Why diet?I suppose there is nothing more self-indulgent than writing about a diet. I decided to do so anyway, because many people are on diets.Being heavy is an odd thing in America. When you are over weight, fat if you dare, you are part of a majority of the culture. However, you are part of a majority that is despised and mocked. It was not always that way. My great-aunt used “stout” and “fat” as compliments in grown men.Perhaps one should just accept that weight comes with age and forget about dieting. Dieting is hard. Diets take a great deal of time and attention. Why do it?Social pressure is a bad reason. Our culture “likes” thin people and judges them more attractive. This tempts the vain to “lose weight” in order to “look better” and perhaps it would work. However, at my age there will always be something to criticize! Where would this end?Instead, I must begin my diet by being content what God has made me to be in my early forties. Finding this acceptance is important at any age and in any condition. My grounding must be in God’s love for me.I also must lose a focus on self. Any action that causes me to be consumed by self every day (“What am I eating?” “How do I look?”) is bad. My life should be about service. Christ is teaching me to control my words and my temper. So today should not be about “my diet” but how I can use the extra time not spent eating to find God and seek the beauty in other people. The best reason to diet is to learn moderation. In my case, overweight is due to eating too much. Learning to eat proper amounts, not just starving to lose weight, is a physical discipline with spiritual implications. My diet should be more of a fast than a personal vanity project.When I am immoderate in my eating, the sin of gluttony, my soul is negatively impacted (even when nobody can see as in the case of folk who purge). We live in a culture that advertises junk food and sells eating and then condemns in harsh terms those who fall for the advertisements! We sell junk food and then sell quack diets based on our self-loathing.I must repent and seek Christ daily. Christ must become my food and drink. Food should be enjoyed, but in moderation. In fact, I should seek beauty in natural foods. So much of the bad stuff I eat is not even “good.” How little pleasure is gained from my immoderation!So without self-loathing (except that appropriate to the general human condition) and leaving vanity behind (hopefully!), I press toward moderation. Why? I hope to be a better servant, to learn moderation in my speech, to learn to love my wife, family, and community better. I am dieting for Paradise lest I be a glutton and so unfit for the feasts of heaven!
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