Saturday, July 29, 2006

What a way to start the day

Thanks to TulipGirl for starting out my day by ruining my appetite!

You have to check out this interactive map on Obesity in the U.S. It shows, in the most shocking and visual way, how our country has gotten frighteningly more obese since 1985. (That happens to be the year I was married. Hopefully there is not some sort of causal relationship there, although my daughter pointed out that even I have gained weight since my wedding day.)

The church no longer addresses the issue of gluttony. I almost think it would take more courage for a pastor to preach against gluttony than to preach against divorce. A lot of pastors would not touch the topic because they themselves are obviously guilty of that sin.

So many of us are in denial. Our family teaches martial arts and we have been surprised, over the years, at how parents will describe their obese children as "stocky", "having a bit of a belly", or "needing to be a bit more fit". I don't think parents need to tell me, "As you can plainly see, my kid is a tub of lard. Can you help?" But I do think it is ridiculous to claim, "Well, maybe he could lose a pound or two" and to send him off to class with a bag of candy and junk food as a snack.

It is surprising and upsetting to see how many kids look like middle-age adults with big sagging bellies. As parents, we are to blame. It's ridiculous to try to shift the blame on school lunches, when we are the ones feeding our children breakfast, dinner, snacks, etc. --- and we ourselves are getting fatter and fatter.

Recently I read an online discussion where American women were bemoaning the fact that it is so hard to find "plus size" clothing in Europe. "The women here are so ridiculously skinny," one woman wrote. No, I thought. It's that we Americans have become so ridiculously fat.

Look at the map. It's all there, and it's frightening.

For the sake of our children, we need to change. Some of us are. For encouragement, I'd recommend heading over to Mommy Life, where Barbara Curtis has lost 63 pounds! Woo hoo!


  1. This is so true. When was the last time you heard the word "gluttony" from the pulpit? Like, never. It is very disturbing. You hit the nail on the head.

  2. It seems to have happened so fast. . .

    I never lost my post-#4 baby weight. And then when we moved back to the States, I gained 20 lbs. Oh, my. *blush*

    I've found Barbara Curtis to be quite inspiring to get up and get going, and not simply think that once my hormones were balanced again, I'd go back to where I was. . . And when my husband sat down and told me he loved me, found my body appealing, but was worried about my health. . . well. . . That was the wake-up call I needed.

    And I had te horrid realization not terribly long ago, that though I'm well aware of what is healthy and not for my children, I had begun relying on sugary, starchy, processed foods. Alas, the health-food-mama I started out as, had really slidden down the path of easy, cheap snacks.

    Thankfully, we've always eaten a variety of veggies and my boys are willing to try new things and eat healthy foods. So we're simply working on making good foods "easy" and not be tempted to buy cheap snacks instead of good ones.

  3. I do hope you are not implying that all fat people are sinful for being fat. I would encourage you to read up on this trend of us growing larger (and not just popular media). Some good books include The Obesity Myth, Big Fat Lies, and Fat Politics. Yes, we have, on average, become 10 pounds larger. We have also become taller. And older. And many of us fat people are not gluttons or sloths, despite what the media (and perhaps the church?) want you to believe. Healthy, God-given bodies come in all sizes and shapes. Please read up on the Health at Every Size movement before trying to lose weight (something that has been shown to decrease lifespan even when done in "healthy" ways). Take care of the temple -- Feed it, Move it, and Don't judge yourself and others based on it.

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  5. The sin is gluttony --- no matter what size one may be. As a former skinny glutton, I freely admit that my gluttony was not any less sinful just because I could eat and eat without even gaining an ounce.

    Yes, people are taller and everyone ages. But weight charts and the map that I linked to take height into consideration. Overweight is overweight, no matter what height one may be.

    The latest statistics for my county is that fully a third of all children are overweight. This is not defined as over a set weight, thus "discriminating" against taller children. This is taking into account that fully a third of all children are overweight for their height and age.

    When I was a child, there were not this many overweight children. Few little boys looked like middle-aged guys with beer bellies. My friends in junior high who worried that they were "fat" would look downright skinny in most junior high schools today.

    Taking care of the temple also means maintaining a healthy weight. That weight may differ with different people. Some people's health can remain relatively unharmed despite being overweight. Others have to be more careful. I'm one of the ones whose body was simply not designed to carry a "few extra pounds".

    The best thing I ever did for my health was losing weight.