Are people fasting or just dieting?

Daphne Oseña-Paez asked this question on her Twitter account a couple of days ago, and I think it’s a valid question. If you fast and abstain over Lent but have a weight loss target to meet, is it still counted as a sacrifice?

Fasting and abstinence is supposed to be a form of penance for our sins, a form of sacrifice. While it is a sacrifice for a person to eat less food or not eat meat, if the end goal is to lose weight and, by extension, look better, then where’s the penance in that? How is it still counted as sacrifice if you still benefit in the end?

Of course I’m not saying people shouldn’t fast and/or abstain over Lent. Neither am I claiming to be some sort of expert on theology or religion. But there is something amiss if, when fasting/abstaining, forgiveness for sins is not the only motivation.

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