A regulation bowling ball weighs 16 pounds. If you have ever gone bowling, you know what it’s like to lug that big awkward ball around. Yet some people are carrying one, two, three, four, and sometimes many more around in their body. This extra weight puts a tremendous strain on all the organs of the body, especially the knees and back. It is also the cause of a multitude of problems people suffer with today. Grim Statistics on Obesity More than 60% of the American population is overweight! That means that over 180 million Americans are carrying at least 10 pounds more than they should be carrying for their height and bone structure. An estimated 30%, or 54 million, are defined as clinically obese. This means they weigh 20% more than their recommended ideal weight. A smaller, yet significant number are considered morbidly obese. Their symptoms are putting such strain on the body they could die at any moment. Sadly, an ever-increasing percentage of our children are overweight, with a rapidly increasing number of these children being diagnosed as clinically obese. The sad truth is that obesity has reached epidemic proportions. This obesity precipitates or aggravates almost every acute and chronic disease being experienced today. Many of the seriously obese suffer with cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes, along with a multitude of other symptoms. The good news is that diet and exercise will usually fix this problem. Simply change what we eat and start a simple exercise program. Sadly, the prognosis for ever being able to leave the slavery of obesity and obtain the trim physical body God designed for each of His human creations is very bleak. Statistics reveal that only about five percent of those who seriously attempt to lose weight are able to take off the desired amount of weight and keep it off. Some studies show the success rate to be even lower. These sad statistics reveal the ineffectiveness of most of the expensive weight-loss diet programs being offered and adopted by an ever-increasing number of Americans. According to the F.D.A, Americans spent an estimated $30 billion on all types of diet programs in 1992. In 2007, Marketdata reported that figure has reached $60 billion. The firm has been tracking sales of diet products and programs since 1989. (Source: “The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Market”, 2007) Hallelujah Diet and Lifestyle Best Weight Loss Program I want to share right up front that The Hallelujah Diet is the very best weight loss program available today. We will later talk more about why this is true. But for now I would like to encourage our readers by sharing the weight loss results others have obtained on this lifestyle. A few years ago the pastor of our church asked me to teach a series of lessons titled Biblical Nutrition 101. Thirty-two adults in our church adopted The Hallelujah Diet and completed the course. At the end of 6 months, the total weight lost was over 700 pounds, for an average of over 22 pounds per person. On January 7, 2010, Hallelujah Acres launched 60 Days to a Hallelujah Waistline on the internet. Over 7,200 people worldwide signed up for the course – including 26 of our own staff at Hallelujah Acres. In just 60 days, those 26 individuals lost a total of 456 pounds, for an average weight loss of over 17 pounds. Cause of Excess Weight and Obesity In Proverbs 26:2, the Bible tells us that “the curse causeless shall not come.” We need to realize that the curse of obesity will not occur without a cause! In most instances, the cause of excess weight is not genes or glands, but rather foodchoices and lack of exercise. Following are the five major factors contributing to excess weight. 1. The Refined Sugar Factor Refined sugar is an addictive, weight-producing drug! The average adult in America consumes some 172 pounds of it each year. For adults, that breaks down to 50 teaspoons or more of refined sugar every day. Most children consume even more sugar than adults. Refined sugar is very high in caloric value and causes the body to gain weight. Consuming just one 12-ounce can of soft drink a day for one year can increase your weight by 15 pounds or more. Yet there are people who consume liter bottles of it every day. Consider also that sugar is invariably baked or cooked into irresistibly tempting goodies like ice cream, cakes, cookies, cinnamon buns, etc. These foods contain additional ingredients that cause the body to gain ever more weight. Refined sugar is an addictive drug. Even though a person wants to lose weight, they continue consuming products containing it to feed their addiction. The USDA recommends that the average adult should consume no more than 40 grams of sugar per day from all sources. It might startle you to learn that just one teaspoon of refined sugar contains 4 grams of sugar and 16 calories. One 12oz soft drink, contains 11 teaspoons of sugar, or 44 grams, and about 176 calories. If the average person consumes 50 teaspoons, that person received 200 grams, or 800 calories, just from sugar. Regarding artificial sweeteners, Dr. Neal Nedley, in his book Proof Positive says, “Do the low calorie soft drinks really work?... Those who drink the most diet drinks have the most problems with their weight… One study of over 75,000 women ages 50 to 69 found that users of artificial sweeteners were significantly more likely than non-users to gain weight over time.” (Page 187) Researcher Michael Tardoff reported that artificial sweeteners increase the appetite. “We found that hunger increases after drinking just a liter of aspartame sweetened soda. In our country, an average of over 20 pounds of artificial sweeteners is consumed per person per year, but despite this increase in consumption of artificial sweeteners, actual sugar consumption continues to increase.” 2. The Animal Fat Factor The average American consumes some 100 pounds of animal fat per year. This becomes important when we recognize that weight gain is often related to getting too many calories from fat rather than getting them from complex carbohydrates as God designed. In the research lab, animals on a high fat diet gain more weight than their peers on a low-fat regimen—even when both groups ate the same number of calories. Animal source foods are the primary source of fat in the average diet. Each of the following foods provide the body with 10 grams of saturated fat: 2 cups of whole milk; 1 double hamburger; 2/3 serving of macaroni & cheese; 1 cup ice cream; 2 cups plain yogurt; 2 slices of American processed cheese. (Source: Proof Positive, page 24) Cheese has the honor of being one of the most fat-laden foods being consumed today! Often people will consume a salad, which is a healthy food, but then load it up with cheese, a very unhealthy and fattening food! Fat contains 9 calories per gram. There are 454 grams as well as 4086 calories in each pound of fat. If the average person consumes 100 pounds of animal fat per year they consume 408,600 calories per year. That equals 1,119 calories from animal fat alone every day. This amounts to half of our daily caloric intake. According to the USDA, our nation’s daily fat intake has steadily increased from 107 grams in the 1970’s, 110 grams in the 1980’s, to 116 grams in 1999. So according to these figures, if we multiply 116 grams times 9 calories per gram, we arrive at the figure of 1044 calories per day. If we increase to today at the same rate of growth, we get approximately the same as the previous figure. Add the 800 calories from refined sugar to over 1,000 calories from animal fat. Most of the calories eaten by the average American each day originate in the two most fattening foods one can consume. Is it any wonder America is overweight? 3. The Refined Carbohydrate Factor Refined carbs, such as white flour, white rice and sugar make you fat. Unrefined carbs, such as whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits and vegetables help keep you lean. Unrefined carbs contain fiber, which packs a powerful punch when it comes to fighting fat. Scientists at the University Hospital of London, Ontario compared the fiber intake of different individuals. They found that those individuals who had a healthy weight ate 30% more fiber than the overweight individuals. Why is fiber important? High fiber foods help people lose weight for several reasons. First, high-fiber food requires more chewing time, slowing food intake. Second, fiber has more bulk, filling you up with fewer calories. Third, fiber stabilizes blood sugar levels and stimulates less insulin secretion, which translates into weight loss. Finally, since we can’t digest fiber, we can’t absorb any calories from it. In his book Carbohydrates from Hell, Carbohydrates from Heaven, author James Krystosik says, “anyone trying to improve their health and lose weight should take advantage of fiber, one of nature’s best appetite suppressants. Remember fiber is a non-digestible form of carbohydrate, which passes through the digestive system without ever adding one single calorie. Fiber absorbs water, swells inside your stomach, and creates a sense of fullness. Now your brain gets the message that your hunger has been satisfied. High fiber foods also satisfy the sensation of hunger longer than refined food, which means you end up eating fewer calories and you lose weight” Refined grains also upset normal blood sugar levels, causing mental and/or physical imbalances. When refined starches are eaten, a high percentage is quickly broken down into a glut of simple sugars hitting the bloodstream and causing alarm to an exhausted pancreas and/or adrenals. This amounts to the same objectionable diabetic/hypoglycemic reactions initiated by refined sugars. 4. The Table Salt Factor Table salt is a protoplasmic poison. Besides being totally devoid of fiber, it causes the body to retain fluid. In reality, it is not the table salt that retains the water. Instead the body retains more water so that the salt concentration is reduced, thus causing less irritating and less caustic concentrations. In other words, the body recognizes table salt as a poison and acts to protect itself by diluting the highly irritating crystals. This adds water weight to the body. It is not unusual for a person to lose 6 to 12 pounds or more within a few days of going on The Hallelujah Diet. Why? Because when a person stops consuming table salt, the body releases the water being retained to keep all that toxic sodium chloride from doing damage. 5. The Lack of Exercise Factor Calories in vs. calories burned is a huge factor in how much a person weighs. If a person takes in more calories than the body is burning, weight will increase. The amount of calories burned depends on how much exercise a person receives. If a person wants to lose weight, they must exercise enough to burn more calories than they are consuming. A sedentary couch potato lifestyle and high caloric intake is a prescription for obesity. An active lifestyle and low caloric intake is a prescription for a slim, trim and healthy body. Obesity Is a Matter of Choice The Hallelujah Diet and Lifestyle eliminates all 5 of the above fat-producing items found in the Standard American Diet (SAD). These items are responsible for most of the excess weight and obesity plaguing over 60% of our population today. The Hallelujah Diet replaces these with predominantly raw foods that are highly nutritious and high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. We couple this with regular exercise. This lifestyle was not my idea. It came from God and can be found in the Bible in Genesis 1:29. That’s right. The Hallelujah Acres diet is 100% plant-based and very similar to the one God gave the first humans, Adam and Eve, immediately after creation. The Hallelujah Diet is totally comprised of plant-sourced foods. It contains no refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, refined table salt, or animal fat. This diet, which we have been proclaiming for almost 20 years, and the ones promoted by Dr. Neal Nedley and Dr. Krystosik are all similar to the Genesis 1:29 diet. Diet is not the only vitally important fact to maintaining and ideal weight. The body must also be exercised daily. Might it be that God is far wiser than we humans when he placed man in a garden and told him he would have to earn his bread by the “sweat of thy face” (Genesis 3:19)? My daily exercise routine includes gardening in season, stretching, resistance and aerobic exercise, with at least two miles of power walking most every day. I personally listened to God thirty-five years ago and adopted a diet similar to the one He gave Adam in Genesis 1:29. Today I have a lean, muscular physical body capable of doing almost anything physically I could do at the age of 20. Just three years short of my 80th birthday, my height is 5’ 9”, my weight is 142 pounds, my waist is 31/32 inches and my abs are rock hard. Because I know Jesus I know that there are even better days ahead! Amen!