Obesity – A life out of balance

If lifestyle diseases are the bane of modern life, then obesity is the root! – The Hindu

Good health is often less appreciated until we start to lose it. God designed the human body to be a finely tuned instrument most resilient on earth. However, our body is not designed to handle excess, whether in the form of nourishment, fuel, or additives. Significance given to health dates back to the time of Moses, where the law of Moses consists of distinctive commands pertaining to good health given to the people of God.

Oh listen, dear child—become wise; point your life in the right direction. …don’t eat too much food and get fat. (Prov. 23:20, MSG). Obesity, the most untended health condition today, is one of the major medical and financial burdens of India. In India, obesity has affected more than 135 million individuals and is rapidly spurting. Today’s obesity epidemic is the result of the healthy interacting with an unhealthy environment that encourages inappropriate and seemingly unconscious eating of unhealthy foods in large quantities coupled with poor physical activity. This imbalance of eating too much and moving too little is the biggest contributor to weight gain.

Gluttony or binge-eating though not synonymous with obesity, is a vital kick in to weight gain. Today gluttony has significant implications, like how Thomas Aquinas calls it “… an inordinate desire…” that is most tolerated and easily overlooked in our society unlike smoking and drinking which are equally bad. Being gluttonous is bad not because it makes one obese, but it builds an obsession with physical pleasure, presumably at the expense of one’s worth and purpose. More often boredom and depletion make a person gorge. Unsatisfactory life, empty relationships and mundane work-life make food our best friend. Also, oft-times we do not realise we are overeating unless we take notice.

Food fixation is a new normal today. With dedicated food channels, popular cooking shows, enticing food blogs with eye-catching food photos, new fad diets, it’s no secret that many of us are obsessed with food today. Asheritah Ciuciu describes food fixation as “the inordinate preoccupation with thoughts and longings for food”. Food fixation is not only about overeating but also obsessing over clean and organic foods, a kind of food-righteousness. Both diets manifest the cardinal sin: the golden calf of food idolatry.

So, how should one think about food? How do we balance being good stewards of our bodies while not becoming consumed by certain behaviours?

Our body is a beautiful creation, a priceless gift from God and so it is imperative to take our bodies seriously. A strong, healthy body helps us achieve our purpose and goals tellingly. To cope with obesity successfully, first we should identify the basic behaviours that could be the cause and fix them one by one. Also, when we are tempted towards any form of unhealthy gratification, we should find the cause and case of the temptation and carefully fight it in a holistic way.

Food is not just a source of nourishment to our body, but indeed a true delight. Having said that, we should be careful not to make food our master. We should become conscious eaters. Some of the alternative, healthy means for that release and “wind down” are exercise or any form of physical activity, playing outdoor games, cultivating new hobbies, practising a pattern of work and rest i.e., having a set work time throughout each day.

The rule of thumb for health is, “…Run to Good! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!” (Prov. 3:8). Paul encourages and disciplines the people of Ephesus to “take off the old self” that’s unhealthy and inordinate and “put on the new self” and be renewed in body and mind (Eph. 4:22–24). Similarly, to achieve a balance in our health and fitness, we must put aside old habits and cultivate new ones.

We are God’s creation not by chance but by choice, fearfully and wonderfully designed in his image. To be the most resilient on earth, we ought to keep our bodies properly tuned and well maintained to maximally achieve and influence the people and society.


 

 

 

 

 

Author: Priyadarshini Emerson is an RCCA Alumna.  She holds a Masters in Biotechnology and a PG Diploma in Intellectual Property Rights Law.  She also worked as a researcher in the pharmaceutical industry.  She loves to converse with people and share the experience of freedom in knowing the Truth.

 


Bibliography

Ahirwar R, Mondal PR. Prevalence of obesity in India: A systematic review. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2019 Jan-Feb;13(1):318-321.

K Jeshi. “The myth behind obesity in India”. The Hindu, 23 July 2019.

“How should a Christian view weight loss?”. GotQuestions.org.
https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-weight-loss.html

“Is gluttony a sin?”. GotQuestions.org.
https://www.gotquestions.org/gluttony-sin.html

Piper, John. “How Can I Conquer Gluttony?”. Desiringgod.org.
https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-can-i-conquer-gluttony

Reaoch, Stacy. “Let Not Food Destroy the Body”. Desiringgod.org.
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/let-not-food-destroy-the-body

Piper, John. “A Bite-Sized Theology of Food”. Desiringgod.org.
https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/a-bite-sized-theology-of-food

Rao G, ‘The unconscious eater – The modern glutton”. Hekint.org.
https://hekint.org/2017/01/27/the-unconscious-eater-the-modern-glutton/

Ortlund, Gavin. “How to Fight Unhealthy Snacking”. Desiringgod.org.
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-fight-unhealthy-snacking

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