For Lent, Give up Dieting

For Lent, I’m giving up dieting. Well, not really. I haven’t dieted for quite a few years, based on my own reservations which the fat acceptance movement helped me put into words and even back up with scientific research.

But I want to encourage everyone to do this. For Lent this year, give up dieting. Give up on hating your body. That’s 40 days, 40 nights and absolutely NO food guilt, diet products, or self-flagellation related to the body that you were born with.Don’t give up chocolate or carbs. Give up the notion that foods carry moral values of “good” or “bad.”

Now, you Catholics know the irony of this suggestion. Lent is originally associated with fasting, sacrifice for God and avoiding the temptation of Satan. Now, I have no problem with folks fasting for religious purposes, but since Vatican II, Lent has been less about fasting and more about giving up a vice or a temptation and replacing it with something that brings you closer to God.

My challenge is that eating normally is not a temptation or a vice and that loving your body and yourself is the first step in having a closer relationship with God, the Divine, the Universe or however you represent your highest authority.

And it’s okay to engage in the practices of Lent even if you’re not Catholic. I was only Catholic for a few years and I still give things up for Lent. Sacrifice is often healthy for the soul but sacrificing food to lose weight is not healthy for the body.

So go without dieting and obsessing about food for Lent and see if you come out on the other side any worse for wear. Something tells me you won’t. Something tells me you’ll discover a freedom unlike any other–the freedom to improve yourself in ways that really matter.

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6 Comments

Filed under fat, Health, Size Acceptance

6 responses to “For Lent, Give up Dieting

  1. Too bad Lent doesn’t last year-long.

  2. vesta44

    Ah, but maybe if we give it up for Lent, it will feel so good that we’ll continue without the dieting/self-hate/etc for the rest of the year. Now that would be an awesome result of Lenten sacrifice.

  3. fever2tell

    I just found your blog and it rocks!

    I recently made a similar resolution that had nothing to do with lent. I decided that I was going to stop hating a certain part of my body and that for every moment spent agonizing in the mirror I had to spend at least as much time admiring myself.

    (The whole story is on my blog, http://www.fever2tell.wordpress.com)

    I was raised Catholic and part of what drew me away from it and twoard less punitive spiritual practices like yoga was the emphasis on self deinal and everything that feels good being wrong. Plus, growing up I always hated it when sneaky people tried to give up sweets for Lent in hope that they’d lose some weight. I couldn’t help thinking that was cheating!

    If you believe that a higher power created you (which I’m not sure of) then to abuse your body and deny yourself nourishment is a direct act of disrepect to that higher power. Loving your body and caring for it then, is one of the best ways you can worship god.

    I’m taking a page from your book and not only am I giving up worrying about my diet, I’m giving up anything that stresses me out or makes me feel bad about myself… and I’m resolving to not skip yoga. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  4. femmeknitzi

    Rachel, amen! I wish I could convince some of my friends and co-workers to give up dieting forever!

    Vesta, that’s my hope!

    Fever, welcome and thanks for sharing your story. I agree wholeheartedly that there is nothing sacred about denying your body its basic needs. The road to better self-image is a long and bumpy one. Good luck!!

  5. I just found your blog throught Ravelry and really enjoyed reading.

  6. whizkidforte

    I’m more than happy to sacrifice frying my food in my own house as long as I’ve been Catholic. I’m going to fry turkey nuggets tomorrow (Shrove Tuesday) and that is that – the only exceptions for eating fried food are at Walt Disney World or parties!

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