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Ear to the Ground

Christian Weight Loss Programs Booming

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Posted on Jul 10, 2006
religious weight loss groups
Damon Winter / LAT

Mark Gutierrez, 44, prays with members of his Christian weight loss group. Gutierrez lost 120 pounds using the First Place program, which focuses on physical and spiritual balance.

Apparently the programs’ emphasis on group support and, like Alcoholics Anonymous, deference to a higher power aid some people in losing weight. But a Yale diet expert is extremely skeptical. 

L.A. Times:

When the First Place Christian weight-loss program came to his church in 1998, Chino computer programmer Mark Gutierrez ? who weighed 310 at the time ? was skeptical. The 44-year-old father of two had tried numerous high-profile weight-loss programs, starting as far back as age 13.

“I had lost weight many times, but always put it back on and more,” he says.

Fear and doubt, he says, delayed him from committing to the program for a year. But once he signed on, in early 1999, he met with rapid success ? dropping 120 pounds in the first 12 months.

The program’s spiritual component made all the difference to him.


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By Patrick, April 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
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thank you for these useful information

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By Anna80, December 1, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

I’m not convinced to be honest. The only way to lose weight and keep it off (safely) is by making permanent lifestyle changes. And those lifestyle changes should be eating healthy, low fat food and exercising regularly.

I think the reason many Christians are overweight is because many of them use food as a crutch for comfort. As alcohol, drugs and the like are off limits. In my opinion it’s much better to eat a lot than drink excessive amounts and do drugs. But when you look at the obesity epidemic as a whole - I sometimes wonder.

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By JP, July 10, 2006 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shed some Pounds for Jesus!  Amen!

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By Patrick Walker, July 10, 2006 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment
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Do they come with low-fat communion wafers? “I can’t believe they’re not our Savior!”
Oh wait, that’s catholics.

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By harald hardrada, July 10, 2006 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the overwhelming majority of christians wanted us to go into iraq—a better way to lose weight would be to go to iraq & tend to the many victims of american air power

isn’t that what jesus would want?—although bush says jesus is a bloodthirsty, warmongering brute

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