Greetings! My name is Gwen Shamblin, and there is hope for you. I want to give you a little history so that you can understand the philosophy behind this unique approach to permanent weight loss – a true freedom from the desire to overeat at 10:00 at night when no one is looking. Our goal is to help you discover how to rise above that magnetic pull of the refrigerator.
The International Weigh Down Workshop, Inc., was officially founded in 1986, hitting the dieting world with authority with a program that was – and still is — “revolutionary!” This now a 30-year-old, faith-based weight loss program re-established the idea of turning to God for help – an age-old concept that had been abandoned in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The principles taught in Weigh Down help people end unwanted greed for food by utilizing the body’s natural hunger and fullness cues — or portion and volume control — as the boundaries for eating; Weigh Down then teaches how to refocus so that one can truly break away from the desire to overeat. Weigh Down offices are headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, reaching out on a global level through various Weigh Down websites, YouTube, Internet radio, and worldwide online seminar classes that are in available year-round. Welcome to a revolutionary weight loss program that has withstood the test of time and has yielded permanent results. Through the seminars and the best-selling book, The Weigh Down Diet, this program has reached millions, and the statistics are unprecedented. These results are not to be found at any medical clinic or weight loss facility in the world. Any program can possibly produce a few testimonies of people that happened to lose weight, but no other program has produced hundreds of testimonies who have kept large amounts of weight off for three, five, or even over ten years! Yes, something is very different here, and it should give you much hope! The testimonies you meet on our websites or in our materials are everyday people just like yourself; they had tried everything possible to lose weight…only to gain back even more. But they tried one more program: Weigh Down. And they have now learned the secret of how to turn to God for help on His terms. It truly makes all the difference.
How did this program come about?
I was personally battling overweight through my teen and college years, even through the process of obtaining an undergraduate degree in Dietetics and then a Masters degree in Nutrition Science. But after six years of study, surrounded by the top minds in the country, I was discovering that permanent weight loss was evasive to all. So I turned from the many failed attempts at dieting and the study of foods…and instead began to study people who were thin from birth to adulthood, and I compared my behavior to theirs. The fact was, they ate significantly less over a 3-day period and they actually had no mental or emotional preoccupation with food! They ate only when they were hungry and ate in moderation, stopping after a small amount. I immediately stopped dieting and instead worked on changing my greedy-for-food behavior, imitating their self-control, and I lost my weight permanently.
How was the religious component added?
After being plagued with overweight and binge-eating since the age of 13, I lost my weight permanently in 1978 using principles that I started writing down in 1980, which would later become the foundation of Weigh Down. My father was an M.D. and surgeon, and I was surrounded by traditional medicine as I grew up making hospital rounds with him. During my later training in Dietetics and Nutrition Science, I was saddened because I saw a growing movement that was leaving the much-needed religious and spiritual element out of medicine. So even though America had made many medical advances, in many ways the health of Americans was on the decline. As the years passed, I witnessed the entire country getting larger and therefore experiencing more disease and health issues. Overweight and obesity has now become the single most-related factor to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Since I was a child, my faith has always been strong. Even though my educational training was extensive, I was best known for having a genuine relationship of love for God – a true passion for God and His interests. Weigh Down actually started without a faith component in the 1980s as my training had led me; I had shared all that I had done to lose my weight…except my faith. However, in a world that never mentioned faith, I found the strength to add the important religious component back in at the expense of being rejected by all professionals. I boldly reintroduced the long-needed religious component in my Nutrition lectures at the University and in my Weigh Down classes. Once I rewrote the materials and included the aspect of turning to God, it made all the difference. People started losing unwanted pounds that could not be lost through past years of dieting, and even people with bulimia and anorexia were breaking free from eating disorders.
What is the philosophy behind Weigh Down?
We are born with a void – a void that God placed inside of us so that we would search for Him and find Him. To satisfy these deep-down feelings, needs, or desires of the heart, we may often turn to food to fill this emptiness we all experience. However, trying to feed a hurting, needy heart with food or anything on this earth (alcohol, tobacco, antidepressants, sexual lusts, money, the praise of other people, etc.) is a common error. The person who attempts to feed a longing heart with food will stay on the path to overweight. Those who pursue an overindulgence of alcohol or tobacco or power will also reap the consequences of those pursuits. There is nothing inherently evil about food, alcohol, tobacco, money, credit cards, etc. However, it is wrong to become a slave to any of these things or to let them master you. (Excerpt from Weigh Down Diet, 1997)
How does it work?
Weigh Down is a Bible-based series of positive educational and motivational seminars that teach you how to actually desire less food and eat less food. How is this accomplished? By transferring what you worship or adore or lust after. In Weigh Down, we do not emphasize the caloric content of food, for this is a focus that increases the lusts for food. Instead, your new focus will be on your natural eating as God intended it: internal hunger control. You focus is redirected off of your own desires (for more food than your body needs) and onto the same desires that Jesus had — Jesus said that his food was to do the will of the Father and to finish His work. It is an entire life change that helps you to transfer a relationship with a created substance (the worship and adoration of food) over to a relationship with the Creator.
The first lesson in the Basics seminar shows you “how to eat like a thin eater” and walks you through a regular meal. Each participant has their own audios, books, workbooks and a personal support coach.
Once you learn how to stop going to food for sensual indulgence, escape, spacing out, a tranquilizing effect, comfort, and so on, and instead start swallowing regular foods only when your stomach growls (a cue for physical hunger), you will find yourself eating only one-half to one-third of what you used to swallow! By following the principles in Weigh Down, your “desire-eating” will end, resulting in moderation of consumption and permanent weight loss. Weigh Down is supported with personal counseling by those who have been successful, as well as plentiful encouragement through books, internet radio, live webcasts, and printed and audio materials. This study is also used for other addictions, and thousands have laid down cigarettes, overconsumption of alcohol, pornography, etc. Our programs have been very successful – but we are merely touching the hem of the garment of the power that lies behind the association of faith and science.
What is the evidence that it works?
Notice a correlation between our country’s overweight epidemic and the decoupling of faith and medicine. America is bigger than ever. We are still looking at a population that is about 75% overweight or obese – with over 30% of our children being overweight. Now, notice the profound results of Weigh Down once faith is reintroduced. Common sense tells you that God IS out there and that He is the Great Physician. There is fruit when you are connected to THE VINE. [See John 15] Laying down addictions is too complicated to tackle with just an education – there are emotional overeating problems that need to be addressed.
Statistics and Weigh Down
I gathered and organized needed statistics in the first decade of Weigh Down to guide me in producing the study. Why did I lose weight instantly and keep it off, while others did not? I spent hours contemplating this issue. I experimented with various things such as increasing exercise or allowing dieting along with teaching hunger and fullness principles. This only made things worse! I had left religion out, but I began incorporating it into some classes, and the results were clear: the outcome was better with the use of faith! Again, if you study medicine throughout history in every culture – there is a faith element that is real, and to deny its effects is not scientific. Once I was convinced, I did not continue to keep statistics, but rather concentrated on how to relay my faith in these lessons.
How do you track results?
We are in constant contact with participants in Weigh Down and hear of their success stories daily. In addition, many successful participants send in their testimonies for us to share with others. Just about every testimony has told us that nothing else ever worked for them, but Weigh Down has worked.
A faith-based program – Why does it work?
1) First of all, God is the Creator of the human body and He knows how it works. Man is more complicated than we can imagine, with emotional and spiritual needs which are intertwined with good health. God is the Source of temperance. Again, when you are connected to THE VINE – the source of temperance – then you can pray for self-control and experience it for yourself.
2) For centuries, the Bible has been the source of information about how to take care of the body and is still used today in modern medicine. We need to give credit where credit is due! Moses gives credit to God for all his writings and ideas for hygiene, eating tips, isolation of disease, how to get rid of infections, and household cleanliness that effects health.
3) It is religion that has always pointed out the evils of gluttony. Greed with our food intake is the single most-related factor to bad health – cancer, diabetes, heart disease, back and joint problems, etc.
The familiar list of the “Seven Deadly Sins” written out by Gregory the Great in the 6th century were inspired by Proverbs 6, most likely written by King Solomon. These seven deadly sins are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. “Gluttony” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “the excessive indulgence in food and drink.” This is a subject rarely talked about in the 21st century, but the evidence of gluttony is seen in the increasing size of the population in the U.S., as well as in the worldwide epidemic of obesity.
4) Most programs make people dependent on the program. But the prophets of old taught about the connection of obedience to God and putting HIM first in your life and blessings. When I taught others to try this – turning them to be dependent upon GOD in their life — they were blessed. The Ancient teachings from over 3000 years of experience worked.
5) As a dietician working with medical teams, I found that, for the person struggling with unwanted pounds, it was more complicated than just an education; there were emotional overeating problems.
6) Medicine historically has upheld faith. The medical symbol of the snake on the staff comes from the Bible and its values – and that’s where Weigh Down comes in, to bridge the gap.
7) Education has the patient develop a relationship with the physical for baseline data and medical history, but does not leave them with the power of turning to God and asking Him for help. There are many medical doctors that have taken Weigh Down and many that recommend it.
Why do some faith-based programs not work?
There are two types of faith-based programs. One type is taught at churches, but is still based on diets – simply the same diet message, but just taught in a new location, a church. They are not based on turning to God instead of food to find comfort. However, the faith-based program at Weigh Down is about putting an end to dieting and picking up personal responsibility. The location of Weigh Down does not matter. The key to the program is ending greed, while most diet programs simply exacerbate greed.
There are also programs that are based on eastern Buddha religions that are “mind/meditation” weight loss programs — based on inner searching — but they are fundamentally different from Weigh Down in that they put the responsibility on the person alone and ignore the incredibly powerful healing and help that faith in God brings.
These diet-in-church and inner-searching programs have a common fault: they will not end the inner urging. To date, there is not program that has come before or after that is like Weigh Down in its basic message, in its counseling help, and in the results of permanent weight loss. We give God all the credit for establishing this philosophy and providing the guiding hand and the aid to all whom have lost weight permanently.
What is the appropriate use of guilt in religion?
Every religion references rewards and punishments, and every person has felt guilt when they know that something is wrong. Guilt, when used correctly and not dwelt upon, can be used as a guide for your conscience and used for positive change. For over 3,000 years, guilt has been a widely-accepted motivation, and it has only been rejected as a negative phenomenon for a few short years.
What about false guilt?
God never told you to diet. He asked you to just eat in moderation, to have no greed. “Dieting” is a man-made rule as opposed to a heavenly suggestion. No one can stay on a diet – because they make you focus on the food, resulting in a binge. So then the dieting person is made to feel like a failure, which makes them feel guilty. This is so damaging to the person. As stated above, when used correctly, the inner feeling of guilt can be a guide that leads to positive change. This inner feeling is used appropriately in Weigh Down, evidenced by the positive change in the behavior of the person. Weigh Down is about turning to God and learning moderation — but also about rebuilding self-respect in the “dieting” person who feels great guilt and letting them know that they DO have the smarts and the internal biological feedback to guide them on how much and what to eat. We all have the same goal here: truly the best for the hurting people out there. I don’t want to leave them feeling guilty, thinking that something is wrong with them if they cannot stop bingeing even after they know good foods. I believe fad diets can rob people of self-esteem because they are simply destined for failure, which leaves the person feeling depressed and hopeless.
Let’s get started…
Again, Weigh Down is about turning to God and learning moderation — but also about rebuilding self-respect in the “dieting” person who has felt great guilt and insecurity from being overweight. They could not lose the weight in the past because they were given the opposite medicine they needed to take personal responsibility – the missing element. Weigh Down helps the person discover that they actually have their own internal biological feedback to guide them on how much to eat and what to eat. God gives the self-control as a part of the fruits of having access to His Spirit (see Galatians 5).
It is not time to give up. There is hope. There is a way out. By addressing the whole person, you can arrive at good health. You will feel better about your life today! There is hope to forever end the battle with food! Let’s get started…