Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – For many people the season of Lent is a time to take a step back, evaluate what is important and think about sacrifice. People of the Catholic faith refrain from eating meat on Fridays. In addition, Catholics and people from other Christian faiths also “give up”something such as eating high-calorie desserts or kicking a bad habit such as smoking. According to Michael Koller, MD, internal medicine physician at Loyola University Health System, Lent can play an important role in creating a healthy lifestyle.
“Lent is a great opportunity to get started on a track to better health. Since it’s only 40 days, that’s a goal people feel they can attain,” said Koller. “Since it’s Lent, there will be lots of people around to support you and not tempt you to fall off track.”
Often people think of the start of the new year as the time to make resolutions for a healthier life, but according to Koller, Lent is a better time since it’s a focused 40-day period.
“Whenever making a lifestyle change, the first few weeks are always the hardest. The 40 days of Lent gives a reasonable timeframe to make and maintain a successful lifestyle change,” said Koller.
For instance, if you are already giving up meat for Lent, Koller suggest using it as a time to make healthier decisions such as eating baked or broiled seafood and staying away from fried or sautéed items.
Easter is coming, but Koller warns against using the celebratory holiday as an excuse to go back to old habits.
“Going back to your old ways when Easter comes around is one of the worst things you can do. You should celebrate, but don’t slide back into old routines. Try to stick with moderation as you go beyond the Easter season,” said Koller.
He also encourages parishioners to keep their priests’ and ministers’ health in mind when considering bringing them an Easter gift.
“Think twice before bringing your priest or minister a high-calorie dessert as a gift. We need to have healthy priests and ministers and it’s hard for them to refuse a gift from a well-meaning parishioner. Bringing gifts is a wonderful idea, just try to make sure it’s a healthy gift,” said Koller.
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Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.