Monday, December 2, 2013


 The year 2014 will mark the Twenty Year Anniversary that I will have been participating in the program now called "First Place 4 Health" ( ).  It was originally called simply "First Place", and got its name from the word "first" in the Bible verse from Matthew 6:33 that says "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  I first heard about the program when I was working as a dietitian at the local hospital, and noticed one of my coworkers was getting progressively smaller around the girth.  Since it was my job to stay current on popular weight loss programs, I asked him what was the secret to his being successful at losing weight.  He told me that he and his wife were attending a weekly program at their church called "First Place", and told me the name of the leader.  I contacted the leader, told her about my being a Registered Dietitian interested in learning about weight loss programs, and asked her if I could sit in on one of their classes.  She allowed me to visit, and I saw that the program principles were based on sound nutrition knowledge, and it reminded me of Weight Watchers classes I had attended in another city.  However, there was a major difference:  First Place classes included Bible study and prayer.  Knowing that I needed more spiritual discipline in my life, I signed up to participate in the next session that was offered.  It's hard to believe two decades have passed since then!  It is with great anticipation that I look forward to participating in the next session of First Place 4 Health, which will start on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.   First Place 4 Health is described as a nondenominational, Christ-centered healthy living program, with an emphasis on weight management.  The new name, which includes the phrase " 4 Health" refers to its goal of achieving balance in the areas of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.   The Bible study we will be using for this session is entitled "Start Losing, Start Living".  The book can be ordered from most major book sellers, with a cost of under $20.  The "Start Losing, Start Living" session will run through the end of April, meeting on Wednesday evenings.  The weigh-in  is held from 5:30 pm - 5:45 pm, with the class taking place from 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm, in room 1203 of the Christian Life Center at First Baptist Church, in Mountain Home, Arkansas, located at the 400 Club Boulevard.
 I continued to be a student in First Place classes being held at a different local church, from the one where I completed my very first session.  That new location was the First Baptist Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas ( ), shown in this photo.  I continued as a student in those classes several sessions, and around 2001, I was asked to be a class leader, which I have been doing every year since then. 
 The First Place 4 Health classes are held in the Christian Life Center ( CLC ) section of  the FBC campus.  It is shown in this photograph, and is distinguished from the other large building, because it does not have a steeple on top of it.  The large lawns in front of the buildings are used for church activities such as flag football, car shows, egg hunts, picnics, and summer celebration events.
 When I first started First Place twenty years ago, my exercise was sporadic, and I don't recall ever walking over two miles at any one time.  This photo shows me with uplifted arms of praise to God, because it represents the culmination of about forty miles of walking over a four-day period, in the area around Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois, with a group of about 14 other hikers involved in a Road Scholar program ( ) .  I am certain I could never have accomplished this, if it had not been for God directing me to the First Place 4 Health program, and His enabling me to continue with it over the years.   No matter where you live, you can participate in a First Place 4 Health program already established, or start your own small group.  You will find all the information on how to do this on their website.  If you would like to participate in the classes I will be leading in 2014, you can email me at for more information.  Following the advice given in Matthew 6:33 will give you "Miles of First Place Smiles"!!  Tricia
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