I honestly had never heard of comedienne Nicole Arbour before her “Dear Fat People” video went viral a week or so ago. I am not sure what compelled me to actually watch the thing, but I had what is probably an unexpected reaction for a Christian who no longer has a taste for this kind of blunt and vulgar comedy: I actually agreed with a lot of what she was saying, although of course, completely disagreed with her disrespectful and mocking method.
Hear me out: yes, she uses disgusting, horrible language and says many vulgar and offensive things. However, the point she is making is this: is that telling people who are morbidly obese that they need to stop eating and take care of themselves is the right thing to do. There is a difference between telling a woman who has 10-20 extra pounds that she is beautiful even though her body is not perfect, and telling a morbidly obese person to love their body the way it is. If our body is sick, and habits we have are putting us at risk of disease and mortality, we should not be told to embrace that, but rather, we should be given support and encouragement and, if necessary, firm admonition to take better care of ourselves.
No one should be mocked or scorned for the way their body is, and certainly not treated any differently because of it. Fat people are still beautiful. But many are very unhealthy. A lot of what Nicole Arbour is doing is just mocking people, yes, and that is wrong. But she’s also making the very clear point that telling people who have a horrible habit-over eating-that they should take care of themselves so they can live longer is not wrong or judgmental in and of itself.
Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the sort of reaction Christians get all the time to telling people they are in sin and need Jesus. It’s not hateful to try to warn people away from the broad path that leads to destruction, right? Well, sometimes people do it the wrong way. There is a right way and a wrong way to tell people that what they are doing is harmful, and Nicole Arbour manages to somehow cover both.
Obesity is a massive problem in our country. Let’s not kid ourselves. We know how terrible the food is, we know how plentiful the junk, how horrible the health care industry and how hypnotizing the advertisements. Making Americans so fat it becomes a disability is part of the greater Satanic conspiracy. Malnutrition is actually contributing to this problem: too much of the wrong food is considered malnutrition too. Millions of Americans are horribly fat and it is not at all healthy.
According to the CDC, more than one third of adults are considered to be obese, meaning 1 out of every 3 American adults has a BMI of 30+. That is crippling. And yes, there are certain medical conditions that contribute to obesity, but the primary causes are clearly identified as being due to inactivity and diet (Mayo Clinic).
And obesity itself is the cause of a multitude of other health problems: heart problems, reproductive issues, depression, memory and cognitive function issues, musculoskeletal disorders, and also causes death directly (Harvard School of Public Health). Across the board, the recommendations are the same: lifestyle changes. Obesity is caused by eating too much of the wrong foods, and it can be cured by eating less and eating better, as well as increasing activity. According to the Harvard School of Public Health again, “Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of body weight offers meaningful health benefits to people who are obese, even if they never achieve their “ideal” weight, and even if they only begin to lose weight later in life.”
We don’t need to have perfect bodies to be healthy. I sure as heck don’t have one, trust me, and I don’t feel any woman should be made to feel they need to live up to airbrushed beauty standards. But healthy is healthy, and telling people who’s weight is a huge health issue for them to lose weight is good, solid advice founded on reason.
Losing weight, of course, be cripplingly difficult. It is the result of poor health choices and often a complete lack of self-control, and the more weight you gain the harder it is to lose. But what kind of church do we have where it is so easy to judge someone for an addiction or sexual sin and yet overeating is not treated as the same crippling spiritual issue? She made one point that, once again while done in a terribly mocking way, I actually thought was quite brilliant. If we talk about positive body image, why aren’t we also encouraging people to make positive lifestyle choices like eating right and exercising?
Personally, eating too much is one of my biggest spiritual struggles. I am a short woman of slight stature and most people would consider me thin. I have a BMI of 22, which is normal, and I wear a size 4. I work out 2-4 times a week and don’t eat processed food or drink alchlohol. And yet, despite the fact that my eating is not causing any risk to my health, it is still a spiritual issue for me, because it is something I know I need to have more control over but I struggle with this. I eat things I don’t need fully conscious of the fact that I just feel like eating. That’s an issue.
So how much more so someone who is at risk of a multitude of diseases all because they do not take care of themselves properly? If we saw our brother and sister in fornication, in anger, in addiction, in greed, we would want to address this. Why not lack of self-control when it comes to food? I assert that this is just as much an issue as anything else and we need to-lovingly and not in a vulgar way like this young woman, of course-address it. Maybe I’m totally off here, but I feel like any other area of health we feel comfortable urging people to make the right choices, so why not with obesity?
After all, Christians are believers in tough, honest love. This is an area in which we really need to practice it.
How do you feel about Nicole Arbour’s video, and what do you think the church should be doing to address over-eating and obesity? Share below.