I was introduced to Lent about five years ago from a friend who is Catholic. He asked me what I was giving up for Lent. I had no idea what he was talking about.
Lent is a season that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. It lasts 40 days, not counting Sundays. According to United Methodist Communications, "Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection."
My friend would always give up something a bit difficult; something he knew would take lots of prayer. The constant prayer, discipline, restraint and repentance from whatever he was fasting from, would strengthen his relationship with God. So, I decided to take on the challenge. I gave up some of my favorite things. I slipped up many times but made sure to get back on track. At times, I even found myself crying at the sheer difficulty of it all. But, it brought me so much joy when those 40 days were completed. Not because I could go back to what I used to do. It was because He brought me through such a daunting task and I was able to accomplish it because of Him.
So every year I continue to participate in the Lenten season, and every year I up the ante. I noticed one year that by giving up certain foods, I lost a few pounds. It made me wonder if I could actually keep it up AFTER the 40 days were up. Well, I did…and then I stopped. But some of my friends did not stop. They participated in the Daniel Fast and continued to eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains after the fast was completed. And many of them saw continued health benefits.
I believe Lent is the perfect way to springboard you into your nutrition and health goals. Just think, becoming more spiritual AND decreasing your blood sugar…AND lowering your cholesterol…AND losing weight? That's a win/win. So, I challenge you to give up something. And I'm not talking about something you barely do now. Give up something that can REALLY be a challenge and could have benefits as well. I am giving up white bread, white rice, white potatoes, white pasta, breaded foods, and alcohol (send up some prayers for me y'all).