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  • Gareth Ellis

Don’t just give up on Lent

Today (Tuesday) is one of my favourite days – not because of its position in the week (it’s far too close to Monday) but because it’s Shrove Tuesday – PANCAKE DAY!

Now I know what you’re thinking, you shouldn’t have just one day for pancakes. However, this is a day when you can heap melted mars bar and ice cream on a pancake and not feel guilty.

What comes tomorrow though excites me almost as much (almost.) Lent is a religious festival that is supposed to represent Jesus’ sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days as he was tested and tempted but refused to give in.

For me though, it’s a chance to give something up or try something new for 40 days, and hopefully make an improvement or learn something along the way.

I’m not a particularly religious man. To be honest I don’t really know what to believe in that arena, but of course I take part in all of the religious holidays – Easter, Christmas, Shrove Tuesday and of course, Lent.

In previous years I’ve taken part in Lent and really gone for it as well. Of course there’s no point giving up something you hate as that would be easy.

“Gareth what did you give up for Lent?”

“Bananas.”

“Don’t you hate bananas?”

“Yeah, but I went 40 days without eating one, might go another 40 days actually.”

One year I gave up coffee. Now anyone who knows me will know that I don’t only love coffee, but I need it. I really shouldn’t but I sometimes will drink three or four cups of it (and then wonder why it has no effect on me and I don’t sleep.) So to give it up for 40 days was a challenge, but it also helped me develop the feeling that I didn’t need it. Although, I still remember how happy my mum and Jess were as I sat down to enjoy that first cup.

Another year Jess and I gave up meat. Again, being a carnivore this was really tough. However, with that one I learned a lot more. I learned that some restaurants really didn’t cater all that well for vegetarians or vegans and the choice was distinctly lacking. Nowadays if we did it again I know that it would be a lot easier.

This year though, rather than give something up I’ve decided to use it as a motivational tool. I want to use Lent to help me stick to a plan, and I want to work out at least five times a week, then on the other two days I want to hit my minimum 10,000 step goal.

For me, the training and exercise has never been a problem, it’s the consistency. I always give it my all once I’ve started but so often I will make an excuse not to work out – I’ve got a headache, I’m tired, I had to do housework, Rupert needed me.

To be honest I have no excuse. I work five minutes away from the gym and I have access to hundreds, if not thousands of home workouts. Working out five times a week should be a doddle.

If nothing else it will motivate me to shift this ‘Dad bod’ I’ve been living with since before Rupert was born.

It’s the only thing associated with being a Dad that I don’t want – the jokes can stay though.

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