Growing up as a sort of “christian for the sake of cultural literacy,” I had never heard of giving anything up for Lent. I suppose it was my husband, who grew up very Catholic, who explained it to me while we were dating.

I think we tried it that first year we dated. He gave up fast food and I gave up chocolate. Another year, I think I gave up meat. One year I vowed 8 glasses of water every day.

See a theme?

I’ve come to adopt Lent as my very own 6 week bootcamp. Now stripped of any religious significance for me, it’s just a really nice time frame to focus on my health and fitness for almost exclusively vain reasons. It’s perfect. Six weeks and a half weeks, Sundays off. Plus you finish just as you emerge from oversized sweaters and puffy coats. Sacrifice for vain and selfish reasons. Heathen Lent.

Plus, if you say “oh, I’ve given up chocolate/meat/chips/candy/pop/booze for Lent” no one questions it. That’s weird, right? Somehow making a dietary gesture to a guy who supposedly spent 40 days in the desert is a perfectly legitimate excuse for not eating Ruffles all-dressed chips.

In any case, it starts tomorrow. In addition to giving up chips and chocolate, I’ve also got an aggressive little workout schedule planned. Come April, I’m totally going to be hot for Jesus.