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Bright & Brief

August 28, 1989

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Hundreds of people are looking on high to lose weight here below.

They take off the fat through a program called First Place, which combines prayer and Bible study with diet, exercise and support meetings.

″There’s more to losing weight than just losing weight,″ said Kathy Whitlock, First Place leader at Parkway Christian Fellowship. ″There’s the part of you that needs spiritual fullness. It takes someone bigger than you to keep it off.″

Whitlock has dropped 65 pounds, her husband has lost about 60, and their 11-year-old daughter has slimmed down by 10 to 15 pounds.

Nine Alabama churches offer or are adding the program, which began in Houston in 1981. Its name comes from Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:33: ″Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.″

The idea is for participants to concentrate on giving God first place in their lives and letting God help them curb their eating, said Jo Batson, a minister at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church.

Weekly themes include temptation, spiritual food and the battle of the bulge. First Place also uses behavior modification techniques to help participants be conscious of when, where and why they overeat.

The First Place food plan is called ″Live-It,″ rather than diet, ″because the first three letters of diet are ’die,‴ Batson said.


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Jim Defew wanted to custom-design a car that people wouldn’t forget. So he painted his 1934 Chevy pink and purple - down to the engine and hubcaps.

With a blue, orange and yellow graphic down the side, interior trimmed in snake skin, and a pair of fuzzy dice and pink and purple garters dangling from the rear-view mirror, Defew’s car stood out from the 1,700 others displayed last weekend at a hot rod show at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Fairgrounds.

″When people see a black or red car, they just walk up and look at it, but everybody just starts smiling when they walk up to (my) car. You can make people happy by the colors you use,″ he said.

″I had to design the color myself,″ Defew said. ″We got to mixing and matching until we came up with the right combination.″

Defew, 43, of Denton, Ky., has been building custom automobiles for 25 years. He spends every other summer weekend traveling to shows across the country. Sometimes he puts his cars up for sale, though he said it would take more than $50,000 to get him to part with the pink and purple Chevy.

″It’s part of me; that’s all I can say about it,″ he said. ″It’s hard to put a value on something like this when you put so much time into it.″

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