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Updated: December 4, 2013 9:50PM



Pastor Rick Warren is trying to
help people heal their health in his new book.

“The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life,” written with doctors Mark Hyman and Daniel Amen, details a lifestyle program that helped the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California lose 65 pounds in 2011 and propelled members of his congregation to get healthier by dropping more than 250,000 pounds collectively that year.

It has five essential components: food, fitness, focus, faith and friends. “The last two components — faith and friends — are what I call the special sauce that makes the Daniel Plan unique,” the 59-year-old Warren says. Focus also is critical because “it’s not just what you eat that makes you unhealthy, it’s about what’s eating you.”

The program incorporates healthy eating, regular exercise, stress reduction, prayer and support from other church members in small groups.

Warren was inspired to create the plan after he baptized more than 800 people one day in November 2010. After lowering more than 145,000 pounds of weight into the water, Warren says he thought, “Wow! Everybody’s fat!”

He concedes that it wasn’t a very spiritual thought for a pastor to have, but he also thought, “I’m fat too..”

He tapped three well-known doctors who were all best-selling authors — Hyman, Amen and Dr. Mehmet Oz — to help him create the plan.

The title of the “Daniel Plan” (danielplan.com) comes from the first chapter of Daniel, in which Daniel challenges the king’s official guard to test some young men to eat the king’s diet of rich food while Daniel and his three friends eat healthy fare including vegetables, Warren says.

The food portion of the plan involves eating “healthier, fresher and more natural foods,” he says. “The line we use is: ‘If it grows on a plant, it’s healthy. If it’s made in a plant, don’t eat it.’ My rule is no snacks, no sweets, no seconds.”

At 6-foot-3, Warren weighed about 295 pounds when he began following the plan in January 2011. He lost 65 pounds by eating more nutritiously, cooking healthy recipes, drinking more water, getting more sleep and working out. But Warren says he gained “about 35 pounds back in six months of grieving my son’s suicide.”

“When I began to get a handle on the grief, I already knew what to do” to live a healthier life.

So far, he has lost about 25 pounds, and he intends to drop more.

Gannett News Service



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