Many people are asking online: ‘’Do Christian weight loss programs really work?” As someone who lost 85 pounds using Christian weight loss principles, I can answer ‘’Yes” with confidence!
Now you might wonder, ‘’Why do Christian weight loss programs work?”
And a natural companion question would be, ”What makes a Christian weight loss program different from a secular program?”
I’ll answer both questions, starting with the second one. If you are a Christian, I hope that this article convinces you that a weight loss program based on Christian principles is the best option.
What makes a Christian weight loss program different from a secular program?
The key to what makes a Christian weight loss program different from a secular weight loss program is found in one word: Christ.
Because Jesus is the center of a Christian’s life, then by extension, He is the center of our weight loss efforts also.
In contrast, a secular program centers on the physical aspects of weight loss, such as diet and exercise.
While a Christian weight loss program recognizes that diet and exercise are important, they aren’t the program’s center.
We also believe that the Bible is God’s word. So a weight loss program for Christians is based on Biblical principles.
The Bible teaches that we are not just physical beings; we have a Spirit and soul as well. So an effective Christian weight loss program should be one that ministers to the whole person – Spirit, soul, and body.
In that way, the person prospers as their Spirit and soul prospers!
In addition, a Christian weight loss program avoids passing fads, is built on a solid foundation, and supports an eternal perspective.
Let me explain each of these:
Avoids passing fads
Because a Christian weight loss program is founded on Biblical wisdom, it will not be a fad diet program. After all, the Bible teaches us:
– Proverbs 21:5
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty
While this wisdom speaks to finances, it is also appropriate for our health.
From my personal experience of trying weight loss quick fixes, I learned that they do not work – at least not permanently!
While I lost weight with quick weight loss diets, I did not stick with them. I always gained the weight back, plus more as soon as the diet was over.
On the other hand, through practicing Biblical wisdom in the area of diligence, I learned to pay consistent and careful attention to my daily actions.
That meant learning healthy habits that I could live with long term.
Through my personally-developed program, I learned to leverage my faith in God to maintain emotional stability. Before, I used to eat emotionally in response to stress.
In addition, through my belief that Jesus was strengthening me on the journey, I was able to persevere when circumstances became challenging. That perseverance was the key to getting lasting results.
Built on a sure foundation
– Luke 14:28-30
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’
Whenever you are seeking to reach your best weight, your mindset is the most important factor in determining your success potential.
A wise Christian weight loss program would include an element that helps you assess your mindset from the beginning. In that way, you can make any necessary changes to support your success.
Some areas your program might help you assess include:
- The vision of the goal you want to achieve
- Why this goal is important to you
- What obstacles stand in the way
- What strengths and resources you have to overcome the obstacles
Biblical wisdom recognizes that life issues are really heart issues (see Proverbs 4:23). Your success will also depend on your beliefs, which your program would help you assess:
- Do you believe you can change with God’s help?
- Will you seek God’s wisdom for overcoming the obstacles you face?
- Do you have the perseverance to keep going when you encounter obstacles?
Maintains an eternal perspective
Because Christ comes first in the Christian’s life, a weight loss program for Christians also prioritizes your walk with Christ above weight loss. We realize that the bodies we dwell in now are temporary.
So while it is wise to take care of our bodies, we also recognize that we’ll have life beyond this life.
We believe Jesus’ promise of eternal life in Him, beyond our lifetime on Earth. So we keep our priorities straight.
We see our health as a worthwhile investment because good health makes it easier to fulfill our calling in the Lord. Our ultimate mission is to share Jesus with others.
So our desire is to lay aside every weight that can hinder us, which obesity or sickness from poor health habits can do.
What makes a Christian weight loss program work?
God’s word gives the key to lasting change in Romans 12:2:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
This scripture is foundational to an effective weight loss program for Christians and the key to lasting change overall.
Now let’s review the elements of what makes a Christian weight loss program work.
The key to lasting change
After my own successful weight loss journey to losing 85 pounds with Biblical weight loss principles, I created my own weight loss program to help others called Take Back Your Temple.
Because I recognized how critical Romans 12:2 is, the beginning of our program focuses on renewing your mind. After so many years of diet failures, the only thing that worked for achieving permanent weight loss was doing things God’s way!
God’s way to change is inside out, not outside in. I wanted to save our members time, to not only understand what works but why it works.
Think about it: in Hebrews 11:3, scripture says that the world was framed by the word of God.
Since we live in the world, doesn’t it make sense to frame our lives according to His word? In that way, our lives work the way God intended!
We succeed in weight loss efforts to the degree that we use the key to lasting change, which is found in God’s word.
Secure identity in Christ
As disciples of Jesus Christ, our aim is to walk as He walked. In Romans 5:17, scripture says that we have received the gift of righteousness and will reign in life through Jesus Christ.
In contrast, I felt enslaved to emotional eating issues when I was obese. I felt that certain foods controlled me rather than me reigning over them! And I felt powerless to change the other habits that led to my weight gain.
It was only by assuming my true identity in Christ that I gained victory.
After having a severe chest pain at 240 pounds and having God whisper to me, “It is not supposed to be this way,” I chose to believe Him. I opened myself up to His leading in the way it was supposed to be.
In the process, I admitted my weakness and asked God for help in prayer daily. He gave me wisdom in rooting out the beliefs and habits that were destroying my health.
When we know who we are in Christ, it affects the thoughts and habits that we are – or are not – willing to accept in our lives. We can indeed do all things through Christ, including winning our weight loss battle!
Ability to Manage Emotional Storms
Many emotional eating issues that lead to weight gain come from a desire for peace in the midst of stress.
An effective Christian weight loss program considers the wisdom Jesus taught us about finding stability in the midst of storms:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”– Matthew 7:24-27
The same storm can affect two people, but have different outcomes.
What is the difference? The stability of their foundation.
According to Jesus, a person’s stability comes from not only hearing God’s word, but applying it. When you apply God’s word, it becomes part of you and you remain standing when life’s storms come.
Another source of stability in an effective Christian weight loss program is providing social support. The wisdom of Ecclesiastes 4:12 is used to full effect:
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
We recognize the power of sharing the journey with others who are striving for the same goal. In that atmosphere, you can receive prayer and advice from others.
It really helps lighten the load when you realize you have other people in your corner to help strengthen you and are praying for your success.
Rooted in Biblical Wisdom
An ideal weight loss program for Christians would use Biblical principles to guide the eating and exercise habits that lead to a healthy weight.
When I created Take Back Your Temple, one of guiding scriptures regarding eating is this one from Proverb 23: 1-3:
“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,– Proverbs 23:1-3
Consider carefully what is before you;
And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food.”
Two principles are given regarding eating in this scripture – eating with wisdom and eating with self-control.
You are the ruler in this case since most of the time, you are serving food to yourself. So the guidance is to consider your food carefully. Not be anxious over it, not worry over it, but do consider it.
On a weight loss program, it is wise to ensure that the food you eat helps you and doesn’t hurt you. Scripture says that some food is deceptive.
Many modern processed foods (those found in a bag, box, or can) impair your body’s natural hunger/fullness signals, which can lead to out-of-control cravings and overeating.
Remember the potato chip slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one”? It is true! That statement applies to many junk foods and the manufacturers like it that way.
The more you eat, the more money for them.
Part of diligence is learning about the foods that you tend to eat and the effect they have on your body.
When you shift your focus from losing weight to building health, plus eating the right amouts for your unique body, your body will naturally reach the size that is best for you.
The fruit of self-control is a fruit of God’s Spirit. As a Christian, we already have it. However, we need to cultivate it for it to grow.
One factor can interfere with our self-control: Deceptive foods.
Deceptive foods fill our grocery store shelves. The shiny boxes appeal to our senses, but most aren’t nourishing to our bodies.
Instead, many processed foods are addictive, hijacking our brain’s reward and calming systems.
When it comes to weight loss, it is wise to practice the following Biblical wisdom:
– Hebrews 12:12-14
“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed
So Biblical wisdom tells us that when we know a particular area is ‘’lame’’ in our lives, it is up to us to protect that area to allow it time to heal.
When it comes to weight loss, the area that is ‘’lame’’ is often foods that cause us to binge or eat emotionally.
The wise thing to do is to focus on other foods that you enjoy, but do not cause negative side effects.
In this way, you can lose weight with less food drama! You’ll be able to enjoy your food, enjoy your life, and do good works that glorify God with energy and vitality.
As you increase your physical strength, it enhances your confidence and emotional strength. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the apostle Paul says,
“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
A regular exercise program helps you see your body as your servant, not your master. While your Spirit doesn’t get tired, your body often can.
So you want to do everything you can to improve your physical strength, endurance, and flexibility so that your physical condition can better respond to spiritual demands.
One final word about whether Christian weight loss programs work, which is also related to exercise.
In 1 Timothy 4:8, the apostle Paul says,
‘’For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.’’
Even though Paul is saying bodily exercise profits a little compared to godliness, you still want the best of both worlds!
A fitter body gives you the energy to do everything God calls you to do, plus living a Godly life please Him.
In the end, we will all give an account for what we have done in these Earthly bodies (see Hebrews 4:13).
Our goal is to hear our Lord say to us:
“Well done, good and faithful child. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
To paraphrase a quote from the late U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt, we ‘’Do what we can, with what we have, where we are.”
Our Christian weight loss journey serves a higher purpose than mere numbers on a scale.
We use the experience to draw closer to our Savior day by day. Not only does that give us benefits now, but in the years to come.
So Christian weight loss really does work because not only do you get rewards in this life, but Spiritual benefits that will continue to pay off into eternity.
It’s a win/win situation all around!
Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. When it comes to weight loss, do you often know what you should do but have a hard time doing it?
I struggled with this issue on my own weight loss journey, but I discovered the truth of this statement:
“Nothing is different until you think differently.” – Pastor James MacDonald
In the Take Back Your Temple program, you will discover how to win the Spiritual and mental battle that often causes us to become inconsistent and get off-track on our weight loss journey.
Join a community of other Christians losing weight and keep it off.