Happy Easter! As some of you may or may not know, I have a massive sweet tooth. I have no idea why – none of my family members love sweets as much as me. Lollies, cakes, doughnuts… you name it, I’d choose any of these things over chips and take away any day.
Which is why I’ve had the worst 40 days of my life.
I decided to give up chocolate for Lent.
Ok, I’m exaggerating. They haven’t been the worst, they’ve just been super challenging.
Even though I am not a practicing Catholic, I still observe and partake in certain religious days and events. Lent is one of the longest events that I participate in each year. Soooooo long.
What is Lent?
Lent is essentially the period leading up to Easter, starting on Ash Wednesday and lasting for 40 days. It is usually considered a time of reflection on the lead up to Jesus’s death by crucifixion, while Easter celebrates his Resurrection. Historically, people will fast for this whole period, but in modern times, surrendering a particular vice or luxury is widely practised. Any sacrifice chosen is a reflection of Jesus’ deprivation and journey in the wilderness and unknown and is a test of discipline to one’s self.
Honestly, it’s something that I eat everyday and was certain that it would be easy to give up.
I regretted my decision 40 minutes later when I instinctively went to grab a snickers bar.
40 days without chocolate
Like above, it didn’t take me long to wish I’d never given up chocolate. By the end of the second day, I was craving it like crazy. Almost every morning I’d have a hot chocolate for breakfast, and the alteration to how I start my day was just the tip of the iceberg. I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, the shakes and really bad mood swings. It even got to the point that it messed with my sleep patterns – not good when you’re working a 9 to 5 job.
Speaking of jobs, the amount of morning teas for birthdays and special occasions at work seemed to noticeably skyrocket in the lead up to Easter. There were soooo many things that I couldn’t eat, even though they looked amazing. I couldn’t even have Krispy Cremes because most of their doughnuts glazes contain some form of chocolate derivative. I seriously felt like the whole world was against me. Then, just when I thought that things couldn’t get worse, people started handing out chocolate eggs before going on Easter holidays.
I literally got to work last week to find a massive Lindt chocolate egg on my desk, taunting me as I sat down and buried my head in my hands. Yes, it was a really lovely gesture, but it was torture knowing that I couldn’t devour it right then and there.
Needless to say, my cravings for chocolate did not go away throughout the whole 40 days of Lent.
Did you slip up?
Unfortunately I did.
But only once.
And it was purely by accident. My mum gave me some cheesecake and didn’t know it had a thin layer of white chocolate on top. Luckily, it only took me one bite to notice that it wasn’t all cheese, and I scraped it all off and just ate the biscuit base (I couldn’t just not eat it – it tasted so good!).
My cravings for chocolate never went away throughout Lent. I have learnt not to underestimate the power of food. It’s actually pretty scary to know that I’m so addicted to a food that is considered unhealthy. I have come to realise how much chocolate I’ve actually been eating, and how many foods have some sort of chocolate derivative in it.
I also have to give a massive shoutout to my coworkers, who have been supportive of my deprivation of chocolate the past 40 days, and putting up with my complaining about how life is not fair. Yes, there were times where they accidentally said or did something that triggered me, but overall they kept me in check, and even bought some non-chocolate snacks for me so that I wouldn’t go completely insane.
Furthermore, giving up chocolate has given me a greater appreciation of the privilege it is to even have chocolate as part of my life. I feel fortunate that I’m even in a position to give up a luxury, when there are others in the world who can’t, and they express their devotion by other means. To give up chocolate for 40 days is really nothing compared to the sacrifice that Jesus made for human kind. I can fully understand why Lent and Easter are such important events – the whole concept of giving up a life to save millions just blows my mind.
Health wise, I am now fully conscious of how much sugar I consume on a daily basis. Well, how much of that sugar was actually in the form of chocolate. So, I’m making an effort to try and not eat as much chocolate over Easter, even though my body is craving it. I’ve actually gone out of my way to buy some museli bars and fruit so that I don’t derail once I start eating chocolate again.
I’m also going to make a big effort to start keeping track of what I’m eating. I feel like this has been a wake up call to start looking after my health, especially now that I’m getting older.
I’m not so sure if I want to give up chocolate for Lent next year, as it was really tough for me, but I think overall, it was worth it. It was definitely a new level of self-discipline for me, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Did any of you guys go through Lent this year? Did you give anything up? How did you go? I’d love to hear about it!