Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I've been on a diet since the age of eleven. Yes, eleven. I can vividly remember the day I realized I was obese. I was 4'11'' with long, unkempt hair, freckles, and faux tortoiseshell glasses (be nice, it was the 80s). I was eating ice cream with my sister in the local convenient store and we thought it would be fun to step on the free electronic scale. I stepped on the large metal square and three red numbers popped onto the screen: 1-7-2. One hundred and seventy-two pounds, I said to myself. Then I finished my ice cream.
Obesity was the furthest thing from my adolescent mind. Gluttony was not even a word in my vocabulary. I was a very thin child and never had a penchant for indulgence as noticed in my picture showing off my ever-svelte toothpick legs (Side note: Mom, WHY did you sew my name onto my clothing and cut my hair with a bowl?!). It wasn’t until a few years later that I began to realize the effects over-eating were having on my life. Mockery, ridicule, marginalization, and depression began to consume me. I became fixated with my weight and obsessive with my life. It was my goal to never be made fun of again, to be chosen first for kickball games, and to find clothing that was not in the full-figured woman’s section of department stores. Because, really, how cool of a twelve year-old could you be in a forest green jumpsuit with elastic waistband and faux gold buttons?
Now I'm a grown adult and can't even begin to recall how many diets I've been on. Seriously, it's disgusting. The Orange Peel Diet (boil 30 orange rinds for 5 hours in two gallons of water and drink the tea for the next 48 hours); The Soup Diet (boil every green vegetable in a cauldron of water and eat it for eight days straight); The Meat Diet (the diabolic travesty of my life); The Vegan Diet (I gained weight); The Liquid Diet (I ran to the restroom every 30 seconds); The Pills-from-Mexico Diet (I not only lost weight, I lost sleep, hair, and control over my sweat glands). Sadly, the list goes on. The more I share about my personal struggles with my addiction to food, the more I learn that I am not the only one who struggles with this sin. Yes, I said sin.
If you think you can identify gluttony simply by looking at someone, think again. It’s important to recognize that not all gluttons are obese. So what is gluttony? Holman’s Bible Dictionary describes a glutton as, “one habitually given to greedy and voracious eating.” But for some reason, gluttony seems to be a sin that Christians like to ignore even though the American Obese Association reports that 30.5% of teens and 55% of adults are obese. Let’s talk about drunkenness, let’s talk about homosexuality, but leave our buffet lines and super-sized meals alone.
As easy as it seems for me to recognize his faults of their faults, I need to take heed and remove the plank in my eye, before trying to remove the speck in my brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3); I falter in this area as well. In fact, it is my sin du jour and the biggest battle I face on a daily basis. I’m not eleven, I don’t wear glasses, and I don’t have to shop in the “big girl” section anymore, but as a woman living in a metropolis that places a heavy emphasis on appearance, there are times when I still feel like the unkempt girl standing on the electronic scale with ice cream in her hand.
The reason I bring this up is because I'm going to be teaching a six-week series addressing issues facing women in the 21st century. Your help and candor and honestly and vunerability will help me better address the needs of our generation and prepare us to deal with this thing called Life. You totally can be anonymous or you could be brave and admit to the world wide web what your sins are. Either way, could you let me know what you would want a greater understanding on?