From the highest spot at the neighborhood playground, to a grocery store cart several aisles over at the supermarket, from the Wal-Mart electronics department where little girls gather around a demo TV, right on to home videos sent by our own children featuring our granddaughters, there is no Disney song sung so often and with so much unfeigned passion as: “Let It Go Let It Go Let it Go!”
Every word and every note seem to be absorbed and embraced by a crying, soaring need to well let it go! Is it just a catchy tune with lyrics that are fun to bellow? Or is it their little hearts bursting with an understanding that they determine their destiny and to not let anyone stand in their way?
Let it go, let it go.
I am one with the wind and sky.
Let it go, let it go.
You’ll never see me cry.
Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll stay.
Let the storm rage on.
While little girls have the luxury of being little girls and singing from their hearts strictly for themselves, I doubt theres one of us who wouldnt also love to stand at the top of the playground and passionately belt out the chorus thinking of any number of things that wed love to let go of! This often includes extra pounds, inches, habits and clothing that is literally weighing us down.
As I read Darla Isaacsons poignant article last week, “Confessions of a Too Busy Mom” I recognized myself, along with probably every loving mother I know. Womens searing need and burning desire to mother wisely and well (whether married or single) in tandem with an unending list of beneficial, yet pressing additional “ought-to-do” and “got-to-dos” ” is the one of the most pressing issues of these latter days.
The fact that other women (especially LDS) seem to manage and photographically document it all so effortlessly (at least according to their darling blogs, Facebook pages and Pinterest boards) can be depressing and unnerving. Darla, you are not alone in this lament of mothers and women throughout the Church. It is the reason so many of us overeat and under-exercise, then add the consequences to the lengthy list of things that need serious attention. Men and children have their burdens too!
Is it any wonder that the Savior imploringly and constantly encourages us to “let it go” by turning to Him?
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
His is the ultimate call for us to “let it go.”
To not do so puts us at the mercy of our own inefficient coping behaviors (like overeating and not exercising) that defeat and drain us. His loving, persistent encouragement to shift the burden to him within the scriptures resounds with a passion and personal concern that Disney animation cant begin to touch. How marvelous this truth is! Further, to recognize that this atonement is not just for the recovery and restoration from sin, but for the basic shortcomings we have of simply being human and in a probationary state is, for me, perhaps the beginning of letting go, and letting HIM for help to literally release individuals and circumstances beyond our personal control.
Many years ago as a weight loss coach, I shared in the evolution of a marvelous 60-something woman who lost over 100 pounds. She shared that much of her binge-eating was stress-related and fully connected to family situations and problems with grown children, grandchildren and aging parents. When her health became one of the biggest problem of all, it was time for a new pair of glasses on how to view her situation.
“It was a real wake-up call for me to see that that I wasnt helping my grown kids, my mother and my husband at all by having the answers for what they needed to do! They did NOT want to listen to me, and proved it by doing their own thing regardless of what I said. It slowly, slowly dawned on me that the only person I had control of was ME. The most important part to control, after fixing my thinking, was to control my mouth: what went into it, i.e., food to bless my health, and what went out of it, i.e. words to bless those around me.
This was easier to recognize than to implement, but as I took control of my food choices, my health improved and I began to lose the weight. I learned to bite my tongue, to turn my head, to pray for the strength to literally and emotionally let go of problems that werent really mine. I was surprised to find that my family respected me more, then listened when I did speak words of validation and support. Things improved dramatically for our entire family when I let go of things that werent mine.”
(This principal is magnificently and easily conveyed in the life-changing book by Meridian authors, Joy and Gary Lundberg, “I Dont Have To Make Everything All Better.” Every family and the world at large would be infinitely strengthened by adopting the Lundbergs simple style of communication skills which allow problems to stay with the owner while presenting support and love through validation.)
Where do you need to “let go?” Last May, my husband and I found that it was time to let go of meat and processed foods for health reasons and to become committed to “whole food plant based” eating. There was a strong spiritual component to it as we read and pondered D&C Section 89, the Word of Wisdom, and our own health needs now that we are in our 60s.
We had not expected this, nor were we prepared for it to become a fun and very worthwhile adventure that came in the form of Jane Birchs book and Meridian articles. As of this writing three months later, we are enjoying our meals more than ever before, along with saving significant time and money by more fully following the “dos” of the Word of Wisdom, thanks to a the Meridian articles and book by Jane Birch, along with our favorite “how to” source at www.forksoverknives.com. It has been an enriching part of marriage now that we are empty nesters.
What have we let go of? Although over the past several years wed pretty much said good-bye to sugar, soda and meat more than once a week, since May of 2014 we have also let go of:
1) Sauting with oil I always wondered why this was necessary. Come to find out, its not! You can easily soften vegetables for cooking with just a bit of water which steams them.
2) Butter on vegetables. Turns out their just as tasty, even more so, without it!
3) Egg and milk as part of a meal, though we still occasionally cook with eggs. Almond and soy milk have become happy replacements when we do eat cereal.
4) Thinking that breakfast foods are only cereal, milk, eggs, toast, etc. The rest of the world enjoys soups and vegetables, rice and beans at breakfast, so now we do too!
5) Meat and cheese 100%.
Were not missing it a bit! We have found that cooked beans are a much more delicious alternative and include them in almost every meal. (Exception: If we are guests in someones home and it becomes rude to not join with them, then being a good guest becomes the priority.)
Other things weve let go of:
6) Thinking that this is “weird,” a punishment or deprivation. We love what we eat, and we eat a LOT every day! In fact, weve never eaten more, speaking of both variety and volume.
7) Counting calories or points. Those days are gone for me. We eat until we are full several times a day, finding that this approach satisfies us much longer. I no longer track anything at all, other than hopping on the scale almost every day to see the terrific and happy results of eating like this. Strength training (since last February) and eating a whole food plant based diet mans that I now weigh less than I did in high school! I am wearing size 4 slacks.
8) Worrying about what other people think. Were not broadcasting how we eat in the same way that we dont broadcast other very personal things. Most of the time no one even notices or cares what we are choosing to eat, but, as noted above, if we are guests where theyve gone out of their way to fix a special meal for a celebration, then we will enjoy it and treat both them, and their preparation, as a gift.
9) Thinking that everyone should do as we do. We love how were eating, but know that most of our dear ones and associates are not interested and that they are healthy too! Were happy to provide the resources and information and let them make their own choices.
10) That we need to change our grown children and grandchildren. We still cook meat and old family favorites, along with our own meals, when anyone is home visiting and stir up some brownies or cupcakes. We just eat what we want to eat (note the important word is “want” and it is true! Surprisingly, once youve made the adjustment it isnt hard.) They are not ready for what we are doing, and for now the most important priority is for it to still feel like home for them.
All in all, we could shout “We Let It Go!” from the top of the playground, or to any listening audience that were delighted to have let meat, dairy, cheese, eggs, sugar and oil go. Our health shows it, as people are constantly complimenting us on how we look these days.
Was it easy when we started? No, but we let go of thinking it should be or would be, and soon enough, wed made the transition. Though were not 100%, its closer all the time.
So! Its mid-August. Whether youre ready for this approach long term or not, It just so happens that these healthy eating tricks are the easiest for long summer days! Throw some veggies in the steamer! Cook a big pot of rice and add tomatoes and Mexican seasoning. Bake a potato and add a pile of steamed broccoli. Open a can of beans and make burritos! Cut up some fruit, and call it breakfast, lunch and dinner. It just so happens that a nutritious, Word of Wisdom meal is the easiest and most filling.
We love it and hope you will too. On any level that youre ready for, letting the Standard American Diet go will be a blessing for your health and your family.