Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan is a faith-based weight loss program. The books and website are slick – perhaps a little too glossy for me. Here’s why I feel resistant to the Daniel Plan as a faith-based weight loss program (the cons), but also a few ways it can help people lose weight (the pros).
The Daniel Plan isn’t a “weight loss program” as such. It’s not a diet. It’s a program to help believers get healthy and fit in all aspects of their life, and to change the way they think. That’s definitely a pro! And the truth is it’s already affected the way I think.
If you haven’t looked into it yet, here’s the book: The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life. It is a bestselling weight loss book by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman. Check it out, despite what I think! It may be just what you need – and we all have to decide for ourselves what we need, right?
Drawbacks of the Daniel Plan
This weight loss program includes 20 books. There’s a Daniel Plan book, a Daniel Plan study guide, a new Daniel Plan cookbook, a previously published Daniel Plan cookbook, a previously published Daniel Plan sweets cookbook, a Daniel Plan journal, a Daniel Plan beginner’s guide, a Daniel Plan church campaign kit, a Daniel Plan fast diet, a Daniel Plan DVD, a Daniel Plan ultimate guide, a book of Daniel Plan smoothies, another Daniel Plan fasting book, a Daniel Plan book of breakfasts, a Daniel Plan workbook, a Daniel Plan audiobook, plus several more Daniel Plan books on fasting. That amounts to more than 20 books that support this weight loss program. There is no doubt the Daniel Plan is a business.
The insights and exercises aren’t new. Last night, my small group watched video two of The Daniel Plan. The fitness exercise was to stand on one leg, and raise the other foot in the air. Repeat while standing on the other leg. The featured Daniel Plan recipe on video two is tacos made with healthy veggies, lean chicken breast, shrimp, and lettuce. The idea of this weight loss program is to eat non-processed, healthy, whole foods. Avoid sugar, trans fat, and MSG.
There are additional, expensive weight loss products for sale. Some Daniel Plan small group leaders may encourage people to buy other health food products that are generic to any weight loss program (not just the Daniel Plan). Examples of these products are nutritional supplements, specialty food items such as organic ketchup, expensive protein powder for smoothies or health shakes. These products are incredibly expensive and unnecessary for effective weight loss! I don’t know if additional products are officially part of the Daniel Plan weight loss program, but I know they are sometimes encouraged by the group leaders. A weight loss program should not encourage you to buy expensive products, supplements, or food items.
All said, I think the Daniel Plan is a bit of a business gimmick. I love the idea of a faith-based weight loss program, but I don’t believe we need to buy Daniel Plan cookbooks, guides, journals, audiobooks, and church campaign kits.
Benefits of the Daniel Plan Weight Loss Program
I believe we already have the healthy, nutritional, fitness, and even faith-based insights that the Daniel Plan offers. We already know we need to eat healthy, exercise, connect with God, and stay socially active. That said, this weight loss program does offer some good reminders…
Eat whole, natural foods. Video two encouraged Daniel Plan fans not to eat food processed inside a plant, but rather to eat foods from plants. I’m a big fan of eating food that is as original as possible, and this weight loss program definitely encourages that.
Dig into your faith. How we treat (or mistreat) our bodies is a reflection of our relationship of God. Can we be spiritually and emotionally healthy, and still be overweight? I guess it depends on the cause of the additional poundage. Mostly, though, I think we overeat and abuse food because we have emotional issues we haven’t dealt with. And we’re lazy. Turning to God may be the answer for some of us – but the truth is we don’t need a faith-based program to lose weight.
Connect with others. You’re more likely to be successful in anything you pursue in life if you find your tribe! I like the small group mentality of the Daniel Plan. But other weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers, also encourage this. There’s another faith-based weight loss program for groups of people, I believe, but I can’t remember what it’s called.
Change how we relate to food. I love God, and I love the idea of turning our food and eating habits over to Him. I recently started a practicum as an addictions counselor in a drug and alcohol recovery program, and my own eating disorder seems to have retreated. I’ve been studying the Alcoholics Anonymous program, and believe it is FAR more effective way to be healthy than something like the Daniel Plan. What I love about AA is that there aren’t dozens of books or hundreds of products to buy. It’s simple, inexpensive, faith-based, and open to all. Why am I writing about AA when I’m supposed to be describing a benefit of the Daniel Plan as a weight loss program? I don’t know. Maybe because I’ve run out of pros.
What are your thoughts on the Daniel Plan, or losing weight? Have you relied on your faith to help you get fit and healthy?
By the way, Rick Warren (who wrote many of the Daniel Plan books, and speaks in the DVD) also wrote The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? It is an AWESOME book. That is one Rick Warren product I highly recommend – even if you aren’t a Christian or a believer in a Higher Power.
If you want to lose weight, consider focusing on finding your life’s passion and purpose – not finding a new weight loss program.
By the way – I recently wrote The Best of All Reasons to Lose Weight for a reader whose weight is affecting her marriage. It’s actually affecting her self-esteem and confidence, which is affecting her relationship with her husband. Is your weight affecting how you see yourself, and how you relate to the ones you love?