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The Weigh Down

The Promise

Have you ever thought of leaning into your religious faith to help you lose weight? While definitely not your typical diet book, The Weigh Down Diet’s concept is that you can change your relationship with food by strengthening your relationship with God.

Author and registered dietitian Gwen Shamblin says the program’s focus is simple: Eat when you're hungry. When you need to feed your soul, reach out to God, not into your snack pantry. If you can recognize the difference between emotional eating and physical hunger, you’ll reach your goals.

The Weigh Down Diet does not call out one faith or denomination to find success (although it does reference the Bible). You only need to believe in some higher power to completely follow the plan.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

The Weigh Down Diet is about how much you eat, and not about foods you must eat or avoid.

Listen to your body, notice when you're full, and stop eating. Those concepts apply regardless of faith.

To find out what hunger feels like, The Weigh Down Diet recommends that you don't eat anything until your stomach grumbles. Then eat something you love, even if it contains salt, sugar, or fat. You’re encouraged to eat regular food, rather than diet food. Experiment first by cutting your normal portion in half.

Eat slowly, concentrating on flavors and textures, and learn to stop when you start to feel full; don't wait until you're stuffed. Wait until you feel hungry to eat again.

The book suggests eating your favorite foods first, because you may feel full at any time. If you fill up on less favorable foods to start, you may feel compelled to keep eating to taste what you really love. Keep in mind, though, that if your favorites aren't good for you, you may not meet your nutritional needs.

Alcoholic beverages are permitted in moderation.

Level of Effort: Medium

Your effort will be focused on changing your relationship with food and establishing a sense of whether your body feels hungry or full.

Limitations: You can eat the foods you love, so you're not going to be making big sacrifices here.

Cooking and shopping: You should be able to shop and cook normally.

Packaged foods or meals:  None.

In-person meetings: None.

Exercise: Not required. The book recommends that you stop exercising specifically to burn off what you've eaten or to give yourself permission to eat more. Physical activity is fine if you enjoy it.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

As long as you eat only when your body signals that you're hungry, you can use this plan even if your diet is:

  • Vegetarian or vegan
  • Low-salt
  • Low-fat
  • Gluten-free


What Else You Should Know

Cost: An optional 6-week online seminar costs $99. Many people find they save this much money or more at the supermarket once they learn to control their eating, proponents say.

Support: Weigh Down Workshop seminars are available on the Weigh Down web site. If you sign up, you can chat online with people who watch the videos when you do, giving you a sense of community.  Your class coordinator will contact you weekly throughout the seminar to check on your progress. You can also call Weigh Down Ministries to speak with someone who can provide counseling or encouragement.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on December 17, 2013

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