Tomorrow Lent starts. As I’ve written before, I don’t believe in any of this religion stuff. But, like a cultural Jew, I’m sort of a cultural Catholic. And I find Lent to be a useful time of the year, especially considering some of my appetites. It’s also as good a time as any to start a diet, save some money and get some work done.
Most years, I give up drinking. Last year, I didn’t because I was going through a divorce and, well, fuck that. Oddly enough, the last time I didn’t give up drinking was the year we got married. Because we were planning for a wedding and, well, fuck that.
But this year, it’s back on. As of midnight tonight, no booze. My liver needs a break. As does my gut. You know it’s bad when your mama making fat jokes about you. When I checked in a couple of weeks ago, I was inching toward 190. (Was going to weigh myself this morning, but the Wii controls and games have been packed for the move). That’s 190 in American pounds. I’m just over 5’6″. So either I’m eating and drinking too much and not exercising enough or I’m pregnant.
So no booze. And no sweets. No candy. No desserts. No sugar in the coffee. No soda–which will be the hardest part.
And, to make sure that I and everyone around me is extra miserable for the next 40 days: No Meat.
That’s huge. But I can do it. No flesh from animals with feet. I’m going to allow myself fish, but no chicken, cow, pig, etc.
Also, I’m not going to use what I always considered the cheating rule, in which Catholics claim that whatever they give up, they can have on Sundays. I figured that was the invention of some American Catholic School kid who wanted a damn pack of Skittles halfway through lent.
But after spending entirely too much of my time researching the rules of Lent, I found the answer to the burning question, “Can I eat Skittles on Sunday during Lent.” And the answer is: It depends. Turns out that “giving up something for Lent” is not an official thing the Catholic Church expects you to do. Fasting, preparing for the lawd, etc, sure. But they’ve got nothing in the Pope’s diary about giving up Skittles for Lent (it’s a personal devotion as opposed to an “obligation”). So, that’s allowed a number of other people to interpret the unofficial rules, invoking numbers and theology and all sorts of stuff that makes me think they’re in the tank for the Pro-Cheating-On-Sunday lobby.
I also found an article from 1915 in The New York Times reporting that year’s rules for Lent as set down by the Bishop. (I can’t imagine seeing an article like that in the Times today.)
Here’s a four-part answer that basically says, “It’s up to you.”
Anyway, I’m giving up 75% of what makes up my daily caloric intake so I might be just a little cranky for the next 40 days–and that’s including Sundays.
Hopefully I’ll use this time to finish writing another book and, come Easter, be able to fit into my clothes again.