Rahul Goel

April Abstention

Posted on: May 09, 2024

It was a challenge without a name, but I just gave it one right now: April Abstention. Well, some of my friends and I noticed the lack of discipline in our eating habits. We often found ourselves going for unhealthy snacks (primarily sugary) in the canteens at IIIT multiple times a day. Sometimes, we skipped our meals. And since food delivery is so convenient nowadays, dinners were often replaced with junk ordered from outside -- leading to emptier pockets for already struggling students. Moreover, since I've been running a lot regularly, I found myself using my exercise as an excuse to justify eating unhealthy and sugary food.

So, we decided to set some firm rules and abide by them in the month of April 2024:

For me, the challenge was pretty easy in the beginning since I was all pumped for it... until Friday arrived. Friday nights are terrible in all the messes. But, I reminded myself that I'd have to face this only 4 times this month and ate in the South mess with a heavy heart.

On the 14th of the month, there was an intra-IIIT race in the morning. I made an exception for the morning of that day to eat chocolate to fuel myself for the 10KM run (finished in 56:53 to beat my previous PR by around 7 minutes). I happily avoided the sugary refreshments being offered post-race and went to the mess for fruits.

Fruits are so amazing. I ate so many of them this month. It is kinda crazy how nature evolved to prepare these juicy, sweet, and refreshing things in a variety of tasty flavors that can be consumed so conveniently. It is as if nature didn't want us to cook for ourselves.

The challenge really got easier over time for me. It grew over me. As my sugar-craving taste buds died, the new ones didn't know what sugar tasted like and didn't bother me like the old ones.

It wasn't the case for some other unfortunate folks, I guess. In total, there were around 10 people in the challenge if I added everyone who participated in it. Some happily withdrew after a day or two. Some were caught eating unhealthy food. Some secretly kept it hidden until I interrogated it out of them. But only 4 survived by the end of the month and emerged victorious.

What did I do to celebrate my victory? On the last day of April, I devoured a whole pizza, a choco lava cake, two chocolate brownies, and a double-oreo milkshake. And then, we decided to step into May with an even stronger intention of doing this all over again for the new month.

Overall, I think this had a positive effect on the people around me. Everyone has gotten a bit more conscious of the food they intake, which is all "April Abstention" was ever about. The challenge also played a role in making one of my last months at CVIT memorable.