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And God Said 'Let There Be No Fat'

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Before Jenny Craig, there was another J.C. diet plan.

Everywhere you look, someone is promoting a diet or healthy lifestyle plan. So why shouldn't God? Faith-based weight loss plans are making their way to a church near you, and by the grace of You-Know-Who, they seem to work.

What does a faith-based weight-loss program look like? Well, let me tell you, an atheist need not read on, because they start with prayer and asking to God to fill the empty emotional hole that causes us to compulsively overeat for comfort. The idea is that God has wired us with bodily cues like hunger pangs and feelings of satiation that we should heed. If you weigh 300 lbs., then you probably have forgotten what it feels like to be hungry. The programs encourage smaller portions and taking longer to consume them, so we can re-learn our natural cues. There are no fancy recipes or food restrictions except for portion size.

Weigh Down was the ground breaking plan developed in the late 1990s by a fast-talking, big-haired, Tennessee nutritionist named Gwen Shamblin. The program was sold to 36,000 churches and featured on the likes of Tyra, Good Morning America, and Ladies' Home Journal because people lost weight and kept it off. Unfortunately, Ms. Shamblin had a fall from grace and was accused of faulty theology and using her program to indoctrinate people into her own cultish church.

But, let's not throw-out the baby with the big-haired charlatan. Taking the focus off of food and placing it on God is the key to all the success stories surrounding faith-based weight-loss programs, and there are plenty of others to choose from. In fact, the University of Illinois studied the effects of a faith component added to a weight-loss program of believing women and concluded that it improved their weight-loss outcome.

So, if you've got some faith, drop your fork and pray.

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