Mark Gutierrez, 44, prays with members of his Christian weight loss group. Gutierrez lost 120 pounds using the First Place program, which focuses on physical and spiritual balance.
Apparently the programs’ emphasis on group support and, like Alcoholics Anonymous, deference to a higher power aid some people in losing weight. But a Yale diet expert is extremely skeptical.
When the First Place Christian weight-loss program came to his church in 1998, Chino computer programmer Mark Gutierrez ? who weighed 310 at the time ? was skeptical. The 44-year-old father of two had tried numerous high-profile weight-loss programs, starting as far back as age 13.
“I had lost weight many times, but always put it back on and more,” he says.
Fear and doubt, he says, delayed him from committing to the program for a year. But once he signed on, in early 1999, he met with rapid success ? dropping 120 pounds in the first 12 months.
The program’s spiritual component made all the difference to him.