What You Should Know
The Weigh Down program is a series of books and seminars by controversial author and dietitian, Gwen Shamblin. Shamblin heads the Remnant Fellowship Church, a religious sect with around 130 groups around the country that tune in to a weekly sermon via web broadcast. Shamblin’s church has been frequently described as a cult by mainstream religious leaders.
The Weigh Down program is tied to Shamblin’s church by its religious basis. The Weigh Down program’s main tenet is that people are obese because they worship food and not God. Shamblin claims that self-control and turning oneself over to God will make people thin. According to Shamblin’s website, the basis for this focus comes, not from her dietitian training, but from her observations of how thin people approach food.
The Weigh Down program claims that if you only eat when your body is telling you that you are hungry rather than focusing on food, you can eat any type of food you like and still lose weight. According to the Weigh Down website, “The types of food you eat isn’t the problem- you are”. Shamblin says that if you feel the urge to eat, read the Bible instead. The Weigh Down program does not differentiate between “good” and “bad” foods. Shamblin claims that there are no bad foods as they were all created by God. Foods become bad when people worship them and are gluttonous.
The Weigh Down program has been roundly criticized by many high-profile physicians and nutritionists as being simplistic and potentially dangerous. Critics claim that not focusing on eating healthy foods can create illness and weaken the immune system. The Weigh Down diet flies in the face of most other popular diets today that focus on the connection between carbohydrates and fat storage. The Weigh Down program is frequently offered in churches around the country but, based on internet accounts, many churches are discontinuing the video-based program because of the non-mainstream religious views Shamblin espouses in the program.
- Promotes moderation in eating.
- Does not differentiate between good and bad foods.
- Seminars can be costly.
- Not supported by clinical trial or the medical community.
- Does not address minimum safe daily caloric intake.
The Weigh Down program appears to have been successful in past years. According to Shamblin, since the Weigh Down Diet book first came out in 1997, she has sold over a million copies. Although this philosophy may appeal to those seeking a different approach, it is not supported by the medical community at large and therefore cannot be recommended. Those wanting to try this approach may wish to consult with their physicians first. Fortunately, there are weight loss aids on the market today that have clinically-proven ingredients such as green tea extract that work with the body to burn fat.