Learning Weight Loss at Playground University
By Carolyn Allen

Author’s note: It’s now three months since we offered the health tea to our Meridian friends. Many of you have tried it and love it! Several of you have taken it to your doctors after discovering it’s more effective than prescriptions for bowel and stomach problems and are now off those prescription medications. We even have a doctor or two ordering it from us! Brother Nathan Howard, of Washington State and a friend of my mother’s from her days at the Washington, D.C. Temple is a heart transplant patient with an amazing story to tell about the tea. And Tracy Horowitz has provided a beautiful Book of Mormon scripture and personal story that will also inspire you. Though it seems to be more effective for some than others, there’s no denying that is extremely helpful for regularity issues for nearly everyone who tries it and is in no way harmful to anyone. Click HERE to see it all, or go to the Meridian Marketplace, click on Health and Wellness, then click on MyMiracleTea.com.”

Today’s Quote: “People don’t quit playing because they grow old. The grow old because they quit playing.” (Unknown)

I was already turning gray at the age of 39 when our we had our fifth child, a lovely little daughter we named Kelly Brooke. Our other kids were 11, 7, 5 and 2 when Kelly arrived. I frequently had her in the backpack and 2-year old Cooper in the stroller. I was often (and I mean several times a month) stopped with: “Wow! What a cute grandma! Not many grandmothers do the backpack thing.” Although I had my earned Lifetime membership at Weight Watchers and was at a healthy weight when I became pregnant, I could just not shake those baby pounds as I’d planned on after she was born. It was very discouraging.

Needless to say, I started coloring my hair, something I could change in an hour or so. Imagine my dismay when the “Grandma” comments did not stop! When Kelly was three years old, there was an awful, awful day (though my hair color had changed, my weight and wardrobe had not) when a repairman arrived at the same time a dear friend her three-year-old were visiting.

When the little girls started to cry over something gone wrong, the repairman looked at my friend and the little girls and said “Boy, they sure don’t want to be at Grandma’s, do they?” Meaning of course, that my friend was my daughter ! I’m not exaggerating. Things like this ruined my day regularly for another couple of years.

When Kelly was 5 (nearly 10 years ago) at last I found the inner resolve to stick with a healthy eating and exercise program and at last lost the weight. I was older, in my mid-40’s. The weight came off much more slowly, and I had to accept that my age made it acceptable for me to weigh more than I was happy about, yet still be healthy and look much better.

Once in a blue moon, someone still thought I was her Grandma, but I just gave them a smile, remembered the size of my jeans, and that they fit straight out of the dryer, and moved on. A child is a blessing at any age!

Kelly has just turned 15, and I actually am a grandma! We have four little grandkids aged 4, 3, turning 2 and 7 months, and what a great joy it is to play with them at the playground, rather than to just sit. To be able to chase after the Mr. Turning Two who has no concept of what’s in front of him, but just keeps running, and to lift a very heavy three-year old up for a drink at the special drinking fountain.

playground iStock AldoMurilloLife on the playground. iStockphoto.com/Aldo Murillo

There are great lessons to learn about health and eating to live, rather than living to eat from our children and grandchildren. At any playground, it’s easy to observe the following:

  • As we walk to the park, they run;
  • As we sit on a bench and chat, they’re all over the playground
  • When it’s time to eat, they have to be called a dozen times, and still are too busy playing to eat;
  • When they finally do come, often little bites are all they need or want
  • Before you can turn around, they’re done and off to play and be active again!

Think about it! Here are the weight-loss-made-easy lessons;

  1. Eat only when you’re hungry, but not too hungry . Less food more often keeps the fire (your body/metabolism) burning. Think of our Boy Scouts and their campfires. They keep the fire burning by feeding it the right fuel often enough so that it doesn’t have to be completely restarted, which is what may happen to our metabolism when we go for longer than 3-4 hours without eating and follow the incorrect “three-meals-a-day “12:00 it’s time for lunch” rule.


  2. Moving the body is fun and play! In other words, if it ain’t fun, you’re done! If you haven’t had a chance recently, go check out the playground or a ball field be reminded of this glorious truth: The fun is in participating! If your exercise plan is not fun, or done with some company that you enjoy so that there is some level of enjoyment and satisfaction, you will not stick with it . How you exercise is something you can change to suit your life and interest with the huge range of physical activities for every level.


  3. Develop an attitude of gratitude – and observation . Our loving Heavenly Father gave us five senses, and we can use all of them when we eat to make it a lasting, satisfying experience for our body and spirit. Have you got some cute dishes or china that you’re using regularly so your food LOOKS more interesting/appetizing? That one is easily remedied with a trip to the dollar store or discount store. No need to buy a whole set; just a few plates to shake things up a bit will do. Have you HEARD that sizzling of stir-fry veggies in a wok? Have you enjoyed the aroma of a loaded veggie taco (recipe below), as the onions, beans and veggies are cooking together and the spices are added? Have you ENJOYED THE TEXTURE of what you’re eating? I truly think that when we’re eating food as a medication for all kinds of emotional issues, we consume it with no more enjoyment than a pill quickly swallowed with water.


  4. Sitting still is a punishment . This one speaks for itself – it’s all in how you think about it! If sitting still is not a punishment for you, make sure you’ve got a fun project in your hands (be it needlework, or a pet to stroke) that you wouldn’t want to get food on.

    Of course we want to sit when we eat, so decide on those places, and use them only as eating stations.


  5. Fun first, food later. Even at a party where the purpose is to have fun and eat too, when you step back, eating while standing up at a party is less than satisfying. If you’re eating with a plate in one hand and a fork or spoon in the other, there’s really no way to effectively juggle and enjoy to the max. Usually we’re chatting and roaming while eating, which is another very effective way to consume way-too-many unnoticed calories. It’s a decision to either eat ahead of time and just socialize, or to visit first, carefully select your food items from the buffet when it’s somewhat picked over and not so tempting, then sit down to eat.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a trip to the playground!

Today’s Journal Prompt and Discussion Starters:

  1. In what ways can I incorporate more fun activity into my lifestyle?
  2. How do I plan to handle the next summer socializing event that involves too much food?

Today’s Recipe: Loaded Veggie Tacos


1 (12-ounce) package ground beef substitute
1 (16-ounce) jar chipotle salsa
1 (16-ounce) jar fat-free spicy black bean dip
8 (10-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
1 (8-ounce) container fat-free sour cream
1 (8-ounce) package fat-free shredded Cheddar cheese
6 green onions, sliced
8 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 cups shredded leaf lettuce



Cook beef substitute and salsa in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Spread bean dip evenly over 1 side of each tortilla. Top evenly with beef substitute mixture, sour cream, and next 4 ingredients; roll up. Serve immediately.

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 333(1% from fat); FAT 1g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.0g); IRON 2.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 356mg; CARBOHYDRATE 49g; SODIUM 1153mg; PROTEIN 29g; FIBER 8g