This week I got a lovely letter from a new reader who shared that she was scared by the number she was seeing on the scales and fearful of the impact it was having (and could have) upon her health. As big as those fears was the concern of what her obesity revealed to her children and grandchildren about her ability to control herself and set an example for them. I hope and pray today’s message will make a difference in making food and exercise choices that can bring immediate lightening of both spirit and body. I hasten to add that though I may seem to be speaking to women, we are brothers and sisters in the gospel, and these messages are for all of us.
Today’s Quote: “The Lord is my light, then why should I fear?” (Hymn No. 89)
June is bustin’ out all over! For many of us, the opportunities to overeat throughout June are bustin’ out all over as well – end of school year activities, weddings, graduations and the beginning of summer vacations and reunions fill our calendars with activities that frequently focus on clogging our bodies with high-calorie celebration and traditionally fattening party food.
The good news is that there’s a surprising source of constant inspiration around us. Without costing a cent or taking any time, this easy motivation can light our way to healthy choices that will help remove the load of both the extra pounds and the discouraging emotional, social and spiritual woes that accompany the excess weight.
Though it seems too simple to even consider, the easiest and most basic inspiration for healthy living is the principle and reality of light itself. The beginning basics of life and progress are light, both figurative and literal. In Genesis, the first recorded words from God are “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3) and the creation of the world moved forward from there.
As Joseph Smith uttered his prayer in the grove, a pillar of light appeared and the restoration of the Lord’s true church upon the face of the earth commenced. With our own physical births, we leave the darkness of our mother’s womb into the light of the world so that we can see in order to function and grow.
A seed for a flower or vegetable is literally buried in darkness, then moves to the light of the sun to fulfill its promise. The first shadow in the horizon marks the beginning of each new day. And, of course, the invention of the electric light bulb in 1879 by Thomas Edison was the dawning of a new age.
A quick glance into the topical guide reveals countless scriptures and cross references for the word light. Scriptures for the world light are listed as both an adjective and a noun. Especially interesting are the “see also” listing of the words brightness, candle, discernment, spiritual, enlighten, example, intelligence, lamp, truth, that extend the thoughts of light even more. There are volumes to consider, far more than there is time for here, about how these powerful words apply to the journey and progress of our eternal lives within the management of our physical bodies and the choices we make.
Perhaps the only time those of us with normal vision are in true literal darkness is when we’re asleep. With that thought, it’s a choice to wake up, see the light and move forward into health and fitness. Nephi’s tearful lament in II Nephi is a guided prayer for us who are compulsive overeaters and learning to manage our physical appetites. Though it’s hard to imagine him having serious sins, or – as I always stress – for occasional indulgences with food to be considered grievous sins, Nephi knew he knew he wanted to improve and be clean before the Lord, as we do with the stewardship of a mortal body to care for. Nephi cries:
And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? … Awake my soul! No longer droop in sin! (II Nephi 4:27-28)
With those stirring words to wake us up, here is a basic truth: It simply feels better to ADD food to our plates and behaviors that are enjoyable than to dwell on what’s being subtracted. For example:
- Add precious minutes to your days with unprocessed fruits this time of year. These make heaven-sent delicious desserts that don’t need any time to bake or prepare. If others want to provide and indulge, let them go ahead. Be a light, not a judge!
- Add precious moments and memories with walks and enjoyable outdoor activities with others that burn calories and build muscles. These activities develop relationships and create memories that are among earth life’s greatest pleasures.
- Add cleaning a drawer or working on a hobby instead of eating to develop talents and a sense of accomplishment.
- Add money to the bank by drinking water instead of soda or juice drinks. In addition to the cost of the drinks themselves, you’ll save on costly dental bills by avoiding cavities and tooth decay.
I’m sure you have more ideas of things that can easily and cheerfully be added.
It’s a simple choice to view the constant lights around as reminders of the Lord’s light and his ability to help us conquer both procrastination and fear. Follow that up by humming “The Lord is My Light” (Hymn No. 89) with a smile. We can allow every sunrise, every sunset, every lightning bug, every light switch, every flashlight, every candle, every light we see be a reminder that lightening up with healthy choices moves life forward, and that God said it first: “Let there be light!” … and move forward.
Today’s Empowerment: “The Lord is my light. I lean on him to allow his words Let there be light ‘ become my own to cheer and guide my choices.”
Journal Starters and Discussion Questions:
- How is a campfire built and kept alive? Compare the process of both building a fire and losing weight. What type of fuel do you need to add this week to keep the flame burning for your journey?
- What are your favorite activities and healthy foods? Which ones can you add more of this week?
This Week’s Recipe:
Try a new fruit! Don’t do a thing to it. Simply slice and enjoy it as a dessert.