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Thread: On Overweight Pagans

  1. #1
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    On Overweight Pagans

    I did consider writing this as a longer post, but I think the less I say, the better. Please be assured this is not an attempt to troll, upset people or blame. It is me posing a question to which I do not understand the answers for. So here it is:

    Why are a number of pagans overweight or obese?

    At a broad stroke, paganism is a nature-worshipping or -revering religion. That includes us - the body of the human. So if the ideal for the body is well-nourished, but not beyond need, with healthy fruits and vegetables, nuts, some meats and grains, lots of water and regular movement (walking being the best way to put oneself in nature), why are so many pagans overweight?

    Personally, I struggled with an (under-)eating disorder for many years. At 25 I am 5'3" and 57kg/126lbs, and although this is by NO means overweight, I do have excess fattiness in my body that, with weight-training and healthy eating, I aim to conquer. I know that good health is very hard when you take issue with food. But I always considered that I was dishonouring nature, and not being true to myself as a witch, to take care of myself, and that looking after my body was as important as giving to animals and nature.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Sorry I haven't met any overweight pagans. Other heathens that I know of are fit and healthy.
    Last edited by ~Runa~; July 27th, 2012 at 05:13 AM.
    The only thing that sucks around here is a straw.

  3. #3
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    I personaly think the biggest issue here is the wide brush your painting things with in identifying that paganism is nature-worshippping or nature-revering religion. Considering the very width of identification of what falls beneath the "Pagan Umbrella". Nature is not forgiving or some happy filled place where everything has a chance and is equal. It's all about preditor and prey regardless of a thing being jsut part of the animal kingdom.

    I follow a Shamanic / Greenwitch pathway that does not hold as nature worshipping or nature-revering as nature as a whole is one of the bloodiest of forces. It's that romantic view of nature that causes so much issue.

    As far as physical fitness that one is also a wide sweep. I am retired military with 23 years service. During that time I fractured my spine and have several other medical issues that have left me disabled. To my own perspective I am unhappy with my self but my own body will not allow me to do otherwise. None of that even touching upon the notion of ones physcial body type, ie bone structure and density for example.

    But dishonoring nature? Nature calls for man as an animal to adapt to his/her environment and exist within the social order that is established.

    It's like I highly doubt your idea of being fit matches mine. I used to run 10 miles every other day, hikes that measured in miles up and down mountains or running along beaches. Strength measured in physical ability not just physical appearance or muscle mass. Endurance more of a sign of physical fitness than ones ability to lift weights.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by underblackice View Post
    I did consider writing this as a longer post, but I think the less I say, the better. Please be assured this is not an attempt to troll, upset people or blame. It is me posing a question to which I do not understand the answers for. So here it is:

    Why are a number of pagans overweight or obese?

    At a broad stroke, paganism is a nature-worshipping or -revering religion. That includes us - the body of the human. So if the ideal for the body is well-nourished, but not beyond need, with healthy fruits and vegetables, nuts, some meats and grains, lots of water and regular movement (walking being the best way to put oneself in nature), why are so many pagans overweight?

    Personally, I struggled with an (under-)eating disorder for many years. At 25 I am 5'3" and 57kg/126lbs, and although this is by NO means overweight, I do have excess fattiness in my body that, with weight-training and healthy eating, I aim to conquer. I know that good health is very hard when you take issue with food. But I always considered that I was dishonouring nature, and not being true to myself as a witch, to take care of myself, and that looking after my body was as important as giving to animals and nature.

    Any thoughts?
    First, there is an obesity problem in a lot of first world countries. Second, this isn't a pagan issue, it's a people issue, spirituality/religion isn't the driving factor here.

    Second, how is it "dishonoring" nature to enjoy the bounty it provides?

    I'm overweight, and you know what? I don't care. I am happy, healthy, and if someone cares so damn much about my waistline, they can just stay away from me or keep their mouths closed. The reality is that nobody knows why any other person weighs what they do, and it's none of our business.

    I would love to see more workshops on foraging, healthy cooking/eating, etc. and it has nothing to do with rescuing the poor fat pagans, it's because I love food. My drive to see people learn how to cook and eat properly is a drive to self-reliance. I don't care what someone else weighs. If they're happy, who am I to try and change them? We spend way too much time caring about what someone else looks like, and try and use our views of what we like/want to impose on other people to change who they are.
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  5. #5
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    ^RoseKitten, I completely and utterly adore what you said there.

    As RoseKitten said who are we do decide what is good for another person or who is over-weight and unhealthy or not? Being over weight isn't because of ones religion, I know many people ranging from christian/catholic to wiccan to complete athiests who are all number of different sizes. For one their genetics play a part in it, then it is bone mass and structure, eating habbits, work-out habbits, whether they gain muscle faster than they lose fat, and many other things add up as well.
    Felicity Rose Kysanthe

  6. #6
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    I smoke cigarettes, drink whiskey, and eat bacon.

    All men must die. So my Gods and Goddesses have decreed.

    Taciturn and prudent, and in war daring, should a king's children be;
    joyous and liberal every one should be until his hour of death.


    The Words of Odin the High One - translated by Benjamin Thorpe

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woden's Spear View Post
    I smoke cigarettes, drink whiskey, and eat bacon.

    All men must die. So my Gods and Goddesses have decreed.
    I do all of those things, too.
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  8. #8
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    I'm the kid of a bulimic woman.

    I should say that again: I am the 5'5", 175 lb daughter of a 110 lb 5'5" woman who forced herself every day to vomit up what she ate so she could fit into size zero jeans.

    Every morning I was woken at 5 AM, made to run a mile (in under 5-6 minutes) at my high school before anyone else even started their day, then I ran back home and couldn't eat breakfast because my palette wouldn't let me. I weighed 125 pounds in high school and my mother told me I should be ashamed to look so fat. My sister and I were systematically starved--our lunch boxes, our dinners, our breakfasts were always looked over to make sure we didn't take anything from the kitchen that we weren't supposed to (for instance, when our parents left the house to run an errand, we would steal slices of bread, cups of milk, little chocolate bites that were kept hidden from us in the pantry). It got so bad that I began doing little things to get any kind of fat at all--I stole milk, I used extra butter, mayonnaise on my sandwiches...that kind of thing. That base survival instinct got me through. We were fed salads every night, with certain toppings that made me literally vomit (raw button mushrooms, avocado slices, drenched in ranch)--I was forced to eat them anyway, and after my parents found out I was using water to wash it down, my water use was restricted.

    When I finally left home, I gained fifteen pounds on Pop Tarts and Moon Pies ALONE. I had never before even HAD a Moon Pie, and it was fantastic.

    I told this story because I love what I weigh. I'm not embarrassed nor am I ashamed. I am a Pagan, and I have meat on my bones. I was starved and now I've found the food, and never, ever will I starve myself or let anyone else starve me, ever again.

    Other people's weight shouldn't matter to you anyway, OP, and tying weight to spirituality is just plain ridiculous. Pagans are fat because Christians are fat. Shitty answer for shitty question.
    Last edited by Heliotrope; July 28th, 2012 at 09:56 AM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoseKitten View Post
    I do all of those things, too.
    Mind you, I don't eat food just because it's there. But I won't stint myself, and go vegetarian. Yes, yes, poor animals being thrown whole into a meat grinder. Spare me the gory details. At least I'm not ripping the animal's stomach out, and pulling its hot guts out with my teeth, while it screams and rolls its eyes pitifully. If I were an actual carnivore, like a lion, or a wolf, that would be the case.

    Odin says that only a foolish man does not know the capacity of his own stomach, and that a silly man will eat until he does himself ill. But then, Odin also says that we must all die. Every action we take brings us closer to death, even the actions we take to prevent death.

    I'm not trying to say we were brought here to die, but...we were brought here to die.

    Fat or skinny, worms will soon be eating our flesh, and flies will be laying eggs in the sockets of our eyes. Or our flesh shall be burned up by fire, and our body turn into ash. You're not going to look any less DEAD when you're thin, no less than when you're fat. Having a beautifully sculpted Adonis-like body, or a Venusian, voluptuous, lissome figure isn't going to make the Death Goddess ignore you. She doesn't swoon over handsome or beautiful people.

    Complain about Death, but she sure is open-handed and equal with everyone. Fat? Dead. Skinny? Dead. Muscular? Dead, dead, and dead. The wages of life are to die. We will all die the death, and we can die, and our spirits will enter the Mountain of Faith, to ascend with our Gods and Goddesses.


    However, I will gladly stop eating bacon and whatnot, and adopt healthy cuisine, if one of you hires a Japanese chef to make me sushi and sashimi all day, every day.
    Last edited by Woden's Spear; July 28th, 2012 at 10:16 AM.

    Taciturn and prudent, and in war daring, should a king's children be;
    joyous and liberal every one should be until his hour of death.


    The Words of Odin the High One - translated by Benjamin Thorpe

  10. #10
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    A number of you seem to think I am tying being overweight to being Pagan - that's not quite the case. My connection was along the lines of "if we are nature-worshipping, and appreciate both what we are given (food) and what we have (our bodies), does it not follow that we (because of our religion, not necessarily alone) would want to take care of said bodies?"

    I'm not criticising people for being over-weight. I understand that there are many, many things involved in whether we are fit and healthy (by whatever definition you choose).

    Yes, we will all be dead one day. No, we are not dishonouring nature by enjoying her bounties. But we are gifted with a body - just one, and just for this short period - and for most of us, for most of our lives, those bodies are capable of beautiful and amazing things. Those things are not limited to people who are not over-weight, but there are numerous things that unhealthy people are not as able to do.

    My logic that fewer pagans should/would be over-weight because they respect, cherish and love what they have been given (their bodies), and part of this joy is gotten through strengthening and appreciating what it can do. This is not to say you can't appreciate your body if you're not a healthy weight, but the healthier you are (and I mean that wholly, not just as in the number on the scale) the more things your body can do.

    I get the feeling that you are all offended by my comments and feel I am attacking over-weight people, or think you shouldn't be able to make that choice. You should, and I never said otherwise. I choose to live as healthily as I can, to try to strengthen my body, to nourish my body, to love everything my body can do. This is part of my spirituality, and I could not feel I was truly honouring nature if I didn't try my best to have the best body I can.

    I will also add, by "best body" I don't mean thin and lean and tanned. I am pale and washed out. I am currently pregnant, and even before that I definitely had visible body fat. I eat chocolate and I eat sweets and I don't always exercise. But when I do eat a full, healthy meal, when I've lifted weights or gone swimming or pushed my body to do something new, when I feel strong and healthy I feel I am honouring my body, and while I may enjoy it sitting on the couch eating a block of chocolate, it's not quite the same thing.

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