Bear with me on this one as I attempt to explain a Catholic Weight Loss observance I am doing for Lent this year...
Dieting for Lent? Hmmm, can that be done? Can that be a sacrifice to offer up to Him and grow closer to Him in doing so? We already fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, so why not incorporate some extra fasting by choice throughout the week....
(Quick side note: I'm not a fan of skinny jeans, nor do I wear them, nor do I allow my girls to wear them) But.... I do like the chocolate reference here, especially tied to the possibility of losing weight. Yes, many people give up chocolate. So much so that Matthew Kelly is encouraging people to try something new than the same ole same ole of giving up chocolate this year. But if chocolate is a vice for you and a way to unite that suffering to His, then by all means, continue to give it up!!
My fasting this year has been many years coming. For 14 years now, I've either been pregnant or nursing, so I haven't been able to do much with fasting. (other than the giving up chocolate or coffee or Mountain Dew or sweets). But only one full meal on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday have more or less been out for me. Not this year though! Not pregnant. Not nursing - my little guy weaned himself a month ago (waaaaaah!). But it was God's perfect timing and just in time for Lent!!
Two Lents ago I was really inspired by one of my closest friends. She fasted three days a week for both breakfast and lunch, but did allow herself one helping of food at dinner time (so they still ate dinner as a family - we all know how important family meal time is!!). To get through the day, she allowed herself to eat bread when her body needed it. As her belly grumbled and rumbled throughout the day, it was that constant reminder of that sacrifice she was making for Him and to rely on Him to get through the day. And, get this - by the end of Lent, she had lost 10 pounds!! (she got me there!!) After 8 babies, I have some extra weight to lose. You calculate those last few pounds that are so hard to shed times my 8 babies, well, yeah, you know what than comes to! ....around 25 pounds! Oy!! Is losing this amount of weight my goal for Lent? Nah, I'll be happy to lose even 10. Even losing 5, I'd be thrilled!!
I've made it through 5 days so far - Ash Wednesday and the Friday after, and then the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of the first full week of Lent. And today I start my second week of fasting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I am tweaking my friend's fast a bit and not doing the bread throughout the day. My hubby has done some fasting over the years and said the bread/water allowed sometimes makes it harder and makes you more hungry, so he suggested I go cold turkey. Cold turkey, it is!! Thankfully, I keep pretty busy from the time I wake up til that dinner time hits, so truly it has been doable to do this. I am very reliant on prayer throughout the day, for sure.
Here's a peek at my fasting days....
My belly rumbles and grumbles constantly at me all. day. long. From the time I get up and my feet his the floor. When I'm showering and getting ready for the day. Feeding my 8 kids their own breakfast. Grumble. ++Lord, be with me+ Teaching them school. Giving the baby snacks. Rumble. ++I need You++ Teaching more school. Giving baths. Grumble. Rumble. ++Help me do this!!++ Running to activities/classes. Reading books. Rumble. ++All for You++ Making lunch. Grumble. Serving lunch. More school. More running to and from. Rumble. Grumble. Phew - time to make dinner. ++Thank you, almost there...++ It's getting closer!! Rumble. Grumble. Family dinner time! I get to eat with my husband and eight great kiddos!! Yippeee!!
++thank you, God!!++
So, there's my take on a Catholic Weight Loss program for Lent. And because I highly doubt I'll lose the full 25 pounds that my body could lose, I may continue with a plan similar to this after Lent., if even for one day a week. It can be such a blessing to sacrifice and fast from food like this and lift up your heart and rumbly grumbly belly to Our Lord to help you get through it.
And before I send you all off, I couldn't help but share a little wisdom from some holy ones who have gone before us and paved the way on true beauty. Because truly, it is not about how much we weigh, or skinny or squishy we are, etc... it's about the beauty of our soul and the JOY of our Lord living in and shining through us...
"Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul."
“The only ones who are truly beautiful are those who look beautiful when they come in out of the rain. That kind of beauty comes from the inside out, not from the outside in. It is the product of virtue, not rouge; it is not skin-deep, but soul-deep.”
~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”