Messages from First Place Members

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Dear Kay,

Just wanted to share an update with you since we last chatted via e-mail. I am the diabetic on an insulin pump who is still hoping to find other First Place members on the same thing. Although, I’ve never heard a response from my post on the site, I went forward and obtained all the group leader materials, spoke with my Pastor, held three meetings to recruit co-leaders in our church (we never stepped out to lead in this church, so we had to get seasoned leaders to oversee us based on church policy). Two months later, I got a yes. My husband Nick and I, along with our co-leader Linda, began our group.

Nick and I had trial-tested the Live-It on our own for eight weeks and he lost 12 pounds, and I had lost 10 pounds without diabetic issues. I know Jesus sustained me because I have NEVER made it that far without repercussions with exercise, nutrition and weight loss. My moods so greatly improved as I awoke in the AM with normal blood sugars and I was, for the first time, relishing the Bible study, prayer journaling and scripture readings. I was like a brand new Christian starving for His word instead of food.

We held an orientation twice, got a group of 9 together and began. I know that God was holding my hand as that night and for four weeks the medical complications began with two or three low blood reactions daily, most upon waking up. I couldn’t exercise as my range was not stable and caused more reactions and I was unable to stick with my Live-It as reactions, mean your body needs the old amounts of food to match my computer run pump program. Normally, I would give up at this point, but somehow God sustained me while I was leading the group.

My doctor and I made adjustments to my pump 4-5 times; it had to be brought down slowly to get the balance right. All of this happened because I was eating correctly, exercising, lost 10 pounds and was tending to my health.   The results were disappointing, a weight gain of 5 pounds until we got it right. So, I began again and three weeks later, I’m back at my 10-pound loss, but no reactions now.

The group is such a blessing for us. I have focused on encouragement, providing the tools for them to use. I have taken them on grocery store shopping trips, but refuse to play food police. The last two meetings, I shared with the group about what happened with my diabetes. I wrestled with whether this would discourage or encourage them with First Place. They have since shared with me that it was such an encouragement that it kick-started some of them to try the Live-It, others dug into their Bible studies, others joined gyms and God is just so good! I know that this cycle will continue with each stage of weight loss, and by the grace of God, I will make it this time. Thank you for offering this program. It’s meant so much. Maybe some day, I’ll get an opportunity to thank you and the team in person.

Your Sister-In-Christ
Tricia Langione
Canton, Massachusetts

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Like so many other overweight people, I really wanted to lose weight. I had tried many diets, mostly through various clubs and books. I knew I had to get really serious about it when my doctor advised me that I was headed for diabetes if I didn’t lose weight.

I used to get Prevention Magazine and thought perhaps I’d subscribe again, but when it started coming and for about four months later, every issue’s front page was some “Skinny Minnie” and that just deepened my depression about my weight even more.

I’m not one to voice my opinion of any articles publicly, but the thought crossed my mind to write to the editors and ask them to “get real.” There had to be something else they could put on their front cover! In the March 2003 issue, I spotted something different and it said, “THE BIBLE WAS MY SECRET TO SUCCESS” – Faith helped a lady lose 125 pounds.

Now being a Christian, I naturally read on and realized I had never turned my overweight problem over to God and asked Him for help.   I got really excited about this newfound idea and decided to look into it. I called the California-based number for information and found out there was a Canadian connection. I called that number and was greeted by a helpful lady and her assistant. Both of them were leaders of a First Place group.

They explained to me what I would need for supplies to start a group. While I was listening, I thought maybe I could do better in a support group and help others as well, so I went to talk with my officer (minister) at the Salvation Army Rainbow Country Church where I am a Senior Soldier and member, to find out if there was a room to hold a weekly meeting. He was very supportive of the idea because of the Christian base, and said if I could get 10 people to commit themselves to the program, that the church would buy the group starter kit and I could consider this a ministry for myself as the leader.

I didn’t waste any time. With the help of our good church secretary, we placed posters in various churches in town, as well as our own . I managed to get 13 people signed up. We had our Orientation night in April, and finished our first session with the group losing a total of 88 pounds.

When the group started, I was nervous and thought the Bible lessons might be too deep for me to lead and I struggled with praying out loud. But, I found the lessons to be so practical and great for discussions and the Holy Spirit guides me in prayer.   God has come along side of me in all the planning and I especially cling to Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

Our group is really bonding nicely and I am getting to know some of my own church family in the group even better–some are also being more open and praying for one another and we are building up a real support group.

For myself, I’ve lost 9 pounds and gained back 3. But, the program is not all about losing weight. I feel that I am growing spiritually while leading the group and feel fulfilled and happy to serve the Lord in this way.

Ida Bond, Leader,
First Place
Parry Sound, Ontario

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My husband and I joined the FIRST PLACE program in May 2003 and have been successful in losing weight. The nine commitments are sometimes hard to live up to with our busy lives, but through prayer, we manage to do most of them each day.   We are enjoying the fellowship at the meetings.

Our leader, Ida Bond, has encouraged us at every meeting. We appreciate her leadership very much. First Place has helped us spiritually. We have a better understanding of the Bible through daily studies and prayer.

Sally and Reg Carter
Parry Sound, Ontario

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I am so thankful for First Place. I have enjoyed the studies of the Word and the memory verses have been just what I needed at the time. I have become closer to others in the group, and pray more often for them, and more effectively. We have a great leader who is learning along with us. First Place has taught me to always put my Lord first in everything I do!

Wilma Reuben
Parry Sound, Ontario