Make choices from love, not restriction

Still on my Lent kick, so bear with me. And, if I think about it, I probably will be for the next 39 days ūüėČ

If you recall, I wrote a blog on 19 things you should consider giving up for Lent. If you haven’t read it, obvi you should. They’re not your typical chocolate & alcohol sacrifices either.

Well, as we know, I vowed to pick one from this list (giving up feelings of unworthiness) & practice it religiously day and night for 40 days. I, along with many gals, struggle with this. Even if we look happy, pretty, confident & like we have it all, sometimes we really don’t know what’s going on inside. I’ve had a lifelong battle with an eating disorder and probably will always struggle with this to a certain degree. But, I have committed myself for the Lent duration to make this my main priority — give myself a little TLC, if you will.

But, I also wanted to give up something that was tangible. If you’re competitive like me, you want everything you do to be measurable.

So where did I land? Alcohol. Wine is my guilty pleasure. I’d be a stick figure with glowing skin & lower anxiety without it. But, it’s just so tasty, especially with girlfriends.

Each girlfriend I told my intention to responded with, “wow, that would be a big deal”…”can you actually do that?”…”let me know how that goes.” Of course each one supported me and encouraged whatever I wanted, but none of them met this idea with a standing ovation.

And I wondered why. Giving up such a toxin & getting myself healthier should be celebrated, right?

After thinking about their reactions long and hard, I realized it wasn’t the actual challenge that they were being dismissive of, it was the deprivation approach that they worried about.

Lent encourages us to give up something; to deprive ourselves of our guilty pleasures. On paper that sounds all good & dandy. After all, it’s only 40 days. But, to a girl with larger issues when it comes to eating, body image, self love & ultimately fear, this can have a bigger, more detrimental impact.

restrictionComing from a place of restriction and deprivation (and I’m not just talking about food or alcohol here) has a very negative effect on a person mentally. It¬†triggers your brain to concentrate on what you can’t have vs. all the healthy things that you can. It creates rules of bad vs. good that lead to guilt, shame & fear-based feelings & choices. It makes you lose focus & mental clarity, turning your thoughts to the very thing you’re depriving your beautiful body, mind & spirit of. It creates¬†a kind of tape that controls what you can and cannot do. In essence, control, restriction & deprivation of any kind, even if it is a toxin in which I should probably cut back on anyway (;)), it NEVER is healthy long-term.

So I thought: what about coming at Lent from an “adding in” model? What if I chose to do one thing every day that would better myself and better able me to serve God, my relationships, my colleagues & life opportunities?

I first learned of this idea that’s called “crowding out” in the nutrition world. It’s not about restricting your food choices, but adding in whole, organic healthy nourishment that automatically pushes out the bad, unhealthy habits. For example: you decide you want to ¬†incorporate green smoothies into your breakfast routine. Well, if you do, you won’t stop at the McDonald’s drive thru 10 minutes later since you’ll be so full and energized by your power smoothie!

In that moment, I knew what I needed to do. Although I am focusing on lowering my alcohol intake, I was not going to make myself miserable (mentally) for the next 40 days. Instead, I chose to promise myself that I would do yoga every single day. By making this my Lenten goal, I am now daily pushing myself physically, mentally & spiritually, furthering my¬†¬†weight-loss goals, strengthening the relationship I have with myself (because that’s what I really need) & giving myself a quiet, peaceful time each day to be still & be with Him.

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So here I am on Day 39. Yesterday I died at Yoga Sculpt at my local CorePower Yoga and today I mastered my Crow & variations of headstands in my living room. Here’s to 38 more days of bettering myself.

Happy Lent ya’ll!

Xoxo,
Carrie

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