Usually I delete my multiple spam comments and move on with life, but today one of the spam comments led to the inspiration of a post.
Here is the comment that was left, which or may or not be spam, but I consider it spam because it had a link and provided no value or commentary on the post for which it was left.
Great Blog! You’ve got some great info here.
Thanx, really enjoyed reading it.
For those if you who are still tryong to lose weight I suggest you read the most contrversial weight loss article online related to weight loss and spirituality, talking about whether God punishes you if you’re fat.
And here is most of the article (written by By Tom Venuto) that the comment refers to. The article on this site was full of links to the other site, assumably for a commission since the site sells something (I kept scrolling down the page but never figured out what exactly the main product was).
Article: Faith Based Diets: Does God Punish You For Being Fat?
Faith based diets have been around for decades. But is overeating really a sin? Does God punish you for being fat? A recent column in an issue of USA Today answers, weight loss is hard enough without feeling that the almighty is on your back, too.
… Speaking of God, that brings me to the subject of this article. As I was finishing up the last few bites of my high protein omelette, I came across an article in USA Today that I simply HAD to pass on to you because its related to some of the weight loss work I’ve been recently doing and it bears some important lessons.
The column, written by Christine Whelan, a professor of sociology, said that religious diet groups are growing in number and some of them say that God might not approve of that second piece of pie. In fact, some of these groups, reported Whelan, warn that God will punish you for overeating and being fat. The Weigh Down Workshop, one of the most hard-line of such groups, tells their participants that God will destroy you if you abuse your body by overeating.
Well, we’ve certainly heard of gluttony referred to as a deadly sin, but is this going a little too far
I’m not sure what other people think, but I prefer to think of God as a loving God, who does not punish a person in the hereafter for being fat in this life. But then again, why would he have to? He has created a magnificent physical world based on immutable physical laws of cause and effect, reward and consequence, which mete out all the punishment needed, right here in this life: diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoarthritis, gout, and even cancer. All of them are linked to obesity. Combined with the emotional pain of being overweight and the lower quality (and sometimes quantity) of life, I’d say that’s punishment enough, wouldn’t you?
… I don’t believe that instilling guilt or fear of eternal damnation is an uplifting way to change behavior. Perhaps it might be effective for some, as fear of consequences can be a powerful motivator. But aren’t there more positive ways to achieve behavior modification than hellfire and brimstone?
For example, metaphors are also powerful motivators, especially because metaphors are language that your unconscious mind can understand. Didn’t Jesus teach in parables and metaphors? What if you said your body was like a temple? Would you behave differently? Would you look after your temple with more care? Those with spiritual beliefs almost certainly would, if they kept that in mind and believed it on a deep level.
In my books, I delve into the emotional, psychological and social aspects of body fat loss.
Some of the chapters are devoted to teaching you how to build a fortress of positive, uplifting, inspiring energy around you in the form of positive, uplifting, and inspiring people. But many of my readers and clients tell me this is easier said than done in their world. What am I supposed to do when peer pressure from my friends is pulling me down? What do I do if my own family won’t support my new, healthier choices? What if they keep bringing potato chips, cookies and ice cream into the house? What if no one supports me?
Enter spiritual diet support groups. Not all of these groups are so extreme as to pronounce that being fat is a sin. And as Whelan put it, religion may be the ultimate trump card of many behavior modification programs.
No matter how independent we are, we all need support in our journeys toward personal improvement. It’s the great paradox of succeeding in any endeavor in life – you have to do it by yourself, but you can’t do it alone.
Spiritual communities and religious support groups can be the last refuge of support and encouragement for some people. For anyone with spiritual beliefs, these groups may be one of the best places of all to turn for social support. There’s your church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship. There are also organized weight loss support groups.
… As I have said before, body fat is not a person, it’s a temporary physical condition. What we really are is far more than physical bodies.
There’s enough guilt, fear and shame for people who are struggling with weight issues already. They don’t need any more negativity from their spiritual leaders. Instead, if you are a person of faith, use your spiritual community as a source of social support and inspiration, and motivate yourself by focusing on the positive and uplifting side. It will pay you eternal dividends.
And here are excerpts from the article mentioned from Christine Whelan off of Huffington Post.
Article: God: Skip Seconds This Thanksgiving?
… Faith-based weight loss groups have been a quietly growing presence for more than three decades. Organizations such as First Place 4 Health, a Texas-based group with chapters in more than 12,000 churches nationwide, and the Weigh Down Workshop,which offers in-person and online Bible-based weight-loss plans, boast that participants have lost the pounds (and kept them off) by placing more faith in God, and less in Ben & Jerry’s.
Previously the realm of fundamentalists, bringing a higher power into dieting has gone mainstream. Today, it’s not only Christians who see fat as a spiritual issue. According to Buddhist teachings — the latest religion to join the fray of pop faith-based dieting — it’s all about moderation and mindfulness.
In a country in which two-thirds of Americans are overweight and nearly a third are obese, it’s no surprise that in addition to tapping Jenny Craig or Robert Atkins, people are turning to the real Big Guy. The pounds are piling up, and shedding them is fraught with problems: Approximately half of women and one-third of men in the U.S. are on a diet at any given moment, and within a year, most people regain two-thirds of their lost weight.
Enter religion — the ultimate trump card of many behavior modification programs. For a believer, fear of offending your creator is a powerful force in overcoming the urge to make the shortsighted choice of a burger and fries instead of that leafy salad with light dressing. To underscore the consequences of overeating, the Weigh Down Workshop — one of the most hard-line Christian diet groups — tells participants that God will destroy those who abuse their bodies by overeating. Our bodies are God’s temples and, quoting Corinthians 3:17, the Weigh Down Workshop’s materials warn: “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
Does God really care?
Adding a helping of spirituality to your diet can give you the focus to get slim, but before we send two-thirds of America to be destroyed for eternity, let’s take a step back: While the sacred texts of all major religions advocate balance, God doesn’t really care what size you are.
Most major religions make suggestions about the proper balance between the necessity of eating and the dangers of overindulgence: According to the Quran, the prophet Mohammed tells his followers to “eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest my wrath should justly descend on you.” Muslims are instructed to leave one-third of their stomachs empty after finishing a meal, to allow room for air.
In the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament for Christians, food is central to brokering deals. In the New Testament, Jesus often showed that he respected the lowest members of society by sharing a meal with them. But to overeat or be too preoccupied with getting the best and most plentiful food might lead you to idolatry, warns St. Paul in Philippians 3:19 (“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”), so everything in moderation.
Gluttony one of the Seven Deadly Sins dating to the sixth century was associated with an obsession with food rather than God. But throughout the Middle Ages, girth and gluttony were separate. As the Renaissance gave way to the Industrial Revolution, a fat body signaled prosperity. Soon, however, medical wisdom took hold, and plus sizes became a negative. Once body size became the stamp of gluttony, it became the only of the Seven Deadly Sins always on display. Your body size is a signal to the world of how much you eat.
But is it really a sin to be pear-shaped? There is little theological support for the idea that one body type is holier than another. Modern interpretations of ancient texts argue that food and bodies are used as metaphors for larger spiritual issues. “It’s not the size of the body that’s the problem; it’s the fixation on food. And a fixation on thinness and dieting is just as serious a problem theologically as a fixation with overeating,” says R. Marie Griffith, professor of religion at Princeton University and author of Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity.
Plus-sized Americans have enough problems without worrying about whether their cellulite is a religious transgression, as well. Such psychological pressures could lead to unhealthful measures. “People will probably feel best about the process if they can focus on positive God-given desires and things that they want, rather than focusing on negatives, guilt and things that they fear or ‘should’ do to avoid being punished by God,” says Julie Exline, associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
And this is where Buddhist mindfulness techniques seem to have the answer for frustrated dieters in search of spiritual support. Jean Kristeller, professor of psychology at Indiana State University and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating, has developed a program that incorporates meditation, forgiveness and inner-searching exercises into the eating process. Participants are taught to do “mini-meditations” several times a day and, before eating, to consider the difference between actual hunger and a signal of anxiety, boredom or other psychological triggers. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, Kristeller’s studies have had promising results: Participants reported fewer eating binges and a greater sense of control over their eating and their life circumstances.
Mindful eating seminars teach participants to break the “stress-food-stress” chain and avoid making emotional decisions about food. Kim Book, a participant in a Duke University Integrative Medicine mindfulness program, said this was a breakthrough idea for her. Later in the week, instead of rewarding herself after a bad day with a milkshake, “an emotional decision about eating that had nothing to do with hunger or nutrition,” Book took a few moments to meditate. “Mindfulness gives you the space and time to make those wiser decisions.”
Contemplative practices are part of every major religious tradition, and plenty of similarities exist between mindful eating meditation programs and the prayer programs that Christian weight-loss groups suggest. Both highlight the difference between actually being hungry and wanting food to fill some other void. But these new meditation programs might be better suited for the growing group of spiritual-not-religious Americans. While Jesus is invoked at most Christian weight-loss seminars, Buddha doesn’t make an appearance at mindfulness workshops.
Indeed, some of the newer Christian weight-loss groups are preaching moderation in language that even spiritual seekers might find appealing: “God wants balance, and it’s more than the size that you are. The key to the program is being really loving,” says Barb Swanson, co-founder of BABES (Beautiful, Accountable Babes Exercising Sensibly), a women’s faith and diet group with chapters in more than 20 cities. “We’re not into sin and judgment. That’d make them afraid to come. These women already feel bad enough about themselves.”
My Thoughts on God and Dieting (Christian Perspective)
I found all of this interesting especially since last Sunday gluttony was mentioned as a sin during church and I spent about 5 minutes trying to get past the fact that I was severely guilty of that during the previous week.
I definitely think God calls people to take care of their bodies and overeating is an action against that call. I base this thought on several Bible verses. The one that always comes to mind for me when I think about this subject is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Those verses and others call for us to take care of our bodies so they may glorify God. I don’t think we should do things that harm our bodies – and overeating HARMS our bodies. For this part of our lives I think God does want balance, and healthiness. There should be balance in our eating and exercise.
I think a good way to think about what God wants for us in this area is to look at how we were made. We were made by God to be active, not to sit around all the time. We were made to eat whole, healthy foods from the earth, not the processed stuff we have created and called food. We were made to eat enough to live, not overstuff ourselves at every meal. We were made to live and worship God, not to worship the idol of FOOD.
We were made by God to eat and live a certain way and a healthy life will be as close to this as possible.
What do you think about God (or spirituality) and dieting?