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+ISSUE + TiPS ::: Pastor Offers A Biblical Approach to Weight Loss

 Weight loss has become a more frequently used phrase these days. We have a lot of sisters and brothers signing up to one weight loss program/regime or the other.

We stumbled upon a piece written by a pastor on this. We believe a lot of people will want to know what he says. Do go ahead and enjoy....

Biblical Approach to Weight Loss: Take the Safest Route, Not the Fastest

WRITTEN BY Shaneidleman
LANCASTER - Initially, people are highly motivated and disciplined when they begin a 'diet.' But as time passes, they fail to exercise as often, they don't watch calories as closely as they once did, and they lose the motivation they once had. As a result, they fall back into old habits, and behaviors, and eventually a lifestyle. But you can prevent this by falling forward.[ Do you need motivation is 2014 to fall forward spiritually and physically? Watch:] Continue reading below...

It's essential to make good choices. Once you make a choice, it then makes you. Choices feed habits, habits define lifestyle, and lifestyle determines your future. Learning to make good choices is an important step in establishing long-term success. You've made a choice to change. That change will soon produce new habits that, according to research, can be developed in as little as 21 days. Stay with it. But when you fall, and you will fall...fall forward! Use the opportunity to learn and quickly get back on course again. Perseverance leads to success. This principle of perseverance, or falling forward, helped me more than anything else; it's a biblical principle. Don't let discouragement stop you. Move forward! Everyone gets discouraged, but those who learn to move forward despite discouragement eventually reach their destination.

Although I believed I was healthy and fit, by the time I reached my twenty-second birthday, my 6'2'' frame had skyrocketed to 270 pounds and I was diagnosed with borderline hypoglycemia. My blood pressure and my cholesterol levels were high, my health was rapidly deteriorating. I was told that I might need to take medication for the rest of my life. As a result, I was denied life insurance and was instructed by my physician to "go on a strict diet." I was shocked! I knew that if I didn't change my life, my life would change me!
Between 1992 and 2000, I was an employee, then a manager, and finally a corporate executive in Southern California for the fastest growing fitness company in the world, 24 Hour Fitness. Throughout that time, I managed fitness centers and personal training departments while assisting and interviewing thousands of weight-loss clients. As a result, I identified a consistent pattern that surfaced time and time again: many physical and psychological problems are directly related to poor health choices. I believe that physical health often runs parallel with spiritual health. It should never be our primary focus—spiritual health is vitally more important (cf. 1 Timothy 4:8), but physical health should not be overlooked. When we are healthy and fit, we are often ten times for effective, but when we are sluggish and overweight energy is diminished. Not to mention the impact that our lifestyle has on our children.

During this time in the health and fitness industry, God radically changed my life. While I had focused on prosperity, wealth, and success, I had starved my soul. I tried everything that the world had to offer, but ultimately, I found that it offered little of lasting value. God used this time to bring the prodigal son home. I resigned from my position in 2000. This decision eventually led to the planting of Westside Christian Fellowship in 2010. As a pastor, I'm deeply saddened by the number of people who neglect their health as if it doesn't matter to God. Life is a gift; our body is the only place we have to live. Although we often discuss the health of our spirit and soul from the pulpit, little is often said about our physical health; therefore, it's time to shift gears.

The physical health of our body plays a large role in our overall health—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—the overall quality of life improves significantly. Taking care of the one body that God has given us is wise affect our entire life. According to many experts, many diseases are preventable through proper nutrition and exercise. To suggest that health should not be a priority is to suggest that God isn't concerned with this area when, in fact, poor health causes many problems. It reminds me of the man who prayed, "Lord, please increase my debt is killing me," as he headed to Las Vegas with his weekly check.

Granted, I don't believe that everyone will be healthy and wealthy. We live in a very sinful world that often results in disease and sickness. God sometimes uses pain, sickness, and disease to draw us closer to Him; however, we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater and totally dismiss physical health. Obesity and poor health zaps energy and robs from life. Poor nutrition affects us negatively in several different ways. High levels of caffeine or nicotine, for example, lead to irritation, anger, impatience, and anxiety...not good qualities to possess. They are the exact opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. As a side note, the majority of people I've counseled who damage their family through anger are often addicted to caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, and so on. Clearly, health plays a vital role in our overall attitude. When we feed the body what it needs, it will run better.

I also encourage those suffering with depression and anxiety to look first at their spiritual and physical health. I'm not minimizing depression or anxiety, they are debilitating, but we shouldn't immediately assume that we need a prescription without first checking the obvious—do we have a strong devotional and prayer life, are we monitoring our thought life and media choices carefully, are we taking care of our body? Exercise is a natural stress reliever. God created us to move and to be active. Regardless of what the culture promotes, choosing to follow a healthier lifestyle is the first step in making health a priority.

The purpose of food is to meet our nutritional needs, not our wants. That bears repeating: food was created to meet our body's "needs" not our "wants"—to heal, restore, and replenish. Many of America's most popular foods have little nutritional value, and contain harmful ingredients. Add to this the absence of organic (the way God designed it) fruit and vegetables for fiber and dietary value, and it's obvious why cancer now affects one out of three individuals—we're not feeding the body what it needs to fight cancer, heart disease, and poor health, in general. No wonder many experience extremely low energy levels, attention-deficit problems, sleep disorders, anxiety, and mood swings, to name only a few. Therefore, a first step toward better health is to eat God-given, organic foods when possible. It would have been to my benefit to follow this plan earlier in my life.

 We were created to consume living, life-sustaining, God-given foods that nourish and support a healthy body, not dead, life-depleting food from a factory. The life of the food is to be deposited in to the body to support and maintain life. If you can avoid empty foods and limit caffeine and junk food consumption, and instead, consume more life-giving foods, you'll be well on your way to better health.

Another important step, although extremely difficult, involves removing addictive substances that undermine health. I vividly remember a comment from a clinical nutritionist that motivated me, "Limiting and/or discontinuing caffeine intake leads to significant improvements in health...far more than just dieting alone." He also made the connection between depression, anxiety, and panic attacks to caffeine.

Don't get me wrong, as a person who once loved a few strong cups of coffee, I understand that moderation is the key. However, most can't go a few weeks without it, they're lucky to go a few hours. Caffeine intake in the form of energy drinks and coffee is highly addicted and damages health. The body is kept in a constant state of stress resulting in adrenal wonder it breaks down often and why many never overcome fatigue. Contrary to popular belief, stimulants don't actually help fatigue; they contribute to it by robbing Peter to pay Paul. The short-term results do not outweigh the long-term damage.

Since caffeine runs along the same biochemical pathways in the brain as cocaine, opium, and amphetamines, quitting can be a nightmare. My suggestion is to back off day by day until intake is very minimal, and use organic green tea (light caffeine) whenever possible. You'll be shocked by the results. Granted, the first week to 10-days may be torture, but it will be worth it. The withdrawal symptoms alone reveal the power of this drug. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders recognizes caffeine-related disorders such as caffeine intoxication, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, and caffeine-induced sleep disorder. These can begin with even minimal doses. Increase the amount to 500mg. of caffeine (the amount found in 24 ounces of coffee) and these symptoms are dramatically increased. All this can lead to angry outbursts, panic attacks, severe depression, and extreme irritability. This begs the question, "How many are suffering simply because of poor health—continuing the addiction rather than removing the cause of the problem?"

In the same way that a hiker feels released, energized, and un-burdened after removing a 50-pound backpack, you'll feel released and energized after removing stimulants. I became a more patient, kind, and easy-going person when I quit abusing coffee. I never realized how much it was contributing to my anger, irritability, mood swings, and anxiety until at least a week after weaning off, and the withdrawals brought out the worst in me. I always excused my poor attitude with statements such as, "I had a bad day...I'm under a lot of stress. I'm tired." Ironically, I was the primary cause for my "bad" days, stress, and fatigue. As much as I wanted to be filled with the Spirit, I was feeding my body a substance that was counter-productive.

Remember, your main goal is health and stimulates aren't healthy. The biblical approach is the safest route, not the fastest. It's not my intent to point solely to coffee, stimulants, and energy drinks, because there are many other addictive substances; neither is being legalistic my goal. My heart is to simply share how the most addictive substance in America affects health, and then let you be the judge.

Shane Idleman, is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, Ca. He just released his 7th book, DESPERATE FOR MORE OF GOD. More can be found at

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