Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent as a diet plan

Years ago, way back in college and before there was such a thing as the Atkins diet, I gave up carbs for Lent. If you believe the notion that what you give up during this season should be a real sacrifice, then for a college kid giving up pizza, fries and subs definitely qualified as a sacrifice and therefore met the true spirit of Lent. I lost 20 pounds and figured, at least in part, it was because I had God on my side.

Last year I made the same commitment to walk away from many of the foods I love for the forty days of Lent. I'd like to think that generally speaking I have more willpower as an adult than I did as a college kid and that maybe my relationship with God is as good or stronger. What I didn't count on was having a book hit stores right in the middle of Lent.

You may not know this about authors -- or at least this author -- but we fret over everything. We worry the books won't be on the shelves when they're supposed to be and that all of our carefully-timed publicity plans will be for naught. When they are on shelves, we worry that they're not selling fast enough. Those of us who are truly crazed -- and count me among them -- visit every bookstore, grocery store or anyplace books are shelved and for sale. You'd think after all these years and more than a hundred books I'd be over this. I'm not.

I'm also an information junkie. I want numbers. I watch bestseller lists. In other words, I make myself nuts, probably hauling my agent and editor slightly past the edge of sanity with me. Needless to say, there is never a time when I am more desperate for chocolate. In fact, during those days, there's not a carb on earth that's not my friend.

Despite my determination and whatever assistance God was doling out, I fell off the carb wagon about three weeks into Lent last year. Now I'm trying again. My next book -- THE INN AT EAGLE POINT -- will be in stores before Easter (on March 31, in fact), but I am hoping to be so ingrained into a non-carb lifestyle by then that it'll be second nature to me. I am also hoping that any of you who have made sacrifices for Lent will share your stories about what you've given up and how you've stuck to it. I need the inspiration.

In theory 40 days of sacrifice should be doable. It's a finite period of time, unlike those new year's resolutions that are supposed to last forever...or at least until December 31. So, help me out and tell me how you're doing. And if you happen to cross paths with me in a bookstore and I happen to be sitting in the cafe with a scone in front of me, you have my permission to snatch it away. Of course, it's probably best if you first make certain that it is me and not some total stranger who'll accuse you of theft or break your wrist. Having that on my conscience would drive me straight into a tub of ice cream.

Sherryl Woods

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Blogger MC said...

I have given up soda for Lent this year. This is huge for me because it is basically all I drink. And recently, I have been drinking more than my fair share of regular Dr. Pepper, so this is sort of a diet-y Lenten sacrifice.

I have also given up fast food in the past. Another diet-y one...and also huge for me because I spend a lot of time in my car, and I am not a big cook, so I do end up answering the call of the drive thru a little too often. While I have not given up fast food this Lent, the current state of the economy makes me think that there is a more cost effective way to go than the extra value meal, so I do plan to cut back.

Can't wait for the new book!

February 26, 2009 10:46 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I have not given up carbs, but I have given up sweets. and this will be a biggie for me as I have a birthday in during lent. So no cake, candies, no desserts unless it is fruit. So far so good. We will see how it goes.

I used to Joke and say I was giving up sex, as this was easy for me. I live alone and have not had a partner in many years. But I do try to give up something real. I tried to give up books onetime, but OMG I could not get past the second week. I actually tried, but I am just a book junkie and there is no cure.
Good Luck all those sacrificing in the name of the lord.
Can't wait fo your new book to come out too.

February 26, 2009 12:33 PM  
Blogger Sherryl said...

Thanks for sharing your stories, MC and Kathleen. The soda sacrifice would once have been huge for me, too, but I've managed to cut back to about a half a can of caffeine-free Diet Coke a day. As for books, I'm with you Kathleen, that may be asking too much. And, if it'll help you out on your birthday, in my version of Lent -- which I've discussed with both an Episcopal minister and a few very dedicated Catholics -- you are allowed one day off a week. The calendar period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday is more than 40 days and sacrificing is only called for on 40 days. So, enjoy your birthday cake without guilt (at least from those two religions)unless one taste will send you on a downward spiral.

February 27, 2009 4:44 AM  

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