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Mindful Eating and Exercise

Our early survey data indicated that 79 percent of North Carolina's United Methodist clergy are overweight or obese. Through our health screenings, we now also know that at the start of the program, one-third of the clergy participating in Spirited Life qualified for a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, a condition that raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. A significant goal of this program is to address these health concerns.

Eating mindfully and regular exercise are essential to physical health, but they can be challenging, given the abundance of calorie-laden food and unpredictable schedules clergy often face. Spirited Life offers strategies to combat these and other roadblocks.

Mindful Eating

Spirited Life has partnered with Naturally Slim, whose online, video-based course is proven to be effective in helping participants lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk factors for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Pastors in Group 1 of Spirited Life who completed Naturally Slim lost a significant amount of weight through the program. Better yet, they've kept it off for more than a year.

Designed and taught by a nurse practitioner with advanced training in nutrition, Naturally Slim teaches how to eat and when to eat, not what to eat. It is not a diet. You will learn to:

  • Recognize when you are truly hungry
  • Enjoy the foods you choose to eat
  • Avoid sugar
  • Scale portion sizes accurately
  • Select nutritious choices
  • Cope with temptations to eat when you are not hungry

The Naturally Slim Foundations course is offered online over 10 weeks. We will offer a course at the start of each month in the first year of your Spirited Life wellness program, making it easier for you to begin at a convenient time, should you and your wellness advocate determine that the program could help you achieve your health goals. Online sessions average 45 minutes and are designed to be simultaneously engaging, humorous, and informative.

If you decide that Naturally Slim is not the right fit for you, your wellness advocate can help you explore alternatives, such as Weight Watchers, or another healthy eating program.


Because pastors participating in Spirited Life enter the program with extremely varied levels of physical health, we have elected to work with you on an individual basis rather than offer a specific exercise program to all participants.

We encourage you to discuss with your wellness advocate whether you want to introduce or expand the role of exercise in your day-to-day life during Spirited Life and beyond. If you're ready to make a change, your wellness advocate can help you set goals for your health and establish a plan for reaching them.