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‘Mannafast’ of weight loss

One local doctor gives insight to losing excessive weight in new book

September 16, 2007
By MaryAnn Kromer
Five years ago, a local physician was asked to accept a new patient, Mark Minch from Iowa, weighing an incredible 1,400 pounds. Dr. Samuel Christian agreed to treat the man, who had been totally immobilized by his weight.

“He got to the point where he would order two large pizzas and have them delivered to his bedroom,” Christian said. “He came in (for treatment) on a flatbed truck.”

Once admitted to Windsor Lane Health Care Center in Gibsonburg, Minch adopted a program developed by Christian and his wife, June, a nutritionist. The plan, called “Mannafast Gastric Conditioning,” enabled the man to lose 1,000 pounds without bariatric surgery. He did have surgery to remove excess skin.

In documenting that case and others, the Christians put together a weight-loss book with a spiritual element. “Mannafast Miracle: How to Lose up to 1000 Pounds,” published by BookMasters Inc. in Mansfield now is available.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Christian is to launch the book officially in Franks Hall at Tiffin University.

This past Friday, Christian took part in a live radio interview to promote the book’s release. A native of the island of Dominique, he spoke about what brought him to Tiffin. After he and June earned degrees at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Christian served for 12 years as a battalion surgeon in the U.S. Army Reserve before opening an office in Tiffin.

“I was recruited to Mercy Hospital for general surgery in 1991 and performed several weight-loss surgeries early on. I have since focused my career on tackling the roots of obesity on a national level,” Christian said.

In addition to performing surgery, he and June founded Heartland Nutrition Institute. June, who holds a Ph.D. in clinical nutrition, was employed as a science instructor at Tiffin University.

As more clients sought help with weight management, Christian became heavily involved with the Windsor Lane facility, a nursing home where he was the medical director.

About eight years ago, the facility devoted itself to treating the morbidly obese of all ages. Patients typically range in age from ones in their 20s to ones in their 60s. Christian said the longest stay so far was three years.

The patient who started Christian’s specialty was a man who needed hip surgery but was instructed to lose 50 pounds. With Christian’s guidance, the weight came off, and the patient was able to have the hip procedure.

“After that, requests just kept coming in for non-surgical weight loss. We have requests from all over the United States,” Christian said. “I currently have about 60 patients from all over the country — California, Texas, Vermont, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia and Michigan.”

In the book’s fifth chapter, Christian explains the key component of the cure is a smaller stomach. Rather than reducing the stomach with surgery, patients are coached to refrain from eating so the stomach shrinks from disuse, just as a paralyzed limb would do.

The author said he discovered the technique while preparing people for gastric bypass. They were supervised in a systematic fasting regimen before the surgery. Christian said the goal was to familiarize patients with new eating patterns that would be essential for sustained weight control after the surgery.

“Some did so well, they began putting off the surgery. This was rather frustrating at first, because, to be perfectly honest, an operation meant more money for me. Yet, I had to confess, that these patients were much happier than those who had surgery. … These patients had in effect, performed major surgery on their own minds and spirits,” Christian writes.

In the book, he also cites the body’s ability to adjust the size of its organs and tissues. A blood vessel can stretch to allow circulation to flow around a clot. The uterus can enlarge to hold a fetus and then return to its normal size in the weeks following delivery.

Health care providers have become alarmed about Americans’ rising obesity rate, especially in children.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health indicate the number of overweight Americans has been rising more rapidly in the last 25 years. In 1900, about 6 percent of Americans were overweight; by 1960, it was 12 percent; in 1980, 15 percent. The figures for the year 2000 showed about 25 percent of the U.S. population were too heavy.

Christian also points out that weight gain often is linked to an emotional experience. Many people resort to “the comforting arms of food” in an effort to cope with unpleasant happenings. The author said his book is intended to guide people into healthy lifestyles and thought patterns to prevent excessive weight and its related health risks.

“We want to take it out of the operating room and into the schools and churches,” Christian said. “My whole thrust is to get them to the point where they don’t have to be put into a facility to lose enormous amounts of weight.”

Minch’s recovery from life-threatening obesity and Christian’s gastric conditioning approach to weight loss were featured on the Discovery Channel in 2003. The video has been broadcast several times each year since then, Christian said. He is expecting another film crew from Germany to be in Gibsonburg Sept. 23.

People planning to attend the book launching Tuesday evening are asked to register online at or call (419) 447-9313. In addition to remarks from the author, some of Christian’s patients are expected to speak for the event at Tiffin University. Admission is free.

Fact Box

WHERE TO FIND IT: “Mannafast Miracle” sells in soft cover for $20 and is available locally at Paper and Ink, The Cross, The Angelus and Christian’s office at 478 W. Market St. For more details about the book and ordering information, visit the Web site.



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