So I did it, I gave up takeaways for lent! You can read more about why I did that here, but in this post I’m going to be reflecting on it, what it’s done for me, and what I’ve learnt from doing it!
I’ve never done lent before – I know, I’m 21 and I’ve never done lent! But I’ve never needed to do it. There’s never been a huge desire to do it. I never wanted to do it bad enough where I thought it would be worthwhile.
But this year was different. I was stuck in a rut, physically and mentally. I was tired of trying the same things over and over again and getting no results. When my housemate, Rosie, suggested me doing lent, I jumped at the idea, and quickly decided to give up takeaways.
When I first thought about doing this, I genuinely didn’t believe that I would be able to. I thought, well it might last a couple of weeks, but it’s probably not going to happen.
But it did.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some moments when I seriously struggled, but I didn’t cave at all. I’ve had a difficult semester, with both chronic illness and mental health, and so there were definitely times where it would have been really convenient for me to just give up and get a takeaway. But the fact that I persevered has taught me a lot about myself. So, without further ado, here are 5 things that I’ve learnt from doing lent!
I don’t need to rely on takeaways when I’m ill
One of my biggest excuses for getting a takeaway was because I was ill. When fatigue and brain fog hit me hard, I would often just order a pizza for tea, because it was the easiest, most convenient thing to do when I wasn’t feeling well. Usually I couldn’t think straight to actually make myself something, or even think of what to make myself, and so takeaways would be the best option. However, during lent, I proved to myself that this was all just an excuse. So long as I stayed organised and prepared, there was no reason to get a takeaway. I made sure I had easy things to do, such as beans on toast, a bowl of cereal, or my favourite, pitta bread and houmous (YUM!) so whenever I really wasn’t up for cooking, I didn’t have to rely on getting a takeaway.
There is nothing good about a takeaway
There are absolutely no nutritional benefits to takeaways. Everything about them is unhealthy (but delicious!) but not having them has really done me and my body the world of good. The longer I went without one, the less I actually thought about having them, and the more my body thanked me for it. It has really opened up my eyes as to how bad they really were for me, and yes, as a treat now and again it won’t do any harm, but to have them as often as I was beginning to have them, was getting really unhealthy.
There are always healthy alternatives
Usually when I get a takeaway, I get a pizza. What can I say? I just love pizza! But you can make your greasy takeaway pizza healthier! And it’s the same with anything else – sometimes it’s not the fact that it’s a takeaway that you want, but more the food that you want that you get via takeaway. So by making a healthier alternative, it’s the best of both worlds! Cooking food from home is also a lot cheaper and I’ve probably saved a lot of money by not getting takeaways, so even that is a bonus!
I am a lot stronger than I think I am
I doubt myself. I do it all the time, and usually I’m proved wrong. Actually, I’ve been proved wrong a number of times over the past month or so, and this was one of those times. I didn’t believe that I would be strong enough to say no when someone suggested having a takeaway. I didn’t think I would be strong enough to say no to myself when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and have a pizza for my tea. But I was strong enough, and it was so worth it.
Excuses are very easy to find, but difficult to justify
If you really want to have a takeaway, you will always find an excuse to have one. But are those excuses justified? As I said before, I would always tell myself that I was too ill to cook so I would have to have a takeaway, but really, if I was able to order one and go downstairs to the front door to get it when it arrived, I could go down and get myself a bowl of cereal. I just didn’t want a bowl of cereal, I wanted a pizza. It made me realise that there is nothing wrong with admitting that you actually just really fancy having a takeaway, so long as it is occasional and doesn’t turn into a habit.
What does this all mean then? Well, I’m certainly not going to go back to having takeaways as a convenient meal, but I will have them on the odd occasion, as a single treat, and I will enjoy it with no regrets. I’m also not going to make excuses to try and justify having a takeaway. If I stick to only having them now and again, and don’t need an excuse, and I can enjoy it guilt-free.
All in all, I did what I set out to do, and for that, I am proud.
Did you give up anything for lent? If so, what?