“Bulking” Without Being Gluttonous

BreakfastI know that many people, especially at this time of year, are attempting to lose weight. There are those of us, however, who have been skinny for far too long and want to put on some lean muscle. It is a misconception that only overweight people are unhealthy, and the person who has been skinny for his or her whole life may easily be  as insecure as the person who has struggled to lose weight. There are also the people who have been at the fitness lifestyle for quite a while, but who still desire to become stronger and healthier. For the Christian, the idea of eating more food than they currently do may bring up concerns of being gluttonous. It is for this reason that I wrote this article.

“Gluttony.” It is one of those words that is used fairly often by Christians and rarely used by anyone else. It is defined on Dictionary.com as “excessiveeatinganddrinking.” While gluttony is definitely viewed negatively in the Bible, it is a concept that is often misunderstood by Christians. As with many other things, its place in Christianity has been blurred throughout history.  Gotquestions.org states that in the 6th Century, Pope Gregory the Great listed “the Seven Deadly Sins,” with gluttony being one of them. The site states the following:

The seven deadly sins are a list originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen man’s tendency to sin. The misconception about the list of seven “deadly” sins is that they are sins that God will not forgive. The Bible is clear that the only sin God will not forgive is that of continued unbelief, because it rejects the only means to obtain forgiveness—Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/seven-deadly-sins.html#ixzz3PqnfyO58

     While gluttony is not an unpardonable sin by any means, the Bible certainly does not hold a very high view of it. Proverbs 23:21 says” for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” This is definitely not encouraging for the person who is attempting to gain weight by eating a grocery store isle’s worth of food every day, as many do.

     Now that we have a clearer understanding of what gluttony is and what it is not, we can look quickly at what that means for the person who is trying to put on some weight. Mike Matthews states in his book Bigger, Leaner, Stronger: “Bulking is when you adjust your diet to maximize muscle gains with the usual byproduct of gaining some fat along the way.” This is obviously the goal of the person who is trying to put on some weight. Matthews also stated that “You could do the perfect workouts and give your muscles the perfect amount of rest, but if you don’t eat correctly, you won’t grow-period.” By “eat correctly” here, the author is referring to eating enough of the right foods to force your body to grow in the right way. It means being in what he calls a “calorie surplus.” That will be the topic of future articles, but for now we need to focus on how a person can eat enough food a day to build muscle without being “gluttonous.”

The answer to this is not complex, and really only requires focusing on three things:

  • Eat high calorie, nutritious foods.

This may mean changing your eating habits a bit and even trying to work in some things you don’t normally eat. Celery, for instance, is a healthy snack, but it contains barely any calories (about 6 for a 7 inch stalk). A 7 inch carrot, by contrast, contains 31 calories. I got these numbers from Calorieking.com, but you can use a variety of apps to track this. You can look at what you eat and pick out other nutritious foods that will provide you with more calories.

  • Spread out your calories throughout the day.

One of the biggest keys to not overeating here is spreading out your food consumption. Most of us either start our days early or end them late. Either of these give plenty of time  to spread out our calories and foods a bit more. Instead of the traditional 3 meals a day approach, try eating less at every meal and having more of them. I know that a lot of our schedules wouldn’t allow eating entire meals 5 or 6 times a day. I am included in this group, but my situation is a good example of how this can be tweaked. My office is ridiculously busy at almost all times, and it is difficult to eat when working. I eat a large breakfast before work, eat a large lunch on my lunch break, eat some high calorie snacks at work after our normal customer service hours, drink a protein shake and eat an apple about 30 minutes before my evening workout, eat dinner after my workout, and have some Greek yogurt and fruit before bed. You can make just about any schedule work with this with a little planning. That leads directly into the final tip.

  • Write it down.

Tracking what you eat everyday can help in many ways. It helps you to see how many calories you are consuming on a given day,  to identify where you can substitute foods for higher calorie or more nutritious ones, and to notice positive or negative trends in your eating. Writing things down helps you to remain consistent and to make the right changes without having to do the same things over and over again because you can’t remember.

I hope this article helped you to have a clearer understanding of what gluttony is and how to put on some healthy weight without having to worry about it. Please let me know what you think and if you have anything to add below!

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