Author’s note: I know you’ll enjoy today’s article which, includes how the small changes Joe and Liz Langston, of Kanosh, Utah, have helped them lose 89 pounds since January 1, 2007. Exciting month-to-month pictures of their progressing story are posted at If you haven’t had a chance to try out this LDS-owned and -operated weight loss support site, use the link below for your free one-month membership and to sign up for daily messages from me. If you have purchased my book at a store rather than online from the Meridian link at the bottom of this article, you will also find important information about a free three-month membership at at this link.

Liz’s profile and frequent entries on several of the forums are very helpful. All the details for Meridian readers on how to both register for Meridian teams (forming soon for the June 1 Challenge!) and find Liz and Joe are posted at the same link. I’d love to share YOUR success story to inspire Meridian readers! Please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]“>[email protected]

On May 14, 2007 U.S. postage to mail a letter first class increased from 39 cents to 41 cents. It was just a little change, but apparently a needed one whether we wanted it or not. For Americans it’s just a minor inconvenience while we make the transition. However, this little two-cent change will add up quickly to make a positive difference for the U.S. Postal Service.

By the same token, easy little two-cent changes in not only what we eat but what we think and say to ourselves add up too. Just ask Liz and Joe!

Today’s Scripture: “God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten Son … He sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
(I John 3:17)

Ah, the path of least resistance! For most of us who are reading this column, in the exact same way that it’s easier to choose the cookies instead of the carrot sticks, it’s easier to beat up, criticize or condemn ourselves than it is to find something positive to do or say to ourselves when faced with a weight/health-related choice.

Liz and Joe started a modified version of the 3-Hour Diet (book by the same title is by Jorge Cruise) on January 1, 2007. It is basically a nice, balanced diet making vegetables the star and promoting the easy-to-accept principle of eating every three hours to keep the body fueled. It’s working! Since January, Joe is down 47 pounds and as of this week (May 21) Liz is down 42! They’re learning to visualize plates at mealtime so that they are veggies/fruits, lean protein and whole-grain starches.

We all know, however, that a great plan is the easiest part of the puzzle to find. For Liz, finding new ways to frequently nourish her thoughts and spirit are just as important as those veggies.
With her permission, she has allowed me to share some important progress for an experience that is familiar to most of us:

Most nights I go to bed at the same time my hubby Joe does, but sometimes when I stay up a bit later I get midnight snack cravings – even when I’m not hungry! When I’m really bad I can consume a whole meal’s worth of calories right before bed. I get mad at myself, too ? I’d be good all day and blow all my hard work at the end of it.

This last week I did much better avoiding that happening: If I actually was a little hungry, I’d choose a better snack (like a 100-cal pack, some yogurt, or some carrots & dip). Other times I’d just have a big glass of water, remind myself of my goals and the progress I’ve made, and then make myself go do bed (tired or not!) Every little bit and new good habit helps!

In other words little changes.

I love how today’s scripture tells us that the Savior was sent to love and help us, not to criticize or condemn, but to help and support.

Here’s a thought to consider as we accept his love and follow suit as we reconcile ourselves to the daily challenges of healthy eating as a happy choice:

Have you ever noticed how close the words “condemn” and “commend” are? While condemn means to express strong disapproval, commend means to endorse, accept and approve. It’s just the tiniest change, like a 2-cent stamp, in the arrangement of the letters M, N, and D, but what a huge pay-off there can be in choosing to make it. We lose ourselves (and our weight!) by finding the good, the positive and the happy to commend, instead of slipping into the old habit of self-criticism and condemnation.

For example: We condemn both ourselves and our success with self-talk such as:

  • “I CANNOT eat this or that. Water is boring and I prefer soda.”
  • “I DON’T have time to exercise.”
  • My husband MAKES ME MAD. He wants me to lose weight – and then insists on ice cream and cookies when I go shopping!”

With the spirit of love and respect, we can choose to commend ourselves and our choices with replacement self-talk such as:

  • “Well, maybe I can’t eat this, this and this, but I CAN eat this, this and this! These are the foods that my Heavenly Father wants me to eat in amounts that are right for a Child of God.”
  • “I HAVE as much time as the next person and it’s a fact that we all find time to do what we WANT, so I’m finding an exercise that is fun so I WANT to!”
  • “I cannot choose for others, but I can choose for myself. No one makes me feel or do anything, so I make sure I have some healthy substitute treats I personally enjoy when my husband has his evening ice cream. Or sometimes I just read to him and the kids and pass up the evening treat entirely!”

Commend, while it means to accept, to find worthy and to give approval, also means to entrust.
So “God sent not His son to condemn, but to save” – and yes, to entrust to us His ways to live and His paths to follow, including wisely nourishing and respecting our bodies as the marvelous miracles they are.

Condemn, commend. By golly, if there isn’t always a choice in what we say to ourselves as well as what we eat!

Today’s Empowerment: “Rather than to condemn myself, my weight, the effort and the time it takes to care for myself, I choose to commend the progress I’ve made and my desire to change and improve.”

Journal Prompts/Discussion Starters:


What specific negative eating experience(s) have I beaten myself up for in the past?

2. What small changes can I make when this/these situation(s) arises again?

3. Activity (good for both individuals and groups): Make a little movie to play in your head when faced with a challenge. Identify a specific positive experience, not necessarily related to eating or health, when you were successful, such as in a church calling, at school, at work, on in some other situation. Describe, imagine and vividly recall the feelings of achievement and pleasure. Now remember the negative experience in No. 1, replace it with No. 2, then close your eyes and vividly mentally recreate the positive feelings of the past successful accomplishment. Play that movie often to establish both the positive feelings and actions that bring new habits to life.

Today’s Recipe: Apple n Raisin Coleslaw

A little rice or wine vinegar gives any salad dressing a nice kick.

Apple ‘n Raisin Coleslaw
(4 servings at 130 calories each)

2 cups finely grated cabbage
1/4 cup finely grated carrot
1/8 tsp. salt (optional)
3 Tbs. fat-free mayonnaise
3 Tbs. plain nonfat yogurt
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 apples, raw, cored and coarsely shredded

Combine all ingredients, except apples, in a mixing bowl and mix
gently. Stir in apples. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

(3 g Fiber; 130 Calories; 1.5 g Fat; 30 G Carb)