i admit that i am a big fat fatty. i love coke, king size rice krispies, chocolate, more coke, etc. needless to say, i’m a little short for my weight. i know i need to lose weight for health reasons, but what about spiritual reasons. i don’t think i’ve ever read about ‘the fatties shall not enter the kingdom’. is there a spiritual reason to be lean and mean?
I’m sure others know more than I do, but just off the top of my head:
Being fat is not wrong, nor is eating those things intrinsically wrong - it is only sinful if one does not eat in moderation - and gives into a base appetite for pleasure and to some extent seeks pleasure in food rather than in God - or if one is endangering one’s health.
Here is what St Thomas Aquinas wrote:
(this is from newadvent.org/summa/314800.htm)
Is gluttony a sin?
…Gregory says (Moral. xxx, 18) that “unless we first tame the enemy dwelling within us, namely our gluttonous appetite, we have not even stood up to engage in the spiritual combat.” But man’s inward enemy is sin. Therefore gluttony is a sin.
I answer that, Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire. Now desire is said to be inordinate through leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists: and a thing is said to be a sin through being contrary to virtue. Wherefore it is evident that gluttony is a sin.
…gluttony denotes inordinate concupiscence in eating. Now two things are to be considered in eating, namely the food we eat, and the eating thereof. Accordingly, the inordinate concupiscence may be considered in two ways. First, with regard to the food consumed: and thus, as regards the substance or species of food a man seeks “sumptuous”–i.e. costly food; as regards its quality, he seeks food prepared too nicely–i.e. “daintily”; and as regards quantity, he exceeds by eating “too much.”
Secondly, the inordinate concupiscence is considered as to the consumption of food: either because one forestalls the proper time for eating, which is to eat “hastily,” or one fails to observe the due manner of eating, by eating “greedily.”
Isidore [De Summo Bon. ii, 42 comprises the first and second under one heading, when he says that the glutton exceeds in “what” he eats, or in “how much,” “how” or “when he eats.”
God has recently led me to see that one reason I’ve gained weight over the past few years is that I’ve turned to food when I should be turning to Him. Over the summer I started saying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet while I was swimming. Now that it’s too cold to swim, I’ve switched to walking. Combining my prayer time and workout time works out my body, feeds my soul, and keeps me fixed on something higher than just stressing over my weight (as a formerly thin ballet student, seeing myself with excess poundage is VERY stressy). Today my goal is to hike up to our Adoration Chapel, spent an hour there, and hike back.
Guardian1, I loved the “short for my weight” descriptor!
I wouldn’t say anyone with a weight problem or that loves fattening food is gluttonous by any means. Some have poor eating habits, some are eating to compensate for shortcomings in their lives, and still others have medical conditions or genetic tendencies for extra weight. If you are aware of areas that you can change in your diet for health considerations, then by all means…go for it. If you struggle with it, try offering it up to or Lord. He will never fail you. Please don’t stress over it! I loved Crmcfl’s idea…maybe it will work for you too. I admit, I drive to have time to talk to God. I am not inclined to exercise in cold weather.
Just wanted to let y’all know - I made it on my Rosary walk up to the chapel! I was straightening up the house and ended up not leaving home until 1:00. I thought I was late, but as it turns out, I was right where I needed to be when I needed to be there. It took all the mysteries to get there, an hour and a half walking time (several busy street crossings took a while). I only got really hot and really tired once, during a long stretch of concrete and no shade. It was during the Sorrowful mysteries, so that kept my pitiful whining in perspective. I passed 3 churches on the way and found myself thinking “If I were Church of Christ, I’d be there by now…if i were Presbyterian, I’d be there by now…if I were Methodist, I’d be there by now.” I ran out of mysteries at the edge of the Methodist church property, which is right next door to our church (one of those coincidences that made me go “Whoa!”) I got to the Adoration Chapel at 2:30, figuring I’d spend an hour there, then do the Divine Mercy Chaplet on the way home. As it turns out, they say the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00, so I was there for that. When I left the chapel and checked phone messages, my husband was on his way home from work. He swung by and picked me up. My feet were tired, but the rest of me was jazzed. Today I feel great. I thought I’d have sore feet, but I don’t. I thought it’d be a one time thing, but now I want to do it again!
= is there a spiritual reason to be lean and mean?
You know, if you believe in God, there is a spiritual reason. Life is a gift, your body should be treated with respect and eating junk food, smoking and not taking care of your body is wrong.
CS Lewis in the Screwtape letters writes of another form of gluttony, which his devil-in-training was very successful in inducing in the mother in this story. She was very picky and manipulative when it came to food, using it as a means of controlling the people around her, under the pretence of “only wanting just a little, a very little underdone beef” but of course when it is brought in shrieks at the blood on the plate or that the serving is far too large, take it away. If only I could have just a lightly boiled egg, warm, with buttered toast, no margarine. And making a point of giving the lion’s share to her son always with a sigh, saying “nothing is too good for my boy.” Of course no servant could be found to prepare food exactly to her liking and she made sure everyone around her knew how much she suffered and sacrificed.
…and then there’s always the middle ground of being honest enough to acknowledge your weight problem, wise enough to choose healthy food in appropriate quantities and disciplined enough to exercise sufficiently to maintain your health, stamina and weight without playing the martyr, inflicting your dieting quirks (if any) on anyone else or fishing for compliments about how well you’re doing losing/maintaining your weight.
I also think we should try to be as healthy as possible so we can serve Him as long as He desires. —KCT
I’ve had this same problem…this is a very good suggestion!
Yes…he called it “gluttony of delicacy”, as opposed to the “gluttony of excess”. His point was any time that the tempter could do to use the stomach to induce querulousness, pettiness, and so on, or to put the pleasures of the table before our duties to God and neighbor, it was a point gained in the favor of evil.
The devil also pointed out that having control over a human’s belly is very useful in thwarting the virtues. He contended that many people who cannot figure out why they have no power in the face of temptation would get a clue, if they just kept track of what they had eaten in the last 24 hours. The devil was quite pleased about the low popularity of fasting as a spiritual practice and the scarcity of talk about gluttony as a spirtual fault. There is a reason, after all, that it is one of the capital sins. Gluttony can be the foundation for many other failures.
Likewise, if we obsess over our looks, our body image, or our statistical likelihood of long life, and put that before our service to God and neighbor, the devil will be just as pleased.
The question is this: does food keep us from keeping the main thing the main thing?
If it does, though, we should not leap to the conclusion that we are just bad sinners who should be able to change by trying harder. Even when faults in our eating patterns are not really true eating disorders, we will usually not succeed in overcoming them by making lots of resolutions and beating ourselves up when we fail. Self-control is always a matter of giving the control over to God.
Also, some of us are heavy for our height because of other factors, such as the food choices to which we have access and the type of life schedule we are on…and yes, because of simple differences in metabolism. Some of us violate every rule of self-care and are still in a healthy weight range! You can’t tell by outward appearances, even when the “patient” is you.
Hey…watch that aim…it’s *almost *every rule. Though advancing age sure is efficient at humbling the rule-breakers.
It’s worth noting that Aquinas wrote from personal experience. He was a very, very large man.
CCC 1866 Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.
Oh, yeah, I hear you! :rolleyes:
I finished off three boxes of Zebra cakes today, and I sure do feel bad, but they were so good.
I know what you mean - there’s a place round here that does the most fantastic chocolate fudge brownies … they’ve been the downfall of many an otherwise good day dietwise.
Is it a sin to be fat?
Yes. Unless offcourse one has a legitimate medical condition that contributes significantly to excessive weight gain.
Question is how much of a sin - food can be every bit as addictive as illegal drugs, and unlike the illegal stuff one can’t stop taking food in altogether.
Question is how much of a sin. Food can be every bit as addictive and habit-forming as illegal drugs, alcohol or gambling. And one can’t simply quit eating altogether as one can with the other stuff.
My father taught me concerning gluttony:
“If you eat so much that it makes you regret it…youve commited the sin of gluttony”
That tends to be my rule of thumb.
(Now all we need is a Papal dispensation concerning gluttony on Thanksgiving day)