Any book that starts out with the question “Why are you so damn fat?” is bound to elicit feelings. My own feeling was one of stunned astonishment, and I was all “How the heck did Martha Beck get into my head?” As someone who has had more than a few conversations that began this way (with myself, mind you, not anyone else), it was both a relief and a fright to actually see these words in print.

“Not that I think you are. No, no, no. Why, in those pants, with the light behind you, you look positively willowy. But even if you were large enough to have a gravitational field involving four independent moons, and I happen to notice this (unlikely, since I’m completely blinded by the solar glare of my own self-consciousness), I would never, ever ask you a question as cruel as this chapter title. Nor would you say such a thing to me, were the tables turned. No, you’re only that rude and nasty to the one person you can never escape–yourself.” (The Four Day Win, p.1)

I love her sarcasm, but the truth is there. Why, then, do we insist on treating ourselves so poorly? I don’t know about you, but if my internal conversations were transcribed, and my self-treatment documented for posterity, I’d likely be jailed for assault and battery.

Since I’ve tried and failed at this weight loss thing forty seven hundred eleventy a few times and seen a therapist or twenty two in my day, I’ve can pretty much recite “positive self-talk” stuff chapter and verse.

But since we’re putting a whole new spin on things here, why not put a spin on the positive self-talk?

Who am I hurting when I beat myself up? Who am I hurting when I decide that I NEED that whole slice of cheesecake? Or that cheeseburger with everything? Or that I’m too tired to walk to the park with the kids and drive instead?

Yeah, I’m hurting my body, but it’s bigger than that. We were given our bodies as a gift from God. He dwells in us.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV)

OK, so Paul was really talking about sexual immorality, but the message is still applicable. These bodies, this life? Not ours, but His.

Each FDW Chapter includes an exercise. Chapter One’s exercise, in the author’s own words, is “paradoxically both easy and difficult”–Open Yourself to Hope. Basically, she says to open up to the possibility that, no matter your weight, there is nothing basically wrong with you. Whatever you’ve done to get to this point, can be undone or repaired.

That’s a difficult lesson to learn, both physically and spiritually, but what a wonderfully freeing thought. My physical mistakes can be fixed by future action on my part. My spiritual mistakes are forgiven by a past action on His part.

Open up to change and hope. Pray and act. Trust in Him.
Check out Kath’s take on Chapter One here.