While some may think of New Year’s Day for resolutions, I prefer the season of Lent. Perhaps I just need the abudance of grace that abounds during this holy season. This year, my resolution, like many people on January 1, is to get in shape.
Here’s how I see the connection to Lent: my body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, but I tend to treat it more as temple for donuts, cookies, and chips. Lent is this time of sacrifice, prayer, fasting, and charity. In depriving myself of some of the foods I love (not all – I mean let’s not go crazy here). By sacrificing my love of a more sedimentary lifestyle by actually getting my body moving, I will benefit physically, emotionally, and mentally, as well as spiritually.
Back in 2006, I was an avid runner – I even managed to complete the Disney Half-Marathon. Now I can barely drive 13.1 miles without being a little winded.
I experienced some of my deepest prayers and most profound thoughts while deep in the rhythmic action of exercise, especially when running outdoors.
I have battled with my weight my entire life. I crave sweets, breads, chocolate – and I absolutely stink at depriving myself of these things. While I absolutely do not disagree with the scripture, “'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), I’m pretty sure I could get by for a long time on just bread, though maybe not alone; I’d need a little side of butter, Nutella, or strawberry preserves now and then!
With all good things comes moderation, which is another thing I’m not very good at – just ask my credit card company or sagging bookshelf. Yet that is a great lesson for Lent: moderation. Each time we practice even a small act of self-sacrifice we grow in holiness.
Of course, I wouldn’t be the tech-crazed Catholic I am without entering into this task for a few Android apps to aid in my journey.
There are several Couch-to-5K options for the Android market. I tried the one by RunDouble but wasn’t very successful with it – was it an end-user problem? Possibly, didn’t really go into it very motivated but then again the app itself wasn’t very visually stimulating – unlike the Couch-to-5K by The Active Network.
It is very easy to use. There is a coach that walks you through the day’s program, you can even have your own accompanying music.
Idea: Want to assure you focus on faith matters during your workout? Create a playlist of contemporary Christian music or listen to your favorite recitation of the Rosary.
The program alternates between jogging and walking, in only 30-minute workouts, progressively working up to running. It promises users that following this workout just three days a week that in nine weeks, you’ll be ready for your first 5K. We shall see!
Although I liked the log feature – allowing me to make notes, track my feelings during each workout, even post to my Facebook. My favorite feature was being able to choose my own trainer avatar – I opted for the cute, fluffy puppy Pumpkin, over the buff green-eyed beauty Constance. Less intimidating, and who can say no to a pooch who wants to go for a walk?
Lose It! is a free weight loss (or weight maintenance) app by FitNow, Inc. I stumbled on this one as I tried to decide between a calorie counter app or a food logging app. It is the calorie counter and food log, plus an exercise log, and so much more!
Lose It! has a very “comprehensive database of foods and activities,” which I found reduced the frustration I faced with many other apps I tested. I also liked how you could sync Lose It! on more than one device, add foods to the database by scanning barcodes, and even network with friends to motivate each other on the weight management journey.
I’m only getting started, and although am never one to do really well following through on things requiring daily remembering, I’m very optimistic. Maybe it’s just the Lenten grace talking, but I think this time I can make some permanent changes that will finally illustrate that I do consider my body a temple and not a waste station. I’ll be sure to post some updates on my progress with this first foray into my technology-enhanced spiritual and bodily Lenten journey!
Copyright 2013 Allison Gingras
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.