body image, Uncategorized

Food-Free Things to Give Up for Lent

Whether you’re religious or not, you probably know that today is Fat Tuesday. To some, it’s an addition to the Mardi Gras celebration; but for Christians it marks the last day before Lent. For those who don’t know, Lent is a time period when Christians “give up” something to replicate Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Most people give up some type of food such as chips, candy, or anything society tends to label as “bad”.  However, I’ve recently been thinking that the pressure to “give up” something could be triggering to a person who has dealt with restrictive eating behaviors in the past, or someone who is trying to ditch diet culture in general. For this reason, I’ve come up with a few ideas of things to give up for Lent that are completely free of diet mentality!

Selective Photo of Cookies on Container
One year I gave up cookies and it was honestly just awful

Negative Self-Talk

This doesn’t just have to revolve around body image. Whether you’re a little extra bloated one day, your hair just isn’t being your friend (me today), or you get a bad grade on an exam, work on rephrasing statements that would have once been negative. Instead of beating yourself up because you skipped the gym, reframe this thought as something like ‘I may have skipped a workout today, but I can go another time because one day does not define me’. 

The “Stomach Check”

You know what I’m talking about- going into the bathroom after a meal and checking to make sure your tummy isn’t too big. Thought no one else did this? Think again! It’s actually what I’m giving up. Instead of torturing yourself by agonizing over a short-term (completely natural) body change, do something that takes your mind off of your body completely. Go for a walk, do your homework, send a meme in your group chat, or pin things to your Pinterest board. 


Oof, this one is hard, but what better time to start?! When you’re scrolling through the gram’ and see a picture of Jessica in KKG (or Brad in whatever frat he’s in) who is just “perfect”, pause for a second. Instead of asking yourself why you don’t look like that, tell yourself “we can both be pretty”. Try acknowledging someone else’s beauty without knocking your own. Remember, there is no standard mold for what beauty is

Criticizing Others’ Appearances

Whether we mean to or not, we’ve all done it at one point or another. Whether it’s judging someone for their makeup, or wondering why that girl at the bar wore an “unflattering” outfit, rephrase these thoughts in your mind. If you notice that an old friend of yours has gained weight, think to yourself “his weight doesn’t affect me and weight change is a part of life”. You’ll be amazed how your thoughts about yourself start to change once you reposition the way you think about others. 

Lent doesn’t have to be about giving up something that brings you joy. It can be an opportunity to cultivate positive change in your everyday life! Join me in picking one of these challenges and see the difference it makes when you commit to it. 

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