In early September, Visalia Times-Delta published an article that got the pastors of Woodland Drive Baptist Church in Visalia feeling a little uneasy.
The article lead with, “The Visalia-Porterville metropolitan area was ranked as the least healthy city in the state, according to a report issued by an East Coast-based financial news and opinion company.”
So, Pastor Matt and Melodee Smith decided to take things into their own hands – rather God’s hands –by joining a faith-based weight-loss program to make their church community a healthy one.
“When you come into a community that struggles with healthy lives, there are those who realized they need help,” Matt said. “And then there you’ll have people on the other end of the spectrum.”
Matt and Melodee were living an unhealthful lifestyle and over the years saw firsthand what it can do to a person.
“I’ve lost 70 pounds since August of 2015 and one of the reasons why is because I saw my father die of Diabetes.”
As someone who was on the brink of diagnosis herself, she opted for another route and started reading, Bod4God to kick start her weight loss journey.
The book reminded her of a verse she’d read multiple times before, 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
“I’ve had a real burden because now I know how much better I feel and I want other people to be able to enjoy life too,” Melodee said.
Weight loss program
The program, Losing to Live is a 12-week weight loss program that has been seen on new stands and TV stations across the globe on CNN, Fox News, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.
Individuals eager to lose weight are assigned to groups. Each group is set to meet weekly, where they discuss a chapter in the book Bod4God.
The goal of the program is to fight obesity as they compete with other teams.
Aside from the competition being a fun and supportive way to shed the pounds, it also works in other forms.
“As Christians, our life belongs to the Lord and our bodies belong to the Lord,” Melodee said.
The reason the faith-based competition is so effective is its focus around biblical, personal and incremental programs, according to the church’s website.
Through the biblical aspect, people will learn how to apply the Bible to their life in the area of losing weight and improving health.
The personal aspect will teach participants how to craft a custom lifestyle program that fits the individual’s needs.
Also, individuals will learn how to choose small goals that will lead to a lasting lifestyle change.
The pastors agree that the program is starting with their church congregation but is extending outside the walls to the community of Visalia.
“With Fitbit and counting steps so popular, we’re just putting it in a package with encouragement,” Matt said. “Our focus is on Visalia.”
A $30 registration fee covers all materials for the 12-week program and a T-shirt.
Orientation is from 6:30 – 8.00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan.10, at Woodland Drive Baptist Church, 1436 S. Woodland Street, Visalia. The 12-week health and wellness competition will conclude April 4th.
For more information, contact the church office at 733-2952 or email at office@WDB.CHURCH.