Is Everyone Losing Weight Without Me?

I’ve always loved books, but for a number of years–okay, for a lot of years–my reading choices have tended toward the serious. And yet few things are more enjoyable for me than curling up with some really funny reading material. And so I picked up this book at the library yesterday and finished it this morning, laughing loudly and inappropriately in the library (I started reading it before I even left the building), in the doctor’s waiting room, and while reading in bed.

I love laughing out loud while reading. It has a hint of hedonism mixed with a dab of Crazy Lady.

What surprised me about the book is how many times Mindy Kaling (perhaps better known as the actress/writer/director who plays Kelly Kapoor on The Office (which, I’m sorry, I don’t really like*) references her weight.

Really? This woman feels like she needs to explain her weight or her looks?

Yes, yes, she does, because Hollywood’s obsession with unearthly skinniness makes normal women unwelcome.

I thought this passage was particularly incisive (as my favorite kind of comedy writing is)–

“Since I am not model skinny, but also not super fat and fabulously owning my hugeness, I fall in that nebulous “normal American woman” size that legions of fashion stylists detest. For the record, I’m a size eight (this week, anyway). Many stylists hate that size, because I think, to them, it shows that I lack the discipline to be an ascetic or the confident sassy abandon to be a total fatty hedonist. They’re like: pick a lane! Just be so enormous that you need to be buried in a piano, and dress accordingly.”

And this one, too–

“My mom’s a doctor but because she came from India and then Africa, where childhood obesity was not a problem, she put no premium on having skinny kids…Part of me wonders if it even made them feel a little prosperous, like Have you seen our overweight Indian child? Do you know how statistically rare this is?”

And then her chapter on ‘Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who are not Real’–

(THE SKINNY WOMAN WHO IS BEAUTIFUL AND TONED BUT ALSO GLUTTONOUS AND DISGUSTING)

“I am speaking of the gorgeous and skinny heroine who is also a disgusting pig when it comes to food. And everyone […] is constantly telling her to stop eating and being such a glutton. And this actress, this poor skinny actress who so clearly lost weight to play the likeable lead, has to say things like, ‘Shut up you guys! I love cheesecake!'”

It’s great how Mindy lampoons the ridiculous and double minded nature of weight and bodies and dieting in our culture while recognizing that she is enmeshed in that culture too. Because aren’t we all?

*it probably speaks to the quality of the book that I didn’t really have to know much about Mindy Kaling or The Office to find the book hilarious and enjoyable*

Oh. And Happy Groundhog Day!

{I really should tell you about the time Tim and I were stranded with a broken car in Punxsutawney (in Februrary, no less) eating popcorn at the car repair place where they told us it would take 2 days to fix the car, so why didn’t we find a place to stay? We jury-rigged the car ourselves and drove it back to Chicago and then to California, and it never did need to be properly fixed again.}

Does God Care What I Eat?

Does the Bible teach________(fill in the blank) about healthy eating?

There are plenty of ‘Christian diets’ out there. Over the past years, I’ve read every Christian diet book I could get my hands on. I even read a whole book ABOUT Christian diet books. (It’s by R.Marie Griffith and it’s really interesting.) But no, I don’t believe that the Bible teaches any particular diet. But that doesn’t mean the Bible has nothing to say about food–far from it! But a theology of food is a different thing from a diet–a prescriptive plan for “what you should eat.” The Bible isn’t that kind of a book. I see it as giving a framework for understanding God, humanity, and the rest of creation, and food plays into that, but as far as teaching “what you should eat”–I don’t think it’s possible for the Bible to do that. It’s asking a question the Bible can’t answer by nature of the kind of book it is.

So what do you think the Bible says about eating?

I think that food is a good gift from a good God who wants to give good things to his children. I think that God created people to live in loving, caring, community, and that eating together is a universal way of forming and cementing that community (most weddings, worldwide and throughout history, involve some kind of mutual feeding–like the cake ceremony). I think Jesus talked about himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Water because his self-sacrificing death and resurrection promises to make all creation New, and food and drink are daily reminders of his sacrifice and that redeeming grace. I think Christians have a real responsibility to practice the Eucharist not just at church, but whenever we eat and drink, and especially when, in eating and drinking, we make an effort to share with those who don’t have enough. And I think that all our eating and drinking and enjoyment is both a wonderful gift in the here-and-now and an anticipation of the day when we’ll sit at the supper of the lamb “and taste how gracious the Lord really is.” (That last bit’s from Robert Farrar Capon.)