Just two articles down was another one about obesity. This one was about how the Boy Scouts banned kids that didn’t meet the height and weight requirements from their annual Jamboree this year. They felt that the activities in the Jamboree were too physically intense for obese children and by banning them, it would give them a reason to create healthy lifestyle changes for the future.
Yet one more article was discussing Governor Chris Christie’s weight loss surgery and whether or not a person of his size could be elected to the office of President of the United States.
Later, I got on the scale to weigh myself and made the apparent mistake of allowing my seven year old to see the number. The following conversation ensued:
Me: "Well, he is taller but I weigh more."
Me: "Because I have more fat on my body than he does."
Q: "So does that mean that you are fat?"
Me: "The word fat can sometimes seem rude but yes, I am a bigger than the doctors say I should be."
Q: "Am I fat? Because _____ told me that I was fat. They said I have boobs"
Me: "What do you think?"
Q: "I’d say I’m just kind of chubby. But mostly just strong. And boys don‘t have boobs, they have pecs."
Me: "I’d say I’d agree with you. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, what matters is that you try your best to be healthy."
Q: “Makes sense. Which face do you think looks more like a fish, this one (makes face) or this one (makes another face)?”
First, I think we have to keep things in perspective eternally. Focus on the fact that God made our bodies and he wants us to take care of them. But the way that we look doesn’t matter to God - what matters to him is our heart.
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7
Secondly, we should focus on our strengths. Much like Q said, he looks at his strength as his defining characteristic, not his size. If as adults we all did that (without self depreciating comments and thoughts), we would live in a much cheerier and efficient world.
"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them." Romans 12:6
Lastly, we should have honest dialogue with ourselves and our children about the benefits of being healthy rather than nag and lecture about the downfalls of being fat. It’s a matter of semantics but it affects the mental processes involved in self identity. Focusing on the positive aspects of change rather than the negative aspects of staying the same have proven to be more effective motivators over the long haul. Goodness knows that our mental state has a great deal to do with our success or failure in weight loss efforts.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
If you are overweight, I can empathize with the issues that you face in today’s culture surrounding your appearance. Fair or not, the judgments can sometimes be painful and hurtful. Hang in there and remember that you are more than the number on the scale. God has created you and is deeply passionate when it comes to His love for you - and ultimately that is all that matters.