“The incredible shrinking couple”, says CNN, has lost a total of 580 pounds. No, they did not go in for bariatric surgery. They prayed to God. As did many other people. Faith-based weight loss is now a hot topic in obesity, and in the world’s obesity capital, the USA.
In August 2002, the couple was married and they soon made a decision that would forever change their lives.
Before getting married, a friend introduced Maggie to The Weigh Down Workshop, a faith-based weight loss program, which teaches people to conquer their addiction to food, as well as other substances and vices, by turning to God.
Maggie says she was never consistent or committed enough to stick with the program. But shortly after their wedding, the couple started packing on the pounds and while Andy tried another diet, Maggie gave Weigh Down another try.
“At the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003, I called Weigh Down and started taking the classes,” says Maggie. “My whole life, I had always wanted somebody to [lose weight] with me. But I knew if I wanted it bad enough, I would have to do it alone.”
She began to lose weight.
“I ate whatever I craved, but only when I was truly hungry and then I ate a lot more slowly, so I could tell when to stop,” Maggie says.
In February 2003, after seeing his wife’s results, Andy stopped counting calories, gave up the low-fat foods and reduced his portion sizes. Fifteen months later, he had lost 257 pounds.
“Once I started this program, it changed my outlook on my entire life. I realized that being happy is a choice. I can either be filled with hate and despair or I can be happy,” says Andy, who realized he no longer needed the anti-depressants.
I went into Weigh Down, the website that is selling this program where you eat all you can and still lose weight like the featured couple.
Truly, the success stories are impressive. So, does piousness melt fat in a magical way?
Before I address that, let me underline that obesity is often the result of an eating disorder, where the victim is obsessed with eating even in the absence of hunger. In the absence of a way of addressing this mental disease, nothing will help the obese patient.
Faith-based weight loss works at this level. The participants of this program are trained to focus on God. Classes help them read the Bible, and communicate with God, all ways of taking the mental bandwidth away from food.
Babies are fed on demand. The same feeding model is used by these people: they eat when they are hungry, otherwise not. At mealtime, they eat whatever they want, irrespective of the calories.
While Gwen Shamblin of Weigh Down would have us believe that this is a divine deliverance for which she is a vehicle, the real reason why she is successful is because she has found a way whereby people can shift their attention to something they can relate to (God) and feel good at the same time. This is a form of behavioral therapy.
As a rational and objective human being, my atheism scoffs at the premise of Shamblin. However, if by turning to religion, people can increase their life-spans and stay slim, why should I complain?