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Born Again BodiesFlesh and Spirit in American Christianity$
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R. Marie Griffith

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520217539

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520217539.001.0001

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Pray the Weight Away

Pray the Weight Away

Shaping Devotional Fitness Culture

(p.160) 4 Pray the Weight Away
Born Again Bodies

R. Marie Griffith

University of California Press

Psychological explanations of shame and self-punishment, coupled with dubious secularization theories, display less agility in accounting for America's love affair with thin bodies than theories of religion. This chapter highlights purveyors and consumers of religious fitness culture raised in such relationships to foremost levels of concern: ideal bodies serve not merely private or even political ends, but perform indispensable work as effective agents of devotional intimacy. Protestant and New Thought influences helped shape the dominant American diet culture, as the upward currency of disciplined, meditative thought imbued authors and expectant dieters alike with hope in the power of mental therapeutic methods to boost weight loss.

Keywords:   fitness culture, religious fitness culture, American diet, therapeutic methods, weight loss

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