I’ve been asked to comment on obesity. Obesity is a symptom not a cause.
We know about poor nutrition. Additives, steroids in food and pesticides can cause a host of problems such as allergies, water retention, weight gain etc.
High fructose corn syrup is an additive known to cause obesity. Check your labels and do not buy! Nutrition books can help on this point – what to eat and what to avoid. Here is an example. Avocados have a bad rap. Women say – no, no don’t eat them BUT an avocado has 45 calories and the best fat for digestion. A muffin has 125 calories and nothing much good at all except taste. Know your food facts.
Spiritual causes are infrequently discussed if at all. I was surprised to move to Texas and learn I had 2 major vitamin deficiencies. Years of living on pasta made a difference. I knew my diet was wrong but I was loaded with debt and I do think excessive debt can lead to overweight – because debt is, after all, added weight.
Fear of poverty This is complex. I have known people who actually were so poor as children that they overate to be sure they would not starve in the future; they store up calories for the day when they have nothing. This is hard to break. One must exercise faith that God will provide. A family does not actually have to be poor to have fear of poverty. My mother used to say if I was not good she would send me to the poor-babies home.
Depression; this is a scripture in Isaiah 61 – the spirit of heaviness or depression. Notice that praising God is an antidote. Perhaps if we spent 20 minutes in praise choruses and prayer instead of eating? I have not tried this.
Self hate – Most hate is not weight-based except self hate manifests itself in a big butt. I learned this working with black women.
Gluttony – I notice it is common for overweight people to ask for prayer then someone mistakenly prays for gluttony for them. This is the natural man not the spiritual man talking and leads to additional problems for the individual. In your class someday tell your students that there is such a thing as skinny gluttons and notice the squirming! Yes, there are skinny gluttons. Some lucky people have metabolism that processes food quickly. We should never pray for someone without first consulting the Holy Spirit – most ministers do not.
Today we use the term obsessive-compulsive behavior for gluttony which includes every form of over indulgence including hoarding, alcohol, drugs, chocolate, food, spending money, gambling – many things come under the gluttony heading, all intended to make us feel better at some point. Comfort food is a good name, but why does someone need more comfort than his body can take? Why is comfort the goal? The counselor looks for reasons.
Guilt is a heavy load and may manifest itself in overweight. It does not need to be real guilt. Many people do not accept or are unable to accept the forgiveness of God; perhaps other people keep reminding them of past sins. I was in prison work for 9 years. So many inmates had family members who were unforgiving and then staff would continually remind prisoners – “you have a record,” piling guilt upon guilt.
Un-confessed sin – it can be real sin or the devil dragging sin out from under the blood. This can be the person or someone in the home. If the husband rags about weight you can be pretty sure the wife will GAIN. A husband who does this may be a control freak and the weight a side issue that keeps her under his thumb which means the fat is really not the issue at all, and never was.
Finally, the Bible says we are to pursue holiness in spirit, soul and body – in that order! (1 Thess 5:23) The spirit controls the soul, the soul controls the body. Diets start at the body which is why they so often fail. Failed diets make things worse. If you are fat, seek God’s word not man’s. You’ll get the truth that way.