Ah, Lent. A season for sacrifice, for discipline. Each year thousands of Christians choose something to give up for forty days as they prepare for Easter. But have you ever noticed how many of these happen to be unhealthy habits? Chocolate, ice cream, soda, fast food and alcohol are among the things I have seen people give up for Lent.
In a weird way Lent is like New Years part two for Christians- with each holiday thousands of people give up an unhealthy habit each year. There are several key differences, however. New Years resolutions are intended to be permanent (although, sadly, many of them do not turn out that way). On the other hand, Lent is known to be a only temporary inconvenience. I think this creates a predictable, yearly yo-yo diet. Every year people give up something for Lent only to over-indulge and go back to their old, bad habits after the Easter finish line has come and gone. Yes, this almost always happens with New Year’s resolutions, too, but at least the initial intention is for some degree of permanency.
Additionally, the motivation for Lent (sacrificing for something bigger than oneself, i.e. religion) is completely different than the motivation that drives New Year’s resolutions. But that brings up an important question- why is it that we are able to buckle down and make a healthy choice for our religion, but not for our own health? I do not mean this to belittle the meaning of Lent, but I do think that there is nothing more important than taking care of our bodies. Arguably, without our bodies none of us would be able to worship the deities of our choosing, so shouldn’t we regard our health with at least the same degree of importance as our religions?
My challenge to you, dear readers, is to not let Lent be yet another yo-yo diet. They say it takes 30 days to form a habit. So, since Lent is 40 days that means that if you can successfully make it through Lent you’ve already made it through the hardest part of kicking a bad habit! This year use Lent as a spring board into your new, healthy lifestyle, not just another fad diet.
Yours in health,
Nikki Cyr, D.C.
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