For most of my generation Lent has lost it’s religious meaning and instead has manifested in to a period of restriction and another fad diet.
I’ve seen it (and done it myself) countless times where people give up all the foods/drinks they believe to be ‘bad’.
This is where the problem begins. Labelling foods into groups of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or foods you are allowed to eat and others you feel guilty for eating is where many falter before they’ve even gotten started with their ‘diet’. This unhealthy relationship with food tends to spiral out of control pretty quickly and ultimately leads to people giving up on their health and returning to their old ways. How many times have you heard of someone giving up chocolate for Lent… but they’ve had a Dairy Milk bar by day 2.
I’ve experienced first hand the reason as to why this happens. Pyscologically, if you tell yourself you can’t have something, you actually think about it more than if you were not restricting yourself and it is ALL you want!
Whereas, I have not said to myself that I’m not allowed to have chocolate, I just don’t have it regularly and this works. I don’t often think about it and if I do have it I don’t feel bad or feel like I have to punish myself in the gym because I had it!
So rather than ‘giving up’ something for Lent… start to make lifestyle changes today, tomorrow or whenever you feel ready. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have something but instead start to look into a healthier alternative and maybe swap out some of the things that don’t make you feel so great! You’ll notice real, sustainable changes and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!
And if you still feel like you have to get involved in Lent, give up something unrelated to food. Last year, I gave up having negative thoughts about myself and my body.