travis and I went on a walk after I had attempted to teach English (I drove all the way over there and Alma wasn’t home). Then I read the Bible, took a little nap while Travis went on a little run, and then we had chocolate chip pancakes (which I had been planning for all week). Instead of putting butter and syrup on them, we topped them with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, and some frozen cool whip. They were very chocolatey and very delicious. I am almost chocolated out but not quite. 🙂


So, you may ask, was giving up chocolate worth it? Did I achieve my desired result with it? Yes and no, respectively. It was worth it because I consumed so many fewer calories over the past month and a half (even though the scale denies that). I felt better not eating so many sweets (because cutting out chocolate cuts out a lot of sweets). And I am still going to limit my chocolate intake only to Sundays (except for today, which is an exception). Why Sundays? Why not Sundays? 

As for achieving my desired result, I look back on the past month and a half and see that instead of running to God amidst my almost uncontrollable cravings for chocolate, I ran to Starbuck’s. Those skinny caramel frappucinos man…they are almost as good as chocolate. I have discovered over the past month of stress at work, stress leads to my overeating. I find comfort in food when I’m stressed because it is a little bit of comfort and goodness in the midst of “ness,” as my boss says. I mean, you can’t really sit in a quiet, dark room doing yoga meditation or take a bubble bath at work. Because unfortunately, you still have to work. 

I gave up chocolate with the hope of increasing my prayer life. But while I didn’t eat chocolate, I didn’t pray either. I don’t know why I am so bad at praying–probably because I live in a small apartment so Travis is always there–but I don’t pray on a regular basis. I get convicted of my lack of prayer often but that conviction usually only translates into one prayer that same day. After that, I fizzle out until my next prayer conviction. Up and down, up and down, my prayer life is on a rollercoaster.

But I realize that I don’t need to give up chocolate during Lent to increase my prayer efforts. Like every other holiday, Easter is just a special one day occasion that has year-round implications. We should always be celebrating and rejoicing over Jesus’ resurrection. And I should always be talking to my heavenly Father through prayer, because Jesus LIVES to intercede to the Father on my behalf. Hallelujah!

Attempting the possible?

25 Feb

So Travis and I decided that we’re going to run the Colorado Half Marathon in Fort Collins on May 4, 2008. Yikes!

I have been running more lately but I’m still only up to 3 miles. I can do this though! Back in 2006, I went from running 2 blocks in August to 10 miles in November. So I know I can physically do it–but can I do it mentally?

I have found that running is more of a mental sport than a physical one. True, there are a lot of physical ailments that go along with running (lost toenails, torn muscles, shin splints, sore calves, chafe like no other). But for me, the days that I struggle most with running are the days that I either don’t feel like running or I’m being a wimp and telling myself “I can’t do this…it’s too hard…I just want to walk.”

Anyway, today is the first day of my Hal Higdon training program. Mondays are for “stretching and strengthening.” When I told Travis what I was going to do today, he said, “Aren’t you ever going to run?” because I did the elliptical yesterday at the Y instead of running and then I’m not running again today.

It’ll come! Tomorrow I run 3 miles, Wed is 2, Thurs is 3, and Sunday is FOUR! I have only a little more than 2 months to prepare. Wish me luck!

Random side note: Last night after we went to the Y, we stopped by the grocery store. There were Girl Scouts outside selling cookies so naturally, we bought 2 boxes–samoas and thin mints. Both have chocolate! I’m going to hide my half in the freezer though because I know that Travis will eat them all otherwise.


20 Feb

Just a little side note: I didn’t really notice how much chocolate I had been eating until I stopped eating if for Lent. It’s everywhere and I ate a lot of it! And as much as I have desired some–and been offered chocolate chip cookies, Milano cookies, expensive chocolate/hazelnut things, and even made a giant chocolate chip cookie for my husband–I haven’t caved! Only 32 more days to go!!

40 days without chocolate

6 Feb

So like a lot of other Christians during the time of Lent, I decided to “give something up.” Even though I grew up in an Evangelical Lutheran church, my family didn’t really celebrate Lent. I do remember getting a wooden cross at the beginning of Lent and every Sunday leading up to Easter, getting another piece to add to the scene–some nails, a sponge for the wine, a pair of dice, a thin strip of purple cloth. We didn’t get a tiny crown of thorns though…maybe they considered it dangerous for little kids.

But I like the idea of celebrating the traditional church holidays. I mean, we celebrate Advent, why not Lent? The church that Travis and I attend out here doesn’t celebrate Lent though. At least, it doesn’t have an Ash Wednesday service tonight. I had kind of wanted to go. I even contemplated going to some random Lutheran church around here but that might just be weird. Add to that the fact that I don’t really agree with Lutherans’ theology either. Hmmm…

So the thing I am doing for Lent is giving up chocolate. I figure, it’s as much of a vice as any other. I eat chocolate like it’s going out of style. I know that I will have pangs of desire for chocolate during the next 40 days. So instead of eating chocolate (or just substituting another indulgence, like ice cream), I am going to use the time I would spend eating chocolate to commune with God. And whenever I am reminded that I can’t have chocolate, even though I really want some, I will be reminded that this world is not where I belong and I am bound for a better one.

Losing weight wouldn’t be bad either…