By Peggy Matthews Rose


In the winter of 2010, Saddleback Church Pastor Gerald Sharon and his wife Tammy got the kind of news no one wants to hear. Tammy was diagnosed with colon cancer. “At that time,” Gerald said, “I was overweight and out of shape. I knew if I was going to have the stamina to help Tammy, I had to lose weight—and quickly. So I worked with a physician and a wellness director to get healthy.”

While the fitness map Gerald chose preceded The Daniel Plan by almost a year, the principles and regimen are closely aligned. “It’s all about eating right, moderate exercise, and using good supplements,” Gerald said, adding that by diligently adhering to his plan, “I dropped 58 pounds.”

How did the stress of Tammy’s illness affect him? Did it throw him off course? “I’m a stress eater, so I knew if I wasn’t diligent about getting healthy and staying healthy, I’d just balloon up and get even bigger. I figured I had two choices: I could get healthy, or become completely unhealthy.”

After nine months of fighting the cancer, Tammy went home last December. Through it all, Gerald understood that, while the battle ultimately belonged to the Lord, he needed to maintain his commitment to his own health in order to be there for her.

“Many men use excuses for not focusing on their health. There’s too much stress at work or not enough time in the day. But having gone through that time with Tammy, I am here to tell you: THERE ARE NO EXCUSES!

“Men, as the leader of your family, you must take the lead in being physically and spiritually fit. There are no excuses. Period. Everybody can make healthy lifestyle changes. If you’re going through a tough time right now—it doesn’t matter. You have the same choices I had. You might not be able to implement the plan fully at first, but you can make adjustments. Then as your health improves, make more adjustments.

“Another excuse many men make,” Gerald notes, “is that they can’t eat healthy because they travel. Sorry. No excuse. I’ve learned that you can order what you want, even if it’s not on the menu. Order what’s healthy. I’ve yet to be refused.”

By the time The Daniel Plan was launched in January of this year, Gerald was already on board with it. “I’m very excited about its potential. Knowing what this had done for me, I want people to be part of The Daniel Plan. In fact, I don’t like running but I signed up for the June 11 Fun Walk & Run just to show my support.”

True to form, Gerald is not making any excuses.


  1. I drink a good healthy shake for breakfast [Gerald uses one from MetaGenics called UltraMeal]
  2. Mid-morning, I’ll have something small but healthy, like nuts or fruit
  3. Lunch involves quality protein and good vegetables
  4. Mid-afternoon, I’ll have another small, healthy snack
  5. In the evening, I focus again on good protein and good vegetables
  6. My exercise routine varies:
    • I do resistance training at the gym three days a week for no more than 45 minutes. And, by the way, my program was designed by one of the country’s top trainers, and even he said ‘no more than 45 minutes.’
    • Three times a week, I walk for 15-18 minutes.
    • However you do it, the main thing is to keep moving!


  • Avoid iceberg lettuce, which has no nutritional value.
  • When eating out, order what’s healthy, even if it’s not on the menu. If a salad comes with iceberg lettuce, for example, ask them to replace it with romaine or spinach or something healthier.