Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Shamblin is the founder of the Weigh Down Workshop, which holds weight-loss seminars in more than 10,000 churches across the country. In this book, she takes a common approach to losing weight-eat only when you're hungry and only until you are full-and adds a spiritual dimension. According to Shamblin, most overeaters eat to fill a void in their lives, and some develop a real passion for food. She suggests that if they fill the emptiness with a passionate relationship with God, food becomes just a source of fuel for the body. Although trained as a dietitian and nutritionist, Shamblin does not advocate a low-fat diet. She claims that our bodies crave a variety of foods, including high-fat treats, which were created by God for us to enjoy. In fact, she recommends eating our favorite foods first at any meal, since we may not get to enjoy them if we stop eating when we are full. Using testimonials from satisfied customers and information for those interested in joining Weigh Down seminars, Shamblin combines the superficial nutritional advice of diet gurus such as Susan Powter with the evangelistic fervor of savvy televangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart to produce a book that is little more than an infomercial for the Weigh Down Workshop. (Mar.)
Tried every diet fad imaginable without success? Then try God. That's the advice of dietitian Shamblin, who claims that if we shift our focus from food to something more ethereal, the pounds will just melt away.
From the Publisher
Praise for Weigh Down Diet
"Having been a former model and beauty queen, I was so ashamed of myself as I started gaining weight in my late twenties. Weigh Down Workshop and the Biblical principles taught by Gwen Shamblin have revolutionized my thinking about food. I lost 40 pounds without giving up anything I like to eat!”
-Mary Jo Runfola, former Miss Ohio
“As a physician I have watched the frustrated attempts of countless patients as they tried program after program to get the weight off. I knew that my recommendations of standard low-fat diets were inadequate because I had actually gained weight counting fat grams. Now I can’t seem to stop talking to anyone who will listen about the difference Weigh Down has made in my life. In fact, it is the only diet I recommend to my patients now.”
-Yvonne Sims, M.D., OBGYN, Tennessee (lost 20 pounds)
“In many years of medicine, I had become disheartened with the diet industry. It was through this program that I found a new understanding for people dealing with eating disorders and realized that there was a new focus in ways of managing weight control.”
-David Larsen, M.D., Internist, Minnesota
“There is no reason why anyone could not benefit from Weigh Down, which is less a 'diet' than the Gospel applied to eating. I will not be passing on a legacy of a fat father and poor eating habits to my children who watch.”
-Daniel Sather, M.D., Internist, Minnesota (lost 54 pounds)
“I quit serving a small god of food and started serving the one true God.”
-Cindy Chapman, Aspire magazine, Missouri (lost 110 pounds)
“I have spent my life consumed with weight control. You need only to grow up in a large Baltimore high school as the largest kid and with a nickname like 'Baby Elephant' to end up with a compulsion towards weight loss. It is truly liberating and wonderful to be able to enjoy food again (like the taste of real cheese) without guilt. This has been a spiritual revival program…a tool of ministry and discipleship.”
-Richard Ryan, Minister, Indiana (lost 16 pounds)
Read an Excerpt
The Weigh Down Approach
What does God have to do with this, anyway?
With God's help you can learn to stop in the middle of a meal and have no desire to eat the second half if your stomach is satisfied! God did not put chocolate or lasagna or real blue cheese dressing on earth to torture us, but rather for our enjoyment. However, He wants us to learn how to rise above the magnetic pull of the refrigerator so that food does not consume our lives!
The problem and the solution
We have been created with two empty, needing-to-be-fed holes in our body. One is the stomach, and the other is the heart.
The stomach is a literal hole in our body which is to be fed with the proper amount of food. As for the heart, I am speaking figuratively of our deep-down feelings. To satisfy these deep-down feelings, needs, or desires of the heart, we may often turn to food and overload our stomach with more than it needs.
Trying to feed a hurting, needy heart with food or anything on this earth (alcohol, tobacco, antidepressants, sexual lusts, money, the praise of other people, etc.) is a common error. The person who attempts to feed a longing heart with food will stay on the path to overweight. Those who pursue an overindulgence of alcohol or tobacco or power will also reap the consequences of those pursuits. There is nothing inherently evil about food, alcohol, tobacco, money, credit cards, etc. However, it is wrong to become a slave to any of these things or to let them master you.
The solution for overweight
As you can see from the diagram, we have been trying to feed our hurting, longing hearts with physical food. We have also learned to love food. Therefore, the solution is as follows:
1. Relearn how to feed the stomach only when it is truly hungry.
2. Relearn how to feed or nourish the longing human soul with a relationship with God.
3. Relearn how to recognize the different "hunger" urges and not confuse them.
Am I a failure?
Your major concerns will be: "How can this work for me? Because:
1. "I feel a distance between God and me because I thought He made me overweight and, for years, has not answered my prayers to take this weight off."
2. "I've tried every diet five times, every diet pill and exercise, and failed miserably--so how can this work?"
What we are really asking is... "Am I a failure, or is God angry at me and sabotaging me?"
Well, you are not a failure, it is not genetic, and God is not sabotaging you. He does hope that your slavery to diets and overweight will make you call out to Him. He is in love with you, and He wants you to depend on Him for deliverance so you can see how mighty He is and how important you are to Him.
Why have diets not worked so far? The reason is that you (like me and the rest of the world) have tried using man-made rules (diets) instead of God's rules. God has never asked anyone to eat food off of a list, to count fat exchanges, or to take an appetite suppressant. You have just been applying the wrong medicine to this condition. You were using your willpower and man's rules. God is too smart to let a local weight-loss group or fat gram counting be your Savior and thereby get all the credit. Man-made rules will not work.
Now, welcome to the Weigh Down Workshop, a place that teaches you God's rules for eating and shows you the futility of man-made rules. Welcome to the Weigh Down Workshop, a place that shows you how to use God's strength rather than your willpower! Welcome to the Weigh Down Workshop, a place where thousands of people are now thin after years of trying.
In summary: you are not a failure. You have been using man's rules and your willpower, and now you are going to use God's plan for eating and His strength. There is hope, and God will get the credit!
Diets will never work
Diets do not get to the root of the problem. In fact, diets aggravate the problem rather than alleviate it. Diets just boil down to making the food behave. Food companies have spent several decades and millions of dollars to pull out the fat and calories so that the food is righteous! Actually, billions of dollars are spent by the food industry to make us feel needy. Many food companies may not want us to succeed in losing weight, but, rather, would prefer to make us feel dependent on them so we will consume whatever is sold. In fact, the more diets fail, the better off the industry is.
The root of the problem is not the food ingredients, but how much volume is going down the old hatch (our esophagus)! And, indeed, we consumers have wanted the food industry to take the fat out of the Twinkie so that we can simply eat more Twinkies. Changing the food but not changing the volume of what is swallowed will leave us on a roller coaster of weight loss and weight gain. Changing our metabolism or our nervous system by taking pills and hormones is not permanent, because we cannot stay on them because of the side effects. The motivation to be thin is not vanity--it is natural. God has programmed us to want the best for our bodies.
We cannot continue to have the doctor suck out the fat from one part of the body (suction-assisted lipectomies) while we continue to stuff our mouths. We must surrender the root of the problem; that is so much easier to do than diets or surgery. Weigh Down is different from all other diet systems because it is not selling a diet plan, a food, or whatever. It is selling a future, a future to be filled and fulfilled. Hunger is Filled, God's love is embraced and enjoyed, and appetites are under control and given to God.
Do you have to be religious to do the program?
For those of you who do not feel particularly religious--do not worry. You have exactly what you need to be able to do this program. You see, each of us has a heart to worship, and we all adore something. That tells us we have the capacity to give our heart to something.
The question is: can you transfer your devotion from one thing to another? The answer is: yes!
Giving our hearts over to something is a learned process and can be relearned. For example, some people enjoy sports, but other people seem to worship sports. Some people enjoy material things, but other people seem to worship things. Some people use money, but other people will do anything to get it.
Some people use food for fuel to run the body, and some people dream about food. Some of these dreamers have been known to get up in the morning and find the bony remains of fried chicken on their chest! This old relationship with food can be transferred to a relationship with God or to a heart for God.
In the past you may have loved the feeling of planning a binge and dreaming over recipes, cookbooks, and magazines that have food plans and pictures of food. You may have looked forward to the feeling of waiting for everyone to go to bed (and they had better not get back up out of bed) so you could prepare, cook, and consume the food without the judgment of anybody.
The good news is that you can relearn how to get that feeling from the Lord. When you learn to get this happy feeling from finding God, you will experience much more fulfillment. Bingeing out on seeking God has no yucky, guilty, depressing side effects. In other words, it is possible to let go of that old way of having fun and replace it with something so much more filling (yet with no calories!). By choosing this new path you will lose weight and never regain the weight.
I know some of you are reading in disbelief. I can hear you thinking, "You're telling me that if I am not hungry and want to eat a pan of brownies, that I should go to the Bible and read it instead!?" This concept is not "pie in the sky." Keep reading. I dare you to let me prove this to you.
Thousands of people have taken the Weigh Down Workshop seminar or have read this book. They no longer get this "binge high" from food, but from focusing completely on our true Heavenly Father and trying to please Him. Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work" (John 4:34).
Some people have experienced a "high" when they became involved in exercise. While the "high" is not wrong, it is not complete. And usually, obsessive, tedious exercise to become thin eventually wears thin if the exercise is self-focused rather than God-focused.
Exercise, like food, must also be put in its place and not worshiped, but enjoyed.
The transfer to a heavenly focus from a focus on food, exercise, or anything else is much more delightful and fulfilling. It has so many rewards that you will never want to return to giving your heart to anything else!
How do you lose weight?
Once you stop going to food for sensual indulgence, escape, spacing out, a tranquilizing effect, comfort, and so on, and start swallowing regular foods only when your stomach growls, you will swallow or eat just one-half to one-third of what you used to swallow. The desire eating goes away. That means you will lose weight! You will be able to do this; it happens naturally. You will not have to measure the food or count the grams--your stomach will guide you. The volume of food decreases as you focus on hunger and fullness. Thousands of ex-dieters are doing this within twenty-four hours of starting Weigh Down.
The typical weight-loss program suggests losing weight through diet and exercise. We suggest that if you lose the passion for food, the result will be that you eat less food and therefore lose weight permanently. The typical 1950s-1990s approach tried to fix the body or the food but did not address the passion. The Weigh Down Workshop approach fixes the heart first, and the body follows.
We are not running against the current national medical suggestion that the fat content needs to be reduced; rather, we just propose another means to accomplish this goal. The Weigh Down Workshop will show you how God can bring us to peace with food--never to return to the nightmare of endless overweight, yo-yo dieting and "have-to" exercise regimens, but rather to a calm, nonmagnetized approach to regular foods with the ability to approach foods such as rich entrees and desserts without losing control. Exercise need no longer be connected to burning calories; instead it can be an enjoyable activity. You will be free!
What to expect on the journey
You are about to embark on a unique program of weight reduction. Instead of emphasizing the caloric content of food, our focus will be on your natural, internal hunger control; more importantly, our focus will be trained to turn toward the will of God and away from a focus on foods.
We liken the journey you are about to take--from the slavery of diet programs (fat gram and calorie counting) and overweight to being a normal eater--to the journey the children of Israel took from the slavery of Egypt, through the Desert of Testing, and ?nally to the Promised Land.
The Biblical book of Exodus in the Old Testament is the age-old story of the exodus of God's children from Egyptian bondage. Do you remember the story of how God parted the Red Sea? God sent Moses to lead the Israelites and to let them know that He was delivering them from bondage. God sent plagues upon the Egyptians to make Pharaoh let His people go. After ten horrible plagues, Pharaoh let the Israelites pack their bags and go. Pharaoh changed his mind and tried to recapture the Israelites, but God parted the Red Sea with a mighty east wind. Once the Israelites were safely on the other side, Pharaoh's mightiest warriors and finest chariots and horses were buried by the sea as God put the water back into its place. The Israelites had witnessed God's mighty deliverance of them from the clutching hands of Pharaoh.
But before God could let His children inherit the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, He took them on a journey through the Desert of Testing. Deuteronomy 8:2,3 says, "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
Just like the Israelites, you will experience a deliverance from dieting and the bondage of food and diet programs that treat you like children. This book will explain to you how thousands have handled the Desert of Testing. Finally, you will be shown how to follow in the footsteps of God's children who entered the Promised Land of milk and honey. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36). The Promised Land is a place out of the hot Desert of Testing, a place where you no longer feel tempted to eat when your stomach is not hungry.
No matter what your age, no matter what your size, no matter what your means of control--whether it be dieting, exercising to keep the weight off, bulimia (vomiting the food to maintain control), anorexia (extreme bodily deprivation for means of control), or just flat giving up self-control, this program is for you.
As recorded in the Bible, God came to rescue His people, the Israelites, from slavery. He got the old and the young, the bricklayers and the basket weavers, the weary and the brokenhearted. God came, and He rescued them all.
You are about to read how thousands have turned toward God and watched Him rescue them from the love of food and, therefore, the unwanted pounds. There is hope for you, for it is by no coincidence that you picked up this book.
You will ultimately find that God has everything to do with weight control!
From the Trade Paperback edition.