Eating habits and weight normalize

I’m so grateful for the tools Christian Science gives us to see ourselves in a new, correct light at times when we’re facing the most discouraging and overwhelming challenges. But these tools can also help us confront and overcome the subtler deceptions about our spiritual identity as children of God.

During a routine physical exam required by my employer a few years ago, the doctor had me step on the scale. She quickly exclaimed, “You’re overweight!” and pointed to a chart on the wall that outlined how much someone of my height and body type should weigh.

On my drive home after the appointment, I recalled some of my friends and colleagues, and realized I didn’t think of them in terms of their height or weight but in terms of the spiritual qualities they express—joy, compassion, humor, punctuality, creativity, orderliness, and so on. 

A Bible passage came to mind: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). I recognized this as the true record of creation from the first chapter of the Bible, which affirms man’s God-given purity, wholeness, and goodness. How, then, I reasoned, could a perfect likeness of God ever be overweight?

Later, however, it struck me that I didn’t always think of myself as the perfect likeness of God. I realized that when I found myself panting at the top of stairs, or dozing off in front of the TV, or losing my temper with a colleague, these weren’t Godlike behaviors. So, that evening I prayed to let God show me more of what His image really looks like. 

One thought that occurred to me was how often I felt tempted to eat almost automatically, without thinking, sometimes when I wasn’t even hungry. I realized that my appetite had become like another god to me, controlling my behavior in ways I didn’t like. This was a real wake-up call, reaffirming that divine Love was my only source and the only governing influence I wanted in my life.

A few days later, some interesting things started happening. At the grocery store, I found myself gravitating more to the fruits and vegetables aisle than to my usual snack food section. I noticed that at meal times I was satisfied with about half the food I normally ate, and I was no longer getting hungry and snacking between meals. I started hiking again, something I hadn’t done in years—not because I felt I needed to, but because it genuinely felt good and provided me with extra time for thought and prayer. 

After a few months, I discovered I’d shed a significant amount of weight and was fitting into clothes I hadn’t worn in decades. I felt alert, energetic, more positive. But more important, I was regarding myself more spiritually, which was playing out not just in my outward appearance but also in how I did my work and related to other people. This happened more than five years ago, and the healing has been permanent.

We can all strive to know ourselves more as God knows us. And when we do, we’ll start to see this new understanding reflected in every aspect of our lives.

Chris Jones
San Rafael, California, US

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