(Photo: Saddleback Church via The Christian Post)
Pastor Rick Warren spoke about his No. 1 New York Times bestseller, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life, explaining that the book is not just about dieting, but is based on biblical principles and aimed at helping people make a difference.
"'The Daniel Plan' is far more than a diet; it is about living a healthier life based on biblical principles," NewsOK quoted Warren, the founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, as saying Saturday.
"You can't love if you don't have the energy to love," Warren, the author of another bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life, said. "If you go home every night and lie on the couch because you're exhausted from not eating right and your blood pressure is too high, well, how can you make a difference? Change your life and change the world. That's our goal with this book."
Pastor Warren has co-authored The Daniel Plan with brain expert Dr. Daniel Amen, who is also the founder of Amen Clinics, and metabolism expert Dr. Mark Hyman, who is founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, and chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine.
The Daniel Plan landed in the No. 1 spot on The New York Times Dec. 22 bestseller list in the "Advice, How To and Miscellaneous" list. The book has also been on Publishers Weekly's bestsellers list since it was released Dec. 3.
The plan is centered on five essentials: faith, food, fitness, focus and friends. Faith is explained as recognizing and using God's power in life and treating one's body and mind with the care that He intended. The food message is taking out the junk food and choosing real, whole foods. For fitness, the authors encourage participants to bring back fun into exercise. While focus is about talking back to your negative thoughts. And for friends, doing The Daniel Plan in a community is more effective than doing it individually.
"'The Daniel Plan' is not a book, it's a movement," Hyman was quoted as saying. "In addition to the faith element, what makes 'The Daniel Plan' different from other healthy lifestyle programs is the essential of friends. We have found people who did the program together lost twice as much weight as individuals who did it alone. It is the power of the community. They shop, cook, eat and exercise together. And that accountability – the love factor – is what helps people change."
Warren writes in the book that health is a result of recognizing and using God's power in life and treating one's body and mind with the care that He intended.
About the need for focus, Amen writes, "Every time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals. Knowing how to talk back to your negative thoughts is critical to being able to focus on the truth in God's Word and helping you live in the fullness of mental and physical health God wants for you."
In the program's first year, over 15,000 church members collectively lost more than 250,000 pounds by following the Daniel Plan.
Warren earlier said he realized he needed to lose weight in November 2010 when he baptized more than 800 people. As he immersed thousands of pounds of weight into the water, "I had a thought – it wasn't spiritual – that we are all overweight. Then I thought, 'I am overweight. I am a terrible example to our people.'"
The megachurch pastor then vowed to lose weight. "I stood up before 20,000 people and told them I had gained 3 pounds a year, but I've been your pastor for 30 years, so I needed to lose about 90 pounds."
Warren believes in holistic growth for Christians. "God cares about everything in your life. He cares about the body, soul and spirit. Jesus went into every village – preaching, teaching and healing. Preaching involves our soul. Teaching involves our mind, and healing involves our body. If our body is the temple of God's spirit, then we had better give him a healthy temple."
His rule is "no snacks, no sweets, no seconds." And a majority of his congregation follows him in shaping up.