Sign up for Meridian’s Free Newsletter, please CLICK HERE

Note from Carolyn: As we launch our Summer Health Challenge, you might be interested in our legendary herbal detox available in drink or capsule form. It’s on sale for $5 off THIS WEEK ONLY… with or without joining the Health Challenge. Use coupon code 5Summer. CLICK HERE

In the words of the great Charles Dickens … “It was the best of the best of times, it was the worst of times.” To what times am I referring? Summer and my own weight management! From the summer of 1973 after my freshman year at BYU (where I gained at least ten pounds), the summer months have been absolutely my BEST times to get focused.

More than one summer I’ve lost 5-10 pounds and had a ball grocery shopping, cooking, exercising and enjoying the bounty of fresh summer produce. The fun of wearing smaller, more fitted clothes as the summer progressed was a bonus. Then I started the Fall with a great big smile wearing skinny jeans and every cute thing I could find. Summers have also been my WORST times when I ate everything in sight and gained nearly ten pounds as I binged on ice cream in the night and indulged round-the-clock on summer fare. Loose clothing did the trick in those long hot summers, but it was very disheartening when the weather cooled and it was time for fitted clothes again.

How about you? I’m sure you have your own history as well!

Summer days, with their more flexible hours, can be lazy or productive … or both if you’ve got the right mind set! Especially when it comes to health.

This summer is one where I want and need to lose 5-10 pounds – before it becomes more. Although my husband and I are very happy to be eating a primarily whole-food, plant-based diet and get to the gym regularly, at 64 my body is showing signs of slowing down with some weight and inches gained. After three years of living in Tennessee –with its legendary food and hospitality — I’m now at the very tip-top of my healthy weight. This week I stumbled on a personal weight and measurement chart from four years ago which proved it all: The exact same weight had body measurements that showed more inches in every area, especially in my tummy, waist and lower body. No wonder my clothes don’t fit. No wonder I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. Even when the numbers on the scale are not different, those measurements do not lie. Neither does clothing.

It reminds me of a darling friend in her seventies. When asked how she was doing, she’d reply, “Well, being that I’m programmed to age, spread, wear out and fall apart, I’m doing just great!

It also reminds me of a supervisor I had when I managed a small elementary school cafeteria. There were many, many rules to be mindful of and she had a way of sneaking in the back door unannounced to do inspections. As she walked in, my staff and I would hear her bellow, “Well, this isn’t good!!!!” It’s been a family joke ever since when something arises that needs attention immediately.

In a nutshell: I’m happy for every passing year and accept that my body is not the same. I’m not going to get weird trying to turn back the clock. However, this isn’t good. I’m not going into the last third of my life without doing every possible thing to honor my body, my health and my wonderful Heavenly Father who gave this body to me for my journey in life with all of its temptations and challenges. To look and feel our healthy best is not a luxury but a foundation for success in life. Doing my best to prevent serious health challenges that are often avoidable, based on diet and exercise, is also a matter of courtesy for my children in my advancing years and a great way to save money too.

I’m ready to turn this summer into one of several in my past. I cherish those memories of preparing and eating yummy, fresh vegetables with some unusual spices. In those summers, cold fresh fruit was much more refreshing than sugary ice cream treats. I was invigorated by exercising in the cool of the quiet morning and the fun of really playing with my kids at the pool and playground to burn some extra calories. It was wonderful to feel so good in every way.

Yes, I’m ready to repeat that right now with the Summer of 2018. Will you join me?

Today we’re launching a free Summer 2018 Health Challenge here at Meridian Magazine. You DON’T have to buy one thing or go to one meeting.   You DO need to know and respect the truth that our health and how we feel about our bodies often dictate the quality of our lives in every respect to some degree – spiritually, physically and emotionally.

You can click HERE to see the details and sign up!

How The Challenge Will Work: Following Nephi’s Prayer and The Church’s New Self-Reliance Programs

In our recent morning reading of I Nephi and the broken bow (I Nephi 17:7-16), my husband and I were led to an impressive perspective from Elder L Tom Perry:

“This is one of the more interesting stories we have in the scriptures because it tells of an instance in which the Lord provided help but then stepped aside to allow one of His sons to exercise his own initiative.

I have sometimes wondered what would have happened if Nephi had asked the Lord for tools instead of a place to find the ore to make the tools. I doubt the Lord would have honored Nephi’s request. You see, the Lord knew that Nephi could make the tools, and it is seldom the Lord will do something for us that we can do for ourselves.” (“Becoming Self-Reliant” Ensign, November 1991.)

This is entirely in harmony with the Church’s new self-reliance courses. Our Stake (Memphis North) has been blessed to implement this. These are life-changing, 12-week courses in the areas of Personal Finance, Finding A Better Job, Education For Better Work, and Starting and Growing A Business. You get to choose which area is most vital for you and your family, then take the other courses later (or again) as needed. Meeting as a group for two hours (with a facilitator) outside of regular Church meetings, these gatherings are so rewarding, fun and helpful. The bonding that goes with it between the class members is especially meaningful.

Each course starts with discussing the Foundational Principle that all things, even temporal matters, are important to the Lord. He cares about each of us and our individual challenges and concerns! Change and progress come through the blessings of the Atonement that promote faith and prayer to provide the change, growth, inspiration and education for us to reach our full potential.

Each of the 12 lessons in the various workbooks begins with reviewing this truth which changes the perspective of everything, including personal and family finances! So why not weight management? Why not consider this challenge to be the same as being guided to where the ore is to make the tools, and getting some help (and some companionship) for the stage of the ride?

While our Summer Health Challenge will be nothing close to these marvelous, inspired workbooks and courses, we can implement the same basic Self-Reliance principles and make our own tools, even as Nephi did, by:

1) Turning to the Lord first to understand that to Him, temporal things are also spiritual;
2) Learning about and establishing a healthy eating and exercise plan;
3) Setting goals and taking action;
4) Allowing time for self-reflection and assessment, and
5) Being accountable to ourselves and a partner.

It’s Summer .. and The Living Is Easy!

I don’t want to overwhelm anyone, including myself, so I’ve broken things down into very simple steps. By joining us you will receive:

1) A short, printable PDF workbook. This will help you evaluate where you are and make some decisions about an eating or exercise plan. You can then commit to your plan and take daily action using the pages for accountability and tracking your progress. If you’re not ready to commit, just reading it and the short e-mails while exploring your options will be a wonderful step in the right direction!

The workbook will also include links to resources that I have found to be extremely helpful, along with new ones that I’m checking out all the time.

Please note: I’m very committed to a whole-food, plant-based plan, so that’s where my emphasis will be. Of course you’re free to use the healthy eating plan of your choice. With whole food-plant based eating there is NO counting calories, NO counting points, and lots of carbs. You won’t be hungry or cranky.

You’ll be able to put all of the workbook pages intp a binder and add other resources to it as they come over the 12 weeks of the Challenge.

2) Short little e-mails from me on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They’ll include recipes, meal and exercise ideas, some motivation and more resources. I promise they’ll be valuable, brief and uplifting. You’ll be able to unsubscribe if you change your mind :0)

I know that I am so excited to repeat the successes of past summers and truly hope you’ll join me and other Meridian readers … for the BEST of times!

Click HERE to learn more and sign up!

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years, providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999. She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE