There has been much debate recently over the ethics of various Christian groups who have been making weight loss and weight control the focus of their evangelistic mission.
These various bodies for Christ movements claim with varying degrees of moral dogmatism that slimness is next to Godliness and that obesity is a sin.
Many others are simply condemning such messages as just the latest absurdity to inhabit that crossover point between established religion and surreal consumerism.
But perhaps the issue deserves a much closer look, if not from a personal belief standpoint then perhaps with regard to the psychology of natural, lasting and painless weight loss.
Something will always strike you if you visit a mainstream place of prayer, and it doesn't have to be a Christian house of worship; it can also be from amongst the World's rich heritage of other great monotheistic religions.
And for those of us obsessing about our weight, or caught up in long-term and futile dieting cycles, this differentiating detail is very, very obvious indeed. The rate of overweight amongst these congregations is often way below the societal average.
These are congregations who buy in generally to the messages of love and respect at the core of their belief systems. Moderation and temperance also feature but these are by no means cultures, unlike the specific dieting-for-Jesus sub-cults, which make any great play of weight control advice.
If one seeks out other, modernist, congregations, of non-religious but like-minded believers, then the pattern repeats. It is most obvious at entrepreneurial conventions. These not closed attendance events for the members of senior professional associations, where the attendees have frequently grown plump on the back of long-term monopolistic fees. No, these are places where self-starters gather from all corners, ravenous to lap up the motivational cream from their success story idols and so nourish their own precious start-up and expansion plans.
What all of these individuals share, both sacred and secular, is a burning passion. Food is removed to a secondary, or indeed, even lesser role in their lives. Life is not measured by feeding and food fretting but rather in terms of a personal morality of creating, doing and achieving.
And this is where dieting will fail its own deluded believers every time. Once the current artificial creed of what is right or wrong to eat comes to an end, as it always must, what is left to fill the sudden void within? Nothing except the cravings of old which rapidly tumble back into full and riotous flow, perpetuating the feast-famine cycle of weight un-control.
The lesson for today is that Jesus may well fill you with good things but there many other ways forward which also leave no room any longer for dieting nonsense, food worries or other such junk. Don't diet, do it - and do it with passion, relevance and meaning and draw your happier sustenance from this instead.
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