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Why Taking Care of Your Body is Not a Sin

February 12, 2018

 "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)

 

I grew up in a "super Catholic" family, (a term coined by my friends or acquaintances when they found out that we often went to Mass *gasp* DURING THE WEEK, or that we lit an Advent wreath, or participated in any other "super Catholic" activities).

 

We had many friends who also were "super Catholic" and those who were of various religions or just not so "super Catholic."

 

My husband and I try to raise our current family as "super Catholic" as well--aka just devout, practicing Catholics.

 

Whew, since I'm already sick of the phrase "super Catholic," I'll find the point here...

 

A massive lie that I hear and witness MANY devout, practicing Catholics take to heart is the lie that spending time exercising and being concerned with a healthy diet is vain.

 

Vanity is a sin, and therefore everything to do with making your body look and feel better is of the devil and there are much better ways to spend your time.

 

Seriously.

 

Maybe you believe that; maybe you're shocked that some people do believe that.

 

I just remember growing up looking at so many youth group leaders struggling with their weight but making jokes about it and throwing out some excuse about how, "They don't have time for anything else because they're always having pizza nights for the teens so that's what they eat and that's what they do."

 

They made it sound noble to sacrifice their health and well-being "for the youth."

 

No one offered the fact that there was a different way.

 

 "Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:26-27)

 

 

Now, as a Catholic wife and mother, I see, hear, and feel this lie being communicated both verbally and non-verbally among other Catholic wives and mothers.

 

It falls so easily in that beautiful spot between "Catholic guilt" and "mom guilt," covering both arenas.

 

 

We shame ourselves for caring what we look like.

 

We shame ourselves for taking time "away from our families" to care for ourselves.

 

We shame ourselves for spending money to improve the condition of our health.

 

 

But there is a different way.

 

I get it.

 

There IS merit to the fear of becoming overly concerned with items of the flesh and becoming obsessed with the state of your body instead of the state of your soul.

 

But there are two extremes to this: vanity/excess and sloth/gluttony.

 

 

It's MUCH easier to throw shade on someone for spending three hours exercising every day and weighing all of her food as being "vain and excessive" than it is to point fingers at the person sitting on her butt watching her kids play and shoveling down thousands of calories in secret.

 

I've been both.

 

I've been the person that was so excited when my college roommate had plans on a night that I didn't so I could sit in the room watching Netflix using pretzels to scoop mounds of peanut butter out of the jar and into my pie-hole.

 

I've also been the person who got a little too obsessed chasing a certain weight or body fat percentage and hitting the gym twice a day.

 

There is another way.

 

 

 

It's about finding that "Golden Mean" that Aristotle talked about.

 

It's not a sin to care for yourself. 

 

We are stewards of this body we have been given and we should treat it properly so it allows us to function as well as we can.

 

 

Additionally, there is so much personal growth and character development that can happen through training your body.

 

I've known priests who train for and run marathons regularly or lift five days a week.

 

But, I'm here to tell you that whether you are a mom or not, working out and eating nutritiously in and of itself ARE not sinful behaviors.

 

There IS another way; it is the spot between excess and laziness.

 

 

 

 

If you'd like me to help you find this other way, click the message me button the homepage of this site and we can talk! 

 

 

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