Today’s Scripture : “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” (II Nephi 4:28)

I often listen to books on tape or CD in the car when I’m alone. I recently checked out Judith Moore’s book about herself, entitled Fat Girl . I thought it would help prime my thoughts for a group of professional women in the Washington, D.C., area that I will meet with soon.

Like a number of books that women have written about their weight, it chronicles a laundry list of factors that have caused her to be heavy, including an unhappy childhood, troubled relationships, sluggish genetics and increasing age. She makes no apologies. Unike the uplifting Running with Angels (by LDS author Pam Hanson) or No More Excuses (by Tawni Gomes) or other stories of personal victories over obesity, Moore makes it clear in the first few pages that there will be no happy ending, nor before/after pictures. I took a deep breath and continued to listen.

Then followed narrative after narrative that described an obsession with eating. They included detailed, vivid descriptions of foods of all types and the temptations they provided, extended weird diets (including a hot dog diet) that left her hungry, weak and discouraged, various encounters with people and their negative reactions, shopping in plus-sized stores, and more. It was depressing and distressing, filled with helplessness and hopelessness. I longed to give her a call and give her James Allen’s famous quote: “As a man thinketh, so is he!”

Better yet, I wanted to recite Nephi’s excellent self-counsel (and today’s quote) in 2 Nephi 4:28 – “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” I’d like to invite her to join us here, or at, where there are uplifting people changing their own lives and helping others. It’s encounters like these that provide a fresh breath into the joy that the gospel living brings, even with life’s challenges.

As her decidedly droopy discourse continued, I made an active choice and decided to stop listening to her story. It’s always a choice to separate ourselves from things that literally weigh down our bodies and spirits.

She reminded me of a woman at a community weight loss meeting I attended a number of years ago. As she went on in an identical fashion about how much she loved food and how she spent her evenings with it, the leader listened patiently to a point, then cut her off with, “It sounds like you need to get a life! Have you thought about …” then listed a number of non-food options (Take a class! Volunteer! Start a project! Join a team!) to get herself busy in the evenings and at difficult times of the week

Instead of responding with appreciation or even feigned interest, her eyes quickly glazed over. Her moment of having everyone listen to her was over. Something positive had changed and brightened the atmosphere in the room. I felt sad for her.

When my husband was called to serve as a bishop, he was advised by our marvelous stake president that there would be “bishop eaters.” Though dear and important, they would find their greatest solace in spending regular, continued time with him, lamenting their troubled situations and asking for his advice. They would want to set up weekly appointments to counsel with him, although they had no real interest, let alone a burning desire, to follow his advice, change their circumstances or improve their relationships.

He was instructed to be generous in setting up the appointments for these dear ones who could so easily gobble up his precious time, but to end each meeting with specific assignments, and to start each meeting by requesting a report of how the assignments had been fulfilled. If there had not been any action, the appointment was kindly ended at that very moment.

Sure enough. Within a few weeks of being called, the bishop eaters started making their appointments. He followed the advice he had been given. The appointments soon sorted themselves out and many no longer continued. Funny, isn’t it?

It reminds me of a cute cartoon of two women chatting over the backyard fence: One said to the other with a smile, “You know, no matter how busy I am, I’m never too busy to talk about it!” Hmmmm.

I’d love an appointment with people like Judith Moore. Yes, we could easily talk about food, glorious food, and the woes that being overweight bring, but we could also talk about how exciting it is to find something to do instead of something to eat and get out some catalogs of fun recreational community classes, or a career development course. Perhaps we’d talk about new studies that are providing hope for those of us who really do have a much more difficult time losing weight. (Google in “glycemic index” to learn about regulating your blood sugar with the primary low GI foods that consist of fruit/veggies/whole grains and healthy fats.)

Perhaps we’d put on some soothing music and talk about her divine nature and that “God doesn’t make junk.” Maybe we’d talk about discovering specific blessings of today and the miracle of enjoying the moment. Perhaps, we’d sip ice water, or enjoy a healthy snack or meal and decide to feel better. Perhaps we’d talk about the law of the harvest and not rushing …

Although it may seem like a difficult thing to decide to change idle talk into action, a song can make it easier. Perhaps Hymn No. 223, “Have I Done Any Good” is the right one.

No guilt trips! We’ll think of the person in need that the song refers to as us and our own health, With enthusiasm we’ll just sing the chorus:

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansions above
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure
A blessing of duty and love.

Perhaps after a good laugh and singing the song, we could kneel in prayer and ask for divine help to come up with some specific, enjoyable, do-able assignments to follow through on for the next week, then set up a time to return and report as friends.

Back to our scripture – “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” For those of us who struggle with our eating behaviors, I’d like to propose that the enemy is not food. We cannot survive without it! It’s God’s good plan for us to eat. The enemy, as Nephi directs, is dwelling upon the drooping !

In other words, It’s a choice … to rejoice! What rejoicing there is in waking up and doing something more, just a little something more.

Today’s Empowerment : I’m feeling healthy! I’m thinking healthy! I am healthy! Today is a blessing and I rejoice in making each healthy choice as it comes.

Today’s Recipe: Golden Granola

Makes 15 1/2 cup servings

This is so easy and good with either hot or cold skim milk, or use 1/4 cup as topping for fruit, yogurt or cottage cheese!

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup margarine melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp.

    ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup raisins

Combine all ingredients except raisins and mix well. Place into a 9x 13 inch baking pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.

(1.5 g Dietary Fiber; 166 Calories; 9 g Fat; 23 g Carb)