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The Daniel Plan puts faith in weight loss and fitness

May 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Founder of PrayFit, exercise physiologist Jimmy Pena launched a 33-day body challenge complete with something called PrayFit minutes, or devotionals to inspire success.

Since statistics indicate dieting overall has a high failure rate, some are hoping worship helps with weight loss. Programs like Bod4God, karate for Christ, holy yoga and The Daniel Plan.

"Faith, friends, food and fitness" is the motto of the weight loss plan, created by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

It's called The Daniel Plan because it is based on the biblical story of Daniel. It revolves around six lifestyle principals, like committing to getting your mind, body and spirit in shape.

Warren had a pretty big goal himself - to lose 90 pounds and get healthy. His flock's response was tremendous.

"Our first day we had 6,000 people come to our initial rally in January 2011. We had to turn 2,000 people away because we couldn't fit on campus," said Dee Eastman, director of The Daniel Plan. Eastman says they also had 15,000 sign up on line participating from 190 countries.

"When I heard Rick Warren and come on stage and say that he was going to lose 90 pounds I thought wow what's my problem? I should get on this too," said Daniel Plan participant Chiquita Seals.

Seals starting weight was 260. Today, she weighs 128. And while she loves the cooking and fitness classes they offer, she feels the spirituality makes the difference.

"That was a big motivation. God gave me this body and I feel like I really dropped the ball with it. Eating the junk food, not taking care of it," she said.

Like many programs, The Daniel Plan offers fitness classes, food suggestions and demos, even healthy lifestyle workshops, but it's their Walk and Worship and Daniel-plan Bible study that sets them apart.

Classes and lectures open or close with prayer and each six week bible study can be downloaded free of charge. "You can grab a neighbor, a coworker, do it at lunch break, but to get the inspiration in it not only has Pastor Rick, but it has each of our 3 doctors highlighted at each time," said Eastman. Warren enlisted the help of cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, and functional medicine specialist Dr. Mark Hyman as health coaches for the program, along with perhaps a higher power.


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