Today will be a red letter day for me as it will be last day that I eat a piece of chocolate (in candy form) for the next 40 days. Each year, I give up chocolate for Lent as a way to challenge myself and to honor this sacred time in the Christian calendar. (My thoughts on religion to come at a later date, this post is reserved for something a bit lighter). I LOVE chocolate and usually eat a small piece of it each day. Currently, my favorite brands are Hu and Lily’s. Both are vegan, non-GMO, processed sugar-free and delicious! If you’re in the market for some healthy, tasty chocolate, I highly recommend buying both of these brands. You won’t be disappointed!
Besides Lent, the only other time that I gave up chocolate for longer than a day or so was when I was prepping for my bodybuilding competition last year and every calorie, carb and fat gram counted. It was only then, that I allowed myself one small square of my favorite indulgence on two separate occasions as a way to keep myself sane during a very structured time in my life.
To be honest, I’m pretty proud of myself whenever I am able go the 40 days without eating chocolate because it is a personal challenge and one that is not easy. When I was a child, my mom allowed me to “cheat” on Sundays during Lent (meaning that I could have whatever it was that I had given up), but I don’t follow that same rule now that I’m an adult. I’m not even sure that rule was legit. Honestly, I think it was a way to just keep kids from falling off the wagon during the week. In any event, it worked on me! However, over the years, I’ve proven to myself that I have the self-control of one of those guards who stand outside of Buckingham Palace. I mean, to go three months during my prep without alcohol (throw a 40th birthday into the mix during that time) and not be pregnant is a feat in and of itself. But, let me tell you, those first few bites of chocolate on Easter morning are glorious! Not only because Easter candy is life (although now, my Easter candy is a lot more healthy), but indulging in something after giving it up for an extended period of time really enhances the flavor of, as well as the appreciation for, said sweet. Coincidentally, I’m at the end of my latest Lily’s Chocolate Almond bar and with just three squares left (I allot myself 5 squares per day — see I’m crazy, right?), the time is right to savor those last few bites before Easter Sunday. I’m just trying to decide if I should enjoy my last hurrah before or after my first practice as Head Coach of the girls’ school Girls on the Run team. Yes, today is also a red letter day because I’m adding the role of Coach to my resume. For the next 10 weeks, I, along with a team of 14 girls and two other coaches, are going to navigate our way through the Girls on the Run (GOTR) curriculum, as we learn more about ourselves, our community and our ability to properly train for and run a 5k. The first time I ran a 5k I was 19 years-old. The girls on our team range from nine to 11 years old. Some have run in previous seasons and some are running newbies. And since I’m a newbie coach, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to learn a lot more about myself and my abilities as a mentor and athlete during these next couple of months. To say that I’m not nervous would be an understatement. Yes, I’m excited beyond belief to coach, but a little apprehensive, as I don’t know what to expect. But, as long as the weather remains somewhat pleasant (i.e. the sun keeps shining) and I follow the script that I was given at coach training, I’m sure that I’ll be fine.
As a fitness instructor/professional/Certified Personal Trainer, I know that I have the skills to deliver the program, but there’s always that period of adjustment and uncertainty that makes me a bit unsettled. See, here’s where the chocolate would come into play. With just a few bites of sweetness, all of my cares will melt away into a world where I am the best Head Coach ever and our first practice goes off without a hitch.
Hmmm…on the other hand, the chocolate could serve as a pick-me-up after practice when I’m sure I’ll be hungry and/or emotionally spent. Either way, it looks like I’m going to have to find a way to cope with my emotions in the absence of chocolate for the next 40 days. At least for today, I know that I’ll be okay. 🙂