Fat Tuesday – Tomorrow begins Lent (Health Benefits thereof)

I’m not Catholic.  My family isn’t Catholic.  In fact, in that both sides of my heritage come from England, you’d probably have to trace back MANY generations before you hit Catholicism.  However, my family (or portions thereof) have practiced lent for as long as I can remember (or at least as long as I’ve known what lent was, so since I was about 11).

Even if you strip away ALL religious connotations and significance, lent has some seriously beneficial health effects.  Once a year, you strip away a single addiction.  You focus, for a finite amount of time, on something that you find difficult to do without.  Now, for those in strict observance of Catholic Lent, you dedicated this absitence to God.  However, there is no reason, for the purposes of good health you couldn’t dedicate your sacrifice to really anything you saw fit.

When someone checks into a rehab facility, it is most commonly, for 28 days.  This isn’t arbitrary.  It takes a minimum of 4 weeks for the chemical, emotional and psychological effects of a “drug” to lose grip on your physiology.  So, this year, whether or not you have religion and whether or not are trying it for the Lent 40, or the rehab 28 I am going to introduce Tier 3 in honor of Ash Wednesday (tomorrow).

We all know our poison.  For some it’s sugar, others salt, fried foods, grease, candy, sugary coffee confections, pastry, carbs, you get the point.  Tier 3 (when you’re ready) is to pick something that you really feel that you can’t live without/is holding you back (white flour is a good one, white sugar is good too) and COMPLETELY cut it out.  Not occasionally, not in moderation, but think of this like an intervention and I’m sending you to rehab.

Over the next 4 weeks to 40 days (depending on the ideology you choose to go with) strip this road block from your diet.  You don’t need it.  If you are having a serious hang up on chocholate, KILL IT.  If you can’t live without bagels, KILL IT.  Last year a friend of mine who lived in Northern Virginia gave up wearing Flip Flops and mini skirts,  she was missing the point (its still quite cold until Easter)

In Tier 1 we established a baseline of health.  We gave up sodas and sugary juices, put our bodies on a eating schedule as well as established a base line for exercise and core stablization.

In Tier 2 we tried to go a bit more organic, cutting out organochorlines and pesticides, as well as upped the anti in our exercise to include some higher intensity repps and  resistance training.

Tier 3 is the only tier which is considered “temporary” from the get go.  It is the EXTREME tier.  When we are done with the 90 day reboot, hopefully we will all fall back into a version of Tier 1 or Tier 2 as just a maintenance lifestyle.  But Tier 3 is rehab.  We are going to show your body what its like to do “without”.  If you never gave up soda in Tier 1, thats your Tier 3.  If going organic was just too hard/expensive/troublesome in Tier 2, Thats your Tier 3.  If you find that you really just can’t LIVE without your morning double whipped upside down, inside out, mocha latte frappiato (I really don’t think that is a real thing) retrain your body to do without, that is your Tier 3.

Pick a time frame.  28 days is the minimum.  That is the established protocol by doctors everywhere, for your body to retrain your physiology.  But if you want to make this lent and go till Easter, you will be better off.

Tier 3, is probably obviously the hardest, but you will also see some of the most drastic effects.  Completely eliminate the unnatural (caffeine, processed flour and sugar, candy etc)  thing that  powers you and make your body power itself.  For the first several days, this will be very difficult, depending on what you choose, you might honesty feel negative health effects (specifically coffee, and white flour/sugar) as your body craves them.  That just means you are rewiring.

Make your body work for itself, give it the power to operate on its own strength.  As it is said, “form follows function.”  If you want to have the form of someone healthy and strong, then strip from your body everything unhealthy and you will get strong.

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One Response to “Fat Tuesday – Tomorrow begins Lent (Health Benefits thereof)”

  1. Thanks I needed this. In January I quite eating sugar for a month and felt so much better. I later let myself have an occasional treat, but I want that feeling back, and I’m willing to go a bit further saying that I need to eliminate all sugar from my diet, since diabetes runs in my family, and I’m already hypoglycemic it is better for me in the long run if I can just do without this.

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