WeighDown and Gwen Shamblin
Gwen Shamblin is a charming lady who is blond, glamorous and very slim.
Her book on the Ultimate Weight loss plan (everyone has one of these,
right?) is called "Weigh Down" and that's the name of her program also.
Lots of churches offer WeighDown support groups.
Gwen who graduated college as a registered dietitian many moons ago, still believes that we do not need any particular type of food since we can get it all from bodyfat. One of her favorite expressions is how we can get "a hamburger from our thighs". Therefore, followers of Weighdown can eat any type of food but just have to stop eating when it stops tasting good (usually after a couple of bites). And people are told to not eat until they are hungry enough for their stomachs to "growl".
Gwen feels that some folks (or most folks) are using food to "fill a hole in their heart" which really should be filled with God. And many people who have lost weight and kept it off with "Weigh Down" agree that their lives have become very fulfilling since they pray more (and eat less). And she has some pretty impressive success stories on her program.
That being said, I'm not ready to attend Gwen's new church (called "The Remnant") - they have certain beliefs I do not agree with (I have heard they reject the doctrine of the Holy Trinity for example). Gwen has stated many times that she feels being fat is a sin and that fat people will not get to Heaven. Some critics of this church, feel that the church is practicing "mind control" and also some ex-members complain that their children were spanked by other church members.
Gwen maintains that your body really doesn't require much food, thus the tiny amounts she advocates people eat, she does not consider starvation dieting but again, some disagree.
Gwen said she wrestled a bit with an eating disorder when she was younger and struggled with the "college 15 lb gain", she has never BEEN clinically obese or anything close to it. And one wonders if her current program might not be a form of chronic anorexia.
That being said, Gwen seems to be earnest in her beliefs and many claim that Gwen and her program brought them back to the Lord. However, Gwen's ideas are delivered with such dogmatic zeal that it leads me to wonder if she may not be guilty of the old stumbling block - faith without reason - which Einstein among others, reminds us, leads to "fanaticism".
A while ago, I listened to a speech of hers on her "radio station" on her website and it did freak me a bit.... Listening to her speak for an hour about how anyone who was in sin (interpreted as overeating) would be condemned by God regardless of how virtuous a life they lived, was downright depressing. She condemned quoting the Bible out of context but that's exactly what SHE did in the speech. If this is a sample of her preaching in her new church, perhaps some of the criticisms leveled at her, are well founded...
In Shamblin's book, she described night "temptations" several hours long, battles with the refrigerator where she overcomes the hunger caused by her determination to remain very slim with a lot of prayer . Gwen and her kids involved in the ministry as well as her followers seem to emanate joy. However, her critics say her program is far too guilt based. One woman stated she developed bulimia as a repercussion of being on "Weigh Down".
Starvation, such as Gwen seems to advocate was considered unhealthy years ago, even when it was thought that all nutrients could be obtained from body fat but now, research has shown that only simple sugar can be obtained from body fat so a diet deplete in the essential nutrients may cause a situation of the body cannibalizing its own organs etc to obtain the essential proteins etc.
The diet appeals to the public because Gwen stresses you can eat all your favorite foods and you don't have to exercise. But you can only eat a few bites per meal and should, according to Gwen leave most food on your plate.
Although praying is generally considered (even by the medical profession) to be a healthy pursuit, guilt is NOT healthy.
I found Gwen's book, interesting and somewhat inspirational. I do use her "stop eating when it stops tasting good" method when I am eating for fun or foods which are recreational and it works well for me. But her science is somewhat outdated and her program which bottom lines at severe calorie restriction if it is to work, may not be healthy or doable for some folks, as for a lifetime program.
On Gwen's new and improved website, the focus is strictly selling the program (with a Godly spin) and promising folks they will lose their weight forever (although she admits in the infomercial that "some of you will be coming back to the program" which suggests that some do NOT lose their weight forever but then, that's true of any program that only a small percentage can keep it off).
If your church does not offer Weigh Down classes, you can, now take the classes on site - the price for on site classes is not given but to attend the 8 week program which includes 8 CDs, the price is $199 plus S&H. You can buy a companion set of DVDs from their gift shop.
Here is Gwen's Website:
Here's a pretty
balanced news story on "Weigh Down" (video)