O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
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Sometimes I love being a fly on the wall in the locker room. The ladies there seem not to notice my existence; they’ve accepted that crazy office worker who showers each morning, and now they ignore me. That means that I get to hear all manner of remarkable, really quite personal conversations at times. Take this morning for example.
Two ladies were talking about Weight Watchers, which has a huge following at work since they offer a discounted price and hold meetings on-site. One gal was talking about how her kids had obtained mini-Cadbury eggs (serving size: 12; calories per serving: 190; calories from fat: 70), and how she (the mom) had kept grabbing handfuls of them to munch on as she went by. She went on to say how she had refrained from eating anything else “bad,” that it hardly seemed fair that some mini-Cadbury eggs would make her gain weight, and that she would be happy if she had lost even 0.1 lbs.
Several thoughts ran through my mind as I listened to this interesting discussion. First, I wanted to tell her: Hey, life isn’t fair! Your body will convert any unused calories into fat, regardless of where those calories come from. Eating Cadbury eggs simply provides you with a bunch of empty, nutrition-free calories all at once, and you aren’t likely to use all of them. You could gain weight by eating apples, bananas, and whole-wheat crackers all day if you never exercised. (Incidentally, one can of regular Coca-Cola provides 97 calories; a can of diet Coke has 1 calorie, and a can of the the much-vaunted Coke Zero has 0.7 calories. Barq’s Floatz tops the list of Coke soft drinks with 127 calories per can. Other Coca-Cola Company beverage nutrition information is here.) It might not be fair to gain weight because you thoughtlessly inhaled a bunch of empty (if delicious) calories, but alas, your body isn’t fair. It follows its chemical processes regardless of what seems right to you.
The other thing I thought was that if she wants to lose 0.1 pounds, she can simply weigh herself with no socks, or wear lighter-weight pants, or not drink for an hour or two before weighing, or cut her hair. Any of those would instantly reduce the number on the scale with minimal work on her part. What this boils down to is that people who obsess over 0.1 lbs, or even half a pound here or there, simply don’t have a realistic expectation of how their bodies maintain weight. You can easily fluctuate half a pound, or even a pound, by simply drinking more or less during the day. When I weigh myself (which is rarely), I expect to weigh 110 ± 2 lbs: I consider myself healthy if I weigh anywhere from about 108 to 112 lbs, and sometimes even a bit above or below those, depending on my eating habits for the previous day or two. Getting your panties in a twist about 0.1 lbs and obsessing about inhaling handfuls of mini-Cadbury eggs hardly seems like a healthy, logical, or reasonable way to think about food.
It’s actually sad that we so rarely enjoy food without some accompanying sense of guilt. God made us to enjoy the gifts he gives us — especially the gift of food whose flavors delight us. But we turn that enjoyment into a sense of entitlement, gorge ourselves because we think that enjoying is the same as consuming, and consuming more must mean enjoying more. If a small scoop of ice cream is good, a large scoop must be better, right? Where did the ability to enjoy a bite or two of richly-flavored food go? Why do we feel that we need to eat more, when we would actually end up happier with less?