Sun Sailor | Church helps to create a healthier lifestyle in the new year

As folks begin their new year’s resolutions, Susan Path, part-time parish nurse at St. Philip the Deacon in Plymouth, is inviting people to consider a healthier way of life with support of friends and their faith.

For the second year, Susan Path is coordinating a six-week program following The Daniel Plan through St. Philip the Deacon.

For the second year, Path is coordinating a six-week program open to the public that follows The Daniel Plan.

Based on the book, “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life” written by Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman, the program talks about the five essentials of faith, food, fitness, focus and friends.

According to the website, plan is “created with biblical insight and assistance from medical and fitness experts … [and] is designed to be done in a supportive community while relying on God’s instruction for living.”

The plan invites participants to gather with friends in small groups to study the five essentials.

Path was encouraged by parishioners to spearhead the program last year and, to her surprise, 170 people signed up for the program. Path attributed the program’s success to people’s desire “to include faith in their healthy living styles,” she said as plan teaches healthy living practices, rooted in faith.

“God really set it up for us to be healthy,” said Path, adding it’s up to the individual to do his or her part in making health happen.

Education and motivation are key as the final session of the six-week program covers practical tips on sustaining the healthy changes.

Last year, the event kicked off with local certified personal trainer and health coach Chris Freytag, providing a motivational talk on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. The video of her talk will be shown at 6 p.m., the hour before this year’s kick off session Tuesday, Jan. 16.

The book provides insight on those five essentials and includes recipes using whole foods, and recommends eliminating processed foods, preservatives (particularly monosodium glutamate (MSG)), and sugar, Path explained, at least for the 10 days of the detox portion.

Participants are invited to do the plan at their own pace, with the ultimate goal of taking a few of the elements that will lead them to a healthier lifestyle, Path explained. By doing so, people find themselves losing weight and gaining more energy “to do the things you were created to do,” Path said. Participants also saw a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

As parish nurse, “it’s neat for me to see people become healthier,” Path said.

“I was surprised how many people focused on the other elements as well,” Path said, elements such as fitness, focus and friends.

For Path, who is married to a cardiologist, said she already tries to eat healthy, and exercise regularly, therefore took the opportunity to develop her focus and mindfulness and “try to do, what I already do, better.” 

Those who sign up through the church will receive a book and study guide. Participants will meet each week at St. Philip the Deacon, first as a large group, then in their small groups to discuss the week’s lesson.

Last year, a number of participants took The Daniel Plan a few steps further by joining a CSA, or community sustained agriculture, for weekly supplies of fresh local food and participated in the Music in Plymouth 5K, many of whom hadn’t previously ran a 5K, Path explained.

Path encourages anyone who wants to feel better, do more, become educated on healthy choices, and be supported by “your friends and faith” to sign up for the program.

To register, click here. The cost is $12, which includes the book and study guide.

As registration is limited, Path encourages people to find a friend or create their own small groups in order to create a healthier lifestyle in the new year.

For more information on the book, visit

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