Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Lenten Discipline

While I may have a lot of Catholic guilt in my psyche, I am not Catholic. I think a lot of Christians and non Christians alike use lent as an excuse to crash diet for forty days without really knowing what it means or why; then, once Lent ends they go back to their old ways. Regardless, I do like following and participating in the season of Lent, the period of 40 days and 40 night leading up to Easter in which Christians usually refrain from a certain worldly pleasure (sex, sugar, alcohol, video games, etc.) to instead refocus on God. 

Collecting dust 
To me as not a believer in God in the traditional sense, it is time to examine what habits in my life are interfering with my life and connecting with my true, centered "self" (you could also call this my "higher power" but what ever floats your boat). It is also a time to prove that I am stronger than my urges. 

The typical disciplines of giving up sweets, caffeine, or meat, were tempting to go to but these things are not hurting my life or performance. I have entered into a heavy training block right now so changing up my diet significantly would hurt my training homeostasis; I can play with my diet in the offseason. Moreover, I do not think I would learn anything from giving any of these up. 

After thinking about  this further and analyzing what bad habits I have, I settled on weighing myself and my food as well as counting calories. This may seem like a piece of cake for some  but for someone who has weighed himself and micromanaged food for years, it was and is a struggle. 

It was especially hard at first. I actually had to cannibalize the batteries for my Quarq to prevent me from cheating. I was so used to plugging in every calorie into a database and managing my macros. After about 3 days though, I began to ease up. I forgot about trying to do the math in my head and instead listened to what my body was craving. I did not have to worry about the bottom line or percentages instead could focus on what my body wanted. I also did not have to worry about recording my slipups on paper. If I had a cookie or two post workout, I did not have to see it glaring back at me in my log after. 

Weighing myself too was tough but once I got used to it,  my mind stopped focusing on the number and instead strictly on my performance. The number on the power meter mattered more than one on the scale. 

I have only had a couple slip ups: one when I had to get my DEXA scan done, once time during my heavy training week when I wanted to see how much water weight I lost during  long ride, and once when I had to track my calories for my nutritionist but besides that I have stepped away from the scales completely. In doing so, I have felt that the scales have tilted in my favor. 

Overall my anxiety is down; I am enjoying myself more; I am listening to my body and what it needs. With just under two weeks to go to Easter I know that I can finish this challenge strong. I am not sure yet whether I will give it up completely but this experiment has been a good thing as I continue to move forward on this journey. 

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