Southern California, US: Today I read an incredibly inspiring story of a church pastor who started a weight loss program for his congregation, called the Daniel Plan. The program uses small groups as the source of committed support. Pastor Saddleback realized that the Church had regular small group meetings for Bible studies, a perfect model for healthy lifestyle support groups. Successful programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers use this system of accountability and loving support that comes from having some friendly faces around who share your struggle.
Author on chronic disease Dr. Mark Hyman says “One in two Americans are going to be diabetic or pre-diabetic in 10 years — mostly undiagnosed and untreated. I believe the only solution is the decentralization of care.” (Amen to that, but that’s another post.) How can we as Americans be ambassadors, global leaders, social changers, taken seriously, etc. if we live with disregard for our physical bodies? Many churches do charity and relief work. It is a good thing to help distant countries who face famine, AIDS or poverty, but it is just as important to take a look at ourselves before we set our sights across the world (Look who’s talking, I know, I know.)
In India one learns that you must start with yourself before you can hope to change anyone else. Everyday I am inspired by the personal discipline that my colleagues show, avoiding fried and spicy food, smoking, alcohol, and prioritizing exercise in their daily routine. But it is more than self-commitment, it is a cultural priority in India to take care of one’s self. I know that cultural changes take time, but groundbreaking, heartfelt initiatives like The Daniel Plan show that America is taking a step towards something better.
Not every one can afford to be a Weight Watchers member, to buy a gym membership or organic carrots, but maybe they can have a shot at a healthier life through the one thing that doesn’t cost any money: sincere friendship.
—citations from the Nov. 10th New York Times