Gwen Shamblin Lara Wiki, Age, Death, Husband, Family, Biography & More


Gwen Shamblin Lara was an American author and dietitian. She was the founder of The Weigh Down Workshop, a Christian diet program. Lara was also the founder and leader of the Remnant Fellowship Church, Brentwood, Tennessee, US.


Gwen Shamblin Lara was born on Friday, February 18, 1955 (age 66 years at the time of death), in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. Her zodiac sign is Aquarius. Gwen attained her undergraduate degree in dietetics from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Thereafter, she attained a master’s degree in food and nutrition from Memphis State University, Tennessee. [1]

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 6″

Hair Color: Light Blonde

Eye Color: Hazel Brown

Family & Ethnicity

Gwen Shamblin Lara belonged to a Church of Christ family. Gwen was married to David Shamblin from 1978 to 2018. The couple had two children, a son named Michael Shamblin and a daughter named Elizabeth Shamblin Hannah.

Gwen Shamblin Lara with her first husband, David Shamblin

In 2018, Gwen married the American actor Joe Lara (William Joseph Lara). Joe had one daughter from his previous marriage to Natasha Pavlovich.

Gwen Shamblin Lara and Joe Lara on their wedding day

Gwen Shamblin Lara had eight grandchildren. [2] Her son, Michael, is married to Erin and two of them are parents to four children, Gabriele, Garland, Gates, and Christian. Her daughter, Elizabeth, was married to Brandon Hannah, and together, they have four children, Grace, Gweneth, Gloria, and Charles Grantham.

Gwen Shamblin Lara and her husband, Joe Lara

Gwen Shamblin Lara with her children and their spouses

Gwen Shamblin Lara with her husband and grandchildren


Lara was a registered dietitian, and after completing her master’s, she joined Memphis State University as a faculty member. She worked there for around five years. Later, she joined the state’s health department and worked there for five years.

Weigh Down Workshop

As a kid, Lara struggled with her weight. To help the people of the society dealing with similar problems, Gwen started consulting practice in the area of weight loss in 1980. In 1986, she founded the Weigh Down Workshop, a series that directed people to stay away from unwanted behaviors and emotions like anger, depression, overeating, and alcohol indulgence and direct their energies to form a genuine relationship with God. Through her workshops, she inspired people towards faith-based eating. After attending her workshops, her followers claimed that the once-obese lost their excess weight, alcohol addicts stopped their alcohol consumption, and the depressed souls experienced real joy. People even said that after learning morals from the workshops and putting them into practice, their finances were restored, and their marriage problems got healed. When the local churches heard of Gwen’s teachings and their surprising results, they started asking Lara to host Weigh Down Workshop classes on their premises.

Gwen Shamblin Lara during one of her diet program workshops

Founding Remnant Fellowship Church

Gwen founded the Remnant Fellowship Church in 1999 to ensure that God’s people are taken care of. Initially, a small number of people banded together at the back of the Weigh Down building in Franklin, TN, in the shipping department. They gathered daily and devoted themselves to the teaching of the word God and prayer. In 2002, Shamblin bought 40 acres of land in Brentwood, Tennessee, where a church building was constructed. The church building was completed in 2004. Slowly, the membership started growing, with people becoming its members from across the globe. Its membership has now grown to over 150 churches in the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Africa, and Australia.

Gwen Shamblin Lara during the construction of the Remnant Fellowship Church


Gwen Shamblin Lara turned author in 1997 with the book “The Weigh Down Diet.” In the book, she advised using spirituality to avoid overeating. Through the book, she encouraged people to read Bible when they feel an urge to snack but are not experiencing physiological hunger. The book sold more than four hundred thousand copies within a year. As of 2021, the book has sold more than 1.2 million copies.

After the release of her first book, Gwen went on to publish many books, including,

  • Exodus: Daily Devotional (1998)
  • Rise Above: God Can Set You Free from Your Weight Problems Forever (2000)
  • Out of Egypt: Inspiration for Conquering Life’s Strongholds (2000)
  • The Legend to the Treasure (2007)
  • Weigh Down Basics: Workbook (2012)
  • History of the One True God Workbook: Volume 1: The Origin of Good and Evil (2013)
  • History of the Love of God: Volume II: A Love More Ancient Than Time (2015)

In The Media

Lara’s Weigh Down Diet and the Weigh Down Workshop soon earned a lot of popularity and attained international status with appearances in nearly every major news publication, media outlet, and talk show. She was featured on shows like The Today Show, CNN’s Larry King Live, DaySide, and The Early Show. In 2011, she produced a live internet show titled “You Can Overcome.”

Gwen Shamblin Lara during an episode of Weigh Down TV


  • Lara attracted controversy during the investigation of the death of an 8-year-old boy named Josef Smith. Reportedly, his parents alleged that they used corporal punishment on their child as it was endorsed by the Revenant Fellowship Church, which was founded by Lara. [3]
  • Lara landed into a controversy when she taught that the doctrine of the Trinity was not Biblical. She was of the view that Jesus Christ was not God but God’s son. After her statement, Thomas Nelson Publishers canceled the publication of her book Exodus. Later, Gwen wrote a letter to her followers to clarify her statement. She wrote,

    The reason all of this is important is that if you do not understand that God is the clear authority and that Jesus was under God’s authority, then you will not have a clear picture of what it means to be Christ like. Jesus suffered, obeyed, submitted, denied his will, and made it his food to do the will of the Father.”

    She further wrote,

    I believe that Jesus and God are two separate beings. I do not believe that Jesus and God are equal in power and glory.” [4]


Gwen Shamblin Lara’s signature


On May 29, 2021, a private plane (The Cessna 501) carrying Gwen Shamblin Lara, her husband, Joe Lara, her son-in-law, Brandon Hannah, and four other church leaders to Palm Beach, Florida, crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna, Tennessee. Human remains were found on the site of the crash and all seven people were presumed to have died in the crash. [5]

The Cessna C501 plane

In addition to Laras, the other people who lost their lives in the crash include Jennifer J. Martin, David L. Martin, Jessica Walters, Jonathan Walters, and Brandon Hannah.

Emergency personnel removing debris of a plane crash from Percy Priest Lake in Smyrna, Tennessee


  • Gwen Shamblin Lara had a huge love for God and His Church. She also loved children and always tried to help the poor and the needy.
  • During an Interview, Gwen’s daughter, Elizabeth, shared that her mother had instilled in Elizabeth and Michael how to have a relationship with God at a very early age.
  • Gwen used to live with her family in Ashlawn, a historic mansion in Brentwood, Tennessee, in 1996. The mansion was built in 1838. [6]
  • The Cessna 501 (the aircraft that crashed into a lake near Percy Priest in which Gwen and her husband lost her life) was owned by Gwen and Joe Lara together. The aircraft was registered to JL&GL Productions LP.
  • Gwen appeared on several TV programs, consulted many individuals, and participated on various speaking panels as a health expert before her death.
  • Lara is often referred to as the Christian Diet Guru. [7]
  • Gwen included a wide range of fast food items in her diet program. According to her,

    The term ‘regular foods’ includes pizza, cheeseburgers, eggs and pancakes, cereal and milk, ham and cheese sandwiches, chips with cheese dip and chili, Chinese foods, rice and beans, taco pile-up with lettuce and chopped tomatoes, peanut butter and jelly, and deli sandwiches — and everyone gets in the mood for apples, grapes, and carrots or celery with ranch dressing… you get the picture — all from the grocery, and they are America’s most popular foods.”

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