Author’s note: It’s the end of the month again! My team at is down nearly 30 pounds (woo-hoo!) and we’ve had a ball. If you haven’t yet joined or checked out this wonderful support and accountability site (owned and operated by LDS friends Dr. Camilo Torres and his wife Jen), just click HERE for your free one-month Meridian membership and codes for the Meridian teams. You’ll also find a link to more friends and their very nifty, simple program of menus, recipes and shopping lists for healthy, easy, delicious family eating. It might be just what you need for a healthier summer.

I had some wonderfully thoughtful comments on last week’s article about our hands, choices, and accountability. Sister D. Favey wrote after last week’s message, “I always wonder as we pray over brownies and cookies as “refreshments” to ask that they are nourishing for our bodies and give us the health we need” – is Heavenly Father shaking his head?  Read on, Sister Favey!

Today’s Quote: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

We’ve had a series of real shocks recently:

  1. My son Cooper’s darling, straighter-than-an-arrow 15-year old buddy dyed his hair blue-green. His very loving and wise parents just let it run its course, not saying or doing too much. Within a few days, and a little good-natured teasing from his friends, he was ready to return it to its natural state. However, upon dying it again it turned bright orange. Taking it all in good stride, within a few more days, it had grown a bit. He buzzed it and looks like himself again. Relationships with family and friends are stronger than ever with a learning experience that wasn’t dramatized unnecessarily.
  2. The second shock came with a very large, unopened container of store-prepared potato salad that arrived at our home as a leftover from a neighborhood graduation party. Since I never buy or prepare this type of potato salad, I opened it and had a little dish. Then I looked at the nutrition label: 279 calories for a one-half cup serving ! What?!?! How do you get that many calories into a half cup of anything but eggnog, chocolate fudge cake or straight mayonnaise?
  3. At a recent stake event for our youth, the prayer included a hesitant request that the refreshments be “tasty” as we celebrated the achievements of a fabulous year attending early morning Seminary. There was no mention of nourishing and strengthening our bodies.

What do these three shockers have in common? The truth! Sweet, good kids don’t really want Kool-Aid colored hair; commercially prepared, calorie-packed food has virtually zero nutritional value; and there’s nothing wrong with an occasional cookie or treat as we gather for fellowship. In fact, that’s the perfect place to enjoy a treat, in the good company of others.

Throughout his ministry, the Savior presented the truth again and again. Some were not ready to hear his thoughtful, truthful counsel. One of them was the rich young man who, after asking what he could do to inherit eternal life, was not willing to give up his possessions to bless the poor and follow Jesus. (Mark 10; 17-25). On the other hand, I am quite sure that others, such as the young woman taken in adultery and forgiven by the Savior in front of those who wished to condemn her, found a new life when the Savior personally revealed the necessary steps for a positive future. (John 7:53 -John 8:11)

We, too, can find a new, positive life filled with health and energy when we are ready to listen and hear the truth about our health.

Dr. David Schutt from the healthcare research firm Thomson Medstat   conducted a random telephone survey from January to March, 2006 with more than 11,000 people, of which about one-third (3,100) were obese or morbidly obese and other 4,200 were considered overweight, and made some startling discoveries about the reality and severity of their weight problem according to their answers.

Here are some of the findings:

  • More than three-fourths of the surveyed, obese Americans say they eat healthy.
  • Nearly 40 percent of the surveyed obese Americans say they do “vigorous” exercise a minimum of three times a week.
  • Twenty-eight percent of obese Americans say they snack twice or more daily compared with 24 percent of normal weight Americans.
  • Nineteen percent of obese Americans say they always read nutritional labels compared with 24 percent of normal weight Americans.
  • Twenty-nine percent of obese Americans say they eat out at a restaurant over three times a week compared with 25 percent of normal weight Americans.
  • Interestingly, of those who ate out at restaurants, 41 percent of the obese people said they ate every morsel of food put in front of them compared with 31 percent of the normal weight Americans.

Dr. Schutt said the results of his survey tell him there is “some denial going on” in the minds of these obese Americans about how to eat healthfully for an optimal weight. Other studies concur that many of us just don’t see what’s in the mirror or the number on the scales.

I guess so, Dr. Schutt! After reading the truth of his survey, it’s an opportunity to look at our own personal weight, the sizes we are wearing, our habits, the counsel from our doctors and gently ask ourselves, “Am I the rich young man, unwilling to give up what I’m used to, or the young woman, forgiven for being human and ready for new life?”

Sally Majestic wrote about facing the truth of her shocker and has given me permission to share it:

A few years ago, as I reached my mid-fifties, I stepped on our home scale and realized to my dismay that I weighed as much as I had when I was pregnant, but with no baby to show for it! I decided that I must do something about that – not only for myself, but for my daughters’ sakes. I started making more healthy choices, such as more salads, smaller portions, and exercising, with occasional setbacks on the scale, especially during the colder and holiday-filled winter months. I went to the mall and weighed myself the same time each week on the GNC scale, getting the little printout, which I would then post on the refrigerator. My daughters cheered me on, and eventually I got down to my goal – 30 pounds lighter, and in the healthy range for my height & age.

With that positive example to ponder on, here’s something easy to remember that will to help us live the truth and set our bodies free from the bondage of extra pounds When faced with foods and choices that we know are not in harmony with our goals and needs, we can easily just step back and with a prayer for strength and guidance, just THINK!

TAKE a step back ( either literally at the buffet line, or figuratively in your mind )
Ask yourself, Am I truly HUNGRY? Or is this a HABIT?
If you’re hungry, then food, appropriate for the time and occasion, is the answer. If it’s a habit, use last week’s message and find something for those two little hands to do!
Ask yourself, “IS IT WORTH IT?” Right now? An hour from now? 24 or more hours from now?
NO is a good thing to say; no explanations are required.

Just say it and move on!
KNOW your triggers, i.e. the foods and moods that set up a detour, and have replacements,
in place.

Now, back to Cooper’s friend and his dyed hair – our health situations can be remedied too! Though it cannot be changed overnight, being overweight is NOT permanent, nor is it a sin. Our families and true friends love us before, during and after, and life moves on with lessons learned as we follow honestly follow a healthy eating plan centered around the D&C Section 76.

Is there any greater blessing than the truth of the restored gospel to guide us as a people, the truth of personal revelation that is promised to us when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the truth of healthy eating as defined in the Doctrine and Covenants?

I don’t think so! Say it to yourself again, “Nothing tastes as good as healthy and thin feels … One day, one pound, one choice at a time is my truth to live by.”

Today’s Empowerment: “I accept the truth about my weight. I live the laws of health to set my spirit and my body free.”

Today’s Journal Prompt/Discussion Starter:

  • The rich young man was asked to give up possessions to fulfill his eternal potential. If the Savior asked you to give up foods or habits that are holding you back spiritually, what would they be?
  • What situations in summer living may require you to THINK, using today’s acronym? How can you be prepared for them?

Today’s Recipe: Penne Gourmet Spinach Salad

2 teaspoons lemon juice, fresh
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 
4 cups of spinach leaves
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup goat or feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted 
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Whisk lemon juice, oil and vinegar together. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  2. In a large bowl toss spinach leaves with dressing. 
  3. Add the tomatoes and goat cheese, mix gently to flavor entire salad.
  4. Sprinkle pine nuts over entire surface of salad.

Approximate Nutritional Breakdown: Servings (4)

Dietary Fiber 2 g; Fat 3.9g, Calories 79, Protein 8g, Carb 7g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 87mg

*Note: A non-fat salad dressing can be used in place of the oil and vinegar to lower the fat and calories in this recipe.