Bod4God: The Four Keys to Weight Loss by Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds, nicknamed “the Anti-Fat Pastor” by the media, wrote Bod4God after his diabetes diagnosis and subsequent 100 pound weight loss journey. He explained, “I want to share what I’ve learned, because it works” (13). Bod4God is intended for use in a communal Christian setting. Reynolds started the program in his own church, Capital Baptist Church in Annandale, VA, and provided resources in the book and on his website (http://www.bod4god.org/) to enable readers to start his “Losing to Live” program at their home church.

The four keys to weight loss laid out in the book are:

Dedication: Honoring God with Your Body

Inspiration: Motivating Yourself for Change

Eat and Exercise: Managing Your Habits

Team: Building Your Circle of Support (14)

The book laid out a twelve-week plan for a complete lifestyle change based on these four keys to weight loss. Reynolds also listed the three reasons that “Losing to Live” would work: It is biblical, it is personal and it is incremental (14). Each of the twelve chapters (one for each week) began with a bible verse, suggested incremental steps to lose weight, highlighted a success story and provided information on a number of issues related to weight loss including diseases related to obesity, food, and mental health. Each chapter ends with worksheets including a “Small Steps to Life Record” for recording “skinny things” including exercise, eating less and drinking water, a “Bod4God Victory Guide” in which the reader is prompted to answer questions based on the week’s memory verse and issues brought up in the week’s chapter, and a “My Bod4God Journal” page to “record what God is telling you to do this week to apply the four keys to a better body.”

Bod4God provided all of these helpful worksheets and suggestions for eating less and exercising more but it is not as prescriptive as the diets I covered previously. The book does not explicitly prohibit any foods or promote a specific diet plan. Reynolds simply recommended that his readers eat “better and less” (128) and encouraged them to consult the USDA food pyramid, read food labels, and drink water. Reynolds even allowed for a “cheat meal” once per week in which dieters are permitted to enjoy foods that should otherwise be avoided. Reynolds did include information on the difference between living food (made by God, raw or unprocessed) and dead food (made by man, chemically processed or without nutrients) but he never goes so far as to say his readers should avoid all processed foods (212).The entire plan is a flexible one that is more dependent on community support and God than on a detailed diet plan. The “Losing to Live” program sets people up in teams that compete to be the biggest losers. With their community support in place, readers are also encouraged to “Put God on Your Team, Live a Full Life in God, Rely on God for the Victory, Pray Regularly, Be Consistent in Daily Bible Reading and Attend Church Weekly and Participate in Church Activities (177-178). Since the program is intended as a short-term community-based program, Reynolds suggested the First Place 4 Health program as a follow-up to Bod4God and used the program for alumni of his church program. Based on the “Bod4God Close-Ups” throughout the book, which include before and after pictures, the alumni of Reynolds’ program are well on their way to healthier lives.

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