New book club focuses on creating a healthy lifestyle

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Shelly Birkelo
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

JANESVILLE—Losing weight and getting healthy are common goals, but daily life--work, running the kids, helping aging parents, keeping on top of what needs to be done around the house—often get in the way.

Maybe you've tried the gym but couldn't stay committed.

Maybe you've tried new diets and at-home workouts but couldn't stay motivated.

To help people get back on track, the local Salvation Army is starting a new 40-day book club, The Daniel Plan. It starts at 4 p.m. the first Sunday in March and continues through Easter Sunday, April 20, at Basics, 1711 Lodge Drive, Janesville.

“The hope is that the people who don't believe they can change would have an ah-hah moment and realize they can," Maj. Ruth Fay said.

The Daniel Plan is based on the book with the same title. It was written by Pastor Rick Warren, California, who found himself 90 pounds overweight after 30 years in the ministry, she said.

After preaching about a man named Daniel in the Bible who refused the king's rich food to honor God, Warren realized he needed a practical, scalable plan that people could easily follow, according to danielplan.com.

Warren recruited three doctors to coach him in getting healthy and help design The Daniel Plan for members of his church to follow.

During the first year of The Daniel Plan, more than 15,000 people lost more than 250,000 pounds. And beyond the church congregation, people from more than 190 countries participated online, according to the website.

“It's about creating a healthy atmosphere that will bring about a lifestyle of faith and a healthy way to look at food, fitness and friends," Fay said.

“It's free and faith-based, but you don't need to be a Christian to come. It's also encouraging and not shaming,” she said.

After the first 40 days, book club organizers will see how it goes.

“Then we'll decide where we'll go from there,” Fay said.

In conjunction with the book club, the Salvation Army is opening up its gym, 514 Sutherland Ave., from 8 to 11 a.m. weekdays and other times when there is no programming in that space.

A supportive community is part of the “secret sauce” for success with The Daniel Plan, Fay said.

Research shows people getting healthy together lose twice as much weight as those who do it alone, she said.

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