The morality of weight loss
Friday, March 30, 2007
Sometimes I think about the ethics and morality of losing weight. I think about all of the malnourished and starving people in the world, predominantly in developing nations but also people in our highly industrialized nations. I think about how unethical it is that I, one of the overprivileged in the world, can eat whatever I want whenever I want, and how I've never known real hunger or starvation. How unfair that is, in the balance of the world. And part of my quest for a thinner body is to make that statement, that I am eating less - even though the food I am NOT eating is most certainly not going to Darfur. But the money I save by eating out less CAN go to organizations like UNICEF, or Doctors Without Borders.
It's almost Passover (Pesach) - at the seder we say "Let all who are hungry come and eat." But how many of us invite a homeless person to our seder, or even into our homes? Our synagogue asks for a Mazon contribution - Mazon meaning hunger in Hebrew - and the funds are given to soup kitchens in St. Thomas and also sent to the national Mazon center. But how many of us actually give up something to help feed a hungry person?
We fast on Yom Kippur - both to take our thoughts away from the physical and to look inward at the spiritual - but also to understand hunger and destitution. And again, we give money anonymously. But what about the homeless guy I see wandering around (who I did buy breakfast for one morning)? How often do I feed him?
Maybe we should create a hunger challenge. For one month, track how much money we save on food by eating less. Then donate that amount of money to some organization that feeds the hungry, in our locale or somewhere else in the world.
Anyway, that's what I'm thinking about today.