Last night someone asked what everyone was giving up for Lent, and I realized I hadn’t given it any thought. I’ve always had trouble with these 40-day contracts, and since childhood I've inserted conditional language than runs counter to the sacrificial spirit of the season. I’ve successfully given up soda (Diet Coke, specifically), chocolate (milk and dark but not necessarily white) and chips (potato, not tortilla). I remember Sister Mary Ignatius lecturing us about the true meaning of penitence during the Lenten season. The stern talk came immediately after I told my fifth-grade CCD class I was giving up ice cream that winter. Actually, I agreed only to give up Friendly’s ice cream cones served from a specific restaurant's walk-up window in Westerly, R.I.
This year, beginning this day, I’m giving up something that’s become a bane: snacks. Some of my ‘snacks’ have grown so large in portion that they technically constitute a meal. I don’t know how I’ll live without them, though I did once on one of those austere low-carb diets that didn’t allow food between meals. This also is apparently one of the key guidelines in that French women diet book I last year digested along with Cheez-Its, cream cheese celery and Girl Scout cookies
To help keep me honest, I signed up for a free account with FitDay to better track my calories. This type of record-keeping is not going to be fun, but I can do it for 40 days, especially if I only have to punch in foods three times daily instead of five or six. Now every meal will be more special since I am giving up snacks. Actually, I agree only to give up mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks Monday through Friday when I am physically within San Diego County.
Sister Mary Ignatius must be rolling in her grave.