Personal reflection: Journey to healthy life

“The Daniel Plan is a groundbreaking, healthy lifestyle program where people get better together. With love as the motivation, it’s a story of abundance, not deprivation. Relying on God’s power and the support and encouragement of friends, get ready to be transformed from the inside out,” the Daniel Plan’s website states.

Liberty University Nutritionist Robin Quay desired to bring the Daniel Plan to campus in an effort to raise awareness about health and wellness, and to encourage students to work on their healthy lifestyle with the accountability from fellow students and with the Lord leading them. The program began Jan. 28 with roughly 50 students signed up to begin the journey together.

fit — Oelrich learned about making healthy choices. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

Fit — Oelrich learned about making healthy choices. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

The Daniel Plan, created by Pastor Rick Warren, prestigious doctors and a health and wellness team from Saddleback Church in Southern California, was formed so that congregations and communities around the world would get on track with healthy lifestyles.

According to the Daniel Plan website, after baptizing more than 800 people in one afternoon, Warren realized that many people, including himself, were overweight. A week later, he stood before his congregation and confessed that he had been a poor steward of his health and asked for forgiveness.

Warren asked his church if anyone was interested in joining him on a journey to health — more than 12,000 people signed up that day to begin the Daniel Plan.

There are approximately 67 days until Commencement 2014 and 158 days until my wedding. As a senior who is juggling two part-time jobs and a full class load, I figured I could juggle something else, which is more important than everything that I listed above — my personal health. I desired to learn more about making healthy food choices and the importance of keeping up with a fitness regimen, and I knew that with the support of Quay and the Daniel Plan team, I could make this happen for myself.

The six-session, video-based study is centered around five essentials that help to launch the journey to health — faith, food, fitness, focus, friends and living the lifestyle.

“The program incorporates guidance in every life area, so you can not only get healthy physically, but spiritually, emotionally and relationally as well,” the website states.

“Beyond access to practical food and fitness tips and resources, you will learn how to focus your mind on those things that will encourage healthy choices.”

According to the website, the essentials of faith and friends are what the Daniel Plan team refer to as the “secret sauce” that makes this journey so effective.

“By enlisting the help of friends, you’ll discover not only accountability and support, but the joy of community — we really are better together,” the workbook cited at the beginning of the sixth session.

Over the first year of the Daniel Plan, more than 15,000 people collectively lost more than 250,000 pounds, and people from 190 countries participated online, according to the website.

Going through the program myself was a challenge in and of itself. I would consider myself healthy and in shape, but I am nowhere near where I want to or should be. I did this program alone, not with my roommates or a close friend, but I went to every meeting by myself and did not know anyone else who was participating. After the first couple of sessions, I was starting to become more and more encouraged that my personal health and fitness goals are achievable, especially since I took the first step out of my comfort zone by committing to meet with Quay and senior health promotions major Emily Rodebeck every week for an hour to study the Daniel Plan with them and the other students who have the same goals as I do.

Each week, Rodebeck took each participant’s measurements to see how we had progressed. After the daunting task of standing on the scale in front of someone that I had just met, she encouraged me with the reminder that “you might have to fight hard for the things you want most — the greatest things don’t come easy, but trust me, this journey to a healthier you is worth it.”

Because of the Daniel Plan and a solid, everyday workout regimen, I have noticed that I feel better about myself, internally and externally, and my food choices have greatly improved. I have also noticed that my focus has improved. According to Warren, the secret to an effective life is focus.

“Don’t try to do 50 things that you dabble in,” Warren said. “Know what’s most important, and do those things, and don’t worry about anything else.”

As the program comes to an end Tuesday, March 4, I and my fellow Daniel Plan friends will leave the last session with a solid understanding of our true identity in Christ, the importance of fitness and being active every day, our personal value and what it takes to keep up with a healthy lifestyle.

For more information about the Daniel Plan, visit or email

One comment

  • Great article, Melanie! Thank you! I wish you the best in your journey, I’m here to support you if needed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *