Thursday, July 3, 2008

Getting Started with FP4H

We've been receiving a lot of calls from members and leaders about the new materials - specifically they are asking us where to start! When you open your kits, you'll find a navigation sheet that gives you steps for getting aquainted with your new materials. We know it's tempting to just find the new food plan and start there, but please take our advice and follow these steps:


1. Please start with the First Place 4 Health hardcover book. This will give you a great orientation to our program (which is new to everyone) and provide inspirational testimonies and personal anecdotes that will give you a great boost before you begin your class. We know you're excited to get started with the details of your class, but this is an easy read so please start here.

2. Like the navigation sheet says, review the Leader's Guide. We've streamlined this book to include simple but thorough instructions on how to start a group, how to promote it, how to organize it, and how to teach - step by step, week by week, session by session - the new FP4H curriculum. Understand that your Leader's Guide is a teaching manual with a set of lesson plans. It does not go into detail about the food plan, exercise program, or emotional and spiritual aspects of the plan. You'll need to refer to the Member's Guide and DVDs to get the details. That brings us to the next step...

3. Watch the Orientation and Food Plan DVD. This DVD is broken up into two parts: the Orientation and the Food Plan. Start with the Orientation. Then, we've included five times the segments on the new Live It food plan, and they will really help you to understand the new direction we're going including the decision to discontinue the exchange plan, focusing more on the big picture which is eating quality foods in appropriate quantities most of the time, ensuring members complete Steps 1 & 2 before jumping ahead to the food plan (see pages 102-107 in the Member's Guide), and more.

4. Watch the How to Lead with Excellence DVD. This first session of the new FP4H is likely going to be a challenge especially if you have returning members who are used to the old way of doing things. Fill yourself up with encouragement and wisdom from Carole and Vicki.

5. Review what your members will be receiving - a Bible study (either Begin with Christ or Moving Forward Together) and the Member's Kit. Inside the Member's Guide you'll find all of the details about the four sides of the program - spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. Many of the topics you cover in class will come from the material in the Member's Guide.

6. Flip through Simple Ideas for Healthy Living. You'll find a wealth of wellness worksheets for you to use for several sessions of the program in this book. Instead of wellness worksheets being scattered in several books, we've included them all here.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, take your time. Take each step one at a time and don't allow yourself you get overwhelmed. Once you read the materials and view the DVDs, we're confident that you'll feel equipped to lead your group. Remember that the Leader's Guide is a step-by-step manual that you should use each week of your class. It tells you exactly what to teach and how to do so. Take a deep breath - you're going to do great!


NOTE: Your Member's Kit does not include all of the components of the Group Starter Kit because we assume you will be attending a group and receive instruction on the parts not included in your materials (i.e. the Orientation and Food Plan DVD, weigh-in and measurement guidelines, and instructions about what to cover each week of your session). If you are not in a group, we strongly urge you to join one or plan to start one (for which you would need a Group Starter's Kit). Trying to do the FP4H program without all of the necessary materials will prove very frustrating for you, and we want so much for this process to be a joy!

With that said, if you do plan on being in a group understand that many of your questions will be answered when you attend your orientation and first class. We encourage you to flip through your materials and becoming aquainted with them, but you will likely have questions that you will not be able to answer with the Member's Guide alone.

1. A great place to start would be to read the First Place 4 Health hardcover book. Even if you are a First Place veteran, we encourage you to get aquainted with the new First Place 4 Health. This book is an easy and inspirational read, so prop up your feet, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy!

2. Next, move to the Member's Guide and please start at the beginning (not at the Physical section). You are about to begin a journey or perhaps you are continuing your journey. Either way, starting fresh and at the beginning will serve you well, so please don't skip ahead! We know it's tempting, but things will make so much more sense if you start from the top!

3. Once you finish pages 1-18, you hit the Spiritual section. For the rest of the Guide, it will be divided into four sections: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. You are more than welcome to read this through, but we feel it would be less confusing and time-consuming to wait until your class, if possible. If you are making this journey alone for now, take a few pages from each section each week - but again, please consider joining a group! It will make this journey much sweeter! All of the sections are essential and one is not more important than the others, so please give them equal attention.

It is a common misconception that the most significant aspect of First Place 4 Health is weight loss or the Live It. On the contrary, the program is four-sided and all of the sides are important for achieving sincere strides in our quest for healthy living.

4. Here's the skinny on the rest of your materials. If you'd like to get started with your prayer journal, please do so! You'll talk more about it in class, but there is no reason for you not to begin journaling your prayers! Next, your Food on the Go Pocket Guide provides a listing of common fast food restaurant items along with their nutritional information. Please begin using this to make healthier choices (lower calorie, lower fat) when you eat on the go. Simple Ideas for Healthy Living is a book that includes all of our "wellness worksheets" that you'll cover in several sessions of FP4H. Feel free to get a head start if you like! The two DVDs provided in your plan will be assigned as homework during your first session, but again - don't hesitate to get started if you like!

We hope this helps! Please leave comments with any additional questions you may have - we're excited to hear from you!

And Happy 4th!


  1. I led a group several years ago and have several members ask if they could use the old "stuff"
    But reading this info it looks like they would need the new that right?

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Yes, you are correct. The old materials are being discontinued so sooner or later you will no longer be able to find FP materials essential to doing the program such as Bible studies. Also, if you had new members wanting to join your group, they would have the new kit and the rest of the group would have the old - it would not work.

    We haven't done a rewrite or really any sort of revision since 2001 - and it shows! The new materials are current, improved, and embody a new and exciting direction the ministry is headed. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to give us a call.

  3. I'm so excited to get started on the new materials. The changes you have made sound wonderful!

  4. Hi Erin,

    When I eat my fat free flavored yogurt, do I count it as a dairy and a fruit because it is flavored. I ask the same about raisin bran to I count it as a fiber and a fruit because of the raisins.
    Thanks, Mary

  5. Dear Mary,

    Frozen yogurt would be counted as a serving of your milk needs for the day as the major ingredient is milk. The flavoring likely provides little nutritional value or calories. If you had frozen yogurt and added fresh fruit, however, you could count however many cups you add (or 1/4 or 1/2 cups) towards your fruit needs for the day.

    When you pour a bowl or raisin bran, look to see about how many raisins you get per serving. The bran flakes are definitely counted towards the grains group - check the back of the box to see about how many cups or ounces per serving. 1/4 cup or raisins counts as 1/2 cup of fruit.

    Thanks for your questions!

  6. 1 - trying to get onto this blog page is not for the faint at heart.
    2 - I will be starting a Begin with Christ bible study in Sept. in Meriden, Kansas. Can I get the old bible study opportunities removed from the find a group spot?

  7. Blanche,

    Please send Lisa Lewis an email with this information. We are actually in the process of removing old groups from our database and asking the majority of people to reregister their groups so we can start fresh (instead of having groups from 2002 listed who don't even meet anymore!). Lisa's email is


  8. Hi Erin,
    People in my group are having troubles knowing how to count food in the new program. Returning members find themselves converting back to the old program to figure out quantities in the new. For example, we know we can have 5-6 oz of Grains, and the guide says 1 cup of cereal is 1 oz of grain. But not all cereals are equal calories at 1 cup. Even ones that appear healthy. It'd be helpful to have the old nutritional breakdown into calories, carb, protein, etc. I know that puts legalism back in, but it's very easy for people to eat too much with the loose limits.

    btw, I think there's a typo in the members guide on the Milk page (139). I believe (based on my knowledge of how many calories is in 1 cup of milk) that it should be 1/2 cup of cottage cheese is equivalent to 1 cup of milk (not 2 cups).


  9. janice,

    2 cups of cottage cheese provides the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk. Thus, 1 cup of cottage cheese would count as 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup cottage cheese would count as 1/4 cup milk.

    i really recommend you try and use the new program and don't combine it with the old plan. you're right that 1 cup of cereal is not always 1 ounce - that's why we teach people to read labels and see what 1 serving is equal to in ounces. Hint: 28g = 1 ounce. So, if it's a very dense cereal, it would likely be true that 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup of cereal would be 1 ounce. That's fine - just use the information on the label. We cannot provide the equivalents for every food known to man - it's just not possible. We have done our best to give general recommendations, but we say in the materials that reading a label to doublecheck yourself is essential.

    I encourage you to read my newsletter article this month. It goes over some examples and how to count them on your Live It Tracker. I think you'll find it helpful and not nearly as complicated as you may think.

  10. Thanks Erin,
    So, just to clarify, we're to equate nutritional value and not calories? 1/2 cup of cottage cheese has ~80 calories. 2 cups of cottage cheese would be ~320 calories. Whereas 1 cup of skim milk is ~90.

    I am enjoying the new food program, but it is challenging trying to switch the food program when you've been doing it for 2.5 years. We've been working with the new program since the end of September and we're having difficulty grasping the food aspect. We've been enjoying the Begin With Christ study, dvds, etc.

    I've forwarded the Aug 2008 newsletter on to my group and some have already found that helpful.


  11. Janice, it's quality and quantity. 2 cups of cottage cheese is definitely not the portion size we'd recommend - it's just an example of how cottage cheese and servings of milk are in a 2cup:1cup ratio. So, even though 2 cups of cottage cheese would give you the same amount of calcium of 1 cup of milk, it's not the best option given the quantity (calories).

    in future printings we hope to include under the "typical portions" column 1/2 cup cottage cheese = 1/4 cup milk. That should end a lot of the confusion. You're definitely not the first to ask this question.

    Glad you're enjoying the newsletters!

  12. Can a Person Just Go to The Classes for The Study & Encouragement & such, But still Eat their Frozen Weight Watcher Meals instead of this Food..Like do Both at the same time?..W.W. Food is already Portioned & Controled for me..That is my only reason for asking..Please, let Moi know?..I know it may sound a bit Weird!..God Bless..Anonymous!P.S. Of coures, purchase the Kit & all though..

  13. Dear Anonymous,

    Our goal is to teach you how to eat real food in the appropriate quantities and qualities so you can stop dieting and just live your life. Of course you may start attending a class and continue using WW as a supplement, but we pray that as you put Christ first and begin working on all four areas (spiritual, mental, emotional, physical) that eating well will become easier and you will feel empowered to make healthy decisions that go beyond the realms of packaged foods.

    Good luck!

  14. Help, I can't get my tracker balanced!

    I'm always short on healthy oils (I guess I'm good at the low fat part of eating healthy) but when I try upping it by eating nuts as a snack, it puts my meats over! I now have to sacrifice my turkey sandwich at lunch (2 oz. meat)or my meat at supper (3oz)in order to have 1/2 oz of nuts (1 oz meat). Is this a common challenge? Any suggestions?

    Also I do have fish (usually salmon) twice a week for supper...the members guide says fish contain healthy unsaturated oils (like nuts & seeds) but fish isn't listed on the healthy oils chart. Does fish count in both categories? How much healthy oil does it contain?
    btw my calorie intake is well within my range.


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