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We, as believers, must show self-control in all things (2 Timothy 1:7).Gluttony, one of the seven deadly sins, is clearly rebuked in Scripture (Proverbs -21).How can God redeem and save my life if he’s not even able to help me maintain a healthy weight?Somehow, my body is sizable enough to undermine the power of the Gospel.I am good at writing and making jokes and cleaning. I would love to pass my days maneuvering a minivan full of foster kids to soccer games and recitals and tutoring.None of these things would be diminished because of my size, yet none of them seem to matter because of my size.Only with those who consume three slices of pizza at Bible study and weigh significantly more than a chart demands can we assume gluttony is the secret sin. And yet these factors are rarely considered when a well-meaning friend sends me a link to the latest fad diet or a man avoids my eye as he announces to the waitress that no, we won’t be dessert.

I’ve had Christians justify this pressure by dismissing unrealistic beauty standards with a simple, “Well, men are visual creatures after all.” While I cannot speak for all women, I can say that being overweight has diminished (and most often completely erased) any interest from men.

Women, on the other hand, have narrowed down their lists primarily to non-negotiables: growing in the Lord, bathing regularly. When getting to know a guy, I like to hint at my weight loss journey (truly a lifelong battle — I remember being on a self-induced diet when I was only 8), because it seems the only kind of tolerable fat person is the one who’s not okay being fat, the one who despises it as much, if not more, than everyone else.

I’m sure much of what I’m writing will feel familiar to others struggling with weight, regardless of their faith walk.

Whether we admit it or not, physical attraction plays a large role in paving the way for love.

We don’t like to look closely at this fact, especially inside the walls of the church where we hope to find less superficial dating criteria than one’s pant size, but the surplus of single, godly, intelligent plus-size women speaks to reality.

This problem only seems to be magnified by another byproduct of conservative Christian culture: the pressure to be married.

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