5 Signs You’re Treating Lent Like a Diet

Catholic? Asking yourself, “What should I give up for Lent?” It might not be food. Here are five signs you might be treating Lent like a diet.

1: You binge big-time on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Fastnacht Day/Pancake Day/Whatever because that’s the only way to gear up for fasting on Ash Wednesday

If the lead-up to Lent is an exercise in gluttony because you’ll “be good tomorrow,” you’re losing sight of the fact that you’re already good. Fasting doesn’t make you better.

2: Your penances are mostly if not all food-related

If you focus your Lenten penances on “making my food good” or “eating better” or “fixing my relationship with food” to the exclusion of penances that help you grow in self-control (rather than food-control), you might be treating Lent like a 40-day fix-it program.

3: You’re relying on the scale to evaluate whether or not you’re being “good”

If your Lenten penances are about making yourself weigh a certain number and not about God’s redemptive power to save, you might be missing the point of these 40 days.

4: When you slip on your Lenten penance, you go overboard, thinking, “Well, I’ve already messed up. I might as well enjoy myself.”

This is a big one, and it’s common. It’s also the spiritual equivalent of, “Well, I’ve broken one of my bones. I may as well go break the rest of them.” If all your slips become slides, you might be treating Lent like a diet.

5: You try to “balance” your slips with even more restriction, which is even more difficult, so you slip again, so you try to “balance,” so you slip again…

There’s balance, and then there’s putting ourselves on a roller coaster. We may climb aboard that roller coaster unconsciously or compulsively, but it’s still intentionally. The intention is to make space in our lives for gluttony rather than making space in our hearts and souls for relationship with God and with God through other persons.

Did I skip any?

If you are sick to death of this cycle, there is hope. One option: a free download of my webinar, “Fast Food: Finding Food Freedom for Lent and Beyond.”

In this talk, I go into ways to identify unhealthy patterns disguised as “penance,” and I offer tools to and alternatives to use Lent less as a diet and more as an invitation into deeper relationship with the God of our restoration.

Get your download of “Fast Food” here!

That download access also includes a $40 discount on my 6-week Catholic food freedom course Filled with Good: Theology of the Body for Food Addicts . That discount expires at midnight on the First Sunday of Lent 2023, so:

  • Act fast! A webinar cohort is forming to start with the free intro webinar on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 12noon Eastern. This might be your time!
  • If you missed that deadline, check out the Filled with Good free intro and automatically get on the list to receive other discounts as they come along.

What is Filled with Good?

Filled with Good: Theology of the Body for Food Addicts provides Catholic Diet Tools for the spiritual and emotional side of your weight loss program.

If you’ve been searching for a:

  • Catholic diet plan
  • Catholic spiritual weight loss program
  • Relief from emotional eating
  • Break from compulsive overeating

and you want to lean on your Catholic faith as your path to a new way of eating?

Check out the free intro to

Filled with Good:

Theology of the Body for Food Addicts

Theology of the Body for Food Addicts Course for Catholic Weight Loss Emotional Eating Healing