Lent is officially over on Holy Thursday (April 17), marking an end to weeks of abstinence from vices like rich food.

The traditional period of 40 days marks the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the wilderness. It also commemorates the 40 days Jesus spent avoiding temptation by Satan.

The end of Lent has been observed on Holy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, since at least 1969, when the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar were released, writes Scott P. Richert at About.com.

But the traditional ending takes place on Holy Saturday (April 19), the day before Easter Sunday.

(The Lent period is different for Eastern Churches, which begin practicing it on Clean Monday, two days before Ash Wednesday.)

Though a Christian observance, Lent has also been embraced by non-religious people who set out challenges by denying themselves substances such as heavy food, alcohol, sugar and caffeine.

Health experts warn that those who partake in Lent should be careful at its ending, as there are risks associated with coming off a strict diet.

Reintroducing a foreign substance can upset a person's stomach and cause digestive issues, dietitian Linda Van Horn told Medill Reports Chicago.

"(It's) no wonder that you feel sick if you’ve eaten no chocolate for six weeks, and then you’re eating a box, an entire chocolate rabbit or something like that,” she said.

Some fasts can also reduce one's tolerance for certain kinds of food, registered dietitian and personal trainer Barbara Fine told the website, citing a need for less coffee as an example.

Both dietitians recommend reintroducing certain foods gradually, and not to eat that chocolate bunny all at once.

Like this article? Follow our Facebook page
Or follow us on Twitter

Loading Slideshow...
  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the 'Holy Fire' as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city on May 4, 2013 during the 'Holy Fire' ceremony on the eve of the Orthodox Easter. Believers hold that the fire is miraculously sent from heaven to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch in an annual rite dating back to the 4th century that symbolises the resurrection of Jesus. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the 'Holy Fire' as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city on May 4, 2013 during the 'Holy Fire' ceremony on the eve of the Orthodox Easter. Believers hold that the fire is miraculously sent from heaven to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch in an annual rite dating back to the 4th century that symbolises the resurrection of Jesus. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    A Christian Orthodox worshipper holds up candles lit from the 'Holy Fire' as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city on May 4, 2013 during the 'Holy Fire' ceremony on the eve of the Orthodox Easter. Believers hold that the fire is miraculously sent from heaven to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch in an annual rite dating back to the 4th century that symbolises the resurrection of Jesus. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 04:(Israel out) Christian worshipers light candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 04, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The ancient fire ritual celebrates the Messiah's resurrection after being crucified on the cross. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 04:(Israel out) Christian worshipers light candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 04, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The ancient fire ritual celebrates the Messiah's resurrection after being crucified on the cross. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 04:(Israel out) Christian worshipers light candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 04, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The ancient fire ritual celebrates the Messiah's resurrection after being crucified on the cross. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 04:(Israel out) Christian worshipers light candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 04, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The ancient fire ritual celebrates the Messiah's resurrection after being crucified on the cross. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    Macedonian Orthodox light up their candles from the holy fire that arrived from Jerusalem during the Easter service at the Saint-Jovan Bigorski monastery some 145 km west from the capital Skopje, early on May 5, 2013. The Macedonian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, according to the Julian calendar. AFP PHOTO/ROBERT ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MAY 04:(Israel out) Christian worshipers light candles lit from a flame that emerged from the tomb believed to be of Jesus Christ as they take part in the ceremony of the holy fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher May 04, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The ancient fire ritual celebrates the Messiah's resurrection after being crucified on the cross. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi /Getty Images)

  • Orthodox Easter Jerusalem

    Macedonian Orthodox light up their candles from the holy fire that arrived from Jerusalem during the Easter service at the Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery some 145 km west from the capital Skopje, early on May 5, 2013. The Macedonian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, according to the Julian calendar.AFP PHOTO/ROBERT ATANASOVSKI (Photo credit should read ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Easter at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow early on May 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox priests celebrate Easter at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow early on May 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Easter at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow early on May 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Easter at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow early on May 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Easter at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow early on May 5, 2013. TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Easter in a church in Moscow early on May 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ANDREY SMIRNOV (Photo credit should read ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Easter in a church in Moscow early on May 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ANDREY SMIRNOV (Photo credit should read ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bulgarian Orthodox Easter

    Bulgaria's Orthodox Church newly elected Patriarch Neophyte leads the Easter service in front of the golden-domed Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia on May 05, 2013. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, according to the Julian calendar. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bulgarian Orthodox Easter

    Bulgaria's Orthodox Church newly elected Patriarch Neophyte shares the holy light during the Easter service at the golden-domed Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia on May 5, 2013. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, according to the Julian calendar. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Bulgarian Orthodox Easter

    Bulgaria's Orthodox Church newly elected Patriarch Neophyte (C) leads the Easter service in front of the golden-domed Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia on May 5, 2013. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter, according to the Julian calendar. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV (Photo credit should read NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Georgian Orthodox Easter

    Orthodox believers walk around the Sion Cathedral holding candles as they celebrate Easter in Tbilisi early on May 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO/VANO SHLAMOV (Photo credit should read VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    People followers of the Greek Orthodox Church kiss the feet of an image of Jesus crucified during the ceremony marking the Apokathelosis, the removal of Christ's dead body from the Cross, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    A woman follower of the Greek Orthodox Church kisses the feet of an image of Jesus crucified during the ceremony marking the Apokathelosis, the removal of Christ's dead body from the Cross, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    Greek Orthodox followers visit a church before the the Apokathelosis, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Romanian Orthodox Easter

    Romanian orthodox Christians hold lighten candles to commemorate the death of Jesus by crucifixion, three days ahead of Easter celebration in Boteni village on May 3, 2013. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    A Russian Orthodox priest blesses Easter food and believers on May 4, 2013 on the eve of the Orthodox Easter celebration in Saint-Petersburg. AFP PHOTO/OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    A Russian Orthodox believer prays on May 4, 2013 on the eve of the Orthodox Easter celebration in a church in Saint-Petersburg. AFP PHOTO/OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    A Russian Orthodox believer prays on May 4, 2013 on the eve of the Orthodox Easter celebration in a church in Saint-Petersburg. AFP PHOTO/OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Russian Orthodox Easter

    Russian Orthodox believers pray on May 4, 2013 on the eve of the Orthodox Easter celebration in a church in Saint-Petersburg. AFP PHOTO/OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Coptic Easter

    Egyptian Christian Orthodox women attend Easter mass led by of Egypt's Coptic Christian, Pope Tawadros II at the Saint Mark's Coptic Cathedral, in Cairo's al-Abbassiya district late on May 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Romanian Orthodox Easter

    A Romanian Orthodox believer visits the ossuary of Pasarea monastery as candles write in Romanian 'Christ is Risen' during Easter celebration in Pasarea village, Bucharest on May 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Romanian Orthodox Easter

    A Romanian Orthodox nun lights a candle for the dead people inside to the ossuary of Pasarea monastery during Easter celebration in Pasarea village, Bucharest on May 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Egyptian Copts

    Ethiopian Christian orthodox women attend Easter mass led by of Egypt's Coptic Christian, Pope Tawadros II at the Saint Mark's Coptic Cathedral, in Cairo's al-Abbassiya district late on May 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Coptic Easter

    Ethiopian Christian Orthodox women attend Easter mass led by of Egypt's Coptic Christian, Pope Tawadros II at the Saint Mark's Coptic Cathedral, in Cairo's al-Abbassiya district late on May 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    A woman follower of the Greek Orthodox Church kisses the feet of an image of Jesus crucified during the ceremony marking the Apokathelosis, the removal of Christ's dead body from the Cross, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    People followers of the Greek Orthodox Church kiss the feet of an image of Jesus crucified during the ceremony marking the Apokathelosis, the removal of Christ's dead body from the Cross, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    Greek Orthodox priests carry out the Apokathelosis, the removal of Christ's dead body from the Cross, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteliin Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    Greek Orthodox priests carry out the Apokathelosis, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteliin Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    People followers of the Greek Orthodox Church stand in front of an image of Jesus crucified during the ceremony marking the Apokathelosis, the removal of Christ's dead body from the Cross, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greek Orthodox Easter

    Greek Orthodox priests carry out the Apokathelosis, which forms a key part of Orthodox Easter, in a ceremony at the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Penteliin Penteli, north Athens on May 3 , 2013. Millions of Greeks flock to churches around the country this week to celebrate Easter, the country's foremost religious celebration. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Also on HuffPost: