Friday, February 20, 2009

The Lent Diet: Is It Weird?

After Kate's awesome Fat Tuesday post below (yum), I've got some food-related content of a different flavor. My sophomore year of college, I lived in a pink-hued house on-campus with eight other women. All but one of my housemates was a varsity athlete. We represented the lacrosse, soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, golf, cross-country, water polo and tennis (well, that was me, and it was JV) teams. It was a sweet house and an awesome, active group of women.

Two of my housemates, who were devout church-goers, Bible-studiers and members of Athletes In Action, decided that when Lent rolled around that spring they would be super hardcore in their zeal for "giving up" things. They gave up candy, chips, fried food and pretty much everything else remotely fun to eat--they even fasted some days despite rigorous off-season training schedules. They were concerned about their weight in the off-season and were on a diet disguised as a religious gesture. These girls were my good friends, but it weirded me out.

I hadn't thought much about their religious-sanctioned restrictive eating behavior until this week, when I noticed a weight loss thread on a message board where several runners mentioned they will start their "Lent Diet" next week so they can be leaner and faster for their spring marathons. (This year, Lent starts on Febraury 25th (Ash Wednesday), and lasts through Saturday, April 11.)

On the one hand, weird--there it is again. On the other hand, at least these message board posters are honest about their intentions and the fact that they're using a religious tradition as a means to lose weight.
I'm totally cool with religious traditions. I'm perfectly accepting of tweaking eating behavior to lose a few pounds. But something about merging the two seems off to me. Maybe I'm just over-reacting, so set me straight: Does this wierd anyone else out? Photo of the Princeton Chapel grabbed from nickjohnson on Posted by Liz


  1. I'm not surprised at all. I know people who would give up stuff every Lent not for the sacrifice but for knowing that by not eating it would help those winter pounds fall off. I'll admit to contemplating it but never following through--I came to realize that was bordering on...well, weird. I'll have to check that Runner's World link, I saw it too but didn't think to read

  2. There are many interesting piece of information when it comes to diet and health; provides relevant information to have a healthy body.



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