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Perceptions and Priorities 1 – Weight and Self-image 2 September 2008

Posted by Dr Moose in Life.
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When I have the mind to step outside of immediate circumstances, or even to just analyse myself, there’s always something of interest and it’s nearly always to do with how we see the world, and how we see ourselves. There are plenty over recent days, so expect more, but here’s a starter.

On a personal level there’s the reaction to my decision to go on a diet. I am overweight – not morbidly obese or any thing like that, but I am carrying some extra poundage (and despite my generally pro-metric stance “extra kilo-age just doesn’t work!) My maximum “healthy” weight should be around twelve and half stone (175 pounds, about 80 kilos) – instead I’m closer to thirteen stone ten (192 pounds, about 87 kilos). The reasons are simple, as with so many people: excessive food consumption, excessive alcohol and rather too little exercise. I know the only person who can change that is me, and having succeeded in losing a stone or so before I know that not only is it possible and achievable but also how much food I don’t need but do eat.

I always find it fascinating reflecting upon the reaction you get if you mention the dreaded D-word. Whether it’s meant to cheer the dieter up, or serves as a self-defence mechanism for the other, the response is very frequently “you don’t need to go on a diet!”

Do we culturally perceive a diet as a punishment, an unwelcome imposition and therefore strive to “support” dieters with reassurances, or more? (A bit like Peter and Jesus in last week’s readings perhaps!) Or is the reaction rather like the one that occurs when a Christian dares to mention sin – it’s something that happens to other people, people who are obviously so different from us. We’re just typical, not murderers and despots, after all! The problem is that if the “typical” person is overweight… and, if Christian faith is right, sinful too!

So, enough of me worrying about the rising cost of food and the speed the bank account empties. Even with a half-reasonable diet I’ll be a lot better off than the majority of the world’s population, it’s time to bite the bullet. I might even be able to get into that old suit that’s hiding somewhere in the wardrobe…

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