Thursday, May 17, 2007

G-d and Weight Loss

I should probably keep my mouth shut on this topic, because I know I'm bound to offend someone. Religion is a touchy subject at best, and at worst it's the fuel for wars. I'm definitely not trying to start a religious war involving G-d and weight loss.

Still, it's something I've been wondering about. Since I joined the May Day Weight Loss Challenge, I've dropped in on quite a few different weight loss blogs. Some of them are good, some of them are boring, and some of them... Well, I guess the best I can say is that I don't quite know what to make of them.

First off, I should start out by saying that I'm Jewish, and I find a lot of what Christians believe and do a little bit mind boggling. I don't mean it in a bad way, and I absolutely don't want to insult any Christian readers I might have, but from my religious perspective, a lot of Christian belief and worship leaves me scratching my head.

Although I'm by no means an Orthodox Jew, I do believe in G-d, and I try to be mindful of the things I do every day. I make an effort to treat people with kindness and compassion and to do the right thing in my business and personal dealings with people. G-d is certainly a part of my life, but I don't spend much of my time actually thinking about G-d. Yes, I do pray, but most of the prayers that I make are prayers of thanksgiving, rather than specific requests. When I do pray and ask G-d for something, it's usually for someone else like asking G-d to help someone recover from an illness. I rarely ask G-d for things for myself. When I do, it's usually something big, like helping me to find work when I've lost my job.

It never would occur to me to pray to G-d and ask for help to lose weight. I see that as something that is solely under my control and is my responsibility.

The other day, I was browsing through some of the blogs that are participating in the Challenge, and I came across a blog entitled To Know Him. Based on the name, I figured it would be a pretty religious blog, but I figured I'd drop in to see if there was anything interesting. What I found was pretty much what I expected -- it's a journal written by a woman who feels that Jesus has a very strong influence in all aspects of her and her husband's life.

A couple of things in the blog struck me as very odd. The first was that the author mentioned her husband building a swing set for their kids. When her husband finished the job, he remarked the project was completed by "one man and his G-d." The remark left me scratching my head, because I can't really envision G-d standing there, helping the man swing his hammer. I see G-d more as a master planner, a force that binds the universe together and controls things on a macro level. I don't see G-d as being particularly interested in getting involved with a guy building a kiddie gym for his offspring.

The second, and most perplexing, thing I found on the blog was the following quote:
Actually, this week was really positive... even without a big weight loss.. I learned some things. You see, I normally lose weight so easily. I don't even have to be strict with my eating and exercising, and I will still lose. I told a friend that it was so strange that I am having trouble losing weight. I am not really going overboard with eating (at least like I used to), and I am exercising I should be losing weight (according to my past experiences).

I had this thought... I wonder if the Lord is at work here.. it maybe all that yo-yo dieting I have done that is stopping me from losing weight, or my metabolism could be slowing down as I age. But, I wonder if this might be a gift from the Lord... I know me, and if I started losing weight real easily... I would focus on the program I was doing, or I would muster up all the will power I have in me, and lose the weight. But then, I would not fix the real problem, and that is my addiction to Food, and how I want to control this area. So, when I don't lose weight, that makes me turn to God, and ask Him for His guidance. I think by the time this is over, I will have true freedom in this area... God is with me for the long haul... He wants me to get to the heart of this matter... not just find a temporary fix. Thank You Lord for not giving up on me :)

What I find so perplexing is the entire idea that G-d would somehow have some kind of master plan for this woman. In my world view, G-d doesn't micromanage people's lives. We have free will and free choice, and when things happen, they either happen as a result of choices we've made (like getting a speeding ticket) or random chance (like a family of four being wiped out by a drunk driver). Weight loss, in my mind, isn't a miracle of G-d any more than basic life is. Rather, it's a simple mathematical equation. If calories in is less than calories burned, you lose weight.

I find it interesting that someone can feel the presence of G-d in such an up-close, and personal way. From the Jewish perspective, Moses was the last person who had a really personal relationship with G-d, so it really struck me as very odd when I read the following in the same post:
I really did stay away from sweets for the most part (Mothers Day I had some ice-cream with my Rhubarb crunch)... I remember one time I wanted some candy, and I prayed, and the urge passed.

I didn't know that G-d worked as an appetite suppressant. Interesting.


Shannon said...

Very interesting point of view. Here's a question for you think that praying for something (health for someone who is ill, etc) is actually heard?

Another question I have for you...what exercise outlets do you have?

Toknowhim said...

Hello Oinkstop,

I am actually the "To Know Him" you were talking about. I came across your site from the "Tales from the Scales" site too.

I know it may be hard to believe, but I do believe God is in the very smallest details of my life. I know He is real, and that He wants to share every part of my life with me. I am a totally different person because of Him.

If you ever have any questions about why I believe what I believe, my blog is always open to you.

Thanks, Kim