Weigh down diet
The Weigh down diet is a particular form of fad diet whereby weight loss is assisted by spirituality. The book (as fad diets inevitably come in the form of self-help books) was originally published by Christian author Gwen Shamblin in 1997, and has since gone on to sell over a million copies.
Pray yourself thin?
Not quite, although obviously prayer and spirituality is a part of the program. It is a well known and studied fact that prayer doesn't do much, so the success of the diet (when it is successful) is due to the more material aspects of it. Shamblin states that people should "listen to their bodies" and only eat when hungry, equating excessive eating with the sin of greed. In this respect, the diet can produce short-term weight loss, but like any other based simply on "not eating so damn much", has been shown to be futile, if not counter-productive, for long-term weight loss. However, the additional window dressing of religion around it is pure woo, and used mostly as a form of support for any individual going through the diet — if you eat less, you will lose weight regardless of whether you lean on God, your best friend or the Flying Spaghetti Monster for assistance.
Possible bad effects
While the diet doesn't advocate anything bad, it may lead people to possibly starve themselves unnecessarily — like any crash diet — if they take it too far. The human body produces hunger and thirst pains for a very good reason and ignoring these can be outright dangerous. Like many diets, it also wholly concentrates on the aspect of food. This has the potential to turn anyone on the diet into a food obsessive, and those sorts of people are no fun to be around. Because of the focus on food, dieters tend to ignore exercise, and even if they were to lose weight, their general fitness would probably decrease.
- Someone else came up with that one 40 years prior: Pray Your Weight Away by Charlie W. Shedd, Lippincott, 1957.
- Although the Flying Spaghetti Monster does have a bigger chance of making you think about food.