So… I just received this comment:
About five years ago I did the [redacted] program which promotes waiting for a physical indicator of hunger such as your stomach growling, a hollow feeling in the stomach, etc., then eat half of what you normally would eat and no food is off limits. If you want to eat something before your next “growl” you are told to run to God instead of food. Exercise and eating healthy is discouraged because then you are accused of relying on something outside of God for your weight loss and want to do things your way. During that 12 week class I lost 29 lbs; the first week I lost 12 lbs but I “cheated” because I Just ate mostly veggies that week. I gained a good part of the weight back because 1. I got tired of waiting up to 12 hours before I could eat again and 2. I didn’t go to the advanced part of the class which involved a lot of fasting. I also didn’t want to pay another $120(?). Also there something kind of creepy about the founder of that program.
…and I won’t lie. My heart skipped a beat, and I’m actually a little emotional about this. (Perhaps I’m a little bit emotional about a lot of things. I’ll be that, dang it.) This literally snatched the breath out of my chest.
I wanted to publish my response to this because I want it on the record. The for-serious, 100% real deal record.
This right here is a scam. It’s not about God (whatever God applies, here.) It’s not about experiencing hunger. It is absolutely about control… and swindling people out of their money.
I’m going to break this down – piece by piece – so that you can understand what a scam genuinely looks like, and hopefully protect yourself in the future. It’s one thing to seek out a support system that’s providing guidance into nourishing yourself mentally, physically and spiritually… it’s another thing entirely to be scammed into group starvation.
About five years ago I did the [redacted] program which promotes waiting for a physical indicator of hunger such as your stomach growling, a hollow feeling in the stomach, etc., then eat half of what you normally would eat and no food is off limits.
The idea that a person who is experiencing hollowness in their stomachs… would be able to eat only half of what they’d normally eat, especially considering how the person likely had an issue with portion control in the beginning… is astounding to me. If the body is hungry, it means that it is in need of nourishment. The body is delivering a vital message – “I am in dire need of nourishment.” Trying to interfere with the body’s ability to obtain that nourishment when it’s right in front of you is a struggle that even I would have difficulty with.
Secondly, the idea that “no food is off limits” is so bizarre. Weight loss programs use this line – a LOT of them use this line – because it ALWAYS reels in the people who say things like “I want to lose weight, but I want to lose it by eating what I eat, not that rice cake crap you eat.” (As you all know, I don’t eat rice cakes. They taste like styrofoam and are too processed for my taste. Just wanted to put that out there.) You know, the people that don’t realize that the problem is “eating what they eat.” Not only does this program not promote proper nourishment of the body your God gave you, but it doesn’t even care about that. It cares about getting you skinny. It’s starvation for skinny’s sake.
If you want to eat something before your next “growl” you are told to run to God instead of food. Exercise and eating healthy is discouraged because then you are accused of relying on something outside of God for your weight loss and want to do things your way.
There are two elements to this – the first being that this is another draw. This is another way to entice you into thinking that you’ll experience simple weight loss that doesn’t require you to add any activity to your life or, really, change anything about what you eat and how you eat it.
The second is that if you exercise and eat healthily, you might realize that you don’t need to pay into a big program to teach you that this is the answer. Banning you from doing what you’re supposed to do forces you to rely solely on the program to lose… so when you come off the program and gain the weight back, you’ll go back to the program so that you can lose again! It’s forcing your success to depend upon them.. which guarantees that they’ll have your repeat business.
During that 12 week class I lost 29 lbs; the first week I lost 12 lbs but I “cheated” because I Just ate mostly veggies that week.
Approximately 30lbs in 3 months… approximately 10lbs each month, but lost 12lbs in the first week. Somewhere, the body realized that there was starvation play taking place, and decided to make it more difficult for you to burn energy. Somewhere along the line, your metabolism slowed down. Somewhere along the line… your body said “Enough! If she won’t feed me, I’ll minimize the amount of energy (read: calories) I can burn each day, so that I don’t dwindle away to nothing!”
As a side note, I love that she cheated and ate what she is supposed to eat. If you are someone who lives a mostly processed lifestyle, the conversion to clean eating will bring dramatic results… and depending upo how much weight you have to lose (I’m talkin’ upwards of 100lbs, here), you absolutely can lose 10lbs the first week. The fact that this was coupled with starvation makes me uneasy, but I love that there’s a realization of “I experienced this success because I ate the way I’m supposed to eat.”
I gained a good part of the weight back because 1. I got tired of waiting up to 12 hours before I could eat again
This is the problem with dieting. We take on temporary habits to lose the weight, only to find out that they’re unsustainable in the long run. Even if one could eat only every 12hrs, think about it – think of all the family functions, business functions and goodness knows what else you’d have to avoid knowing full well you’re hungry? Waiting 12 hours to nourish yourself sounds like a bunch of binging waiting to happen.
I didn’t go to the advanced part of the class which involved a lot of fasting.
Again, more unsustainable habits. Fasting for spiritual purposes… nutrition takes a back seat. I don’t love it, but I can respect it. Fasting for weight loss purposes? You’re walking backwards.
I also didn’t want to pay another $120(?). Also there something kind of creepy about the founder of that program.
So, each level of the class is $120? Word? I wonder how many repeat participants there are in a class that teaches unsustainable weight loss methods and creates co-dependency that prevents you from being able to live or function without it.
See, the thing that really took my breath away about this program is the fact that she said, “Exercise and eating healthy is discouraged because then you are accused of relying on something outside of God for your weight loss and want to do things your way.”
Depending upon your beliefs, the methods of exercise that we know of today are reflections of the ability that we were all given. Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be thy food.” Our system works that way because the food that is meant to nourish us is also meant to heal us. As someone who believes in a higher power, surely that cannot be a coincidence. If you believe everything of this Earth – not of man, like manufactured food – comes from a God, then a “weight loss ministry” that says anything different simply cannot be of your God. Period.
I mean, you have to do some mental backflips to come to a conclusion that says anything different.
Regardless of whether you believe in creationism (the belief that God created mankind) or evolutionism (the belief that we’ve evolved from lesser beings), you have to believe in the evolution of the society in which we live. We didn’t always have cars, and we didn’t always have processed food. Once upon a time, walking was vital. We don’t do much of that anymore. Once upon a time, cooking was vital. We don’t do much of that anymore, either. You have to believe that a society that evolved to make minimal activity possible… could result in weight gain.
That being said… this program completely abandons common sense and practical history for the sake of making money… and people are eating it up.
It’s one thing to desire a support system, rooted in spirituality to help each other through the struggle of learning how to live healthier. It’s another thing entirely to join a cult pushing harmful and unsustainable habits that cause you to jeopardize your health. I know that I say this all the time, but its absolutely important to always put our health first because of all of the bajillion ways we can lose weight, only a small handful can produce permanent results without risking our well-being. Use your better judgment: if it seems wrong, it probably is.
That being said.. I know that someone may know or be able to identify what group the comment is referring to… and I’d prefer to keep their name out of the comments. This isn’t the only “ministry” that pushes this ideology, and while I don’t want to slander any groups, I do want to encourage readers seeking spirituality in their journey to “eat with one eye open.”
Do you have any experience with these kinds of groups? What are your thoughts?
Erika, I stay far FAR away from religious nuts! My aunt is muslim and I respect her non-pork diet, but when I have other people that tell me the Bible says all these foods are wrong, and no liquor, and no dancing, and no gambling, and no pants wearing for women, nor cutting of hair, I run!
Food is here to nourish our bodies. Scientists decided to tinker with basic foods to make them more “convenient”, but unless something is just foul, it should be ok to eat. And then we have the foulness criteria. I love fish sauce on my once a month thai Pad Ped. That’s half rotting fish and shrimp which is then fermented and decanted into bottles to ship. I grew up cleaning chitlin’s on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was told that I cleaned ’em too well ’cause they didn’t smell like the ca-ca filled intestines that they were when they were cooked. I love catfish, but according to some cultures it’s verboten because it doesn’t have scales. And one diet that I saw doesn’t any pickled food because it interfears with the alkaline balance of the body. So no olives/olive oil, no cheeses, no yoghurt, no sardines, sausages, smoked turkey, etc.
When I see stuff like this, I just shake my head. I think the best response is: Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath, Mark 2:27
Its interesting to me how people use God’s name for such foolishness. I hate that people are in such despair to lose weight that they will try anything and give bukoos of money to people for this “magical solution”. I am heavy on religion (former COGIC)because if people really know God for themselves and stop listening to man all the time, alot of these scams won’t exist. There is no easy way to weight loss, you have to put the cookie down and join the journey….
There are a ton of things in the bible…if we did everything it said…the most fun we would have is sitting in the house playing board games….
I cried when I read her post yesterday. I was thinking about how far some ministries have come from their roots. I was thinking of the irresponsibility, selfishness and arrogance it takes to lead a flock of people away from the truth and light they seek and towards the harmful agenda the “ministry” has set. I’m tearing up now. Thanks for responding Erika. I guess I’m sensitive too.
I think it’s all proof of how we’ve distanced ourselves from the very things meant to heal and nourish our bodies. I mean, to think that there are people who believe that moving AWAY from what we were meant to eat is how you can “lose weight” is bizarre to me. Like there’s some mystical secret that we never thought of before… and this one ministry has the answer. We’ve made it so “mystified” that we can’t even see reality anymore. THAT is what makes me sad, because that means there are people out there just ripe to be taken advantage of. Big painful reality.
“There are a ton of things in the bible…if we did everything it said…the most fun we would have is sitting in the house playing board games…”
Except that most board games involve gambling… Or so my conservative Baptist grandparents told me as a child why we couldn’t play cards, or Monopoly or UNO…
Ugh, what a horror. What gets me is what if God told me to exercise? Those nutjobs never think of that.
*throws hands up in confusion*
I don’t even know anymore. LOL
Pure foolishness. No offense to the person who sent you the post, either. Maybe it’s my head strong nature, and I realize everyone doesn’t have it, but there’s something about another person trying to control me that just…ugh! NO BUENO! As soon as she realized “something was creepy about the founder” she should have run for the hills. The selfish, greed-filled actions of man has kept so many people away from God, and THAT saddens me more than anything. SMH
@JoAnna, I just…I can’t.
I must admit, through fasting with my church I learned about clean eating (the Daniel fast, 21 days of clean eating via fruts,veggies, no man made products) and it furtered my curiousity towards a healthier lifestyle so yes I see the benefits of spiritual fasting.
But this stuff here? come on son? I feel so sorry for those that truely get strayed because of these ideals
This program is brilliant. It probably works on the ” faith of a mustard seed” concept. If you fail, it is because you didn’t have enough faith in your god, not the fault of the program. Not only are you a failure because you’re a Fatty McFatterson, you’re a failure because you don’t even have faith!! But don’t worry, for an extra $500, they can cure us ignorant losers, if we have faith. I mean, what do we know about eating right? How dare we try to challenge what skinnier people tell us, especially when they are backed up by religion!
I think that some “religious” programs use a different concept to focus our attention on taking better care of our bodies.
I am not at ALL in agreement with the program listed above but I do think we have to be careful not dismiss all “religious” programs.
I know of a program called TOPS (Taking Off the Pounds Sensibly) and of a book called A Call To Fast. I only know what I am told about TOPS … but my understanding is it is very similar to weight watchers. The difference is they use the strength of prayer, community and scripture to be reminded WHY it is important to take care of ones’ body.
The woman who wrote A Call To Fast (Fay Daley) is a clean eater. I’ve yet to follow it but really admire and respect her dicipline and drive to take care of her temple! The fasts in this book are for many purposes. It takes on a more holistic view point. (BTW I know VERY healthy holistic clean eaters who incorporate fasting as a way of life. Many are ‘spiritual’ but don’t subscribe to any one religion). They have glowing skin, proper bowel movements and are in good shape.
Ms. Fay talks about why we shouldn’t eat crap tells you to take into consideration your bodies needs ect. But her draw is she caters to Christians as a plea to do better with our bodies! (A LOT of Christians are just the unhealthiest!!!)… She also talks about yoga, meditation and taking time to sleep/relax.
I think that everyone draws strength from different places. Weight loss often does has some form of spirituality with it. People are just apt to migrate to what they feel most comfortable with. (Some people feel spiritual and whole with nature).
The bottom line I don’t think it is about religion… There are scammers everywhere! There are a lot of other programs that have NOTHING to do with religion and take folk for their money just the same! LOL!
Nowhere in my post did I dismiss any religious or spiritual gathering of people as a means of having a support group for developing a healthier lifestyle. In fact, I said the following:
What I am STRONGLY urging is that people not let the “THIS is about God!” message cause them to neglect giving the entire program a thorough look-over and determine if it will truly help them reclaim their health and keep the weight off… as opposed to keeping them hooked on a program that will do nothing but cause them more harm.
There ARE scammers everywhere – I occasionally write about them – but they also hide within “religion” and I cannot shy away from that, especially since so many of us have considered/will consider these kinds of programs in the future. As I said in the post, people simply need to learn to “eat with one eye open.”
I feel ya lovely! And would have to agree about the harmful cults.
My comment on being careful stems from seeing how platforms (like a WONDERFUL blog) – did I mention this blog is great? – can serve as a place to dismiss spirituality/religion or faith based weight loss programs all together if not clarified.
Sometimes all people read is ‘religious cult’ (evidenced by some of the comments that resulted.) To me, some missed the point it wasn’t about being a religious group but about the fact that these wicked people have used religion to control.
I have actually (unfortunately) been involved with a very cultish group in the past (not for weight loss) so can see/understand were you are coming from. It AIN’T pretty! Ohhh no it ain’t! LOL! 🙂
I hear you, mama. I think we might be giving certain platforms too much credit… or giving the public too little credit… but better safe than sorry, I suppose.
This right here is one of those post that I hope people will find before dropping money on some “weight loss program”. I once let a friend talk me into joining one with her it is named after a city in California and I had to buy an insane amount of bars and pay a ton of money to get in. Back then I was only 35 pounds over weight and could easily worked it off with exercise and a better diet. She weighted considerably more than I and felt this was the only way and I was very young and dumb and let her talk me into dropping a couple hundred. Yea I am still mad at myself. A lot of these programs are total BS because in the end all you need is to eat a solid clean diet and move your butt beyond walking to the fridge. In the back of my mind I knew I made a major mistake but it was too late. They were pushing these expensive donkey but protein bars like I wouldn’t get thin without them. Such a waste of money.
I work in an office where about 60% of our employees are on that “diet” and are members of the founder’s house of worship. It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever encountered and they are so die hard. They try hard to recruit and if you reject attending a function or concert at their church, they have very little if not anything to say to you afterwards. So yes, I know what you are referring to. Thanks for posting
I’m sorry but I just had to post. I’m a regular lurker, but this called my attention. We can follow all of God’s commandments and still have fun. The problem is when people who don’t know their Bible,and who just let their perceptions of God/ Christ/ Christianity/The Bible become influenced by others and their experiences.
I’m sorry, the problems we are having with the “Biblical Dietary Laws” is that people can’t decipher Old Testament from New Testament. Old Covenant (for Jewish people) and New Covenant (for us Christians). Please become educated people. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Yes the Bible does say alot, and has alot of rules, but if we really understood Christ and what He did on that cross, we would know that he has fulfilled the law.
The New Testament clearly states that we are free from the old diet. We have to pick up the Word for ourselves and stop letting pastor, daddy, grandma, co-worker, and everyone else tell us whats in there. Fasting and praying is one thing, but this “weight loss program” is distorting God’s truth. Blessings to all of you lovely ladies on your healthy journeys.
I agree Jasmine. This is not just religious fanaticism based on poor application of the scriptures, this is STUPIDITY.
As a Christian trying to lose weight and doing pretty well, these fad diets I see on TV which sprinkle a bit of God here and Jesus there are no different than these pimpin churches who deceive the people with out of context passages. It’s based in false doctrine and a inaccurate understanding of the scriptures. In the NT we are free to eat what we choose as long as we don’t make a bro/sis stumble by what we eat (ex: eating cheesecake in front of a person trying to lose weight)
They throw in religiosity because people love religion.
God, if you believe he exists, grants us the care of our bodies to do work to give glory to his name through his creation. No starvation. No ill advised diets. No destroying of the soul or the body. Exercising makes the body look better, function better and achieve greater than otherwise. This would please a good God. What saddens me is seeing people being wrangled in believing this incongruous idea that has nothing to do with God or love or health or reason…
Wow – about 15 years ago, when I was in my teens, my church brought this exact program in-house.
I want to play devil’s advocate and defend the program for just one second (bear with me!). I was pretty impressionable at the time – I was about to go off to college and had NO IDEA how to lose weight. Here comes this woman with a program where she mostly reads out of the Bible.
What attracted me was that ALL the overweight people at church were getting skinny. They were punching new holes in their belts, becoming teachers of the class, and we were having a grand old time together. All we did was watch one 1-hour video of this woman reading the Bible together each week and the basic premise of the class was to memorize some verses and answer some deep questions about our weight hang-ups each week.
It was actually a wonderful time of sharing and collaboration with fellow church members. It was also encouraging because portion control was a big deal so people who used to eat MOUNDS of food were down to regular size portions.
I lost 20+ lbs and then stopped because like the previous poster, I got tired of missing great events (birthdays!) or catered food because I didn’t have my growl yet – ugh.
Now, when you read it this way, you can see how people got sucked in. Honestly when I took it, it was a very good program without a whole lot of manipulation, and people were not being unhealthy around me. It was more about incorporating eating habits into your relationship with God, just like you do anything else in life. Also it was about listening to your body’s natural hunger signals instead of mindless eating. Good concepts.
Enter 2006. Unbeknownst to me, this program had taken on a life of its own. The leader started her own church BASED ON THIS PROGRAM because she made a LOAD of money off of people (ugh). Not knowing this, I joined a new group based on my previous experience and ended up at some random girl’s house for a weight loss meeting. The tone was much different. No one ate anything. No food was served. If you ever overate, you were in violation. There were people who were eating 3 bites per meal. You were instructed to cut pizza slices in half and then just eat that, but be happy about it because you were eating pizza. Then I was told that if you overeat by ONE BITE, you will go to hell. What? Huh????
It was scary, and I RAN out of that girl’s house and never looked back. It turns out that what was once a pretty decent program had turned into a massive cult over the years.
In closing, you’re right. Even things that seem good can easily turn into nightmares. You have to make the discoveries for yourself and never listen to any one person about anything as if they were absolute truth. I’m so happy I escaped the second round of this horrible “diet religion” but it was disappointing because I wanted that camaraderie and support that I found back in the 90s.
Thanks for being so honest and truthful in your posts – I have been hooked since my friend shared it on her FB page last week!
I think my friend is doing this. She lost weight in the past, but not having success now. I told her to eat 5 times day to keep metabolism going..shell just have to learn the hard way.
I too am familiar with the program and found it to be sound, biblical advice. It just made sense to me. It’s focus is to foster a love for the Lord more than a love for food. She didn’t advise not to participate in healthy eating or exercise just be aware that they too can be used to pull us away from our relationship with God. I wondered what had happened to the author and am saddened to hear, if it’s true, that she has fallen victim to another form of greed. But alas, human nature tends to get the best of most of us eventually. I guess that’s the humanity that links us all.
so sad folks fall into this kind of exploitation. thank you for sharing your very balanced view.
Terri@a happy and respectful agnostic who wants to get strong and lean again
I too got suckered by the program. You do have weight loss, but temporary and because of the long waits for hunger, you find yourself drained, and lacking energy, and having to work a regular job feeling like that is not feasible. Faith without works is dead. You can pray, but if common sense isn’t used, and actively not making the right decisions for your body isn’t being done, its futile. Even the person leading our class who lost 100 lbs eventually gained it back!
Ok so I didn’t even read the entire article before I came up with this thought: This program sounds like a cult to me. Controlling when you can eat and how much, asking for money, and stating that the creator “sounds kind of creepy” all sound like tell tale signs of a cult. God has nothing to do with weight gain or loss. In my opinion, weight gain can only be attributed to one of two things (possibly both). That is: Medical conditions( in which case, eating clean, and exercising should still be exercised) and our own greediness. That may sound harsh, but it happens. Maybe I am the only one, maybe not, but I know that my weight gain came from eating any and everything and eating when not hungry. God had absolutely nothing to do with it, nor will He jump in and pull me out of the grave that I dug without some type of self contribution. Starving myself, is NOT a form of healthy self contribution!
You they could do something that is proven to make money like say….open a gym. The gym I go to is owned by a church. It’s open to anyone who wants to join.
But there was is one “assistant pastor” who had to leave Zumba because it just “wasn’t right. lol.
all i have to say is wow
I actually practiced this for years and kept a healthy weight even after my 1st 2 babies. After the 3rd baby for some reason it no longer worked…? hmmm…I still loved Jesus and turned to Him for my troubles & praises? I had no major food hangups? I simply waited to eat when I actually FELT hunger and did not eat until miserable. I have since been diagnosed with Thyroid Disease…huh imagine that?! Looking back I can see that this is where I began to abuse my body’s metabolism and caused serious irreparable damage. While I agree that today most American’s rarely if ever feel true hunger pains–it is mostly lack of water or our addiction to wheat talking LOL I now see that being overweight does NOT equate my gluttonous punishment for not obeying my Lord.
Comments are closed.