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Jared White

February 02, 2013  3:03am

I agree that there is a major misconception that "skinny" or "thin" equals being healthy. It's easy for people to justify what are really vain pursuits with trying to being "healthy," but doing so can lead to practices that are actually unhealthy and result in depression and low-self esteem. I think it's important to get a firm grounding in our identity in Christ and really search out why we are pursuing "health." The right reasons will lead to abundant life! -Jared White

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carlene byron

January 24, 2013  2:53pm

As one of my writing clients sells clothing from India and Pakistan, I've been entertained to discover that their fashion blogs offer tips for how the "too thin" woman can dress to appear womanly. And of course, we all caught the December blog uproar when an century old NYTimes piece resurfaced describing a 1912 Cornell student as the "perfect woman" -- a basketball player, fond of steak, 5'7 and 171 pounds. She lived to age 91, supporting the "obesity paradox" -- that some studies find people who are overweight (by today's standards) but not obese live longer than skinnies. Of course today's standards are only about 30 years old ... All of which just goes to say: run, run, as fast as you can. But never believe a mirror that says you're anything but the most beautiful woman of them all.

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Rachel Stephan Simko

January 24, 2013  12:15pm

I've dealt for YEARS with body image issues, and it was only through my first pregnancy that God released me from a lot of the idols I was clinging to. In the last few years, I've grown to love exercise for its challenges and the energy it gives me. It's become less about "getting thin" and more about a way of life. Exercise is one of my hobbies, and if I'm not moving consistently, it really affects my emotional state. Another thing I've come to terms with is having the right understanding of food. Food is meant to be enjoyed, but it's also meant to nourish. And in America, we have a very skewed view of HOW MUCH we need. I've stopped dieting and have just started focusing on what makes sense to fuel my body (with, yes, an occasional gluten-free cupcake now and then). (evenonesparrow.blogspot.com)

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Luisa Rodriguez

January 24, 2013  9:13am

Excellent article! I also think that this love for "skinny" has spilled over into the discussion about children's health. There is a great push now to fight childhood obesity and the focus seems to be on kids' fatness instead of their health. I see so many "skinny" kids eat only chicken nuggets and pizza who are by no means healthier than a kid that is overweight. I talk about this on a recent blog that I wrote (http://www.fruitful-living.net/2013/01/how-to-teach-kids-about-food.html#. UQFN5qVVhD0). As you say, we should be pushing to be healthier (having vitality and keeping disease and illness away) and not skinny.

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Dan Richardson

January 24, 2013  6:53am

I question whether wanting to be thin because one thinks it makes them look better is a goal not worthy of pursuing. My questions for anyone who feels like their objective is to be 100% spiritual in this pursuit; do you wear make up, comb your hair or use deodorant? If so, why? These three activities have not proven to lengthen life so you can witness longer for The Lord.

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Marie Gregg

January 23, 2013  6:01pm

Great, great post. I flirted with anorexia in high school (only by the grace of God did I not become very ill) and graduated with far too little weight on my 5'7" frame. And yet my friends told me, all the time, that I looked good. 11 years later, I am now at a much better weight, but my relationship to food and exercise hasn't improved. I definitely needed this reminder that "healthy" doesn't look the same on each person.

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Jenn Wright

January 23, 2013  2:58pm

As a fully-delivered bulimic-anorexic, and now, 20 years later, as a less-than-healthy, relatively "skinny" IV-nutrition-dependent patient [the two issues not being related], I have learned that skinny is not the goal: HEALTH is. We need to care for our bodies so that Christ can use us as effectively as possible. But when motivations are mixed, we need to consciously and intentionally pause to examine, discern, and draw a clear line around between the often dichotomous goals of vanity and fitness.

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Tim Fall

January 23, 2013  2:39pm

Good points about fitness and our theological pursuits, Jen. From now on I am going to say that my fitness (or lack thereof) is due to my teleology. True or not, few will be able to refute it! And as for fitness helping out in old age, all I know is that my 89 year old father is still taking walks down at the beach most days, just as he has since retiring over a quarter century ago. Cheers, Tim (timfall.wordpress.com)

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JANET W

January 23, 2013  12:11pm

I absolutely agree that "skinny" is in no way equal to health. In fact, in my profession, I deal with dying patients, and at death, the vast majority are little more than skin and bones. We should strive for healthy rather than skinny. Healthy usual equates more with physical activity than with body weight, in my experience.

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