A pastor makes some serious lifestyle changes. by Sabrina Petersen


Pastor Gary’s health was in serious trouble when he came to Hartland’s Lifestyle Education Center (LEC). It hadn’t happened overnight. Pastor Gary’s health had gone steadily downhill during his 28 years of ministry.

He admits, “Every day I was heavily into sweets, sugars, sodas, and fast-food places.” The result? Out-of-control weight gain, bloating, congestive heart failure, and heart fibrillation.

Pastor Gary’s doctors only provided him with two options: either a bypass surgery or a lap belt surgery. What they didn’t know was that there was a third option—Hartland’s Lifestyle to Health program. Having heard about Hartland for several years, Pastor Gary finally decided, “Let me come to Hartland and see what they can do for me.” And he mentally prepared himself for a serious lifestyle change.

Pastor Gary’s 18 days here proved to be just the motivation he needed to make those changes! “I came here with a weight of 355 lbs. I’m now 338.”

What jumpstarted his weight loss? The key was the simple things.

A consistent vegan diet, unlike Pastor Gary’s prior fast-food cuisine, played a significant role in helping him to begin dropping the pounds. Furthermore, he began a two-meals-per-day plan and learned about the importance of not drinking liquids during meals. As a result, he started to feel a lot better! “I used to get bloated when I would eat before, and I’d feel miserable, but I didn’t feel miserable at all when eating the vegan diet,” he shares.

 Exercises with Mr. Shin, the LEC’s exercise coach, also helped Pastor Gary in his weight loss. “Mr. Shin was hard. He had me using muscles I’d never used before,” he laughs.

When asked what changes he plans to make at home, Pastor Gary answered, “I’m going to be making a lot of vegan dishes, because I’ve had hands-on experience now.”

He is convinced that adopting a plant-based diet is vital to improving his health, and he stands as a testimony of that fact. He’s not going to stop there, either. “As soon as I go back to my church, I’m going to tell them everything—my whole experience.”