Lent this year has been...hard. I’ve never really given up anything specific in the past (besides just the same “exercise more and eat healthier” general sort of thing). This year, I decided to be a little different. I’ve read about so many fad diets: cutting out gluten, dairy, sugar, etc. So, I decided to give up one of my weaknesses for Lent...bread

Here are the limits I set for myself for the following 40 days:

1. Bread includes anything from rolls and crackers to croutons.

2. YES, this does include pizza.

3. Before you ask if bagels are an exception to the rule...they aren't.

4. I can eat whole wheat or spinach wraps, but that’s it (note: looking back on it, I wish I gave this up as well. But, eating at a college dining hall, choices are limited so I had to be somewhat flexible).

I was debating on cutting out bread AND pasta, but in the end decided to only do bread because I wanted to actually stick with it. There is no way I could’ve successfully cut out both.

Week 1:

meat, barbecue, pork, chicken
Christin Urso

Days 1-4 were pretty easy. I had grilled chicken breasts instead of a grilled chicken sandwich (which also cut out the calories from cheese, dressing, etc that I would’ve also put on the sandwich). Salad became my best friend and I had to awkwardly eat around the large crouton submerged in my french onion soup.

However, the end of week 1 was hard. It seemed as if everywhere I went, the best bread was taunting me. I went to Florida over Spring Break with my mom and The Broadwalk Restaurant and Grill (known for their insanely good garlic bread which comes free with every entree) tested my strength. Was I thinking about cheating? Yes. But, considering the fact that my mom admired my Lenten habits, I didn’t want to let her down.

Week 2:

Arguably harder than Week 1. I was craving a burger but eating it off the bun just wasn’t the same. My sorority also had a “pizza and a movie” night, and let me just say that the movie wasn’t as fun without the pizza. I still didn’t feel any healthier/better with the absence of bread in my diet. I was beginning to wonder if cutting out bread from my diet made things worse as opposed to better.

Week 3:

My skin started to break out… I was so confused. I also felt equally bloated. Isn’t eliminating carbs from your diet supposed to clear your skin and make you thinner? None of that was happening for me.

Week 4:

juice, sweet, smoothie
Christin Urso

Surprisingly, I felt myself feeling fuller by consuming less food. Smoothies and Naked juices were my go-to for breakfasts and lunch, and by cutting out sandwiches all together, I also eliminated the extra cheese, dressing, etc that would've come on the sandwich, as well. So, by eliminating bread, I eliminated other extra calories.

Week 5: 

My skin became a lot clearer and the thought of eating a roll table side at a restaurant didn't even seem appetizing anymore. I found myself significantly less hungry throughout the day. It would've been easier to give up bread if I wasn't eating at a dining hall every day. From home, you can make cauliflower bread and other healthy substitutes if you're really having a craving.

What Will I Continue With Post-Lent

Although Lent is not over yet, I can definitely conclude that although it may take a while, giving up bread definitely helps to eliminate uneccesarily calories and isn't missed too much.

I'll still eat pizza and sandwiches here and there, but bagels (surprisingly, I know) and rolls will definitely be the first to permanently go on my list. I'm pleasantly surprised that I don't find myself eagerly awaiting Easter to rid myself of this restriction. 

Next time I want to try a health kick, I want to try to give up bread AND pasta - that will be the true test of endurance.