December 23rd, 2011
11:30 AM ET
Editor's note: Keith Wommack is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. He also is a media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then).
By Keith Wommack, Special to CNN
(CNN) – With Christmas cookies, fruitcake and eggnog tempting us at every corner, it is hard not to gain weight during the holiday season. Yet it is not just holiday foods that are enticing.
Oversized and disproportionate – that about sums it up when the average American is 20 pounds overweight. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said, "Obesity, and with it diabetes, are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they are getting worse rapidly."
Personally, I have been fortunate never to have had much of a problem with my weight. I was an active, slender, Texas kid. Our family didn’t have a television until Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, so my brothers and I spent countless hours playing outside. I always ran like a jack rabbit, especially after jumping the fence at our neighborhood riding stable. One of the wilder horses would chase after me until I’d finally leap back over the fence.
But even Texas eventually got fast food, cable TV and the Internet, and I began to watch my friends put on weight, naïvely unaware of the staggering costs to come because of these added pounds. Now I recognize that the biggest loser in an overweight society is society as a whole. The troubles of one eventually hit everyone in the wallet.
The rising financial cost of obesity has quickly moved from a trot to a gallop. Today it carries a price tag of $147 billion per year in direct medical costs. Experts conclude that it's more than 9% of all medical spending. Just as we would pull in the reins on a runaway horse, we must rein in the costs of obesity by exercising dominion and control over its causes.
The dieter rarely succeeds when relying solely on willpower to employ dominion. Sadly, statistics and lives bear this out. Thankfully, other methods are available. And many find it is spirituality that supplies the needed dominion over rum balls and plum pudding. It stops them from overdoing. It reins in activity that hurts or harms.
My out-of-the-box solution has been prayer. I’ve found the strength to beat temptation comes from something outside of me. It comes from God. Yet God not only gives me strength, he supplies me with the ability to use it for my own good.
Several types of prayer help: petitions – asking God for the wisdom to know when enough is enough; affirmations – declaring our God-given authority to stop eating; gratitude – thanking God for creating us to be his spiritual expressions. These prayers lead to the natural eating of only what we are hungry for, instead of eating to fill emotional holes.
A method of healing that utilizes these prayers is Christian Science. This practical spiritual science teaches that the more emphasis we give our spiritual natures, the more our emotions and bodies become subordinate to our spiritual sense of things. Moderation becomes natural. We live to express God’s health and order. We like who God has made us to be.
With about half of the adult population in American (49%) now praying about their health, it seems only right to focus our prayerful attention on obesity.
Now that I’m 50ish, there are times when my jeans fit tighter. Decorated gingerbread men and homemade fudge still tempt. But the dominion I gain from prayer has been more effective for me than willpower. Yes, obesity problems in this country are getting worse rapidly. Therefore, perhaps, it is time to try something different.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Keith Wommack.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.