So what does God have to do with obesity? Obviously, what God has to do with anything is a huge, confusing, inflammatory topic — and above all hopelessly inconclusive — and yet I proceed:
A lot, I say.
As many readers know (and perhaps are tired of hearing), I was overweight for 30 years-plus, topping out at 365 in 1991. I've now been in a normal-size body for almost 20 years, and one of the most significant changes underlying that transformation is that I let go of my arrogance around the question of God's existence.
That's one of the points I want to make today, though it's more academic than experiential: In my opinion, the more certain one is about the existence of God — yes or no — the less credible she or he is. There is no proof, period.
Why? I don't know. That's the only supportable answer to any of these questions. Why don't I know, or can't I know? I don't know. Neither do you.
My belief is that God does exist, which is wholly different from when I was heavy. Back then, I thought that he was an asshole AND that he didn't exist. (Think for a second: It would take a God-like figure to pull both those off.)
I also believe that it is not coincidental that my stable weight loss, after having lost hundreds of pounds over 20-plus years and regained every one of them, began when grudgingly moved toward belief.
That's not the same as believing that God lost my weight for me, and let me lose my weight, or anything like that. I think that's absurd. For reasons that only God knows, he created a world in which I could be fat, or I could be thin. and though he might want the best for me, (I think he does), he doesn't make it happen. Why? I have musings, but again, I don't know.
So if he's not going to carry the load, what difference does it make whether I believe or not? Well, it did. For one thing, I stopped fighting suggestions in which God belief played a role. Surrender, for example: When I conceded that I wasn't the greatest power on earth, I could start giving up the rudder. Did God take it? I personally don't think so, but the far more important issue was my letting it go.
It was nuts (crazy, screwy, foolish, misguided, batty, bonkers — no, really!) to think I was a good steward of my life's fortunes, based on how things were turning out: I was into my 30s, clueless, isolated, unhappy if not depressed, a laughingstock in love who'd never had a girlfriend. And yet, I thought I just had to try a little harder, manage a little better.
When I stopped thinking I knew better, I started getting better. And a very big part of that was beginning to allow that maybe God did exist, and that God's plan for this existence was a better line of inquiry than my plan for it.
Meanwhile, back to the question of what obesity has to do with God: A theory of a friend, Phil Werdell, holds that in the same way that physical pain is nature's signal of a physical problem, addiction is the physical manifestation of a spiritual problem — evidence that the spirit needs remedial attention. That really fits, and helps explain, what I've observed on my path and in the experiences of others.
I had no spiritual connection, no code of conduct to fall back, no discipline, so I did whatever I wanted, with insufficient (at best!) regard for the consequences. That's the way a child often acts. Once I was no longer directing the show, I started to see the world's effect on me, and that I had an effect on the world.
In my opinion, obesity is very often more than only a physical problem, and for that reason physical-only "remedies" are incomplete and will fail.
In my book, "Fat Boy Thin Man," I devoted a chapter to my spiritual movement from arrogance to belief, and why it makes sense. You can check it out here (free, but registration required).