Heidi McGraw

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My family has been witness to this change and it has changed how they eat and what God desires for us all.

In early 2006, I heard a doctor from California share on KTIS Christian Radio about the change God brought in his life regarding weight loss. He said what it boiled down to was his lack of obedience to God and that he was not taking care of his temple, in which the Spirit dwelled. This hit me and I will never forget it.

As a mother of three, I knew how important it was that my children obey their parents, and I was a living example of disobedience to the God of the Universe. At that point I knew I needed to do something, because I hated how I looked; I lived with guilt every time I ate each day, and it was a self-defeating cycle. Sad and embarrassed to say, I remember looking at my beautiful teenaged daughter with hatred that she was beautiful and I only had memories of being like her now that my body was in disrepair. I talked with a friend and we decided to be accountability partners and to encourage one another. After a very short time, I realized I didn’ t know where or how to begin.

I knew the concept but lacked the plan to guide us. In the fall of 2005, I noticed one of the ladies from our church losing weight and when I asked her what she was doing, she said it was a biblical weight loss program called First Place 4 Health. I congratulated her. After about six people asked her, she decided perhaps she should lead a group for our church. She gathered names of interested people and teamed up with another lady who was currently doing it with her, thus the First Place 4 Health program was started at our church.

We began March 18, 2000, a day that will be forever etched in my memory. I was ready and my heart was softened to do whatever God called me to do. I embraced the program and took it very seriously. I started walking four or more times each week, ate within my guidelines, and for the first time in my life was spending time daily in God’ s Word. I became a Christian in the spring of 1998, but I lacked growth in the relationship. I was always too busy to take time for God daily and I missed out on a deeper relationship with Him for many years. My motive in joining First Place 4 Health was to lose weight, but once I was part of the Bible study, God took hold of my heart and life. My pictures will never reveal the inner heart change. The scripture memorization has been such a blessing. As I go through trials, I remind myself of God’ s truth and I know that His plan is always for my good and my character building. The deep relationship that I have built with sisters in Christ has been awesome.

The four aspects of a balanced life that First Place 4 Health teaches is so important because we must be imitators of Christ, and He Himself grew in all of these areas: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. My relationship with Christ my Savior is my foremost concern each day as I wake and I delight in taking care of my body to honor him. My motives are pure, and since I lost 63 pounds and went from a size 18 to a size 4, I have had so many opportunities to share what a difference Christ has made in my life. These are opportunities to give all the glory to Him. I have so much energy and I love that I can live each day without the guilt and stronghold that Satan used to have over me. My days are filled with thoughts of Him and I sing praises deep from within me for He rescued me
from my own miry pit.

My family has been witness to this change and it has changed how they eat and what God desires for us all. I have done a First Place for Youth study with the senior high girls of our church because if we can teach our younger generation what God’ s design and purpose is, then they can have a lifetime living it and not wasting years as I did. Thank you First Place 4 Health for obeying the calling God has on your life to bring about a change for God’s glory. Words will never express adequately what my heart knows or feels.