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.