Should Catholics Be Concerned About Obesity?

By pintswaquinas March 1, 2023

Obesity is a sensitive topic. Sadly, there is a long history of people demeaning obese individuals. Then there are others who claim that we should not talk about the health risks of obesity so as not to offend anyone.

What’s a Catholic to think?

Your personal worth is not tied to what others think about your appearance.
This is a no-brainer for some, but others need to hear it. Being obese may not be healthy, but it in no way diminishes your dignity as a beloved child of God. Your goal in life is not to please the world, but to live your life for God.

Being charitable doesn’t mean ignoring the health risks of obesity.
Charity calls you to honor the dignity of everyone. But it doesn’t mean you can’t lovingly point out the risks of certain conditions, especially if some are trying to normalize them.

Scientific studies have clearly demonstrated that obesity is linked to diabetes and other health problems. And even if the obese person is young and healthy, the negative effects will eventually catch up with them.

There are ways to take control of your weight.
1. Change your mindset.
There’s no getting around it. To lose weight, you need to eat less and move more. There’s no magic pill. Discipline, sacrifice, and changing your mindset will yield the results you want.

Is it difficult? Of course. But as Catholics, we know that Christ calls us to take up our crosses each day. It can be hard to change your diet, but all suffering is meritorious if offered up to Christ.

2. Confront your trauma.
If your obesity is rooted in trauma, you need to acknowledge and confront that. Seek healing through counseling, spiritual direction, and prayer. Hormonal issues and disordered eating can also lead to excessive eating.

3. Start with small steps.
Some people decide they want to be healthier and then jump into extreme practices.
A better long-term plan is to take incremental steps and succeed, rather than radical leaps and fail.

For example, you can start by taking breaks from your computer, getting up and pacing around the house for a bit. Or walking to the grocery store down the street instead of driving there.

God wants us to be healthy. It can be a struggle and not everyone should be expected to adopt these practices to the same degree. But it’s worth it if we are happier and healthier in the end.

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