Category Archives: Christian weight loss programs

Simple changes promote healthy living

(Slipping a dollar bill into my exercise jar each time I work up a sweat provides impetus to regular workouts. When the jar is full, I decide on and purchase something new for my healthy lifestyle journey!) 

Making changes is often hard, but sometimes some simple changes we implement can have a profound effect on our well-being. In our First Place 4 Health meeting recently, I encouraged participants to think of three such changes they’d make during this twelve-week session. As they shared, I jotted them down on the board and later compiled the list. Here’s what we came up with:

·         Keep a food journal/diary

·         Eat on time

·         Remove junk food

·         Consume more fruits and veggies

·         Get plenty of rest

·         Prepare food ahead

·         Eat less processed food

·         Engage in regular exercise

·         Drink more water

·         Eat out less

·         Spend more time in prayer and Bible study

·         Remove (or lessen) stressors

·         Make a menu

·         Avoid buffets/fried foods

·         No late-night eating

·         Stay in touch with a friend/accountability partner

 

Weight loss is never a matter of the stomach only; in First Place, we realize we’re made up of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components, and each has a bearing on our wellness journey. Seeking balance under the lordship of Jesus Christ can provide real and lasting victory! 

As I looked over this list, I noticed these four life entities are addressed. I think I’ll print these reminders out and place them on my refrigerator!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Bible study, calorie reduction, Christian weight loss programs, decision-making, decisions, empowerment, fellowship with God, First Place 4 Health, freedom, God's purposes, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, physical fitness, prayer, right perspective, struggles, victory, Wisdom

Our First Place 4 Health Celebration Dinner

Foods fit for First Place

Healthy food can be delicious and satisfying!

Recently, we concluded our inaugural session of First Place 4 Health with a Celebration Dinner. The program materials suggest having this special time to give participants the opportunity to bring some healthy dishes they’ve prepared, to be enjoyed as each shares what he or she has gleaned from the previous 11 weeks.

What a wonderful variety was available! Mike brought a massive bowl of fresh fruit pieces, Theresa provided a chef salad with the usual ingredients plus chopped dried and fresh fruits, which she served with a light, sweet dressing. Ruthie made salmon patties and a dish of marinated fresh veggies from First Place recipes she had found. Belinda made a big pot of turkey chili with various types of beans. Sue wowed us with her dessert concoction: an angel food cake split into two layers, which she filled and topped with a yogurt and light cream cheese icing with crushed pineapple stirred in. Anita roasted a variety of veggies, seasoned to perfection. I brought sliced lean ham and whole grain bread, along with another light dessert.

Even as several of those present finished off their plates and went back for seconds, there was no need to feel guilty, as all the dishes were either low-fat, low-sugar, reduced-calorie and/or lean. It was a good lesson for us all, that we can enjoy get-togethers that involve food, be perfectly satisfied, and yet observe a healthy meal.

No deprivation was seen around these tables. Now, if just a few family members would make these kind of changes at holiday or other celebration events, or church members would follow suit at the monthly pot-luck luncheon, perhaps we could change the status-quo, and also the size of our waistlines!

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September 18, 2012 · 7:30 pm

First Place 4 Health – for the four-sided person we are

This Saturday, I’m planning to participate (with three others from our community) in a statewide First Place 4 Health  leadership training seminar. This incredibly-successful program (www.firstplace4health.com ) focuses on the four components of a person’s life: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The program materials  assume that those who consider taking part in the 12-week group sessions accept (or are open to) the fact that they are the creation of a loving God. With this knowledge, they can run the gamut from being passionate to just a bit curious about discovering how that truth plays out in their lives, and how to apply it to their weight-loss journey.

Make no mistake – First Place 4 Health (FP4H) is not just a Bible study. The nutrition plans are well-researched, thorough, sound and widely accepted as a healthy way to eat that one can live with the rest of his/her life. A member’s kit contains resources covering scores of topics (from time management to developing a healthy self-image to making wise choices with meal planning), DVDs (including one about emotional eating), and a hardback book chronicling FP4H from its beginning in 1981 to the present, and sharing numerous success stories of men and women. And another vital part of the program is the encouragement and support members receive from being part of a like-minded group.

Back to the four-sided person: the FP4H premise of looking at these four components recognizes that weight-loss success isn’t just about controlling the appetite. There is often emotional baggage one must deal with before habits can be permanently overcome and changed. Some may just not have the nutritional know-how to make wise choices. And others may come to realize a spiritual void in their lives, and journey toward wholeness in that area.

It’s easy to prioritize the physical aspects of weight management, but countless individuals have seen lasting success by focusing on the whole person. I hope you will consider the FP4H program in your healthy lifestyle quest!

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Filed under Bible study, Christian weight loss programs, decision-making, faith, First Place 4 Health, healthy weight loss, Jesus, making changes, priorities

Indulging on occasion can provide staying power

My mantra is "all things in moderation (and some things only rarely!)" Photo by Ann Maniscalco

 

 Some folks I know are on a very strict diet – an extreme reduction of carbs and an abundance of lean protein. I’m in their company fairly regularly, and have noticed they often look at a spread of all kinds of delicious food and say about most of it, “I can’t eat that”.  

 The pounds have dropped off quickly, but the track record of this kind of diet is not good. Well, the track record for any kind of weight-loss program is not very good – studies have shown that about 95% of those who lose weight gain it back. But most of the failures may be traced to the idea that dieters will drastically change their eating habits, and once they’ve  lost weight, they are wanting to “get off” their diet. Many dieters haven’t followed a program that they can (or are willing to) live with.  

 I saw a Weight Watchers ad today, and it impressed me: “When you don’t give up the foods you love, you’re less likely to give up.” Take a look at that photo at the top of this article. If you are trying to shed some pounds, and you look at a showcase like that, and say, “I can’t eat that”, then you could be setting yourself up for failure. To go months without giving yourself a chance to indulge a bit is oh-so-difficult, and usually unnecessary (unless you are diabetic or have other health issues precluding such).  

 I’ve managed to get down to my goal weight by eating sensibly; fairly-closely following the First Place 4 Health (www.firstplace4health.com)  guidelines, which adhere to those of the food pyramid (www.mypyramid.gov ). Maybe once a week, I’ll veer off course for a meal, and not feel a bit guilty about it. At other meals, I practice mindful eating, putting on my plate the portion sizes I know I should have, and stopping when the food is gone, not when I’m stuffed. I’m not full, but I know I’ve had enough. By eating this way over a several-month period, the less-than-healthy things I used to crave no longer have a hold on me. I can – and do – enjoy some of them on occasion, but I’m satisfied with a lot less than was my habit in the past.  

 I’m not a chemist or a nutritionist, but my own experience has shown me that some self-discipline exercised may be hard at first, but it gets easier, and I’m thinking it must involve some internal changes that beat those cravings into submission. But also, just knowing I am free to have some fried shrimp with a little tartar sauce, and enjoy a garlic/parmesan biscuit or two once in a while makes the road easier to travel, and stay on. And the wagon is always close by for me to get back on when I take a minor detour!

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Filed under calorie reduction, Christian weight loss programs, counting calories, decisions, First Place 4 Health, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes, menu planning

Celebrating the Big 5-0…weight-wise

Adding a spiritual focus to your weight-loss efforts can improve chances of success. (Photo by Ann Maniscalco)

  

Hubby and I celebrated a milestone yesterday. When we weighed in on the scale at a nearby hospital, we found we’d reached a joint weight loss of 50.5 pounds! (I’ve lost 23, and he’s gotten rid of 27.5.)  

 Even though I’m within a couple of pounds of my goal, I know this is not just a “diet” to get off of…I’ll have to stay vigilant with maintenance, eating pretty much like I’ve learned to do over these past months.

 

 Since one of my goals is to have a good balance in the four areas of my life (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), I’m considering beginning a First Place 4 Health (Christian weight loss program) in my area, as there are none nearby. As many people have discovered, there is within each of us an intense longing for something more, and food is just one way people try to fill the void that only God can satisfy. After focusing so much on the physical side these past months, I now want to spend more of my time on the spiritual aspect. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).

 

 Yes, I’m looking forward to a rich feasting on God’s word…and no calories to count! For more info on the First Place program, log on to www.firstplace4health.com – you can find such things as program details, resources, success stories, their current newsletter, recipes, and how to locate a group near you.

 

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Filed under Christian weight loss programs, decisions, First Place 4 Health, food, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, making changes