Weighty Matters

This topic is very personal and sensitive for many people, so I just ask that you be gentle in any comments or judgements you might make. As always, respectful disagreement is welcome.

For a while now I’ve been on a journey of losing weight and creating a more healthy lifestyle. The kind of lifestyle that includes nutritious food in healthy portions, and lots of physical activity.

It’s been just over a year since I got fed up with extra weight, low energy and food addiction and started pursuing change. As I’ve shared on Facebook before, I started this journey by completing the 42 Days to Fit challenge, which I would highly recommend to anyone else.

April 2014

April 2014

My journey has not been straightforward. I’ve lost 13kgs since I started, but have taken several steps backwards in terms of healthy eating and exercise. And that mummy tummy is still not budging 😉

Losing weight is simple, but not easy. And the harder part is making changes that last beyond the weight loss, and go on to form a healthy lifestyle.

July 2015

July 2015

Like most issues though, I don’t want to just stop at the external and leave it there. I want to seek God’s opinion, and do what would please Him.

I think there are several issues that come into play here:

– Our bodies are part of God’s good creation, and what we do with them matters to Him.

– In marriage, our bodies are not ours alone, and what we do with them matters to our spouse.

– Overeating is a form of food wastage and is robbing from those in poverty.

I’ll go through these issues one by one.

1. Our Bodies Matter to God

Did you ever think about why God created us with flesh and blood bodies, instead of simply as spirit, like him?

I think part of this is simply God’s creativity, and part of it is the joy he takes in beauty.

God designed our bodies a certain way, and while there is no “ideal weight” that we can apply to people across the board, God did not design our bodies to work or look best while carrying around excess weight.

Doctors and other researchers can help you determine what your ideal weight is. Personally, I’ve used this website in the past to determine my goal weight (which is, funnily enough, what I weighed in high school). But as I approach that weight, I am beginning to see the limitations of merely having a “weight goal”. Your weight doesn’t tell you how strong you are or the state of your gut flora. I am moving onto fitness goals and food goals, for the longer term.

There is an attitude among some Christians that physical health and fitness is simply a hobby horse. It is not important to everyone, rather it is a special interest  for those who choose it. They might even say that the state of their bodies bears no link to their spiritual lives.

That used to be my opinion too. I used to think that I was just not a “sporty person”. Growing up I did great academically, but I was hopelessly uncoordinated and unfit. So I stuck with what I was good at and left the fitness stuff to people who were into it.

It took years of my patient husband advising me to start exercising (particularly when I complained of tiredness or lack of energy) before I finally took it on board. He didn’t back down on this, even when I got rather angry about it and asked him to just let me be. (In hindsight, I would have saved a lot of grief and trouble if I had just submitted to him on this! But it was a huge blind spot for me, and I needed God to open my eyes.) He never said I should lose weight or that I was getting fat, and I never felt his attraction for me lessen. I never had a doubt that his primary concern was my health and my ongoing wellbeing.

Friends, if you are where I was – if you think health and fitness is not for you and that God doesn’t care what you do with your body, please allow me to respectfully challenge you on that. Not everyone will be at a place in their lives where they can suddenly throw themselves into working out every day. I’m not suggesting you should. But I ask that you consider God’s words in the Bible on this, and whether you are prepared to submit to Him, even in the (really, really) hard areas.

What are our bodies for?

Big picture – they are tools/vessels with which we bring God glory.

There are many ways to use our bodies to this end:

  • Taking the gospel and sharing it with others. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”” Romans 10:14-15
  • Serving our families. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Proverbs 31:17, and I recommend all of Proverbs 31:10-31 for this topic!
  • Having lots of sex within marriage. But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:2-3, see also the whole book Song of Songs.

To achieve these things, it is important that we prioritise keeping our bodies in good shape.

What is wrong with neglecting our bodies? Isn’t God just concerned with our souls?

The state of our souls is of primary importance. But Paul warned Timothy against the dangers of asceticism, while reaffirming the primary importance of a godly character.

1 Timothy 4:1-10:

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.  That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

2. Our Bodies Matter to our Husbands

As I mentioned above, having sex in marriage is one of the main ways we glorify God with our bodies.

As women, we were created specifically to be a suitable match for men, and visually appealing to them. When I read Genesis 2 – the “zoomed in” account of the creation of humans – I am always struck by this line: Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

It strikes me because it is almost the opposite of the way things are in our present culture. Single women flaunt their bodies for all and sundry in public, while wives often hide their bodies from their husbands in shame.

It should not be this way! Marriage is the only biblical context where nudity is not shameful. Wives, we should embrace this principle with confidence!

I think a big part of having confidence here is knowing that our husbands like what they see. We should be seeking out our husband’s preferences in our bodies, and trying to conform to that as much as possible.

Your husband might not say that he wants you to lose weight or change something, but it is our responsibility as wives to ask for ourselves.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 that wives and husbands do not have authority over their own bodies – a wife has authority over her husband’s body, and a husband has authority over his wife’s body. Part of honouring that authority is keeping our bodies the way our husbands like them.

The whole book of Song of Songs gives a good description of a husband’s physical attraction to his wife. Here are just some examples:

  • “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.” 2:2
  • My dove in the clefts of the rock,
        in the hiding places on the mountainside,
    show me your face,
        let me hear your voice;
    for your voice is sweet,
        and your face is lovely.” 2:14
  • “How beautiful you are, my darling!
        Oh, how beautiful!
        Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
    Your hair is like a flock of goats
        descending from the hills of Gilead.
    Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
        coming up from the washing.
    Each has its twin;
        not one of them is alone.
    Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
        your mouth is lovely.
    Your temples behind your veil
        are like the halves of a pomegranate.
    Your neck is like the tower of David,
        built with courses of stone;
    on it hang a thousand shields,
        all of them shields of warriors.
    Your breasts are like two fawns,
        like twin fawns of a gazelle
        that browse among the lilies.
    Until the day breaks
        and the shadows flee,
    I will go to the mountain of myrrh
        and to the hill of incense.
    You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
        there is no flaw in you.” 4:1-7

3. Eating More than our Fair Share is Wrong

Now, I know that not everyone who is overweight struggles with overeating. And some people with speedy metabolisms may be able to eat excessively or poorly without gaining a single kilo. (This was me in uni days! I used to binge on sugar all the time, but didn’t gain any weight until after I got married).

But I honestly think overeating is the main reason for people being overweight, and it has been a huge struggle for me. Just recently I have been strongly convicted about eating too much (or spending too much on food) when there are people in the world who are starving.

In the Bible, James condemns rich oppressors in saying:

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

I’m sure none of us think of ourselves as oppressors – we haven’t failed to pay wages or murdered anyone.

But I believe there would be enough food for everyone in the world if we in the West were not over-consumers. And if we buy products that were made in unjust conditions, then yes, we have failed to pay people their wages! And if we eat to the point of getting fat, while others in the world are dying of starvation, then yes, we are murderers!

I’m not sure exactly what to do practically on this point. As I said, I’ve been convicted of this fairly recently.

But I’m thinking a good place to start is only eating (and serving to my family) what we require to live.

And I’m wondering about reducing the grocery bill and giving the excess to a charity that feeds people in poverty.

In Conclusion

As I’ve said, this is still an area I’m growing and learning in.

I’d love to get a discussion going here.

Are you currently on a journey to be more healthy? What are you finding a challenge? What is easy?

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21 thoughts on “Weighty Matters

  1. Hi SS!

    This is a good post! I regret not reading here sooner! You are so very humble and gentle in your wording, it comes across as encouraging, loving and kind.

    “Are you currently on a journey to be more healthy? What are you finding a challenge? What is easy?”

    I am 5’2. I have never been overweight except for gaining 40+ for first son, losing it all and gaining 20+ for each son thereafter and again losing it all. When I was in highschool, I weighed 127 lbs. I looked very healthy and with the exception of having to suck my stomach in after meals, I never would have been considered anything but having a good, fit body. I did occasional sports in school and dance, but wasn’t exceptionally active, I would get tired on 1/2 mile jogs at my most fit and prime age.

    I am now 26 years old and after the birth of my third son, I got down to 134 lbs (7 lbs over my highschool weight). I am still healthy looking to anyone’ standards, my husband’s included, however, I could see the extra weight in my stomach and noticed that some of it could not be sucked in the way it used to.

    My third son turned 1 last month and we do not have scales in our home, I assume I weigh close to 134 still but with bathing suit season, I have had many chances to look at my body in the mirror and notice subtle changes in my arms, thighs and tummy and I am zeroing in on the fact that the weight is going to begin to pile on here ASAP if I do not develop a disciplined eating and exercise regiman.

    The same cousin (my role model) that I mentioned before is and always has been fit, after 4 kids. I was just talking to her this week about the fact that I perceive a wall in my NEAR future where I will no longer be able to rely on my youth to keep me skinny. I will have to modify (or eliminate) several, SEVERAL calories from my diet and start working out.

    What’s funny is that I know that if I got a jump start on a new routine, then I would not have to fight off too much excess weight and yet I am just continuing in my day-to-day knowing that very soon, I am going to crash when my quick metabolism goes bye bye.

    So in answer to your question, I am finding it a challenge to start. I am struggling with the notion that my body is going to soon stop helping me keep the weight off and that I will have to intentionally keep weight off. It is a fear, I guess and just like my last comment, it is founded in undiscipline.

    I will go days where I work out and then days where I don’t. I have always had a problem with overindulging (as my “suck in my belly” comment proves). My husband started a new job at the beginning of this year and the overall labor involved coupled with his lack of time to eat all of his lunches or any breakfast has granted him the loss of an excess 60 lbs!!! He really looks hot! So, as his SMV is steadily increasing with his earning raise and skyrocketing attractiveness, mine is going to decrease if I do not get proactive- or just active, lol. I think I come across as a lazy sloth with my confessions here, haha. Don’t get me wrong, my three boys aged 1, 2 & 3 do not allow that, but what’s in my heart is a tendency for inactivity and so I appreciate being able to talk about these things with you.

    WHY ARE MY COMMENTS HERE ALWAYS SO LONG? I’m sorry. 🙂

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  2. Thanks for your comment. 🙂
    I remember reading or hearing something a while ago about weight being harder to shift the longer you have it on your body.
    This was part of what motivated me. I used to think I would wait to get fit after we were done having kids, but then I realised it wouldn’t be good to just ignore my health for that long.
    I am thinking of starting running. Problem is I feel like I’m dying every time I’ve tried this in the past. Perhaps I need to find a running buddy!

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  3. I feel that way when running too. Honestly, an increased heart rate is so foreign to my body that most excercise makes me feel like I’m gonna die. A running partner would be a great solution. There is so much good that comes from making friends online but unfortunately they dont make for good exercise partners, expecially you because your wording makes me assume you’re in Britain or Austrailia?

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  4. Since my first child was born over 18 years ago, I’ve tried it all. Until four months ago, every method I’ve tried to stay fit and trim has been hard to make a lifestyle. I did Crossfit for a year and a half, five days a week. I got very strong. I spent a lot of money. I learned a lot. I did not lose weight. Exercise is very good for us, unfortunately one of its benefits is not permanent weight reduction. Now, by kicking sugar addiction (haven’t had a bite in four months), and after hundreds of hours of research, my body has steadily shed 1-2 pounds a week of fat. My muscles are staying put and their tone is being revealed. Our whole family has chosen to eat the way I do. My husband does so because it has eliminated his sciatic pain. He went from having to take serious amounts of morphine and percocet to not even needing an ibuprofen. If he eats something with too much sugar/carbs his pain returns. He’s also lost 25 pounds. Our grocery bill has been reduced by a couple hundred dollars. (Used to be $900/month, is now around $700) Growing our own food contributes to that though too. One of my daughter’s acne has cleared up and the other daughter has seen her eczema disappear.

    If you want more information or access to all of the articles I read, email me and I will invite you to my FB group.

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  5. My most normal day starts out with a cup of hot water. Then I have a coffee with butter and coconut oil frothed into it. Later I have some sort of egg meal (two eggs and bacon, eggs Benedict, quiche etc). For my second meal I’ll have slow roasted beef with a couple carrots roasted with it (I make a starch free gravy with the fat drippings and pour that all over the meat) and a small salad with a good size dollop of homemade dressing. Often we’ll have large bowls of bone broth with shredded chicken and cheddar cheese. Once a week we have an Omega 3 rich meal of either shrimp (usually shrimp and pepperjack cheese wrapped in bacon) or Salmon with a creamy dill sauce. Unless we have fish we just caught – that gets an almond flour/parmesan coating and fried in coconut oil with homemade tartar sauce.

    If I’ve worked hard during the day and need more my go to snack is a tablespoon of cream cheese blended with a small amount of calorie free sweetener topped with reddi whip, a handful of almonds and dark chocolate shavings.

    I don’t limit the amount I eat, just eat until I’m full. When I first started it took a lot of food to get full but after about a week my appetite declined substantially. I usually only consume 1800 calories a day now. But that’s including calories from the couple cocktails I have with my husband every night (Vodka and diet coke). My diet is 70% fat, 25% protein and the rest carb/alcohol,

    My favorite places for more information are
    http://www.charliefoundation.org/
    http://www.thenoakesfoundation.org/blog
    http://www.runonfatmovie.com/blog
    https://www.facebook.com/CerealKillersMovie

    I’ve watched both of the Cereal Killers movies and follow all of the sports teams/athletes who eat the way I do like the LA Lakers: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/butter-bacon-and-bone-broth-a-week-on-the-lakers-diet/

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  6. Thanks SD!
    I just can’t get my head around it being good to eat so few veggies. I will look into those links you sent.
    My husband has digestive issues, and we were about to try the low FODMAPS diet, on doctors recommendation, to see if that improves things.

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  7. We do eat veggies. Their just usually cooked. We like broccoli and kale. We make kale chips and we add kale to the quiche and our favorite soup, zuppa tuscona. I have a huge garden and can or freeze our veggies for the year. My husband can eat a small portion of potatoes with his meals. He has no need to lose weight whereas I am still 20 pounds from my goal. I actually just figured out that my slow weight loss is due to not eating enough. I upped my calories the last couple of days and have noticed the scale moving down faster.
    The biggest change in our diet is that we don’t eat sugar, chips, or bread. We don’t miss it either. Bread items taste like play dough to us now.

    There is a lot of great information out there. Herd is a video that is really worth your time to watch: The Oiling of America. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DfvKdYUCUca8&ved=0CBwQtwIwAGoVChMI8LKanZqJxwIVR4wNCh3v7wZp&usg=AFQjCNFYPFMI2EJ4O4V78gOZeDJ68hAYdA&sig2=4ph4iR4o_zVZJkUrchfpNg

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  8. Perhaps you do more physical work than me, but if I ate 1800 calories a day, I’d be gaining weight like there’s no tomorrow!
    My calorie allowance is more like 1500 for maintenance, 1300 for weight loss. I don’t track anymore, now that I have a better idea of how many calories are in which foods.

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  9. I’m likely also taller than you (5’8″). I’ve had my body composition done (big egg like machine) and based on my percentage of muscle, I would lose muscle mass without enough calories.

    Have you read much about intermittent fasting? You would find great success if you calculated your calories by the week: 1500 x 7 = 10,500. Then divide by 6: 1750. Eat 1750/day and then do a one day fast. You’ll be getting the exact same amount of calories per week but from what I’ve experienced and learned about it, your body won’t hold onto fat in “starvation mode”. You might see great results.

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  10. Seriously Serving,

    Let me second Sarah’s advice. My wife and I began the same basic approach, which we knew as LCHF, about three years ago.

    I was nearing five hundred pounds, a size 54 waist, and was crippled with Rheumatoid arthritis. My wife was also severely overweight and with Type II diabetes to boot.

    Three years on I’ve lost almost 300 pounds and am working on my feet in kitchens again after not being able to for eight years or so. My wife has lost 100 lbs ish and is no longer diabetic. In fact the last time she saw a Doctor that worthy remarked “Are you sure you used to be diabetic?” 🙂

    And though carbs have crept back in the diet I have only gained back about 40 lbs, not even two pants sizes!

    I agree with all of Sarah’s links as excellent and will a couple of my own. Our favorite website on the subject is The Diet Doctor who has an excellent and simple section on getting started…

    http://www.dietdoctor.com/

    I also highly recommend Gary Taubes ‘Why we get fat and what to do about it.’

    http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Get-Fat-About/dp/0307272702

    Which goes into great detail as to precisely the how, why, and who drove the nutritional science bus off the cliff. It truly is an excellent read and I always like to say that the serious Christian has nothing to fear from science. it is supposed to be the search for truth after all.

    An excellent follow up to Taubes is Nina Teicholz ‘The big fat surprise.’

    http://www.amazon.com/Big-Fat-Surprise-Butter-Healthy/dp/1451624433/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438711514&sr=1-1&keywords=nina+teicholz+the+big+fat+surprise

    Which covers almost the exact same ground as Taubes but will give a richer understanding of who is who and what happened.

    God Bless and hope this helps!

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  11. @Brian,

    Three years on I’ve lost almost 300 pounds and am working on my feet in kitchens again after not being able to for eight years or so. My wife has lost 100 lbs ish and is no longer diabetic.

    This is just fantastic! What a testimony! Congratulations to both you and your wife. I have a friend whose husband is young and diabetic. The drugs aren’t working, the insulin keeps getting increased and she’s scared. I spent two hours on the phone with her last night telling her what I know. But, like I told her, her husband needs to be convicted himself. Do you mind sharing how you and your wife came about making this dietary change? If you are on Facebook, I have a small, private group where I post all of the articles and LCHF sites I come across. Your story would be such a great addition and inspiration to those who have joined the group but aren’t quite ready to make the changes. If you are on Facebook and would be willing to share, could you email me sarahsdaughterblog@gmail.com so I can send you the group name and have you request to join?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: The Darker Side of Stuff | seriously serving the saviour

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