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Building faith while reducing wastlines

The body is a temple. Some people just keep theirs up better than others.

With that in mind, some folks at Lighthouse Church decided they wanted to honor God by sprucing theirs up.

The church started two programs this summer in the hopes of helping people change their lifestyles. Senior pastor Bill Goodwin said the vision of Summer Size Me and Faithful Fitness for Women is to provide the resources and encouragement to become healthier.

"It's a way to honor God and the body he has given to us," said Goodwin.

The programs aren't centered around weight loss. They're more about making healthier decisions regarding exercise and nutrition that last a lifetime. Through the programs, Goodwin said, they hope participants will achieve greater physical health, build better exercise and nutritional habits and become a better servant of God.

For some in the program, including Goodwin, meeting those goals has resulted in some weight loss. Goodwin admits to having a sweet tooth and overindulging at times. He has lost 20 pounds so far.

"I've come to realize that gluttony is as big a sin as anything and I need to ask God to forgive me," said Goodwin.

Faithful Fitness for Women

Tammi Ford and Karen Ball came up with the idea for Faithful Fitness for Women. The women brought the idea to Goodwin, who said he had been considering starting the Summer Size Me program. They decided to link the programs since they both dealt with improving health, but the workout sessions Ford and Ball lead are just for women.

"It just sort of fell into place," said Ford.

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. the group gathers in the life center at the church to work out. Since none of them are fitness experts they decided to follow different workout DVDs. The DVDs are projected on the big screen in the life center with surround sound. They have had personal trainers come in and help them with their form.

The group has been working out to the Biggest Loser videos. The Biggest Loser is an NBC show in which contestants compete to see who can lose the highest percentage of body fat. The personal trainers that help contestants have created a series of workout DVDs.

The videos can be difficult, so Ball and Ford encourage those who come to work at their own pace.

"It's really about making the effort to change our lifestyles," said Ford.

Ball said they have a core group of about 12 women who show up each week. They have had as many as 18 come. Participants range in age from teenagers to seniors.

Ford said they try to make it a fun encouraging atmosphere that women will want to come back to.

"We joke around and make it fun," said Ford.

Summer Size Me

Summer Size Me meets every Tuesday evening and includes both men and women. The program provides instruction, encouragement and prayer for those that are seeking to get healthier.

Throughout the summer various speakers with exercise or nutrition expertise will speak to the group. So far speakers have included a personal trainer, a chiropractor and the owner of a gluten-free bakery.

The church also has resources linked on its web site to help participants.

So far things have gone well, Goodwin said, and he hopes to expand the program past the summer.