Exodus From Strongholds

Beyond Weigh Down Workshops


by Shirley Tracy

Over half a million people in the United States, Canada, and 68 other countries around the world have lost weight without counting grams of fat or calories, and without extensive exercise or special diet foods. The secret?

Learning to transfer the focus from food to a focus on God. They’re doing this through a revolutionary program known as Weigh Down Workshop (EXODUS out of Egypt). And now, out of this phenomenal program comes another even more powerful one—EXODUS from Strongholds.

Recently offered for the first time in the Cleveland area, EXODUS from Strongholds was born as a result of the freedom men and women were gaining through their participation in the Weigh Down program. Drawing closer to God, many of these participants discovered other areas where they were in bondage. By taking their focus off the things that were holding them captive, and transferring their love for these things to a love for God, they were being freed from strongholds such as alcohol, cigarettes, marital troubles, antidepressants, pornography and sexual obsession, greed, pride, and a host of others. The new program puts less emphasis on food, with more emphasis on breaking free from bondage of all kinds through strengthening a relationship with God.

The Weigh Down Workshop, Inc. is a nondenominational Christian-based program, founded in 1986 by Gwen Shamblin. A resident of Nashville, Tennessee, Shamblin has extensive experience in the field of nutrition. She is a registered dietitian, holding a master's degree in Food and Nutrition from the University of Tennessee. For 5 years, she taught diet and nutrition at the University of Memphis, and she has also worked part-time for state health departments. Since 1980, Shamblin has been a consultant in weight control, authoring several books including The Weigh Down Diet, which has appeared on several bestseller lists.

Both the secular and Christian media have taken an interest in Weigh Down, with articles and interviews in such publications as Today's Christian Woman, Good Housekeeping, USA Today, and The London Observer. Weigh Down was also featured on national television programs including The 700 Club, ABC's 20/20 (November, 1998), and CNN's Larry King Live (December, 1998).

Shamblin herself struggled with weight gain, especially after two pregnancies. She understood the battle and wanted to help others, but the first results of her efforts were disappointing. Having loved the Lord from early childhood, she turned to Him for help. He answered by showing her how to teach others to fill their “head hunger” (non-physiological hunger) with spiritual food.

The seminar is actually a series of specially designed classes of videos, audio tapes, workbooks, and Bible lessons, now offered in over 30,000 locations across America and abroad.

Here in Ohio, participants report amazing results in weight loss and newfound freedom from bondage to food, even many with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

Upon discovering that men and women were finding release from other bondage in addition to food, Gwen felt led to introduce a broader program to reach even more people. Thus, EXODUS from Strongholds was created, still under the umbrella of Weigh Down Workshop.

Here in Greater Cleveland, the first 12 week session of EXODUS from Strongholds is now underway at St John West Shore Hospital in Westlake, coordinated by Nancy Higgins of Olmsted Township. Higgins says she is amazed at the response to both programs, and she is in awe of what God is doing through them.

“The Lord is really changing people's lives,” says Higgins.

One of the class participants at St John West Shore, Marlene McGee of Bay Village, states, “The EXODUS From Strongholds program is helping me to focus on a more intense journey into a heart and love for God, rather than food and other strongholds.” She says by God’s grace, the habitual compulsion to turn on weekday morning television has been taken away, allowing her more time with Jesus and the Bible.C