Attitude About the Problem

- POSTED ON: Dec 28, 2012

As part of my dieting hobby, I visit many different websites here on the internet,
and sometimes I post comments on different forums and other blogs.
Today, I've decided to post a copy of some dialogue from one of these forums,
consisting of another member's unusual comments, and my responses to them.

This member and I have been corresponding for more than 4 years, and we have developed a rather close relationship. She is an educated person who is quite religious. Although her desire and efforts for weight-loss have been ongoing, she has been consistently unwilling to work toward exercising conscious control over the amounts of food that she eats, and 
has been unsuccessful with her dieting attempts throughout that time period.

Quote from a forum member:: 

"Portion Control is Evil"

My Response:

I challenge this offensive, incorrect, and illogical statement.
Just because we dislike something doesn't mean we get to redefine it.

Portion Control is simply using the brain that God has given you,
to work toward eating the correct amount of food for the body he has given you.
Portion Control simply means = eating less food.
How Much Less? That depends on WHAT you are choosing to eat.
The goal is to take in the same amount of energy as your body, at it's healthiest, uses.

If we are talking in terms of Good vs. Evil,
Portion Control must be Good,
it is the opposite of the "evil" behavior: "Gluttony",
which Christianity (and many other Religions) define as sinful, bad, "evil".
If Gluttony equals bad; then Portion Control equals good.
Therefore, Portion Control is Godly Behavior.

Avoiding obesity requires limiting your food intake...
no matter what method you use to do this will always involve some form of portion control.
The concept of "free will" means that we can choose NOT to use our brain
to help us eat less food,
However, an attempt to redefine "good" as "evil" is Foolishness.

Quote from a forum member:

Gluttony used to mean eating before the time to eat,
according to a book on medieval eating that I bought.
Webster's online dictionary now says "an excess in eating or drinking."

Why, then, would there be a Shrove Tuesday or a Twelve Days of Christmas
when people were expected to and encouraged to eat more than they required?

I think our society may have changed the meaning of the word, with disasterous results.

Think about this:
What if portion control really is a new concept
and really is the cause of the obesity epidemic?

My Response:

The term "Portion Control" is merely a modern term for an ancient concept.
The term is commonly used to indicate "eating less".

..........Question: What is a "portion" of food?
..........Answer: It is an amount of food.

..........Question: What is "control"?
..........Answer: It is to exercise restraint or direction over, to command, hold in check, to regulate, to curb.

I, personally, choose not to think of eating in terms of “good” and “evil”.
However, in support of my above-post, it is easy to see
that the definition of Gluttony has been fairly consistent for thousands of years.

Regarding the past definition of “Gluttony”, even a brief review of the Bible
makes it clear that in ancient, biblical times, “gluttony” meant overeating to excess,
and a “glutton” was often equated with a “drunkard …
which shows that they were considered to be similar behaviors.

The English word, "Gluttony", was derived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow,
It means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items
to the point of extravagance or waste.

In some Christian denominations, Gluttony is considered one of the seven deadly sins
and it is specifically defined as - a misplaced desire of food…
... eating more than needed, eating more than one’s share.

The word "Greed" is defined as a selfish and excessive desire
for more of something (like food or money) than is needed,
A "Glutton" is "Greedy", and both of these words are often used to define similar behavior.

Deuteronomy 21:20 says:

And they shall say unto the elders of his city,
This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice;
he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

Proverbs 23:20-21 warns,
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,
for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags

Proverbs 28:7 declares,
He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.

Proverbs 23:2 proclaims,
Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.

Biblical New Testament Scripture tells Christian believers
that they are not to let their appetites control them,
but they are to have control over their appetites.

(See Deuteronomy 21:20, Proverbs 23:2, 2 Peter 1:5-7,
2 Timothy 3:1-9, and 2 Corinthians 10:5.)

The ability to say “no” to anything in excess—self-control—
- is one of the fruits of the Spirit common to all believers

(Galatians 5:22).

It seems clear that IF one chooses to think of eating in terms of “good” and “evil”,
that eating less = i.e. portion control is “good”, and overeating is “evil”.

The establishment of various historical customs which appear to encourage overeating, don't change the definition of Gluttony.

The Origins of Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday originated during the Middle Ages. As in contemporary times, food items like meats, fats, eggs, milk, and fish were regarded as restricted during Lent. To keep such food from being wasted, many families would have big feasts on Shrove Tuesday in order to consume those items that would inevitably become spoiled during the next forty days. The English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before Ash Wednesday began. In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras.

The origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas is complicated,
which is related to differences in church traditions, and different cultures observe this tradition in a variety of ways. By the 16th century, European and Scandinavian cultures had combined the Twelve Days of Christmas with (sometimes pagan) festivals celebrating the changing of the year. These were usually associated with driving away evil spirits for the start of the new year. Over the centuries, differing Christian denominations have had different customs involving the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are currently celebrated in widely differing ways.

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Existing Comments:

On Dec 28, 2012 jethro wrote:
Great history lesson! Many people, myself included sometimes, try to define dietary issues into good or bad when in reality food is neither one, unless it's something like a poison. It's obvious that you need to consume less to create a calorie deficit or maintain certain weight. So I'm all for portion control, although I find Proverbs 23:2 rather extreme. No need to go that far.

On Dec 28, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks Jethro. As I said, I do not choose to define eating as "good" or "bad". I believe that Bible verse merely indicates that even though it may be hard, a person needs to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to keep from "gluttony".

On Dec 28, 2012 TexArk wrote:
I certainly think Scripture is replete with admonition for one to be self controlled. This applies to many areas. I posted this scripture reference when I tried to get in on the above discussion: Proverbs 25:28 (RSV) A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. I need boundaries in all areas of my life.

On Dec 28, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             TexArk, very true.

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