Link Between the Church and Weight Problems

Did you hear about the new statistic that links attending church with obesity?
I was both sad and angry when I heard the anchor person say on the news last night that “church might be good for the soul, but it might not be so good for the waist line” She went on to describe how research has shown a greater weight gain in people who attend church at least once a week than those who don’t.

I can’t say that I was surprised about this announcement, but I sure was angry at the devil for humiliating the church like that, and I was sad for the thousands of Christians who struggle with their weight.

I have written a lot on this subject so I’m adding one of my earlier articles below. It’s a bit long, but something I think every Christian should be aware of.


Please Read:

I recently stumbled upon an article “Lard have Mercy: The Christian obesity epidemic”.

It was very interesting and although the author sadly showed an obvious prejudice towards Christians, I couldn’t help but agree with some of the points being made. The author based the article on Ferraro’s most recent study, published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, a follow-up to a study he published in 1998, where he found there were more obese people in states with larger populations of folks claiming a religious affiliation than elsewhere, particularly in states with the most Baptists.

I grew up in a Christian home, and I love the church, but even I can not shut my eyes to the fact the we have grown, to put it mildly, “bigger” over the years. Now of course this problem is widespread. Everybody knows by now that obesity has become an epidemic in America with more than half of the populations suffering from this. So the church has not been isolated in it’s denial of the eminent dangers associated with obesity.

The truth is that we as Christians did, for a long time, tolerate the sin of gluttony in our midst. I grew up seeing a lot of overweight people in church, including the pastors, and I never even gave it a second thought. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way condemning overweight people, that would make me a hypocrite seeing that I have struggled with food for many years, and still have to fight off the enemy in this area.

I’m afraid the church’s denial of this problem didn’t help though. We don’t allow alcohol at our meetings, and preach against the dangers of drunkenness. Some congregations have even switched to grape juice for communion to not give alcoholics the opportunity to stumble. All kinds of addiction programs sprung up over the years, and we have reached out a hand to help people overcome these. Pastors do their part by preaching against the lusts of the flesh that the Bible warns of. However, for a very long time, we ignored the fact that food can also become an idol; something to numb pain and help you deal with life; a drug of choice.

Until a few years back I found it so hard to keep my food addiction at bay while being actively involved in church. It is true that we can not pin it all on the church, then we will be no different than the people blaming MacDonalds for their obesity. But we also have to wake up to the truth that to beat obesity in our generation will take a team effort. Yes, individuals need to change, and families need to take a hard look at their lifestyles, but big institutions and government agencies have a role to play in winning this war against obesity. So the church can’t just passively sit by, refusing to change with the times.

It is true that the church, like the rest of the world, gather around food for all occasions. Granted at a secular party there would be alcohol too, but there will always be room for rich food and decadent desserts on the menu. Likewise, every meeting and gathering at the church have been a place for the ladies to bring their best dishes to the table, and best would hardly ever equal healthy in years past. In fact, if I brought a plate of vegetables to a church function a few years back, nobody would probably eat it, and I would have opened myself up for some serious criticism.

Have things changed? I think so. We’re getting there, slowly but surely, just like everybody else. There are more fruit, vegetables and healthy dishes at the meetings these days. It’s still fun to gather around food, and lots of times our meetings are right at lunch or dinner time anyway. However, our church gets it meals delivered from Subway these days.

There is also an awakening in many churches to the fact that God made us to move. Many churches have added gyms to their complexes, and some small groups are dedicated to help people get fit and loose some weight.
In recent years many books have been written to help Christians get their weight under control and programs such as First Place have been gaining popularity with their excellent material and support groups.

So I do think the church are realizing that our casual take on overeating is not good for us and it’s hurting our children. However, we still have a long way to go. Not everybody is convinced, and one can’t help but wonder why not, if all the evidence are on the table. Can it be that the love for food has become too big to let go of the rich decadent dishes? Also, habits don’t change over night and certain food became part of our traditions, making it all the more difficult to let it go. But I, for one, will encourage people to grieve these “food traditions” and start new traditions in order to save their lives and the lives of their children.

I am joining many Christians in the war against obesity in the church. If you are a Christian struggling with food, my heart goes out to you. It is not an easy struggle, in fact it can be very lonely in a church where people don’t talk about it and still pile the tables high with rich, fatty foods.

You can find help on my website that I created especially for women and moms dealing with eating disorders and food addiction. Make no mistake, it’s not just people with anorexia and bulimia who have an eating disorder. Anybody who doesn’t eat in a normal, healthy way needs help in this area. Come see for yourself, it’s online so you can do this program in the safety of your own home and at your own pace.

I must admit that after I heard that “proclamation” on TV last night, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me again to bring my own “crutches” that I’ve picked up recently and lay them down. The world is watching us, and the fact is, we do have the answer; His name is JESUS and he came to set the captives free!

In His Love,
Heleen

 

 

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How do you find victory in your WEAK MOMENTS?

I wanted to share this excerpt out of the new Breaking Free Bible Study by Beth Moore with you:

God has reserved momentous victories and great rewards for us. But we’ll never make it to our milestones if we cant’ make it through our moments

Isn’t that so true?
We set these milestones and we even have faith for it – but then we get to that ‘MOMENT”, that excruciating moment of temptation or weakness, and we cave… and then we lose hope…

SO HOW DO WE GET THROUGH OUR WEAK MOMENTS?

Beth goes on to say that 2 reasons exist that we don’t take the “exit” God offers in our weak moments (1 Cor 10:13)

1. We don’t want to

2. We don’t feel like we deserve to

We have to ask God in that MOMENT:

“God I don’t want to stop eating, but please change my WANT TO”
or
“God I don’t think I deserve healthy food/taking care of my body, but please help me see that I am a princess of the only true King and I do deserve it”

If you have been following along on our MEMBERS FORUM, you will know that I am struggling at this time in my life with “keeping my mouth under control”. Our family life has become very challenging because (as I mentioned before) my husband and I have a few businesses that we now run from home, and I’m still homeschooling two of my kids. So I tend to lose my temper and reach for some unhealthy snacks in those very stressful or weak moments during the day.

Sometimes it’s totally a “I just don’t want to” thing like Beth mentioned, and I’ve been crying out to God to change my heart’s desires in those times.

However, sometimes I even “want to”, and plan to do the right thing, but when I get to that MOMENT… I just DON’T!

Paul speaks about this struggle in his own life, and he concludes that it is indeed ONLY GOD who can saves us and help us overcome in those times.

So what can we do if we even want to do the right thing, but we DON’T?

I will tell you about the only thing that has worked for me even in the hardest of times:
I have  to  recognize that my thoughts of “it doesn’t matter” or “what difference does it make” in those weak moments  are LIES OF THE ENEMY. He knows my weakness and he will present those lies to me every time I feel stressed or weak – FOR AS LONG AS I BELIEVE IT TO BE JUST MY OWN LITTLE THOUGHTS.

So we have to first of all SPOT THE LIES – those are not your thoughts, and most certainly NOT YOUR WANTS – and then RUN INTO GOD’S PRESENCE. Listen girl, you will only find victory in those weak moments if you get out of that situation and find a place to pray. Rebuke the enemy and read those note cards with God’s truth out loud so your ears can hear the truth. The Bible says that in God’s presence the veil is stripped away, and as we look into the truth of His Word, we are changed (Go read this in 2 Corinthians 3: 16-18)

But what if you have 20 weak moments a day?
Don’t worry, even though daily time in God’s presence is the only way to remain free, you will not have to run and pray 20 times a day for the rest of your life. BUT FOR NOW – LET’S FACE IT – THAT MIGHT BE WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

If you feel yourself going around in that cycle of making promises to yourself to do better, even wanting to do better, and then failing every day at that same weak moment… THEN IT’S TIME TO SURRENDER YOURSELF TO GOD, RESIST THE ENEMY, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU (James 4:7)

Please go read again WEEK 2 and WEEK 11 of my 12 Week Online Program for women with eating disorders if you have forgotten (or didn’t realize) that you’re not just fighting your own FLESH but also a very real enemy. I talk about these issues in greater detail there, and also give you some tools to find victory in those weak moments.

The following passage of Scripture underlines it all:

1 Peter 5:6-10 (New International Version, ©2011)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

In His Love
Heleen

PS: I highly recommend Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Breaking Free”  – it is life changing! Find a group near you or start a small group yourself, it is so much more effective if you do it with the accountability of other women.

 

 

 

More resources for you

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

 

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD. Great resource for small groups or for individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more