The title is ironic. The truth is theology does not speak to weight loss. The Hebrew and Christian scriptures do not address weight loss as an ideal; most likely because obesity was not something very common in the ancient near east. If you were overweight, it was a sign you were wealthy. There weren’t very many wealthy people back then, and no one really saw it as a problem.
It was a world where “organic” was not a food label. That was the only option one had. Gluttony was to be avoided when eating with a king because you didn’t want to give him the idea you were after his job.
Exercise? Why? In an agrarian society without modern means of conveyance—people tended to stay in shape naturally. The only exercises had to do with preparation for war. Granted there were the Greco-Roman games but they were frowned upon by the orthodox—and again, they had their roots in military preparation.
When we entered the 20th and 21st centuries we began to see the result of wealth permeating Western societies. The invention of cars and public transport made it possible for a leisurely class to develop. Walking six miles to work was no longer a problem. You took the metro or got in your car.
Work transformed, too. Fewer and fewer people performed hard, manual labor. More began to sit at desks, stand behind counters, engage their intellect more and their muscles less.
And then: obesity.
All of this weight gain had a dramatic affect: ill health and early death. And so began the quest for losing weight. People came up with all sorts of ideas—some good, some not so good. Fad diets were created based on the flimsiest of evidence.
In the 70s someone came up with a “natural” diet called the “Caveman Diet” (sorry Paleo enthusiasts: it wasn’t new—just repackaged) which had no real research, just a theory to back it up. My mother tried the grapefruit diet and the so-called “Mayo Clinic Diet”, among many others.
My favorite approach, however, has been the theological or “biblical” approach to weight loss.
Next week: Exegesis or Eisegesis