SSU of the Month: Tess

image: Single Sisters in University

Interview Topic: It’s All About the Weight!

Ladies, meet Tess, a former SSU who sat down with us to discuss her experience studying at a secular university. Tess holds a degree in Radiology and enjoys watching movies and hanging out with friends.We chatted with her on the issue of body image.

Tess, as a woman, you’re familiar that ladies put a big accent on their weight. Why do you think this is so?
I think it’s because of men. Men, in general, are attracted to slim, skinny women because they look better in clothes; consequently women place a high attention on their body.

How do you think a Christian woman should view weight issues?
As Christian women, we shouldn’t see things the way the world does, because it’s not all about appearance. The only thing we have to keep in mind is have a healthy weight, as long as you’re eating healthy and maintaining your body, that’s all that matters. You don’t need to have a size 0 or 7 in order to fit into outfit, don’t worry too much about your appearance. The Bible says that man is flesh, here today and gone tomorrow (James 4:14). Don’t put your focus on the outside, but instead the inside is what God sees and approves.

You talk about “healthy weight”, who defines what “healthy” is?
A healthy weight conforms with medical knowledge, not what the media says, but what has been approved after research-based findings as a healthy weight.

In an article published in Christianity Today, talking about overeating, Gwen Shamblin, a Christian author said: “The real problem is spiritual: get right with God, stop trying to fill your God-shaped hole with food, and your figure will improve.” What do you think about this statement?
I don’t know, I think maybe what she’s trying to say is that some people get obsessed about their body image (e.g constantly going to the gym) and that’s not the approach you should take. The main focus shouldn’t be on your weight, don’t conform to the world’s standards but adhere to what is medically acceptable as a healthy weight. Just do your best to eat right.

Medical knowledge always seems to have variant findings from one day to another. They may say today that the acceptable healthy weight for a 25 year-old woman is 150 lbs then next year it’s 140 lbs, how does one keep up?
It’s true that medical findings constantly change, that’s why I would suggest to use them as a guide only yet don’t put your entire focus on what they say. Do what you can, follow their guide when you can; but if you feel like it’s too much pressure, don’t stress over it, it’s only weight after all.

Now, you’re not overweight, have you perhaps struggled with weight issues in general, such as undereating or putting on more weight?
I haven’t struggled with that; however, currently, I wish to gain more weight because I lost some while being sick recently. So, I just want to put on more pounds to go back to my previous weight not because I feel pressured.

Have you faced weight pressures as a student?
Not at all, I’ve never been influenced by my friends’ weight. I am who I am and don’t conform to others’ expectations.

What advice would you give SSU wrestling with their body image?
My advice would be do not put your focus on your body image. This is not to say that you should neglect what you look like, but if you can abide to medical standards, do it, if not, don’t worry about it. It’s not a do-or-die affair. You shouldn’t concentrate on what people are doing, the Bible says that our citizenship is in Heaven thus we shouldn’t conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2).


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