Lent has partially transitioned from a yearly religious observance to a cultural idea that non-church goers take part in. As the story goes, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert without food or water – that’s hardcore. The rationale of Lent is such: if Jesus can go without these essentials for so long, we can surely give up something for those same 40 days.
The purpose of Lent is to give up something for God or to take up a new, healthy habit. While nowhere is it written that people should give up food for Lent, that has certainly become a well-publicized norm.
Starting the day after we binge-eat on Mardi Gras (that’s French for “fat Tuesday”), people around the world commonly pledge to give up sweets, alcohol, bread, meat – the list goes on. It’s all about personal preference and how much you are willing to challenge yourself.
To help bring some humor into the discussion, Schmidt from Fox’s hit sitcom, New Girl, has got you covered. Here are the stages of Lent as told by our trusty, high-cultured, fan favorite TV character. There is no intentional irony in the fact that Schmidt is as Jewish as they come.
1. You’re interested in your friends’ goals
It’s just all so exciting. What will we all live without for the next 40 days? Everyone seems to be talking about the food they’re giving up, and the competition is quite motivating.
2. All anyone can talk about is Lent
We get it, you’re trying to improve yourself. Maybe these conversations were fun at the beginning, but at this point things are getting a bit redundant. Shall we talk about something else?
3. You eat your heart out before Lent begins
Hey, you have to make these last couple days of freedom count. Mardi Gras isn’t arbitrarily named, and there’s plenty of tasty grub to fatten up on before your big change.
4. You pump yourself up for this journey
Because every quest should start with some self-motivation. Whether you write down your goals, talk them over with a friend, or have a little chit-chat with yourself, it’s always easier to stay on track once you’ve actually defined your goals. Mirror not required.
5. You start to realize how long 40 days actually is
This is more than a month, people. That’s no easy feat. However, many people see Sundays as a day off of Lent. There are six Sundays within the 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. With a little math, we can figure out that 46 – 6 gives us those famous 40 days of lent. Looks like there is a little room to cheat.
6. You put up with people asking why you’re doing this
I just want to better myself, ok? Plus, this is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself amongst friends and people across the world. It’s much easier to tackle this knowing we’re not in it alone.
7. You feel the cravings kicking in
The potential for failure is everywhere. It takes some strong willpower to resist that chocolate cake or pizza topped with melty-cheesy deliciousness, so you start to wonder: what if I just take one little bite?
8. You accidentally reach for the forbidden food
You must force yourself to resist. We’re all surrounded by phrases such as “I can’t eat that, I gave it up for Lent” during this time, and old habits are hard to kick to the curb.
9. You force yourself to take a step back
Take a line from Kelly Clarkson, and “just walk away.” I promise you can do it.
10. You make your friends praise your accomplishments
“Please congratulate me,” you beg. Getting through Lent is a whole lot easier when you have some outside support. With anything in life, spoken acknowledgments make you feel like you’re truly getting somewhere in your journey. *snaps*
11. You tell yourself that worse things are happening
Maybe not eating chocolate for 40 days actually isn’t the worst thing out there. Yes, things are getting rough, but you must stay strong. You can’t eat whatever you want, but looking at photos doesn’t hurt. Try scrolling through some of the best #Spoonfeed photos and live vicariously through them.
12. You ask why you ever did this to yourself
I wanted a challenge, I wanted to be healthier, it was peer pressure. You are not required to be religious in order to embark on this challenge, but it sure can be a chip on your shoulder realizing you brought this on yourself.
13. You feel the jealousy start to kick in
It seems as though everyone not observing Lent is happily eating their way through life while you’re stuck with a limited diet. At this point, it’s easier to just look away.
14. You might have cheated by this point
I promise I tried. “A” for effort. But, if you’re going to cheat, you might as well go big with a super indulgent milkshake.
15. You get called out by your friend when you slip up
So you retaliate with an equally brutal jab. Life is hard as it is, but life is harder without jokes and friends to make fun of.
16. You know you’re just days away from Easter
The finish line is within reach; you may just make it. All these ignored cravings and temptations won’t be wasted.
17. You get used to life without the food you gave up
Ermahgawd self-improvement feels good. Maybe you’ll commit yourself to a healthier life overall.
18. You still long for your forbidden food
Finding that balance of challenge and torture is a fine line. Maybe it’s time to see if there are any healthy alternatives to the junk you used to eat that fit with your current diet.
19. You finally hit Good Friday which means…
…only two more days. You’re nearly there, and man does it feel good.
20. You survived, and it’s Easter Sunday
You’ve made it through. Time to start stocking up on those Easter candies – check this definitive ranking to decide which you want to eat first.
21. You congratulate yourself…
40 days of strength have come to an end.
22. You stuff your face
Yum. Knowing you reached your goal feels almost as good as pizza tastes.
23. You’ve earned it, my friend
Until next year, Lent.