I Gave Up Fast Food For Lent, And Here's What I Learned

As a college student who is juggling classes, internships and student organizations, I am no stranger to fast food. I am a fast food junkie. I love french fries, I love a quarter pounder, I love the breakfast menu.

Fast food is a cheap and quick option for students’ dinners, but in no means does that mean it’s the healthiest. I was getting to a point where I was eating fast food two or three nights out of the week, and I was feeling the side effects.

I was feeling slower than usual, I was craving sugar at all times and I had no idea what I was putting in my body.

When Ash Wednesday came around this year, I used it as a learning experience and decided that for Lent, I would give up fast food.

For those who are a bit unsure, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, which lasts until Easter Sunday. Traditionally, Roman Catholics, Orthodox Churches, Episcopalians, Anglicans and some Protestant denominations celebrate by fasting for the next few weeks. Most of the time, people will choose one thing that they will give up until Easter.

Easter is quickly approaching, and I am proud to say that I have steered clear of fast food, and I am loving how I am feeling!

I began to notice that since beginning this little month-long journey, I do not give my mentality enough credit. It is so much stronger than what I thought was possible. There were countless times that I was just not loving the idea of cooking dinner for myself, and when McDonald’s was looking a little too friendly for my liking. When those moments came across, I mentally slapped myself on the wrist and reminded myself why I was doing this: Not only for the spirit of Lent but also to better myself.

As the days went on, I found that it was beginning to get easier to walk past Panera on the way to class without looking through the window with puppy eyes. It was easier to sit in the passenger seat of my car without trying to steal a few of my boyfriend’s fries from Burger King.

Not only was my mind getting stronger, but so were my energy levels. I didn’t realize how much of a toll junk food was taking on me until I quit cold turkey. It was so much easier to remain awake and focused through my afternoon classes without a greasy burger sitting in my stomach. I was now starting to run for longer periods of time in the gym!

One of the biggest achievements of this cleanse, however, is the money I’ve saved. I never realized how much money I spent on fast food joints until now; those dollar menu items really add up!

I’ve learned this past month that I do not need fast food, and I feel so much better without it, anyway. I’m going to continue carrying this mentality forward even after Easter, and really focus on cooking for myself more often.

But if you see me in the McDonald’s drive-thru line on Monday, just don’t say anything.