Firefighter, husband, father, First In Family: Lester Packard Jr.


Stop selling yourself short and quit wasting time. Get a coach. Someone who will work with you and help you find a plan that fits your life. If you're looking for a FAMILY to help and support you along the way, come join the First In Family...”

Tell us a little bit about yourself... ​

My name is Lester Packard Jr.

I am 40 years old and live in Lakeland, Florida.

I am a Firefighter/Paramedic and have been for the last 17 years.

I’m married and the father of one human boy and one furry pitbull.

What brought you to the First In Family initially?

I wanted to change and I knew I needed support.

My best friend, godfather to my son, and former firefighter Jonathan had recently started First In Nutrition.

Reaching out to him, learning the process, and doing what they suggested was all it took.

Tell us a little bit about your background and history with food.

I was always a bigger guy. I am 6 ft 4 in but have been active my whole life.

I didn’t really feel heavy and thought I was in relatively decent shape, but as life got busier, my activity level decreased, stress increased and food became my release.

I didn’t realize how much so until I saw 298 on the scale and I started really looking at myself.

I had somehow managed to gain 50+ lbs over a 7 year span.

What was the turning point in your life when you realized you needed to make a change?

So the light bulb moment for me was right around when my son was born.

I was thinking of how scared I was to be a new father and what kind of a father I wanted to be. This brought up memories of playing sports with my dad. No matter how tired he was or what was going on, if I asked to practice soccer with him, we went.

I knew in my heart and mind that this was something I would not be able to do for my new son in the condition I was in, so I knew something had to change.

What was the journey like and what changes did you make?

The biggest shock was just being aware of how much I was eating. Once I started tracking my food, I realized the amount of calories I was taking in. From there, my coach was able to guide me towards my goal – even while enjoying my favorite foods.

I still have at least one day a week where I down a large pizza, but I measure and manage the rest of the food for
that day to account for it.

Off the scale and outside of the mirror my blood pressure went down, resting heart rate went down. Some issues that I had in my blood work prior to the program cleared up. I sleep better. I have more energy to play with my son and enjoy being active with the family.

How do you feel after making those changes?

I feel awesome!

I am the leanest I’ve ever been.

I lost 30 lbs in the first 6 months. Currently, I am down over 75 lbs and have been following my First In Nutrition Plan for 1.5 years.

What did your friends/family think of your transformation?

They were shocked at how fast I lost the weight and had a lot of questions about the program / weighing my food.

They were all very supportive and they think my transformation was amazing.

Were you active or did you workout during your journey?

Working out was basically an afterthought during most of this process because I was busy caring for a newborn and my coach advised me that because of this, diet was going to be everything.

As I became more comfortable with fatherhood and with my son’s schedule, my coach recommended that I start to add in some body weight exercises (pushups, sit-ups and squats) to compliment the results that I was already seeing.

What does being First In mean to you?

Being part of First In fills part of the void that I feel the Fire Service has lost. The concept of helping your brothers and sisters with the problems we have to face from day to day.

Being able to answer a question in the group or comment on ways to help planning food in order to increase the quality of life we get to live is awesome.

I try to be First In everyday by being active, for not just my health, but also to keep improving on my body composition to look and feel better than I did the day or month or year before.

What was the biggest challenge or change when you started with First In and how did you overcome it?

The biggest change was realizing I couldn’t out work a bad diet and I couldn’t make all the changes I wanted on
my own.

The support and guidance from the First In Nutrition Family was instrumental in my transformation because it was one-part learning resource and another part support group.

This is a group that I went to for anything food related (and then some).

If I needed tips about how to plan my food for a 24 hour shift at a busy station, or a road trip with a toddler, or maybe just someone to hold me accountable, I knew I could count on the First In Family.

What’s next for you and where do you see this journey taking you in the future? ​

I’m nowhere near finished with my journey. I want to try to be the best version of myself I can be for my wife and son.

Not only that, but also having made these changes with the the support of this Family makes me want to help other first responders.

A big part of the reason for this is because the life expectancy for the first responder community is getting worse due to PTSD, cancer, heart problems, and suicide.

If I can help a fellow first responder improve their overall health and outlook on life, I feel like that’s the true meaning of brotherhood. After all, that is the foundation of all first responder jobs: Fire service, military, law enforcement, etc.

What are your top 5 "secrets" for success?

1- Stop trying to out think yourself. You can spend endless hours reading about food and diet ideas and nutritional plans and programs and still not know what to do to make any progress. Or you can give up the reigns to someone who can keep you honest and put your effort into doing the work.

2- Stop putting foods in classes like diet food or bad foods or good foods it is food. How much or how little you eat is what affects you.

3- Be open. Ask/ Tell your coach everything and then some. They can tell you if it is info they don’t need but if you don’t Ask/Tell then they don’t know and can’t help you plan for it.

4- Slow and Steady Wins the Race. It is not the answer anyone wants to hear, but that is how a lasting life style change can be maintained.

5- It is not about numbers on the scale. All men think they are bigger than what they are and from what I have seen most women want to be lighter. Instead of that number it is about quality of life and how you look and feel. No way would I have said I wanted to weigh what I weigh now, but I have never felt or looked better than I do. I also can make real changes to how I want to look moving forward because I can plan them with my coach who helps keep me grounded with where I truly am.

any advice for someone thinking about getting started?

Stop selling yourself short and quit wasting time. Get a coach. Someone who will work with you and help you find a plan that fits your life.

If you’re looking for a FAMILY to help and support you along the way, come join the First In Family…


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    Testimonials were given freely and service members did not receive any preferential treatment, discount, or other benefit due to the nature of their service, rank, or position and in no way are the views or beliefs of any branch of the armed forces or uniformed services.