Lent is a four letter word, so is diet.


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Lent started on Wednesday, and much like New Years resolutions, you hear people ranting about what they’re going to be giving up this year. Lent lasts a short forty days and seems like a much easier resolution to follow through with than a year long one. Eating healthy, exercising and dieting are all typical New Year’s resolutions that are not uncommon.

Growing up in a relaxed Catholic family, lent was never enforced by my parents but was encouraged. Lent is the time you give up something like a bad habit or something that takes up too much of your time. The popular thing to give up for lent this year is social media, since it’s taking over our lives and distracting us from time we could be praying. The traditional meaning of Lent is to prepare yourself through prayer, repent for your sins, and stop living in denial.

To my surprise, I have more friends giving up gluten, dairy, or sweets for lent this year than anything else. It takes 28 days to break a habit, but why are you using this religious holiday as an excuse to diet? Is it because we go to a Catholic university and you feel obligated to give up something for lent? Or perhaps Lent has become a trend for college students.

I can see why there’s more motivation to give up something for Lent than to stick to your New Year’s resolution, since Jesus is involved and all. It is killing two birds with one stone, but really you’re only hitting one bird. Dieting doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus. Living a healthy lifestyle could be inspired by your religion, but being a size two probably is not.

If you’re giving up social media for Lent instead of your favorite snack food, ask yourself why. Is it so you can focus more on your studies, or is it so you can get more spiritually in touch with God? If you’re giving it up for either of those reasons you’ll still be bettering yourself, for yourself, but that’s not what Lent is about. We forget that Lent is a religious holiday, just like we forget our New Year’s resolution by the time March rolls around. Even websites are advertising twenty creative ideas on what to give up for Lent.

Going on a diet to live a healthier lifestyle is never a bad thing. Do that for yourself and on your on own time. Motivation is key to success, but using Jesus as an excuse will not help you reach the top. So before you decide to stick to a no carb, no sugar, cardboard diet for the next forty days, ask yourself why you’re doing it.

Everyone needs some Jesus in their life. When it comes to your faith, you don’t get to chose what Snapchat filter you want to use.