In which the blogger Deep Strength illustrates my points about exercise, health and idolatry

Apparently when I reblogged his post, wordpress interpreted it as a comment on his post, and so I got a response notification.  Having finally had a chance to look it over, I’m going to blog the comment, because it so perfectly illustrates all the points I already blogged and noted.

My responses are in bold, since he’s fisking my commentary.

And as usual, TPC proves my point by making random assumptions that aren’t true.

Another Christian falling prey to the idea that lifestyle-identity is great when it’s also idolatry.

Healthy living is now an idol. You heard it here first.

Yes the phrase “healthy lifestyle” is correlated with idolatry in the form of identifying with something that doesn’t require a distinct identity in the first place.  Pursuing more physical activity and eating wholesome foods should not be labelled “healthy lifestyle” because that is a consumerist view of the matter, which should be holistic for us Christians.

Going to a gym is not the only possible healthy lifestyle and the entire concept of healthy lifestyle is consumerist, not Christian. Living a life where physical activity is just part of life is the historical human norm and wealth means most people now have to spend money to live that way. But sneering at them for not adopting that particular mode of consumption (which in the case of this blogger happens to be self-serving “I work in the fitness industry”) is not exactly Christian or loving.

What consumption?
Gym membership? It’s certainly easy to work out at home. I’ve done it for years before.

It’s not easy to work out at home if you’re exhausted from a 3 hour roundtrip commute.  Or four kids under age 6.  Or taking care of your husband’s father with dementia and three kids under 5.  Or any number of other typical examples of what Christian families face as obstacles to working out even at home.  And that’s not getting into equipment (how to afford it and where to put it), since bodyweight exercises alone are not remotely enough to maintain physical capabilities into old age. Funny how these single men with no responsibilities always say the same old thing about how it’s soooooooo easy.  Yes, if you devote yourself to your idol, you mysteriously have plenty of time to spend worshipping your temple-body. 
Nutrition? It’s easy to buy cheap healthy foods if you look for sales, use your local co-op, and buy cheap starches like rice and potatoes. Eating junk food may be slightly more expensive at best, and is definitely more expensive in the long run when you run into health problems.

Cheap nutritious food requires a lot of cooking time, time which can’t be spent exercising and often not child-caring for the Christian SAHMs who tend to carry a little extra around.  People who home cook are sometimes quite fat despite using fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch.  And speaking of making random false assumptions, notice how Deep Strength is quick to assume I support or think people have to have junk foods, and how he also assumes a false binary between “junk food” and “cheap healthy food”.  He also assumes a co-op is readily available all over the country, in every county, city and town, which is a completely false assumption.  Most conservative Christian married couples with children (the people I am primarily concerned with and a big part of the group “Christians” Deep Strength was saying hatehatehate eating decently and being physically active) do not live where they have access to a co-op for food purchases in bulk.  

And I am not going to delve into the bitter hilarity of this single guy handwaving the logistics of shopping with little kids for bargains as “easy”.  

 
Ah, yes, working in the fitness industry is now “self serving.” I see where this is going.

Instead of “working in the fitness industry” helping people near him do more physical activity in their daily lives without going to a gym would be another option.

Already give free nutrition and training advice to those in the Church that ask for it.

“I hector people who need real solutions about how it’s super easy to work out and eat cheap nutritious food and then pat myself on the back for a job well done.  Wait, isn’t that what you said I did, but I got mad about the way you put it?”

Get back to us when you’re doing shopping trips, meal planning and cooking for the people who ask you for help.  Or when you’re giving them free personal training and spotting on equipment.  Or lending out exercise equipment you’ve moved beyond or aren’t currently using.  Or opening your home for people to come work out in, which is something that happens among men who don’t write screeds about how “Christians are allergic to health, except me!”

Mostly people have real obstacles to getting more physical activity, like working very long hours and/or care of others and living where it’s very difficult to do much physical stuff outside or inside.

Already give work-around advice, such as meal planning (mentioned above), brief workouts, bodyweight training, and motivation.

“I already SAID I HECTOR PEOPLE.  Isn’t that enough woman!”

This is particularly the case with Christians, who are more likely to be caring for little kids or old people, including the men.

Being “busy” is not mutually exclusive from being a good steward of your body. Another false dichotomy.

“Those people are obviously just lying about how hard it is to wrangle kids, get meals together that everyone in the house can eat and still find time to do physical activity for themselves.”  

It actually is very nearly mutually exclusive in a car-based society.  Which again, most Christians are stuck in.  I’m also quite upset by Deep Strength’s dismissal of real labor caring for the bodies of others with his sneering little quote marks.  Way to tell SAHMs how you really feel about their work as women, how valuable and womanly you think it is while promoting the notion that Christian women should want to do it.

Anyway I reblogged this because it’s an increasingly common knife jabbed in the ribcage of Christians by (usually single, childless, responsibility-free) men. I hope to do a bit more of a post later, we’ll see.

You know what responsibilities I do and don’t have… Interesting.
This is your only warning for being deliberately antagonistic and assuming evil of others. The next offense is a ban.

lol, just lol.   I think we’re done here.

 

Perhaps Deep Strength is out there shopping for ten SAHMs per week and doing childcare for their 35 children so they can all go to the gym as a group or something.  Or perhaps he’s organizing group cooking sessions of healthy cheap foods like the Mormons do with their canning centers.  

Somehow, though, I think someone who was concretely pushing against the major obstacles to healthier eating and physical activity would have written a very different post instead of “Christians are allergic to healthy lifestyles”.

But I’m just a housewife who tosses the occasional hay bale when my health permits and whose household typically eats locally produced meats, vegetables and produce, with very little grain consumption (we are a Primal household, to use a consumerist term to describe our overall diet).  And my children are in great physical shape and wear out all the adults around them and all the other children around them as well.  But the adults aren’t at that youthful level of vigor despite eating well and running around with them.  That’s my point, I guess.  We went to a lot of trouble to raise our kids somewhere that they could develop great habits and build a “lifestyle” if you will where being physically active and eating delicious healthy food was “my normal day after I wake up”.  And the costs for us and the many Christian families we know that made similar choices are that we can’t have that life for ourselves because there are things called learning curves, physical impacts of sitting in a car or on public transit for hours per day, and the idea that we’re all allergic to being as robust as our kids is the real evil-assuming.    

 

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More on exercise and healthy living

The most physically fit people I know either have it via genetics (hi!) and don’t have to do very much to look the part of someone who works out hours per day, or they do spend hours per day on being fit.  That’s a lot of free time.

I don’t have some kind of beef with people being healthy and having good cardiovascular health and being able to lift 25 or even 50 pounds easily.  But these things aren’t correlated with fitness-instructor looks and bodies.  You can be in solid physical health and look like a chunky monkey.

More to the point, the fat Christians I know spend a lot of time in commuting to jobs to support their families, taking care of their relatives (grandchildren, adult children with disabilities, parents and other relations with old age and/or disabilities) and doing the usual housework, yard work and etc.  When all that is done, they don’t have time to spend working out.  They’re physically and mentally worn out and just want to rest.  Many of those fat Christians do heavy lifting and other physical activity daily or nearly so.  It’s just not remotely enough to keep them at a fighting trim weight.  They have muscle under 30 or 50 or even 75 extra pounds.

The post I reblogged acts like it’s super easy to tack on meal planning of different food than the rest of your family will be eating, plus scheduling gym time (or presumably purchasing very expensive equipment to stick somewhere in your house) plus basically devoting your life to your body rather than Christ along with the duties and responsibilities of being married with kids.  It’s not.  I would note the examples of Christian exercise one can easily google for usually are single people or married people with other folks helping them behind the scenes and small (1-3 kids) family sizes.  And many have terrible eating disorders.

I have great genetics and eat a ridiculous healthy diet, but those things can’t fix years of bedrest due to hard pregnancies (“oh but if you just had a HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE the hugely strong and healthy kids you grow would take nothing from your body!”).  I’ve lost about 20 pounds of muscle, no typo.  It’s going to take years to come back from that and I’m sure not getting younger.  So I have sympathy for people who don’t have great genetics that give them instant fitness figures with a few long walks a week or a couple of lifting sessions.  I have sympathy for people who spend 16-18 hours taking care of so many other people and barely get any rest for themselves.  I have simple Christian love for them and don’t think they are failing to reveal the glory of Christ because they’re fat.  Their devotion to duty, their hearts of service to others strengthen my faith when I’m worn out too and angry at my body for just not having the energy I want it to have no matter how much grassfed bone broth from my neighbor’s cow and herbs from my own backyard I eat.

We are all weak, and the way to help each other is not to live a life devoted to body worship, which conveniently absolves you of responsibilities and duties (“can’t help ya honey, gotta get muh three hours of exercise in FOR THE KINGDOM!”)  Fitness-as-lifestyle is dangerous.  Life-as-lifestyle is where normal people are.  I’ll meet them there any day, any way.

The article “Deep Strength” was blogging about was more correct than his response.  People are easily tempted because when it’s so hard to be very very fit, those who join that club struggle to flee the temptations of vanity.