OK, so Scripture gives me a way out.
But do I want to use it as an excuse for being considered overweight? And who determines what ‘overweight’ is anyway?
Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
1 Timothy 4:8
So, to do it justice, I have to look at the first part of this verse as well as the rest and see that physical exercise is profitable. It’s not saying ‘Don’t exercise’, but that, comparatively, spiritual exercise is more effective.
Why do I say this?
Well I had an regular health check and it turns out that my Body Mass Index [BMI] is higher than it should be for my age.
I have always been relatively active and hitherto slim, having a high metabolism, but my family tends to put it on once we get past our youthful, athletic, sporting days, mainly because we love food.
I still look reasonably OK in a tight T-shirt and jeans, by the way, provided I keep my stomach muscles fairly taught, but my wife has been dropping hints that a slight bulge is developing where it shouldn’t be when I relax my midriff, and is encouraging me to make alterations to my diet as well as trying more exercise. Blessing and prosperity is indeed leading to increase.
So today, to follow up on the doctor’s visit, I checked out the BBC health page online, after having read about a South African chef who’d been refused an extension to his visa in New Zealand for being overweight. No diplomatic immunity for having a high BMI then.
Reading the health page, I found out that, height, age and weight taken into consideration, my BMI is at 26. I am overweight! By around five kilos. Not massively overweight in comparison to other UK men my age, but enough to be considered obese. What a horrible word. Obese!
Living in UK this means I am still below average for obesity, being in the lower 33% of males my age. There are 67% of males in UK who are more overweight than I am. For some people this would be a relief, but I do not want to be even in the first 10%, thank you.
The obesity statistics for Australians are slightly higher than UK men, by the way, and New Zealanders are even higher. It must be the lamb chops. And the US is shockingly overweight. Burgers and fries.
We are, indeed, the developed nations.
Shock to the system
My world statistics, however, are really scary. I am now higher in weight than 64% of people in the world.
That is frightening. It means, first of all, that UK men are particularly obese compared with those from most developing nations, where poverty is relatively high and food harder to come by, which makes my newly discovered obesity something of a moral issue. It also means I am possibly part of an epidemic of gluttony.
I’m told by the BBC page “Where are you on the global fat scale’ that I am most like someone from Nicaragua, which is somewhat down the obesity scale, but that is small comfort, really.
I say this because the site tells me that ‘if everyone in the world had the same BMI as you, it would add 31,360,574 tonnes to the total weight of the world’s population’.
Now I’m sure the good earth could take the extra weight, but that’s not the point. If the BBC was trying to shame me into losing a few kilos, it worked.
So I’m ready to face the music. I have gone past the denial into the acceptance that I am, according to the BBC, obese. I shall be until I get this body down to a decent BMI.
It means pain. Less fattening, delicious, enjoyable, tasty, fun food and more exercise, physical effort, working out, sweat, aches and stretching.
They say that a fit body aids a fit mind. I know this is right. I may not want to face it, but it is true. But knowing about it does nothing. Acting on the solution will.
My challenge to readers is to look at themselves through the mirror of the BBC site and check their BMI and face the music. Or, better still, get a check up at your local medical centre.
Godliness may be more favourable than physical exercise, but fitness is important to our witness, too.
Article by Steve