Bod4God: Faith-Based Weight Loss Plan To Honor God

One pastor's mission to use the Bible to motivate others into diet and exercise.

ByABC News
April 30, 2012, 2:33 PM

April 30, 2012— -- It's Sunday night and the members of the Capitol Baptist Church congregation in Annandale, Va., gather together and step up for the weigh-in.

It's like a Weight Watchers meeting, but different. It's a weight loss celebration for God.

Pastor Steve Reynolds created a diet and fitness weight loss system built around faith in Jesus, or as he likes to say, "based on the Bible."

"I don't believe there's a better health book in the world than the Bible," he said.

His book, "Bod4God," promises four keys to losing weight -- Dedication, Inspire, Eat and Exercise and Team. In addition, Reynolds shows local churches how to host "Losing to Live" weight-loss competitions and team fitness regimens.

The faith-based weight loss program, where motivation comes from knowing God wants you to take care of the body he gave you, is catching on all over. There is now Karate for Christ, Body and Soul Fitness and Holy Yoga programs.

And while the non-believers may want to laugh at "Bod4God," as they did on a "Saturday Night Live" skit in February, Reynolds said his congregation has lost 13,000 pounds together through his program.

According to a recent study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, American Christians are more overweight than any other religious group, and among Baptists, nearly one of every three congregants is obese. One of them was Reynolds himself, who said he weighed 100 pounds in the first grade. After graduating from college, he became a pastor.

"The good news is I started a new church and the church got bigger," he said. "The bad news is I got bigger. I got up to 340 pounds. And so there I was with all the health issues that goes with that -- high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, digging my grave with a knife and folk and an ice cream spoon."

Reynolds said being diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure was like his flash of lightning, a sign that he had to do something to improve his health. He said he began to study different words in the Bible, starting in the Book of Genesis and working his way through.

"I said, 'I'm going to look up the word "body"' and I found it's in there 179 times," Reynolds said. "I want to say, OK, you know, I believe God made me so he probably gave me some good guidance here on how to honor him."

The pastor said one of the Bible verses that struck him in his pursuit of healthier living came from the First Corinthians, Chapter 10, Verse 31.

"It says whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God," Reynolds said. "Just think about it. I mean how it boils down, glorifying God with what you eat and with what you drink."

Reynolds said he has now lost over 100 pounds. The fact that he can stand before his congregation and tell them he knows what they are going through, means a lot to his church members. One of whom is Marie Krohe, who said she tried Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous, but the "Bod4God" program is the only thing that's worked for her.