An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

I remember people talking about how a recovering drunk can get on a bandwagon about his or her sobriety. Well, I guess I am falling into that pattern as a recovering food addict.
In the past nine months, I have regained my health by dropping 75 pounds through a safe and effective weight management program. It is guiding me to optimal health for the rest of my life.

As a type 2 diabetic, my numbers have tumbled from a high of 10-plus to 6.1 on my most recent blood work. Cholesterol, triglycerides and the rest – normal.

So I sense the call to pay it forward to help one more person regain his or her health. I am especially challenging churches and ministries to look at what we have done to contribute to America’s obesity.

Recent research suggests that attending church might be adding pounds, potential disease and sickness to those in the pews.

At the risk of invoking the ire of all those wonderful cooks in our congregations, I believe it is time to look at what we promote in our fellowship meals, homecomings and youth events.

We dare our young people to be a Daniel, but we don’t feed them like he ate in Babylon.

We provide donuts at our visitor welcome centers in the lobbies of our sanctuaries. Do we realize what we are doing to our guests?

For 30 minutes their blood sugar is raised, maybe enhancing the praise service. But when it’s time to hear the Word, they are glazed over (pun intended!) by the accompanied drop in blood sugar. How well can their brains be available to the Spirit to receive that Word?

If we really believe we are created in the image of God, then we need to address our people’s health – not just their souls.

If we are serious about joining the prophetic call of Jesus to proclaim the release of captives, then we need to include freeing people from the bondage of obesity.

The church often tries to create its own programming to deal with this epidemic, trying to put new square pegs into old round holes.

There are already in place safe, effective programs of lifelong weight management that a church can use in the course of its ministry to the whole person.

These programs will set captives free to reclaim their health, making them available for a more energetic ministry and testimony.

If you are interested in joining me in this campaign to set another person free from the bondage of obesity, email me and I’ll share with you the program that coached me back to health.

I don’t buy into gimmicks and pie-in-the-sky promises. Rather the proof is in the pudding. (See how our language is infected with “obesigenic” words?)

It’s hard to argue with a changed life. I once was obese. Now I am more fully alive, again.

To God be the glory.

Ernest Izard blogs at HealthyPilgrim, where this column first appeared.

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