The real story of Gwen Shamblin is far more fascinating and bizarre than this semi-factionalized account.
Some 15 years ago, I paid $110 to participate in a Weigh Down Workshop. Each week we had discussion, created a prayer list of joys and concerns, prayed and then watched a video. Included were a workbook and a dozen or so audiotapes for our homework.
The videos featured Shamblin speaking from various places in the Holy Land about how the program came to be and her philosophy on weight loss. She looked quite normal and wore stunning designer clothes. Her hair was unremarkable.
Her advice was simple: eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. No foods are off limits. It's brilliant because it works BUT retraining yourself can be a hurdle and, for women with families that expect three squares a day, the program can be difficult when Mom isn't hungry at dinner time and doesn't eat with the others.
Shamblin makes a good argument linking this retraining process (listening to your body, identifying triggers to overeating and revamping your relationship with food) to the Biblical story of the Jews escaping slavery in Egypt and their unnecessarily long journey to the promised land.
Weigh Down was an excellent Bible study that happened to parallel our journey from slavery to unhealthy habits (not just food-related) to our better selves and a better relationship with God. Either prong of the program could easily operate on its own.
We learned through the videos about Shamblin's life with her family and it all seemed perfectly normal; just a regular gal who hit the jackpot with a great and highly marketable idea.
Then, several years after the workshop I attended, we began hearing news of Shamblin's transformation into wacko megalomaniac evangelist with hair to match. She was implicated in a child's death as her nutso beliefs and dangerous preaching were revealed. She married Tarzan, several years her junior and lived the moneyed high life that included a private plane, which proved to be her downfall-literally.
This movie simply doesn't capture the entire story or explain her ever increasing corrupt religious leader transformation. Or the hair.
The story is fascinating, train wreck mesmerizing, especially to those who attended a workshop and knew of her seemingly normal past life.
Someone recommended an HBO documentary, which I will check out. I rated five stars for Jennifer Gray's performance. Finally, that nose job paid off.
Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation
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