(Photo: Saddleback Church via The Christian Post)
Megachurch pastor Rick Warren gave an update Thursday on his progress toward weight loss since joining his church's fitness plan this year. Warren said he has shed 36 pounds in five months.
The Saddleback Church pastor launched the Daniel Plan in January as part of a year-long campaign to help his congregation get physically healthier. Warren said that Christians should be good stewards of their bodies "because Jesus died for your body and the Holy Spirit lives in your body."
Warren reported Thursday that some 14,00 people participating in the health program have collectively lost more than 190,000 pounds.
"Can you imagine that? That's amazing!" the pastor shared in his latest video blog.
"I've personally lost 36 pounds and heading for the 40 mark," said Warren, noting that some people have lost as much as 50 pounds since the program began.
His goal is to lose 90 pounds by the end of this year, which would bring him back to the same weight he was at when he started Saddleback Church 30 years ago.
The Daniel Plan is based on the story of Daniel in the Bible who chose healthy eating instead of the king's rich foods.
The comprehensive health plan was developed by celebrity doctors Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman, who regularly give tips on healthy eating and exercise habits through monthly webcasts.
Every week, thousands of participants use the Daniel Plan website, www.danielplan.com, to track their weight loss progress and connect with their small groups. Users can also choose to lend their results to a medical study that will be conducted along with the plan.
To help its church members succeed in the plan, Saddleback even made big changes on the main campus, including an overhaul of the menus of several eateries and the creation of a 1/2 mile fitness course complete with gym equipment.
Rick Warren has indicated that the idea behind the plan is not solely on weight loss but on being in "better shape" overall. As part of its Decade of Destiny campaign over the next 10 years, the pastor will lead the church in improving seven key areas of their life: spiritual, physical, financial, relational, vocational, emotional, and mental.
On June 11, Saddleback will hold a Fun Walk and Run event that will include 5K and 10K courses and a health expo.