Success Stories

Martha Rogers

Martha Rogers

“Nothing else can give you a healthy body, mind, spirit and soul like First Place 4 Health.” When our youngest son and his new bride brought over their wedding album for us to see, I realized for the first time that I had lost control of my weight. For many years our church had sponsored a First Place 4 Health program, but I didn’t want to bother with a regimented program. After weeks of trying to lose with my own plan and not having any success, I decided I needed help. I talked with Carole Lewis, the First Place 4 Health national director, and she convinced me that First Place 4 Health was where I needed to be. I joined in March and by November had lost 44 pounds and reached my goal weight. The regular exercise and healthy eating gave me energy and a new outlook on life. In

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Mark Gutierrez

Mark Gutierrez

My earliest childhood memories are of a chubby little boy. I remember going to the clothing store with my mom and buying ‘husky’ pants. It didn’t really bother me till I got into Jr. High. I remember picking up a paperback my sister was reading that described an “All Protein Diet.” That was my first venture into dieting at only 13 years old. I lost 30 pounds and maintained that weight loss through most of high school. By college, I was dieting again. Years later, I got married and began to try various weight-loss programs-Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Jenny Craig and Phen/Fen. All of these worked and I lost weight, but sooner, more times than later, I gained it back. I made up my mind that I would be fat forever. My church started a new program called First Place. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh that won’t work; I’ll try

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Marie Rascoe

Marie Rascoe

My wellness journey started almost 30 years ago. I was introduced to First Place for Health in January, 1991.  However, back then, it was only First Place with signature colors of teal and pink.  Announcements begun to appear in our church bulletin, which were rather vague at first, with more information to follow. My curiosity was sparked as to what this was all about.  From the onset, I believed I needed to be involved. I had quit my job and started college full time a year earlier. My daughter, Ginger and I went to First Place orientation together. They told us the verse for First Place: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”  Mathew 6:33. As the orientation unfolded and the 9 Commitments were presented, I began to think this was all I needed to add to an already

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Marilyn Bullock

Marilyn Bullock

Being in physical pain can make everyday activities seem challenging, just ask Marilyn. When she joined Mount Auburn Club about five years ago, she was suffering from polymyalgia rheumatica, severe arthritis, and limited mobility. Along with those physical ailments, she also had to contend with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. She knew she had a lot of work ahead of her to improve her health. Rather than be overwhelmed, she decided to set weekly goals. Today, because of her consistent effort and commitment to herself, she is in a much different state of health. Gone are the days when exercise was something Marilyn would engage in sporadically. Rain or shine, Marilyn makes it to MAC three times a week for an Aquacise class. Exercise is marked on her calendar now. This approach has led to consistent exercise, 85-pound weight loss, no more diabetes medication and prednisone, and a

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Machelle Zellers

As far back as I can remember, I have always been overweight. From first grade and through high school, I was teased by classmates. By the time I graduated high school, I weighed about 200 lbs. A few years after graduation, I started on one of those protein shake diets—two shakes a day and one meal. I lost about 30 lbs. and got into a size 16; it seemed to last about five minutes. As soon as I started eating normal food again, the weight came back. I tried many diets after that time. It was the same scenario—lose weight and then gain it back. I usually weighed around 220 to 245 at the highest into my 30’s. I got married at 36 weighing 245. I tried the Atkins diet with success. This time I lost 35 lbs. and then found out I was pregnant. So, I stopped the diet,

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Lynda Willard

Lynda Willard

I have lots more energy and better self-esteem, greater clarity of thought, more peace with my life, and better able to follow God in ministry. I joined First Place 4 Health because I was filled with busyness, but I lacked discipline. I loved and tried to serve the Lord, but did not have strength or stamina to do His will. My eating habits were not healthful and were utterly out of control, plus I did no exercise. I did not realize how large I had become until I really looked at some pictures taken while I was on vacation, and the photos from my brother’s wedding. Then, my doctor told me that my cholesterol and blood sugar were a little higher than normal for my age. I knew that I needed to lose weight and learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Through the First Place 4 Health program, I

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Lou Oliver

Lou Oliver

When First Place 4 Health came into my life, I was 32 years old and a mother of three amazing kids. My husband was pastoring a mission church and a lady in the church started a new program. She invited me, and I thought, “I’m going to have to be a part of this since I am the pastor’s wife,” so here I go. I joined the First Place 4 Health class in 1994, beginning on a Friday night at the church. And the church wasn’t just down the street. It was a one-hour drive away, across the countryside and up and down the hills of southeastern Ohio. So back and forth we travelled every Friday night–me, my husband and the kids. At our first meeting, our leader talked about how this program was going to help us learn to live for Jesus in all areas of our lives. She

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Lisa Rigoni

Lisa Rigoni

Step by step the changes stuck. I was the girl who hated P.E. Running for fun? No way! Spending time in the gym? Yeah, right! My, how things change when we least expect it. I joined a First Place 4 Health class years ago because a friend wanted to start it. “Fine,” I said, but at that point I wasn’t overweight and didn’t understand that weight loss was only a portion of what it was all about. Fast forward a decade or so—I had gained weight, was tired all the time and tried to make light of it. I used to laugh it off saying, “At 5’2” and 174 lbs., I am undertall, not overweight.” Guess the joke was on me. The scale tipped closer to the 200 line than the 126 lbs. still proclaimed on my driver’s license. On my smaller frame, it showed. I wore clothes to camouflage

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Linda Stone and Beth Johnson

Linda Stone and Beth Johnson

When trials developed in her life, she turned to food—causing excess weight gain, knee problems, and other health concerns. Beth Johnson was a 47 year old mother of three, who lives in Kittery, ME. When trials developed in Beth’s life, she turned to food—causing excess weight gain, knee problems, and other health concerns. Beth, inspired by a desire to become healthy and lose weight for her daughter’s wedding, noticed the weight loss and glow of Anne Philbrick. She learned that Anne (who has lost 46 pounds and helped others to so) was participating in First Place 4 Health at Bethany Church. Beth believed in faith-based weight loss, and decided to join First Place 4 Health in the fall of 2006. Since then, her life has become transformed, and now she is helping others to do the same—including her sister. As an act of love, Beth invited her sister, Linda Stone,

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Leatrice Roberts

Leatrice Roberts

I love to eat. I always have. I grew up on yummy salty, bacon-grease flavored food. Although I was a very active child, I was overweight. I had a brutal awakening at about age 14 when I suggested that I join my sister, her boyfriend, and his friend on a date. She turned to me and said, “Why would he want to go out with you?” I weighed 148 pounds, and I decided to lose weight. My mother, a career dieter, helped me implement a restrictive food plan. The doctor prescribed diet pills, which I took for several years. I began a life-long cycle of dieting to lose weight but always gaining it back. I gained weight with each of my three pregnancies and tried many varieties of weight-loss programs that brought no long-term results. At one time my husband and I worked at the food pantry at our church. One night I was working there and got really hungry. There was a box of week-old donuts that looked

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