A guest post written by Thomas Mitchinson, legislative liaison and media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois
“Fear, anxiety, and mental overload are causes for obesity in human beings,” according to Professor Dr. BM Hegde. He called these emotions “mental flab that kills.”
In a recent blog he wrote, “Obesity, increase in body weight disproportionate to the height with excess fatty deposits under the skin, has become a menace to society, especially in the affluent West.” He continued, “It has reached its zenith in the US, where almost every person seems to be obese. It has become a good money-spinner for the pharmaceutical, technology, and the food industries.”
But then he talked further about the mental causes of obesity. He wrote, “Many of us overeat when we are depressed and/or not happy.” How many of us grab a candy bar when frustrated? Or stop for fast food when under pressure? Hedge gave this amazing sentence, “It is the mental obesity that manifests as physical obesity.”
Stress, pressure, loneliness, anger, frustration, emptiness, and fear are all elements of “mental flab.” No matter how much we exercise or diet, if we don’t address these emotions, we are not treating the root cause of the overweight.
He commented that mental obesity is the inner hunger for spiritual satisfaction that is in many cases at the root of physical obesity. It follows that this hunger includes the desire for attention, love, companionship, acceptance, and meaning in life.
Professor Hedge quoted Christian Science founder, Mary Baker Eddy, in his article. Eddy wrote to her Church in 1902, “Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.”
The happiness that fills and satisfies us does not come from another. It comes from realizing one’s relationship to God. As one understands the unconditional, always present love of God for each of us, it satisfies the “hungry heart” which begs for some kind of recognition. This love quiets fear, anxiety, frustration, stress, and every emotion that would lead to overeating, binging, or even starving oneself.
Isn’t it the lack of feeling loved that is often behind a “hungry heart?” One may lack a sense of direction, or feel overwhelmed by circumstances out of control. In such cases, the omnipotence of divine Love is once again part of the solution. One can overcome the fear of being alone or unappreciated by realizing that “Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way” (from Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 454) for each of us – right out of the meaninglessness of existence into a meaningful life.
We can feast on God’s love. We can share that feasting with others, and have our hungry hearts satisfied. Integrative medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, often speaks of “infectious happiness.” When we share our love with others or volunteer for some group, it fills not only their “hungry hearts,” but ours also.
So stop binging on food, and instead feast on giving – on giving love, attention, care, a listening ear, a smile – to others. You are preparing a very low-calorie meal that blesses yourself and those you love.
Link to Mitchinson’s blog