We’ve all said it, “I really need to lose some weight.” Well, I have found myself saying that quite often lately, so I figured it was time to do something about it. I am just about 29 and I work in an office, so I am seeing my metabolism slow and my pants get tighter. Anna and I decided to do Weight Watchers together and let me tell you, it is miserable at first. It was miserable because I was so hungry for the first week or so. I found myself sitting at work grumpy that I was hungry and wanting to go eat a candy bar. I have literally had dreams about food pretty regularly since I started the diet. I admittedly have never really taken part in a legitimate fast, though I have fasted from certain things at different times. Therefore, it is rare that I choose not to eat or drink something. Being a young guy, I have always been used to just eating whatever I wanted and never really having to deal with any consequences regarding my weight. Yet, I believe those days are coming to an end.
I have come to the conclusion that I worship food. When I am stressed or bored, I eat. When I eat, I eat too much. I have no discipline whatsoever when it comes to what I eat. I would happily eat ice cream for dinner and not think twice about it. It got me thinking that so many people struggle with food and the inevitable weight loss issues that go along with food. I know there are legitimate issues that people have in which they struggle with obesity. However, many seem to be quite obsessed with weight loss for a time, then fall off the wagon, binge on food, gain all the weight back and then go through it all again. That cycle is very similar, if not identical, to the struggle that others have with substance abuse or other addictions. Food is an addiction for many.
It is bizarre to think that the very thing that so many in the world go without is that which so many Americans binge on and to which they are addicted. In the church, we are pretty good at talking about idols and addictions; however we tend to focus on the really dark ones. We don’t really talk about food as an idol or as an addiction. Partially, I think it may be because when the church talks about health it tends to drift into weird health and wellness gospel bologna. I think the rest of the reason why the church does not talk about it is because we are all pretty much in the same boat as gluttons. How could we not be? We live in a gluttonous culture.
One of my mentors and dear friends is probably the only voice in my discipleship speaking to me about fasting. When we dine with them, I have admittedly been taken aback at the extremely small portions they eat. When he talks about food, he talks about feasting and I am usually left thinking, “that wasn’t a feast.” My family knows that for every holiday I usually end up lying sprawled out on the floor groaning because I have gorged myself so much. I highly doubt my friend ever gets to that point. Lately I have started to think my friend is not so weird in his eating habits and is actually quite Christ-like in his approach to food and drink. Then again, being Christ-like in anything is weird in the world’s eyes. The X-factor in all of this is discipline and he has attained that through fasting, which of course is a spiritual discipline. If he were talking about it, he would say that fasting is the one discipline where we can say “no” to something in order to say “yes” to Christ. I pray that through this experience of dieting, I can begin to experience discipline in Christ.