Author’s note: Last week I interviewed Janice Legler (down 48 pounds) for today’s article, was interviewed myself by a member of my Relief Society presidency about my visiting teaching, read Dian Thomas’s article here in Meridian about how she lost 80 pounds, supported my 16-year-old in his calling as a Youth Leader for our stake,and attended the temple. Like a tune in the back of my head that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, the common element of these different experiences played in my head all week long. At last it revealed itself in the temple, along with a simple and effective way to implement it for weight loss success for my beautiful friends here at Meridian. After you’ve read the article, you may want to click HERE for the printable forms to put today’s information into action.

Today’s success story features Janice Legler, an outstanding Stake Primary President under whom I served several years ago. She has lost nearly 50 pounds with a remarkable program and welcomes hearing from you. (email her at [email protected]” target=”_blank”>[email protected] and put “Meridian” in the subject line. I’ve also included her address at the above link with the printable documents.)

Today’s Scripture: “For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will – yea even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.” (D&C 76:10)

Unlike many of us who read this column who have experienced a lifelong struggle with weight and food issues, Janice Legler, 58, of the Farmington Utah Oakridge Stake, had no weight issues throughout her youth and early adulthood. Calories were burned and fitness maintained through a wide variety of physical activities – racquetball, hiking, golf and women’s basketball. “I loved it all!” says the accomplished photographer, mother of four and the grandmother of one, with passion. “Except for baby fat’ from pregnancies, I never gave my weight a second thought!”

Fifteen years ago, a bone in her foot shifted, causing enormous pain. It was a development from a college basketball injury (a BYU ward team) and there were no easy answers to this sidelining condition. “A day’s shopping was beyond what my feet could do.”

As the situation became seemingly permanent, her doctor was not able to provide much more than pain relievers and a handicapped tag for parking her car. He was not able to remedy the resultant weight gain from lack of exercise and her new (and very unfamiliar) sedentary lifestyle.

“The pounds piled on, and the years went by,” she says remembering. “I knew I had to do something. I did go to Weight Watchers, but there was something so defeating in it right from the start for me: I knew that as I lost weight, I’d be allotted less food to eat. It felt like a punishment!”

Although she’d lost 15-20 pounds a couple of times through this program, she gained it back both times – with interest.

“What I did learn from Weight Watchers, however, was how to eat healthfully and how to divide my intake each day into enough fruits and vegetables, how to prepare low-cal healthy meals, and the importance of drinking enough water.”

In the late fall of 2004, the family moved from Northern Virginia to Utah. Although she’d been on a healthy weight loss track at the time of the move through Weight Watchers, it did not continue.

“I despaired of ever losing the weight or feeling the energy I had been used to for my entire life!. My foot was causing me so much pain. A regular day’s activity left me in chronic pain for several days.”

For a number of years, she had been a distributor for NuSkin Pharmanex Division and their health supplements. Pharmanex is all about quality and scientific integrity, so when they announced they were testing a weight loss program in the spring of 2007, she eagerly signed up. The screening for candidates was extensive, and she felt grateful to finally be selected. She willingly drove 90 minutes each way to the weekly appointments and analysis sessions.

As she learned more about the program, she was even more eager to participate. As Meridian author Dian Thomas (down 80 pounds) shared in a recent Meridian article, she had reached the first true step of weight loss, which is “to decide that you want to lose the weight so bad that you are willing do what it takes to stay on course and never give up.”

The eating program Janice used sounds challenging, but, as she says: “life became much, much easier for me! Each day I’d drink the two delicious shakes and eat one healthy, reasonably portioned dinner. I would eat healthy snacks of fruits and vegetables if I needed something extra. I was not hungry. I was not pre-occupied with thoughts of food – what I could, and more importantly, what I could not eat. I did not feel deprived in any way.

“The nutrients in the shake were so satisfying that I experienced no cravings and enjoyed the simplicity of eating each day. It was simple and I didn’t have to count points or fix three meals a day. I knew what I would eat for two of them, so my focus wasn’t always on food. I found myself thinking more and more on how to be active and burn the calories. Simple things, like parking so I had to walk further, or taking things downstairs rather than piling them on the top step to await a bigger load at all once. I became aware of how much I moved. I even jogged at my computer rather than sitting there when my computer was finishing tasks.”

Best of all, the program came with an amazing accountability tool in the form of GoWear Fit armband. If you watch the TV program “The Biggest Loser,” you may have seen it. It attaches to the upper forearm and analyzes to 92% accuracy the calories burned including other difficult to determine variables.

Janice continues, “We had determined that I needed to burn off 1,000 calories more than I ate each day through activity, exercise and portion control to reach my goal of two pounds lost per week. I attended Curves Fitness Centers for women almost every weekday for 30 minutes. By plugging into the computer and uploading the data from my armband I was able to tell at a glance where I was on that goal each day. Many were the evenings when I realized I still had 200 calories left to burn. I’d get on my glider for a while or use my exercise ball in a routine. As the weight came off I was able to walk in place in the living room. Although I knew exercise and activity were important, I had not realized how essential they were to my weight loss success.”

The weight came off steadily at a healthy two pounds per week. Her family, supportive from the beginning, became even more supportive and in a spirit of cooperation did not ask or expect her to cook foods that would be detrimental to her success. “It was fun, and the bonding that occurred as they supported me will be an important chapter for our family history.”

“We worked around it! They would ask what I could eat, and when everybody was at home or on a holiday, we managed to have a fantastic time without it all being about the food.

Even my extended family would plan for my success when we got together – having optional fruits for dessert.”

The program was easy to continue whether at home or traveling, and by October she had lost more than 40 pounds. She had gone from a size 22 to a trim size 14. As she incorporated more meals and fewer shakes, the healthy eating from her days at Weight Watchers kicked in and she continued to lose. By the end of the year, she had lost another eight pounds.

When asked what are the greatest benefits, she replied, “I feel like I have my life back! The foot injury is still there, but the pain is gone. I can go on all day photo-shoots and not be incapacitated with foot pain the next day. I had not realized how much I had given up until I got it back.”

Hooray, Janice! It’s a true celebration of life to live life as the “you” you’re meant to be.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I was interviewed by a member of my Relief Society presidency on how my visiting teaching was going at about the same time I interviewed Janice. As the Relief Society leader thoughtfully and kindly asked questions about the sisters I visit and I provided accountability for my stewardship, my thoughts jumped back to Janice’s experience as a testing participant for the program, where there were frequent assessments of her progress and needs.

In addition, she had come back again and again to the value of the GoWear Fit armband as a powerful resource for accountability and her current condition. Each day she was able to tell how many calories she had burned and knew what she needed to do be simply plugging it into the computer. I thought, too of Helen Luksan’s powerful story (also down 48 pounds through support at ) and the many other friends and successful members at who have found joy in accountability there, then Dian’s article where she mentioned accountability.

Within the next few days, my 16-year-old attended both a stake youth fireside planning meeting and Bishop’s Youth Council, where, after having served in the Church, I knew what the meetings would involve: planning, addressing needs, assignments and expectations from the bishop to report on the effectiveness and status of decisions from previous meetings.

As I attended the temple last Monday, these thoughts and observations were on my mind. As I sat, the mortal condition, our weaknesses, and our great needs, the need for action, then accountability were powerfully impressed upon me.

Suddenly it all came together for me. The same method that effective ward and stake leaders use is perhaps the easiest and most effective weight loss accountability method ever! It’s the Lord’s plan for understanding needs, coupled with accountability – and we can easily use it to for weight loss success. Just think of a ward council meeting! With pen in hand, assess, decide, calendar, take action, then – most important of all – return and report .

The assessment can be done alone, with a doctor, community or online program, or even with trusted friends. Returning and reporting to any of them is powerful. However, what if the council meetings with the assessment of needs, goal setting, planning, calendaring and the returning and reporting were done with the Master Creator, our own Father who provided the opportunities for mortality – through prayer ? With today’s scripture in our hearts and as an earnest prayer? Here it is again:

Today’s Scripture: “For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will – yea even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.” (D&C 76:10)

As I sat and pondered these thoughts in the temple, the Spirit whispered to me that the Lord’s way is always one of divinely inspired assignments that show his will, then action and accountability on our part! At the same time a simple worksheet, goal planner, calendar and “return and report” form opened itself in my mind. I have created them for us and you can click HERE to download them.

How I hope these thoughts will bring peace and success to your healthy living and lighten both your spirit and your weight. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments! Send an email to me at [email protected]” target=”_blank”>[email protected]!

Today’s Empowerment: “The Lord’s plan of action is my plan of action! It is a joy to be accountable and to return and report to him!”

Today’s Journal Prompt and Discussion Starters:

  1. Describe a favorite bishop and how he inspired action.
  2. Consider ward and stake leadership experiences. Which ones were most effective in helping members progress?

Today’s Recipe: Chicken Tetrazini

Spaghetti squash is the healthy heroine’s answer for real spaghetti. Knowing how to cook it (the directions are here) will give you all kinds of ideas on how to use it often!

    • Spaghetti squash
    • 1 Tb. margarine
    • 1 medium yellow onion
    • 1 stalk celery
    • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
    • 3 Tbsp. flour
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 1 cup skim milk
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 Tbs. sour cream
    • 2 Tbs. parsley
    • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
    • 2 cups cubed chicken
    • 2 Tb. dried bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Slash the squash in several places and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for an hour or so, or until it can be easily pierced with a fork. Let it cool.
  2. While it’s cooking, melt the margarine in a medium-sized saucepan. Then add the onion, celery and pepper. Cook, uncovered, until the onion is soft.
  3. Slowly add the flour to the vegetables and stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, milk and bay leaf. Cook, uncovered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf, stir in the sour cream, parsley and lemon juice.
  4. Half the spaghetti squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Using a fork, lift out the “noodles” and arrange into an ungreased shallow 1 1/2-quart casserole, smoothing into an even layer with a spatula or or back of a spoon. Cover with the chicken, then the sauce, and top with the bread crumbs.


  5. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

(1 g Fiber; 330 Calories; 14 g Fat; 29 g Carb)