Dr. Couey, a professor at Baylor University, has spoken at First Place Conferences for many years. He has spent his life studying the human cells that make up the human body. He often says, “If you want to see God, look in my microscope.” He loves to refer to the human body as “God’s Greatest Creation.” The Bible tells us that after each creation God stood back and said, “It is good,” but after he created man he said, “It is very good.” Dr. Couey loves to remind us that God doesn’t make “junk,” but that many of us have made junk out of God’s greatest creation. First Place is the tool that taught me to respect this body as a temple. I had formerly done a really poor job of maintaining the temple God had given me. First Place gave me back the “hope” that each day is an opportunity to rebuild and maintain God’s temple.
January is a great time of the year to recommit to doing our part. I love learning new information about weight loss reinforcing that the hard work we do in First Place is essential to our total health.
Researchers have learned that fat cells are more than an extra layer of padding or insulation. A fat cell is an endocrine organ-just like the thyroid, pancreas, or adrenal gland-that sends signals to influence how the body works. Dr. Cris Slentz of Duke University explains that when we eat more calories than we burn, the body converts most of the excess to fat. For example, leptin is produced by fat cells, which signals the brain to boost or curb appetite. Adiponectin, a good hormone, is secreted by fat cells, but the more fat you have, the less of this hormone is secreted. Fat cells release proteins that can cause low levels of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can rupture the plagues that clog arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
If we continue to consume more calories than we burn after all of our fat cells are stuffed to the brim, then the body (even as an adult) can make more fat cells. For some, even the new fat cells aren’t enough to store the excess fat. So, it starts going places that it should not go, like the liver, muscles, and sometimes even the pancreas. Obesity expert, Samuel Klein of Washington University, warns that for most people, the more fat we store in muscles, the liver, and the heart, the more abnormalities we see in those organs.
Researchers agree that overweight Americans need to lose weight, but they emphasize that how you lose the weight is important. Klein did research using liposuction, and discovered that if you lose fat by liposuction, its only benefit is cosmetic. Restricting calories was not as important as building your diet around vegetables, seafood, poultry, low-fat dairy foods, beans, and whole grains, plus some oils, nuts, and other unsaturated fats. Following the First Place Live-It will not only help you meet weight loss goals, but it is also going to improve overall health.
Some really good news to remember is that recent research has proven that even a ten-pound weight loss can have important health benefits. These facts about fat cells are just one example of the health benefits that our efforts to choose healthy food and exercise produce. Ten pounds is achievable for each First Place member this January.
I join the psalmist this new year (Psalm 139:13-14) praising God for his greatest creation. I ask God for his strength, enabling me to do my part this January to reap the benefits of a new creation.
May God Bless Each of You in a Special Way this Month!
First Place Associate Director
Kay is the associate national director of First Place and has been on the First Place staff since 1987.
Kay is a popular speaker at retreats, seminars, Conferences, FOCUS Weeks and Workshops across the country. Kay is the First Place food exchange expert and writes a monthly article in the First Place E-Newsletter on nutrition. She also was a contributing writer to the Today Is the First Day devotional book. Her delightful personality and love for people endears her to everyone she meets, and they quickly become her new best friend.
Kay and her husband, Joe, live in Roscoe, TX. They have two children and five grandchildren. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit, and the three oldest grandsons are all involved in numerous sporting events, which Kay and Joe attend as often as possible.