Plan for First Place Success

Years ago, I heard a well-known speaker in the field of alcohol and drug addiction explain his formula for success when dealing with any addiction. In his list of addictions he even mentioned food. This formula has become my theme for success in my First Place journey. I believe that if each First Place member will apply this formula to their personal First Place journey, success is guaranteed. Here is the 3-part plan for success in First Place:

  • My part – The work
  • God’s part – The strength
  • The part of others – Support

This month we are going to take a look at “Our part.”   The work I may need to do is purge my pantry of food that is not a good choice. Our first step in “Our part” – the work – is to make good decisions at the supermarket. We need to go with a plan and that plan needs to be titled “shopping for health.”

Satan will try to tell us that First Place is all about denying ourselves. I beg to disagree. Just stand in the produce department of your supermarket and look around. You will not find any department with prettier colors and better tasting bargains than by what you are surrounded. Satan will say, “You can’t buy a red bell pepper that costs $1.50.” Yet, in the past we thought nothing of grabbing a bag of candy that cost as much or more. We look at the personal size watermelon available year round that cost $3.99 and pass it by, but we would have formerly grabbed a bag of chips that cost even more. Indulge yourself and your family in this department. Go ahead and throw in a couple of avocados. Not on sale? Who cares! They are still less expensive than the “butter,” and you have just purchased a fat exchange that is good for your body. Plan to spend the majority of your time right here in the produce department.

The next step is finding whole grain products. I pointed out some good resources last month to help educate all First Place members on the importance of a “high fiber plan.” I pray that you have taken the time to research and read more on this subject.

Many of you emailed assuring me that you are on the right track. One email was from Pat Smeallie of Cary, NC. She wrote that her family’s favorite is the new Kellogg’s All Bran, Bran Buds containing psyllium, which is helpful in reducing cholesterol. This cereal has only 70 calories per serving and a whopping 13 grams of fiber. She writes, “We sometimes combine it with another whole grain cereal if we tire of the taste of All Bran. It then counts two bread exchanges. It is a good energy start for the day, and keeps you satisfied.” This is a great choice for those who have limited time in the morning.

Part of “Your work” is to plan for a good start. Please do not wait until you are getting dressed for work to plan your breakfast. You might even want to take time at your First Place meeting this week to write on your CR what you plan to eat for breakfast. Success begins with a “good start.”

Speaking of a good start, I recently heard from Gail Ramesh about a problem she was having with breakfast in her home. Her husband, a First Place member goes to work early at a very active job, and the only thing he found that really held him over until lunch was a fast food steak, egg and cheese sandwich. She was concerned because the exchanges were way too expensive for this sandwich. She mentioned that mornings at their home was getting pretty ugly. I suggested she make a sandwich at home as close as possible to his choice. She came up with this plan: on Sunday night she makes a big frittata out of egg beaters with green and red peppers, onion, jalapenos, and any other tasty and hot spices she can find for him. “Once this is nice and fluffy and well done, I cut it in 4 quarters, put it on an English muffin and he reheats it at 4:30 each morning for breakfast. He writes them on his CR as “Gail McMuffins.” This loving wife is also his First Place leader and adds in her email…. he’s so cute!! I call that success!

Our next step is to choose some good lean meat choices beginning with fish. Try to plan several fish meals this next week. Think about salmon or tuna, along with fresh fish. Again you may consider the cost of fish a little high, but when you consider the cost of one doctor visit healthy food choices might eliminate, you have just found a bargain. Consider, the expensive junk food choices that are not in your cart, and I believe you will understand you are not spending more money. You are now “shopping for success.”

Your next stop might be in the dairy department. Check out the color of the skim milk. I found that some brands are not as “blue.” The company added just a little more milk solids, which does not change how we count the milk, but it can sure result in a better taste. Check out the dairy yogurts. I usually go for the store brand that is less than 100 calories and tastes great. Talk about adding some power to your journey of success, you are standing in the midst of it. If you are having trouble consuming two milk servings a day because you do not like to drink milk or eat yogurt, try one of my favorite milkshakes. If Joe is home, I double this recipe because he is certainly going to want half of my shake.

Freeze 2 cups of skim milk in an ice tray and store in the freezer (my tray makes 14 milk cubes). Combine 1/2 cup skim milk, seven frozen milk cubes, a carton of peach dairy yogurt, 3/4 cup frozen peaches, or one peeled, sliced peach, and a packet of sweetener (optional). You have a delicious milkshake that provides you with 2 milk exchanges.

Apply this type of thinking to each one of your nine commitments. If you focus on exercise, your first step might be to join an exercise class or buy a new pair of good walking shoes. Again, you may think this is too expensive, but consider the cost of medication and doctor visits. I pray you will choose to spend the money now as a means of preventive medicine.

Maybe you are not having a daily personal quiet time. “Your part – The work” may be to choose the time, designate a particular spot in your home and show up. Place your Bible, a pen, a prayer journal and Bible Study near that spot ahead of time.

As you think of the “work” that you need to begin, obstacles will appear, some that are beyond your power to overcome, and this is God’s part. Tell Him about these challenges and expect a miracle. God’s power has no limit. He wants to be involved in your success. So do the people who support you. Be honest about your challenges. Sharing the mountains that you plan to climb and have already climbed may be the very encouragement a fellow First Place member needs. The support you give other members may be even more important than the support you receive.

Claim the success that is guaranteed in First Place.

May God Bless Each of You!

Kay Smith
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.