Worship And Weight Loss

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TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” are inspiring people to take a group approach to weight loss. Members of one church are walking together and watching pounds melt away. Reed Galin reports on their progress, and their pastor’s push to help them get in shape.           

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(Locator: Jackson, Miss.)

This isn’t Weight Watchers.

It’s sweatin’ at the altar… part of a growing trend where churches take on more than just the “spiritual” side of life.

Nat/Church class: “Anybody got love handles besides me? Yeah! We’re going to get rid of them.”

Nearly 200 members of Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi signed a covenant to shape up, even if it means giving up some favorite foods.

Wilson Bell/11-year-old: “Before, I would eat a bunch of junk food, eat candy, eat a lot of chocolate cake.”

Pastor Joe May challenged his congregation to join him in shaping up after a doctor told him he needed daily injections to control diabetes.

The Rev. Joe May/Anderson United Methodist Church: “He said, ‘If you don’t do it, you’re going to go blind, have to go on dialysis, and you’re going to die.’”

May started walking five miles a day and went on a diet. He’s lost 46 pounds. That’s encouraged members of his church.

Lapraevian Jackson/Member, Anderson United Methodist Church: “My mom passed away about two years ago, a massive heart attack. And she wasn’t really overweight, but that encouraged me to eat better.”

Nat/Church class: “Everybody okay? Yeah!”

The church sponsors aerobics and karate classes… and members weigh in to track their progress.

Ruth Davis: “I’m 61 years old. And I need to keep this body in good shape as I can.”

Anderson church members are losing more than pounds.

Sondra Bell/Aerobics Instructor: “Probably about eight inches, which I’m probably more proud of than the weight. Because there are some dresses and skirts and jeans that I haven’t been able to put on for years.”


The church has even cut back on pot-luck dinners. But members say that’s a small price to pay for living longer, healthier lives.

You can contact Anderson United Methodist at 601-982-3997 or check their Web site.