Sunday, March 27, 2011

Praise the Lard?

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

Really interesting article on MSNBC's "Diet & Nutrition" website today.

I was on an OA retreat this past weekend. It was a wonderful time, and I hope to write about it later this week. Anyway, one of the new women who showed up is a very devout Southern Baptist lady, and I was struck by one of her statements. She talked about how the church is full of nice, fat church ladies... and no one ever addresses it. It's certainly been my experience in church. We make our little jokes about how "these cookies don't have calories" (ha ha) or say, "Oh, I really shouldn't," while we take one (or two), and everyone just pretends we're not slowly killing ourselves.

Maybe it's like this everywhere. Maybe it's just human nature, especially in the 21st century in America, but I do notice it everywhere I look in the church.

I had a cool experience this morning. As I was greeting people after the service, I was approached by a young woman who exclaimed, "You're so skinny!" I am used to hearing that these days, and I just smile and say, "Well, thanks..." But she was different. I could see pain in her eyes as she asked me how I had done it. She was really hungry for answers. I could tell she could handle the truth, and I let her know I'm working a 12 Step program for food addiction and compulsive overeating. I told her that I'm insane when it comes to food, and I desperately need a program to relieve me of this disease. She was instantly interested and told me she knows this is true about her too. She wants to talk to me later this week, and I'm certainly willing to share my experience, strength and hope with her. I pray that - if she truly is a compulsive overeater - she will have the willingness to seek me out (or find any other way!) to explore Overeaters Anonymous.

What do you think? Are religion and obesity linked? Why or why not?


downsizers said...

I go to Church and while there are many overweight people there I also see many who are normal weight. I wonder if this study was peer reviewed as valid studies should be. I don't know if the correlation would be because of Church. Has anyone seen the obesity among the poor and on public assistance? It's pretty astounding. Obesity in school has become a topic lately. Why would someone even want to do a study like this? Is there an agenda here? MSNBC is obviously left wing so I am suspicious. However, gluttony is a sin according to scripture and it is a poor witness for a Christian to be obese. Food has become an idol. I don't make excuses for obese Christians but I just wonder at the motivation that prompted this study and how it was conducted. It supposedly took 18 years. How many people or Churches were involved? Did all these people allow themselves to be weighed over this time? Are Baptists fatter than Catholics?

sanabituranima said...

Not all fat people are compulsive overeaters and not all compulsive overeaters are fat.

I am a compulsive overeater but I'm also bulimic, so I never get a chance to digest what I shove in my face. I have just started working 12 steps. Some people just eat loads and don't get fat. Some people are jsut naturally fat even if they eat healthy food. I think we need to distinguish between compulsive overeating and obesity.

I haven't noticed people at Churchbeing fatter or thinner than others.

memoirs of this binge eating triathlete said...

hhmm. Interesting. I wonder if it's because followers of Christ put more importance on relationships than on worldly things like money & looks.

um, I'm so sorry to ask this, but I lost the email u sent with the books on cumpulsive eating. Would you be willing to send them to me again?

spots said...

Hi Chsrlie,

I very much appreciate your candor and I am looking forward to reading your complete blog.

I can't say I find any relationship with weight, compulsive overeating and religious services.

Some religions include an great deal of fasting and there are few overweight people, other's (like the one I was born into) come together to worship and often food gatherings follow.

I never really thought much about this until your brought it up. Interesting question!

Anonymous said...

I grew up very religious (and female), and one of the things I noted about that particular religion was that women were to neither really seen nor heard. Women were to be sweet and good and helpful and self-sacrificing. "Negative" emotions - anger, fear, sadness - were frowned upon for women. And there were a lot of big fat church ladies or exercise bulimic perfectionists.

I don't think it's religion, per se, but a culture that does not allow for the variety of human emotions. One thing I like about 12 step programs is that one is allowed to be fully human, and one's emotions are respected and validated, even anger, fear, sadness, etc.