A Cultural Analysis of Christian Weight Loss Programs
This chapter analyzes Christian dieting practices. Like secular diets, Christian weight loss programs draw upon a simple equation for weight loss: weight loss is inevitable if one reduces caloric intake and maximizes caloric output. However, Christian weight loss programs are unique insofar as followers are told to turn to God for success. The Success with God mode of dieting claims that drawing on the Holy Spirit through prayer and devotion brings strength in times of temptation and weakness; God will provide followers with the discipline needed to lose weight. On the other hand, the Garden of Eden mode of dieting is characterized by a return to an “ancient” style of eating, resembling a raw foods vegan diet. Notably, Garden of Eden diet proponents maintain that their diets cure not only “obesity” but also an array of illnesses—from cancer to irritable bowel syndrome to depression and anxiety.
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