WENTWORTH, NC -- At 443 pounds, Justin Stewart knew it was time to take control of his own health.
"Four years ago I lost my daughter to leukemia," he said. "With grief like that, you eat a lot of food. And you just don't realize how big you had gotten until one day I woke up in the hospital and realized I had to make a change."
Stewart said he tried various diets, but none of them had long-term results. Then, through his church, he discovered the Daniel Plan.
"They're not trying to sell me a product," he said. "They're not trying to sell me gimmick food, special pills, something like that. They're showing that through my faith in God and Jesus's strength, that it strengthens me. And when I am weak, he is strong."
The Daniel Plan is a six week course that its followers say is not a diet. Instead, they call it a lifestyle change.
Stewart, who works with Rockingham County EMS, has lost 109 pounds in 14 months and is now using his positive experience to inspire others to try the Daniel Plan. He leads a group of other Rockingham County employees, coaching them through the Daniel Plan.
Mable Scott, the public information officer for Rockingham County, is one of those.
"We realize if our bodies are our temples and they were a gift," she said. "We should take better care of ourselves."
Although the Daniel Plan is technically a six-week course, Stewart said it sets you up for lifelong change.
"I still look in the mirror and say I'm fat," Stewart said. "Because I'm 334 pounds and I realize I've lost a lot of weight but I've not lost all the weight I need to. We're going to fail. We're going to have failures all the time. That's the big key here. But we need to realize there's another day. A new dawn comes, there's another day."
For more information on the Daniel Plan, go to danielplan.com