Yesterday marked the beginning of Lent, and it got me thinking about sacrifices. Many Christians and Catholics will give something up for 40 days during Lent for the purpose of reflecting on Christ's sacrifice for us. Many people choose some form of fasting such as giving up red meat, sweets, or alcohol. Others make different kinds of sacrifices like my friend who's taking a break from Facebook for 40 days or another who is refraining from negative self-talk.
But making sacrifices doesn't come easily to most of us. In fact, when we feel we shouldn't or are told we shouldn't have something, that is usually the first thing on our minds and we want it more than ever. This is especially true when it comes to our food choices. We decide to cut out sweets and then we have dessert on the brain 24/7, right? People often tell me how badly they want to lose weight or feel better but then follow it up with "But I could never give up my (insert soda habit, sweets, fast food, etc.)", "I don't want to have to sacrifice the foods I love" or "If I go to the gym after work I'll miss my favorite shows".
I'm not the type who urges my clients to eliminate everything they love and go on a diet of raw kale and quinoa, but I am compelled to ask the question, what are we really "sacrificing" by changing our lifestyles and/or eating habits for the better? Because the truth is, when you choose to eat low quality foods and live a sedentary lifestyle, you are sacrificing so much more than you may even realize. You are sacrificing your health, your enjoyment of life, and your energy to enjoy others. You are forfeiting your potential for greatness and success in your career and relationships. You are depriving yourself of the wonderful experience of feeling strong, vibrant, more attractive and more in control of your destiny. Simply put, YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR POWER.
And for what? Processed food and reality TV? YOU DESERVE SO MUCH MORE! It's time to get serious about what we're willing to sacrifice our quality of life for. We need to take our power back and reclaim responsibility for our bodies and our health. There are many reasons behind the choices we make, and each of us must reach a place of being willing to do whatever it takes to feel better before we can embark on the path of lasting change.
So during this season of Lent, I encourage you to ask yourself what you are really sacrificing and why. Take a minute to write down how your current habits are serving you and/or harming you. Then, write down all the benefits you would experience if you nurtured yourself and your body in a healthful way. What would your life look like if you felt great, had more energy and truly felt good about yourself? I think you'll find that choosing to be your best self is really no sacrifice at all.