Lent: Not a Pre-Easter Diet.

It’s Lent.

Please don’t tell me you’re “giving up sugar, soda, and carbs” unless you plan on praying about it every day. If you’re doing it to lose weight, it’s called a Pre-Easter Diet.


 Sorry, that’s a ginormous pet peeve of mine.

As apart of my Year of Zen efforts, I’ve been slowly tapping back into my Catholic roots. (I’m choosing not to take Pope Benedict’s recent news as a sign.)

I haven’t observed Lent in a few years because my heart wasn’t in it. Maybe it was my way of rebelling from my Catholic school upbringing, but as a young adult, Lent felt like a chore.


Also, I don’t like half-assing stuff (I’m a medicated Type A gal, remember? 😉 ) Especially if I’m going to tell GOD that I’m going to do something. I mean, I know He’s all merciful, but I don’t think He appreciates shotty efforts.

So, I decided I’m not going to give up anything.

Rather, I’m going to DO something. I’ve compiled a list of 40 specific individuals, organizations, and causes. Each day, my focus will be aimed towards that person, organization, or cause.

  • Cory: He’s my priority every day, but I’m only human! Some days I’m not as selfless, kind, and compassionate as I could be.
  • MDA: Maybe a repeat?
  •  “Green” efforts: Actually turning off lights when I leave the room, turning off the water when I brush my teeth, reduce waste, etc.
  • The Rosary: I LOVE praying the Rosary, but I don’t take the time to do it very often.

These are just examples, and some efforts will be bigger than others. The point is to focus on people and things outside of myself. To do something. To be thankful for what I have, and to reflect on it. That sounds like something we all could do, regardless of religious affiliation! :)

*If you volunteer for a certain organization in the Richmond area, let me know!

Let’s chat 

  • I’m interested to see what (if any) comments I’ll get to this question: What religion – if any – do you practice?
  • If you observe Lent, what are you doing/giving up?


  1. says

    I LOVE that you’re doing this! I love the idea of ADDING something positive versus taking something away. I’m not actively practicing right now for pretty much the same reason, I don’t want to half-ass it. I give something 100% and if my hearts not in it, it just doesn’t feel right for me right now.

  2. says

    I love this! I’m giving up desserts — go figure ;). Believe me, I am not doing it for weight loss, and I will be praying about it everyday, because it is going to be a challenge! I’m also going to try to reduce other types of junk in my life — less reality TV, less negative thoughts, etc. I was raised Catholic, but when I married my husband (he was raised Baptist), we met in the middle, and we now attend a Methodist church. It’s very similar to the Catholic religion, and I am still observing Ash Wednesday and Lent.

  3. says

    I always try to do a little something extra in lieu of giving something up, but I’m just not into Lent anymore. I haven’t really participated in a few years. I love the story of Easter and everything, but I guess it’s just not my thing right now. The Lent diet, however, kills me. Glad to see I’m not the only one!

    • Colleen says

      Yeah, I haven’t been into it for a while, either. We’ll see how it goes! Glad I’m not the only one who dies a little inside when the Lent diet is used 😉

  4. says

    What an awesome idea!!! I love that you’re focusing on adding something to your life (and others!) — what a positive and different spin! I can’t wait to hear about this “adventure:

  5. Josh Blakely says

    For a number of years, my wife Lyndsie and I have been adding spiritual disciplines to our routine during Lent as opposed to or in addition to giving something up. It’s a very rewarding practice. This Lent, the Church Council at FarmVille UMC has been challenged to identify a blessing or way we have seen God every day. What a wonderful way to see God moving among us even in the wilderness of Lent.

  6. says

    I don’t observe Lent. But I feel like it’s very similar to a fast – and while fasting, you don’t tell anyone that you’re fasting. So yes, that t-shirt kinda makes me angry. I really don’t feel like you should tell anyone but God what you’re giving up.

  7. says

    Just this morning I was thinking about Lent and how so many people will be talking/blogging about what they’re giving up (mostly different foods). I got a little irritated. I’m not Catholic (I’m Hindu), but I’m pretty sure the intent of Lent is not to pick something you overindulge in and give it up. If I’m not mistaken, it’s about sacrifice and appreciation. But what do I know! Anyway, I love that you are doing and not stopping. Such an inspriation you are. :)

    A lot of Hindus fast on a weekly/monthly basis. I’m just not a big believer in all that. It doesn’t make sense to me. Just be a good person and live a good life. I think it’s as simple as that.

    • Colleen says

      You hit the nail on the head, Parita!! It is supposed to be about sacrifice and appreciation. Whatever it does is supposed to strengthen your relationship with God.

      I have several Hindu friends in my graduate program, and a few of them fast. I can only imagine how difficult that is! For some people it works. I like your philosophy: just be a good person and live a good life :)

  8. says

    I agree! I definitely feel that when people give up something for Lent and then go right back to it after the 40 days, they’re missing the entire point. I’ve stopped giving up something for Lent, and I take a similar approach to you. I choose to work on some goal for the season. This year, I plan on upping my courage, in all realms of life. Oh, and I was raised (and still am) Catholic.

  9. says

    I couldn’t think of something to “give up” so I decided to take time in the mornings to read a short devotional and pray. Super simple, but it will be challenging with my crazy schedule. Love what you are doing!

  10. says

    I love this idea, Colleen. If I practiced lent, I would want to do it this way. I’m not a fan of religious organizations after numerous experiences of feeling/being judged and never feeling like i was enough thanks to the messages but I do believe in God and faith/spirituality…just worship in my own way right now

    • Colleen says

      Worship is worship, my friend. I agree, it’s not uncommon to feel judged in any religious organizations. I’ve been there! But whatever works for you is what matters! :)

  11. says

    My husband and I are Christians and specifically come from a Reformed background, but currenty we go to a non-denominational church. Regardless, the denomination and background and church we go to doesn’t define us. We don’t typically do anything special for Lent, but I agree, it shouldn’t be an excuse for “dieting” or whatever.

  12. Esther says

    I was actually just thinking about this today. I’m Jewish, but I’ve only recently started “tapping into” my Jewish roots again. Surprisingly, it was my non-Jewish fiance who is the impetus for this – we decided to have a Jewish household and raise our kids Jewish, and he’s been learning a lot about it, which in turn got me really excited to reconnect. I hope it’s a meaningful time for you!

    • Colleen says

      That is so awesome, Esther! I’m glad you’re tapping back into your Jewish roots – and that your fiance inspired you. That’s great :)

  13. says

    I don;t do the whole religion thing. I like holidays for the family time and presents are nice too. I was raised Catholic and was confirmed and everything but left to my own devices I try to stay as far away from church scene as I can. I like your idea of doing something though, that’s pretty cool, I never understood the whole give up something part of lent. And I don’t think I have ever participated in lent before!

    • Colleen says

      I agree. I really do like the holidays for the family aspect. In college, I didn’t go to church or anything, so I’m slowly making my way back. It’s a slow process!

  14. says

    I think that is such an awesome idea! I’m not a religious person but in the past I’ve felt the need to give something up just because everyone else around me was..as stupid as that sounds haha. But this year i’m not giving anything up! Maybe I will try and help out more and do good for others though like you’re doing because I really like that idea!

    • Colleen says

      That’s not stupid at all! I think that’s why MANY people give up something for Lent. Some sort of weird peer pressure thing. I’ve been there!

  15. says

    I’ve definitely been praying more lately and attending Mass a little more often but praying the rosary is such a nice idea! I think all of mine are packed away somewhere at my parents house but maybe I should get a new set :-)

    • Colleen says

      Most of mine are at my parent’s, too! I did get one when I was at the Vatican, but that’s the only one I have. I guess it’s a pretty good one to have haha :)

  16. says

    I grew up in a religious family and household and this has always bothered me, this pre easter diet mentality. I hate it, makes me furious. My mother was always one to make sure that we DID something that brought us closer to our faith. That is why I really am loving yours, gave me some ideas for my Lent promises.

  17. says

    I was raised Catholic but left the religion when I was 14 or so, and am now a plain ol’ Christian. I go to a congregational church with more Protestant/Baptist beliefs. I don’t usually observe lent, but I do like the idea of giving up a vice of some kind and trying to focus on a more God-centered life. I need to give up cursing!

  18. says

    Ahhh! Thank you for putting this out there. I 100% agree. I am Christian, but since I’m not Catholic, I don’t give up anything for Lent. Growing up, I was always puzzled by my friends who would give up sweets, soda, or bread. Pretty sure church and Weight Watchers aren’t conspiring or anything…

  19. says

    I’m a non-practicing Catholic. I’m also involved with the Richmond SPCA Dog Jog and 5K Run…you should sign up! Tell your friends! Save some homeless animals :)

  20. says

    I grew up non-denominational Christian, and am now trying to figure out what part of the Christian church I align with best (I’ve been looking a lot into the catholic church). I’ve been thinking a lot about Lent, and I have to agree with you about not giving up something. Instead I am going to try to be respectful in the way I speak to people (fiance, mom, sisters, etc.) and to be more loving/kind — Christlike is maybe the best way to say it. Good post! :)

    • Colleen says

      That’s a great Lenten promise, to be more Christlike. When that’s in mind, I always realize how UN-Christlike I am (because I’m human.) It’s a great exercise!

  21. says

    Hi! New reader by way of LauraLikesDesigns! I grew up Catholic but I selectively practice. For Lent, I’m also focusing on behaviors and try not to lose my patience with others and work on adapting my attitude since I can’t control theirs. Definitely enjoying your blog :)

    • Colleen says

      That’s the difference between you and Lent dieters. I love the idea of a morning devotional. I started reading you blog years ago (YEARS?!) and I’ve always admired your Catholic-ness :)

  22. says

    Absolutely love this post! I wish more people would realize that Lent isn’t an excuse to restrict and lose weight… even though I’ve definitely been guilty of doing the same thing in the past 😯 Thankfully, I’ve grown up and know better. This Lent, I’m not giving anything up either. Instead, I’m trying to focus on devoting more time to prayer and devotional reading in an effort to strengthen my faith and relationship with God.

  23. says

    I’m a non-denominational Christian; I’ve never participated in giving things up for Lent but have taken part in Ash Wednesday many times throughout the years. I like your perspective on this–what a creative way to refocus during this time.

    Hope you are doing well, friend!

  24. says

    I do agree with you. I am giving up something for lent, and it will be super difficult, but I want to commit myself to prayer during this time. I want to focus on the reason for the season and am hoping to grow spiritually from it. I admit in the past I’ve definitely done it more as a challenge to myself and a “healthy” thing, but this year I am determined to make it different! :)

  25. says

    I love your idea of doing 40 things! I gave up Bravo & E…I watch those channels too often when I could be doing something much more productive with my time. My husband and I are also trying to participate in our church’s food donation program as well.

    • Colleen says

      Ohhh Bravo and E! are my weaknesses – I would have a REALLY hard time with that! I love me some Kardashian train wrecks 😉

  26. gettinfitbritt says

    I’m Catholic and I get a somewhat kick out of people who give up sweets or Chocolate for Lent! I definitely pray about what i’m giving up. I’ve always gotten more out of adding more things– praying more rosaries for someone in need, serving more at a local food pantry, add a morning devotional. I too admire your hilarity! :)


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