Is weight loss always about vanity and fitting into this world? Those lines get blurry but here are 5 things Christian weight loss is NOT.
I stumbled across a blog post on Pinterest that really disturbed me.
“You see, faith-based weight loss plans are not about honoring God. They’re about vanity. They’re about diet culture. They’re about fitting in with this world. And, quite frankly, I’m not about that. “
This was written by another Christian woman. I’m sure her intentions are pure. She is obviously passionate about breaking diet culture and wanting Christian women to focus on honoring God.
I actually reached out to her on Instagram (she had comments turned off on that particular blog post) to start a dialogue about this, but she stuck to her guns. She believes weight loss should never be the goal of a Christian because it is always pursuing vanity.
The quote above is just a small snippet from her post, but, as someone who runs a Christian weight loss program that is not at all about pursuing vanity and all about pursuing Christ, I vehemently disagree with her.
See, I didn’t get into Christian weight loss because I wanted to make sure church pews were full of skinny people.
I consider it a calling to share my story, my experience, my knowledge, and my gifts to encourage, equip, and empower Christian women to break the chains in their lives.
Because of my 100-pound weight loss journey, I believe I am uniquely equipped to do just that (though I did go on to pursue more formal training to become an ACE-certified health coach, as well).
I know how much my weight held me back from living boldly for Christ. I experienced firsthand how closely my weight and my emotional eating were tied to deep-rooted shame.
My weight loss journey was not about getting skinny. It was about developing the fruit of the Spirit, overcoming insecurities, learning to run to God before food, and finding freedom in Christ.
Losing weight helped me to improve every area of my health – physical, mental, and spiritual.
So, here are a few things Christian weight loss is NOT in my book.
Christian Weight Loss Is NOT…
1. Using your weight to measure your faith.
Never listen to anyone claiming that because you are overweight, your faith isn’t strong enough.
You are not a better Christian if you weigh less. You are not a worse Christian if you weigh more.
Your Christianity is based on your relationship with Christ – nothing more, nothing less.
“Skinny” is not your ticket into heaven. Jesus is.
You are a child of God and He cannot love you any more than He already does (which is a whole heck of a lot…far more than we can fathom!).
2. Using your weight to measure your worth.
Just like your weight does not measure the strength of your Christian faith, it also does not measure your worth.
Your identity is in Christ and cannot be shaken, no matter what your physical body looks like.
Need more proof? Check out these Bible verses on body image to see what God has to say about your appearance.
3. About using shame as motivation for healthy living.
In my experience, most women experience a lot of guilt and shame after binging or overeating (I sure used to myself!) but our program teaches you to trade your guilt for God’s grace.
Now, we do believe that regularly overeating is a sin.
The definition of gluttony is “habitual greed or excess in eating” and I believe God wants you to eat in a way that takes care of the body He gifted just for you.
But we serve a God who meets us in our sin.
If we can admit our sin and ask for forgiveness, we are rewarded with grace upon grace from our loving Heavenly Father.
I don’t believe God uses shame to motivate us to make better choices.
I believe He uses unconditional love instead, not to justify or claim that our sinful choices are okay, but to meet us where we are and show us a better way.
4. Twisting Scripture to claim a specific “Biblical diet.”
There are diets out there, like The Bible Diet and The Daniel Plan that pull the foods specifically mentioned in the Bible into a biblical diet plan. From the information we have, Jesus most likely ate a mostly plant-based, clean diet, similar to the Mediterranean diet we have today.
They didn’t have readily available fast food, family-size bags of Cheetos, and king-sized candy bars back then, so the Bible doesn’t specifically speak of those by name, but I do believe it gives us the guidelines for how to handle them in our diet today.
Does God care what you eat? I fully believe the answer is YES.
But I prefer to let God’s Word speak for itself. Here are 5 Bible verses on healthy eating.
5. Making the primary goal to change your appearance.
This was her main point in claiming that weight loss is always vanity and it’s just not.
Just like C.S. Lewis states that humility is “not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less,” I believe the same is true for our appearance.
We shouldn’t talk down to ourselves about the way we look, we should just care less about our appearance in general.
When the women in our program lose weight, we never hear them claim, “Gosh, I just love the way I look now!”
Instead, we hear about women:
- dropping their A1C numbers
- getting off of diabetes medications
- being able to get on and off the floor to play with their grandkids
- having so much more energy
- feeling their worth in Christ
- being able to wear their wedding rings again
- falling in love with cooking
- growing in self-control
- breaking the cycle of binge eating
- …and so much more.
Those victories are not about becoming the thinnest, skinniest, prettiest women around.
They are about finding freedom, choosing to live within the healthy boundaries for their specific bodies, and living purposely for Christ.
Of course, you always have the choice to lose weight for your appearance. You can choose vanity to be your goal in healthy and unhealthy choices.
But you also having the choice to use your weight loss as a way to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to Christ.
So, no, I absolutely do not believe that Christian weight loss is vanity.
Christian weight loss can be the most Christ-honoring, beautiful transformation of your body, heart, and mind. It sure was for me.