Note from Carolyn: As June begins, I am personally and officially starting my second 12 week challenge for weight management and osteoporosis by following a whole food, plant-based Word of Wisdom eating plan, and continuing weight training. My first 12 weeks was wonderful with nearly 8 extremely unforgiving pounds and many inches gone. Since then I’ve quickly dropped another nearly 2 pounds with this eating plan. Please join me and other Meridian friends as we explore the do’s’ of the Word of Wisdom over the summer with Jane Birch, author of Discovering The Word of Wisdom. The challenge is fun, it’s free and no purchase is required. Learn more at

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presents a life-changing approach to dealing with problems in his article “The Call To Be Christ-like.” In teaching about the critical importance of building Zion exactly where we are, he says, “How we respond in any situation has to make things better, not worse. The Savior always did what should have been done to make the situation better.” (June 2014 Ensign, pp. 30-31.)

As I’ve thought about that, it’s a clarion call on how to approach any difficulty by simply asking ourselves “How can I make this situation better, not worse?” He goes on to add, “We keep praying silently: What is the right thing to do here? What is the right thing to say? What ultimately will make this situation better?” 

Perhaps at first glance it’s not too different than the “What would Jesus do?” query, but for me it opens the mind to a more expansive prayerful attitude as well as positive action and I’m excited to test the limits of this important question.

In preparing for my second 12-week challenge, (You can read about how I launched the first one here last February here on Meridian.

I reviewed the stories of the 2013 Champions and was truly inspired with how they had applied the life-giving and life-changing principle of “How can I make this situation better?” for their dear ones:

Megan Mainor: (Winner, Women Ages 25-45. Lost 13.5 pounds and many inches during her 12 weeks in 2013.)

“With the start of a new year, a new baby at home and a lot of excess weight, I decided it was time to take control of my horrible eating habits and get fit for life. I decided that I wanted control over my body and health. I wanted to set an example for my children and other mothers around me that it is possible to accomplish weight-loss after pregnancy. I believe it is a choice to be fit and healthy. It takes discipline to choose this path, especially when those around you, or those who influence you heavily, are not making the same healthy choices.

At first it was difficult because I LOVE SWEETS. Being addicted to sweets is no laughing matter. I could, and would, eat sweets everyday in very unhealthy portions! Anything from cake to cookies, candy, and more. I was out of control! Getting this managed was my first task. 

Although I thought it would be very difficult, it wasn’t. I owe this first success, all to my husband and kids. Every time I thought about eating sweets, I would pray for my family instead. I prayed for their health and salvation. When I looked at the big picture and realized I could choose between momentary satisfaction or my family’s well being, there was really no question. 

Jayne Woodruff: (Winner, Women over 46. Went from a tight size 12 to a size 4)

I made the decision to get off the medication and take steps to reclaim my health. After the New Year I began to explore the idea of exercise to boost my serotonin levels, and I knew my unhealthy eating habits needed to change as well. My number one goal was to finish, no matter what life dealt me along the way. And boy did it throw some obstacles in my path! I faced one challenge after another, and I was tested in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

I no longer had the crutch of medication; I was eating right, working hard and, for the first time in a long time, believing in myself. I began to see that by putting my physical and mental health first, I could deal with just about anything! Then came a situation that nearly derailed me, my daughter, who had dropped down to an unhealthy 85 lbs, confessed to me that she had relapsed into a heroin addiction. 

My old self wanted to give up then and there. The new me said, “Stick to the program and show her by example that when you take control of your destiny, you can change your life into something amazing!” That became my goal, to be a role model to her and my other children; to show them you can reach your dreams. I have a real plan and purpose for my life!”

Reading their stories, I know one thing: Claiming their goals and personal health made things better in a Christ-like way for their loved ones in those three months, not worse. For that young mother, her addiction to sweets was swiftly addressed by valuing the greater need of prayers for her children’s welfare and salvation. For the mother of the daughter on heroin, abandoning her health program would give the adversary dominion over an opportunity to provide inspiration and dedication to personal goals.

In the big picture, those three months of their successful first challenge will establish power and strength for the next three months. And the next, and then the next! In fact, in the big plan we can fast forward to eternal families gathering on the other side, stronger and BETTER because of this, the summer of 2014, our personal health goals and a commitment to action. 

The scriptures tell us that “out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33-34). Could it be that the three months of summer of 2014 could be your small thing’ that makes a big difference for more than just your own health? With Elder Holland’s guidance and a renewed overall desire to be Christ-like in order to make things better in times of challenge and trial, here are the three questions:

1) Who in my circle of influence needs an example of commitment to my goal this summer? 
2) Who needs my prayers?

3) How can their needs be addressed by personally making a health commitment and following it?

The simple truth is that summer is the perfect time to take on any health program seriously! Lightened schedules, readily, more affordable fruits and veggies around us and weather that allows us to get out freely are gifts from Heavenly Father.

I hope you’ll now pretend that you are in Primary and sing along with me!

So what will you do in the summertime when all the world is green?
Will you choose healthy foods
And bright attitudes
For health and new energy high?
Is that what you’ll do? So will I!

Join me, LDS author Jane Birch and other Meridian readers for our summertime health challenge at and

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.

She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where she is the Primary chorister and they team-teach Missionary Preparation for the Annandale Stake CES Institute program. 

Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian!