Religious young adults are 50 percent more likely to be obese by middle age than their non-churchgoing peers, says a 2011 Northwestern University study.
Statistics such as this are the reason Ken Andrews and his son, Austin, started RetroFit Ministries. The pair is on a mission to unite faith with fitness. Collectively, they’ve lost 308 pounds as contestants on season 11 of the television show The Biggest Loser.
“I had a misunderstanding of what spirituality was,” Ken says. “I thought my spirituality was based on how much I read God’s Word, how much I served and how much I gave to Him. I didn’t think He was concerned about what I ate or my physical body. I realize now that I am never more spiritual than when I am physically, spiritually and emotionally healthy.”
After ballooning to 455 pounds even after two weight-loss surgeries, Ken discovered he was using food to bury the painful memories of his childhood. It wasn’t until he let God heal him emotionally that he finally gained lasting control over his weight.
Austin says that Christians often use food to comfort themselves when they are sad or angry. He recalls being an emotional eater and running to food to feel better. “When we look to something other than Christ as a comforter we are making a dire spiritual mistake,” Austin explains.
This month the father-son duo will host their first RetroFit Week in New York. Attendees will participate in boot-camp style workouts, biblical teachings and healthy eating with a goal to let God heal them emotionally, physically and spiritually.