Many would agree that our nation has a weight loss obsession. Television, Instagram, Facebook all contribute to the focus of women’s and girl’s bodies being on display. The message does not seem to change—to look one’s best, you must decrease in size.
Weight discrimination in America is very real. You might be surprised by the following facts: being overweight is the number one reason children are bullied. A majority of overweight people report delaying seeking medical treatment and/or weight being a barrier to getting appropriate health care. Overweight and obese individuals have up to 6% less earnings than people in comparable positions.
Americans spend $30 billion dollars annually, 100 million on diets. 85% of these are female. When feeling desperate about handling these internal and external pressures, women and girls often reach for a quick fix. Step One: Restriction. Step Two: Deprivation. Step Three: Binge.
Failure then marks the experience of focusing too much on weight, and depression and anxiety can follow.
There is now a trend in disordered eating called “Orthorexia” which is the obsession with “healthy” eating or being “healthy” to an extreme—one which interferes with normal everyday life. The beliefs that contribute to this condition are listed below:
- eating nothing else but organic foods
- “clean eating” is the only acceptable way
- no processed foods allowed
- excessive exercise
- a “better than” mentality, that is, there is always a better weight, a better diet or a better look.
Well there it is—the root of this obsession with weight. It is the belief that there is ONE better way than everyone else’s way of doing things. Sometimes people are made to think that there is a body-mass-index in the Bible. People forget that manna from heaven (sounds like carb loading to me) though it was not green (veggies and fruits deleted?) was actually acceptable.
Jesus warned us not to judge one another. He wanted us to care for ourselves and the temples He created us to be—but not be obsessed with worshipping them. Our worship is of the Lord and His love for us. Our beauty is not external. Our health is precious but our emotional health will suffer if we harbor judgmental attitudes toward our own bodies or toward our sisters in Christ. We are to love ourselves as we are. Today. Now. Not in the future when we hit our ideal weight.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fear the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 21:30