Faith-Based Weight Loss Program

A group of East Texas women have had it with fad diets which promise weight loss but don't give them the tools to maintain it. That's why they joined a group called 1st Place, a faith- based weight loss program. 

The program focuses on eating right, exercising regularly and dealing with the emotional and spiritual issues which cause them to over-eat.

Brandee Ratliff is the group leader for the 1st Place group at Green Acres Church.  "This is not about being a size 6 or a size 8. It's about being healthy," said Ratliff.

Ratliff says it's the program's well-balanced approach to weight loss that helped her lose more than 40 lbs.

"We look at the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. Most programs only focus on the weight loss," says Ratliff.

There's no special food to buy with 1st Place. They simply recommend exercising at least 30 minutes, three times a week, and eating a healthy diet of foods from all four food groups.

Members say what really makes the group work, is the weekly bible study and support group meeting. Here they say they are unconditionally accepted, and they have other people to support them in meeting their weight loss goals.

"Knowing that you have to come in every week, for the accountability, helps. People are depending on you. You're checking on other people," says member Debbie Germany.

Mandy Jefferson, a registered dietician, says having support when you're trying to change your lifestyle can make all the difference in the world.  "If you have somebody that's holding you accountable, if you have to meet with someone on a weekly basis, then you're going to be more likely to follow your meal plan," says Jefferson.

Debbie says that accountability has helped her lose 30 pounds so far.  "I don't eat good for myself. I eat good for all the friends I have made here. I eat good for my family," says Germany.

Regina Turner, who's lost 15 pounds so far, doesn't go to church at Green Acres, but she joined the group so she could introduce 1st Place at her home church.  "We've all tried the fad diets, and we'd lose weight and gain it back. So, we're trying a healthy lifestyle change. It's not just a diet," says Turner.

All of the members have different success stories, but they all credit each other and their relationship with the Lord for getting them back on track to healthy living.

Lindsay Wilcox, Reporting: