"Just start adding foods that belong in your body to your diet," he recommends, "and what will start to happen, eventually, is they will replace some of the junk food. You'll start seeing your body change without having to starve yourself."

"Thousands of years ago, the Israelites were much healthier. Today, health-wise, there is very little difference between a believer and a non-believer."–Jordan Rubin, author of The Maker's Diet

By focusing on the good food that God has given us and putting His diet into our bodies, we don't have to lack in any good thing. We just need to remind ourselves that God's foods are better than man's. And while there may be some truths encompassed in the various fad diets, such as the benefit of eating fish instead of pork, the overriding consensus among Christian health and fitness experts is that quick fixes have little or no legitimate place in our lives.

Made for motion

The other half of the health equation lies in exercise. Dino Nowak, a Los Angeles-based fitness trainer who works with numerous celebrities, believes that "lasting change must start from within." He has made it his life goal to motivate and educate people by debunking fad diets and promoting what he calls the "esp Fitness Program." (esp is an acronym for Emotional, Spiritual, and Physical.)

Nowak likens our body's need for food to a car's need for gasoline. "If you keep trying to pump gas in your car and you're not driving it, you don't need that much gas. If you want to burn the gas, you have to drive the car."

For virtually every overweight person, the equation is straightforward.

"It's a simple matter of energy," Nowak explains. "We are taking in far more energy than our bodies are expending, and that's why we're getting fat."

So how do we burn this extra energy? Since most people do not perform strenuous manual labor on the job, the answer lies in exercise.

Fitness trainer Leslie Sansone created a video centered on the idea of "in-home walking" in order to make exercise accessible to everyone. By removing the usual barriers to a regular workout, such as cost, schedule and lack of comfort around strangers, Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds videos have encouraged millions of people.

"One of the biggest gifts God gave us was this gorgeous feeling of not only empowerment, but also the coping and peace that exercise brings us," she says. "And no drug, no pill, nothing takes the place of what our natural body produces when we are in motion, because God's design for muscle and bone is for them to be active. We're meant to be spiritual and physical beings, and when we're in motion we are happier, healthier, more creative, and smarter."

Sansone's just-released book, Walk Away The Pounds: The Breakthrough 6-Week Program That Helps You Burn Fat, Tone Muscle, and Feel Great Without Dieting, features principles, exercises, and recipes for healthy living.

Nowak breaks down exercise into three categories: cardiovascular, resistance training, and flexibility. For cardiovascular exercise, Nowak suggests, "find your activity." Whether it's rollerblading, jogging, playing tennis, or simply walking, it's important to engage our bodies in an enjoyable activity that also increases our heart rate.

Resistance training typically means weightlifting, but not necessarily in the way we imagine body builders pumping iron. "You're much better off doing things in movement patterns as you would experience in life," Nowak advises. Squats, rows, presses, and other low-impact repetitions that mimic real-life actions help develop useful strength and balance.