View Full Version : Faith-Based Diet Puts God Before Food

01-25-2008, 03:39 PM
Weigh Down Workshop Touted, Criticized

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Wouldn't it be nice to lose lots of weight without even trying?

Some middle Tennesseans say they've done it with the help of what's called the Weigh Down Workshop, WSMV-TV in Nashville reported

While it works in some cases, the method of the workshop has made some question whether it is healthy.

Gwen Shamblin, a former dietician turned weight-loss guru, founded the Weigh Down Workshop on a simple premise in 1986: Let God tell you when you're hungry and when to stop eating.

"You've tried many things, but the answer is in turning to God," Shamblin says on an introductory DVD.

On the DVD, Shamblin tells followers to turn their love of food into a love of God and the weight will fall off.

"Changing the food's content, dieting and changing your energy output, exercising has not worked," she said.

In recent months, the Weigh Down Workshop, based in Franklin, has been featured on everything from "The Tyra Banks Show" to Ladies Home Journal.

Program participants Maggie and Andy Sorrells are poster children for the program. They lost a combined 500 pounds.

"I laid in my bed with chest pains. I thought, 'I'm going to die,'" said Maggie Sorrells.

The couple have told their story on shows such as "The Today Show" and "Inside Edition" and in People magazine.

"I just thought I was going to be the big guy my whole life," said Andy Sorrells.

The drastic change in the Sorrells began in 2001, when they met on the Internet and tied the knot.

"Everybody said when you get married, you gain weight. We could not gain any more weight. We had to go the opposite direction," Maggie Sorrells said.

The couple initially tipped the scales at nearly 1,000 pounds combined, then began shedding their weight at a high rate.

"It's definitely all about praying and focusing on God and not on the food," said Andy Sorrells.

But critics said the diet is a glorified form of starvation that encourages people to eat only when their stomach growls or when they're on the verge of passing out.

"I know people who've eaten five bites a meal and two meals a day," said one critic who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

She was a Weigh Down Workshop counselor for more than a decade and said most participants refrain from eating out of guilt.

"You feel like you're being watched if you eat, and you're frequently weighed in front of leaders to see if you're losing or not," she said.

Shamblin often refers to other religions as counterfeit, using weight as a means of identifying unconfessed sin.

Those who are successful at the Weigh Down Workshop are often recruited to Remnant Fellowship Church, Shamblin's Frankin-based church that turns the principals of the workshop into a whole new religion.

"I would say it is a cult that employs mind control and brainwashing and is used to control a group of people to get them to do what you think they should do," the critic said.

Many though, like the Sorrells, said they're healthier now as a result of the workshop.

When asked if they think Shamblin is a prophet, Maggie Sorrells said, "I think what she's told through the Weigh Down Workshop has changed our lives, prophet in the sense of pointing us back to God, definitely."

However, the critic said, "There are Internet chat rooms filled with quote, 'survivors,' people who say they're lucky to have made it out of Remnant with their sanity intact. I think the scariest part is that the members don't realize that they're being controlled, that they are under really mind control in this day and age."

A woman in California said she developed bulimia after participating in the Weigh Down Workshop and said she knew lots of others who had developed severe eating disorders as well, fearing that if they gained weight it could somehow affect their ability to go to heaven.

Shamblin initially agreed to be interviewed, but later canceled when she learned the types of questions she would be asked, the television station reported.

A church leader said allegations of mind control at Remnant Fellowship Church are outlandish, and she encouraged curious people to visit the church.


01-25-2008, 04:20 PM
I'm not sure that God has time to be involved with weight-watchers (GWB keeps Him busy these days).....but the idea of turning your resolve over to a higher power, works for all the " " anonymous, groups...so why not for a food addiction?
Way down south in Dixie....
"Dar's buck-wheat cakes an 'Ingen' batter,
Makes you fat or a little fatter;"

01-25-2008, 07:50 PM
Luke 4:4 "Man shall not live by bread alone,but by every word, out of the mouth of God"