Author’s note: Next week, I’ll be sharing an update of Meridian Reader Liz Langston, now down 60 pounds! Stay tuned! Also, August 1 is just around the corner and time for a new monthly challenge at To sign up for our newsletter, learn more, join for the first time or switch teams, click HERE.

I recently came across an entertaining and astute cartoon showing a very overweight man sitting on the doctor’s examination table. With clipboard in hand, the doctor wryly commented: “I have good news and I have bad news: You can exercise for an hour a day or be dead for twenty-four.”

I hope you’re laughing! What’s one hour of effort compared to 24 hours of energy, fitness and a sense of personal achievement? Stepping back into the correct perspective, it’s nothing!

With last week’s foundation of diligence defined as loving more instead of trying harder, it’s time to get out the valuable tools and perspectives of a microscope, a telescope and the scriptures to inspire action and healthy choices that make a lasting difference.

Today’s Quote: “Love sees through a telescope, not a microscope.” (Anon.)

One of my forever best friends is Eileen Habenicht Snow, an enormously talented songwriter, author, vocalist and the very first “Julie” in the BYU Production of “Saturday’s Warrior,” which is where we met in 1974. In the early 80’s she and I found ourselves as members of one of the Washington D.C. singles wards when a dream opportunity arrived for her to become an elite member of the famed U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.

Then led by Craig Jessop (who now conducts the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), this choir was a dream come true. This was a chance to literally sing around the world with the equally famous U.S. Air Force Band while meeting world leaders and performing in concert with international celebrities.

Viewing the situation from the telescope the decision was easy: “Do it! What could possibly hold you back?” Through the microscope, however, came the magnification of authentic and genuine concerns. As a Singing Sergeant, she would be 100% committed to the Air Force and being stationed in Washington, D.C. for the entire four years. What if her invalid mother in Utah needed her? What if Mr. Right came along? Four years is a long time for a single LDS woman over 25 who is striving to follow the Prophet, hoping to marry and start a family.

In the end, the only consolation was, “With or without taking this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the time would go by anyway.” Four years later would be four years later, with or without the experiences and the memories.

With that perspective and considerable prayer, the decision was made. She went to boot camp singing “Every latrine seems to whisper Eileen ….” and has had those four marvelous years to treasure ever since. She married in the Salt Lake City Temple and had her first baby while still serving as a Singing Sergeant. Though not without challenges, it all worked out just fine.

Again and again as choices and decisions of my own have come, I’ve gone back to that window into eternity and Eileen’s wisdom and asked myself, “The time will go by anyway. When it comes, where will you be?”

For those of us who read this column, too often a literal paralysis sets in as we negatively justify our health status, agonize, make excuses, procrastinate, ignore warnings and indulge procrastination with a microscope while we keep on eating, eating, eating. With a telescope, a better use of the microscope and the scriptures, we can switch negative behaviors into positive long range goals and dreams into applicable short range actions.

Instead of using a mental microscope to magnify how hard it is to lose weight and why we really can’t or don’t want to, we can use it to magnify the simplicity of losing just 2-3 pounds a month. This is no big deal and doable with the most basic healthy choices, smart portions and some increased exercise 6 days out of seven. I repeat, no big deal.

Through the telescope, however, that 2-3 pounds becomes 25 pounds in a one-year period, which is a very big deal. Multiply that out like Eileen’s four-year assignment, and that’s 100 pounds and a whole new healthy lifestyle!

Take it to even a shorter range – say, eating out at a restaurant. With the telescope you can positively imagine leaving the restaurant feeling proud of yourself, with your pants still zipped and fitting comfortably. With the microscope, you can literally magnify your choices to make that happen. Here are some good microscopic tips:

  1. Speak up! Choose places that have healthy choices. It’s getting easier and easier as the world becomes more health conscious.
  2. Eat up: Don’t arrive hungry! Have a snack and drink some water before arriving. Slip into the restroom when you arrive and review or write down your goal, sneak a peek at a motivating photo you can keep in your wallet and say to yourself: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels!”
  3. Speak up once again! When that bread basket arrives, ask them to take it away, or at least for your companions to move it away from you.
  4. Order up: Go first so you won’t be distracted by others. Ask the waiter bring out only HALF of your serving, and have them put the rest in a container to take home at the end of the meal. (Are you reading Dr. Bridell? … We love you!)
  5. Eat up: But slowly, with lots of water and lots of conversation. Put down your fork and relax.
  6. Listen up: To your tummy, that is. When you start to get full, that’s a warning bell that feeling overly full is just a few minutes away. If you’re like me and continue to pick even when full, get out the salt and pepper shakers and sprinkle like mad before the plate is scraped clean.
  7. Divvy up: At dessert time, order one dessert and forks to go around. Lots more fun and lots fewer calories!

See? Use a telescope for the goal and a microscope for the choices available!

Now, with that telescope and a microscope in hand, it’s time to pick up the most important weight loss tools of all: the scriptures. Did you know that the angels themselves can bring you your telescope and microscope?

Go to Moroni 7: 27-33: After expounding on the truth that the day of miracles is NOT over and that angels are being sent to guard and guide us, Moroni quotes Christ:

If ye have will have faith in me, ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me …

Whatsoever …. What a beautiful word! For us, whatsoever means the strength to create a long term healthy weight and lifestyle (think telescope!) through short range health choices (think microscope!)

Now, what could be easier or more important?

Today’s Empowerment: “The big picture of a healthy weight is fulfilled as the little picture of healthy choices are positively magnified.

Today’s Journal Prompt and Discussion Starters:

  1. Looking back on your life, what decisions have you made that have played themselves out well in the long run?
  2. Four years from now, what do you want to be weighing, wearing and doing?

Today’s Recipe: Nana Puddin’ Pops

1 package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups skim milk
2 very ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 4 chunks each

  1. Prepare the pudding according to directions.
  2. Put one wooden ice cream stick into each banana piece. Then place in a small bathroom size drinking cup. Divide the pudding between the 8 cups and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

(0 g Dietary Fiber; 60 calories; 0 Fat g; 12 Carbs)