Welcome to “Weight Loss Made Easy,” Meridian’s newest column to help you make healthy living a happy priority. If your January resolutions to both lose weight and improve your health have melted like the winter snow, you’re especially welcome!

This column is especially geared for those of us who know how to lose weight healthfully, but have a hard time sticking to it. The best news around is that the Lord’s constant and comforting admonition to “be of good cheer” applies even to the demanding, daily challenge of establishing a healthy weight and lifestyle. And what better time is there to rekindle this desire than spring and Easter, when the world feels fresh and new?

Why This New Column?

If you could achieve a healthy weight all by yourself, wouldn’t you have done so by now?

President Hinckley teaches us that for new converts to stay active, they need a new, true friend just as much as they need the new, true scriptures and doctrine. In other words, having a true friend is often the difference between failure and success with important lifestyle changes.

Far more important for those of us who know how to eat wisely than more textbook facts and instructions are

  1. an emotional lift
  2. a good laugh
  3. something new to think about, and
  4. something new to eat.

I hope you’ll think of this new column as a new, true friend to enrich whatever healthy weight loss plan works best for you.

Each Monday you’ll receive delightful bits of encouragement along with an easy, family-pleasing healthy recipe. (Today’s is a creamy coleslaw.) The pounds will drop and your spirits will soar as day by day, pound by pound and season by season you discover fresh new ways to perk up your healthy eating and exercise. Helpful journal and/or discussion starters will also be provided for families and friends who are working on weight loss together.

“Weight Loss Made Easy” is in perfect harmony with Meridian’s very popular “Dr. Bridell’s Diet” column and the medical experts here. It will complement those articles with parables, humor, stories, recipes and powerful visualizations.

Who is Carolyn Allen?

I am a recovering compulsive eater and weight loss coach. I have struggled and been up and down the scale a thousand times, starting at the tender age of 12 and ending in 1999 at the age of 45. Soon after losing the weight (for the very last time!) I was blessed to start teaching community classes. I now share the principles of not only healthy eating, but healthy thinking for adult education programs in the Washington, D.C. area.

 

My first years of meetings (I started out with Weight Watchers) were so much fun that I began to send an online newsletter, which grew into a website ( www.MyWeightLossFriend.com ) and a book and audio CD. I left Weight Watchers when it became clear that one of my missions in life was to independently write and coach. I have spent literally thousands of hours with thousands of women who share their powerful stories with me through my classes and website. I have discovered that when there is love, joy, vision and support, there is success!

Getting Started : The Big Picture

We cherish our understanding that obtaining a physical body and an opportunity to be tested was our greatest desire in the pre-mortal world when the Plan of Salvation was presented. Now that we’re here, mastering and caring appropriately for these precious bodies are essential to our eternal progress.

 

This is easier said than done in modern-day cultures, where food plays a starring role whether we’re hungry or not and finding time to exercise often means giving up something else that seems equally important. On a day-to-day basis, the stewardship of caring for our bodies does not often feel precious at all.

And in the next life? What of our mortal bodies then? Will we care what state they are in when earth life is over, or on Resurrection morning? Could we agree with President Wilford Woodruff when he wrote:

 

It is comforting to think that in the morning of the resurrection, my spirit will have the privilege of dwelling in the very same body that it occupied here. I would be very glad to have the same body in the resurrection with which I waded swamps, swam rivers and labored to build up the kingdom of God here on the earth. ( Deseret News : Semi-Weekly December 28, 1875.)

If we cannot answer in the affirmative, then now is the perfect time to follow this wonderful prophet and create a body that we would be glad to have on resurrection morning.

One Day, One Pound, One Season at a Time

Since the biggest challenge of any healthy lifestyle change is for it to feel fresh and interesting after the first few days and weeks, our focus will be on finding joy in day to day healthy living throughout the year.

As winter melts into the busy days of spring, you’ll receive one-minute tips, scriptures and quotes that keep things do-able. When summer and the upheaval of unscheduled days and vacations threaten to undermine the changes we’ve made, we’ll be right there with encouraging success stories, self-talk tricks and more easy recipes. In the fall we’ll “go back to school” in healthy style and keep up the pace as we skillfully thread our way through the treacherous jungle of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then get out the balloons, the horns, and your skinny jeans! It’s New Years 2008 and time to celebrate a new year – without having to make the same old resolution!

What You’ll Receive Each Week

  1. A quote (or scripture) and story to brighten your day and improve your health choices. A link will be provided for you to print out mini-posters of the quotes/scriptures for your refrigerator, bulletin boards, bathroom mirrors, and so on. I’ll also provide a post-card size printout, for your dashboard, purse or pocket – or to tuck in a dear one’s lunch box.
  2. A personal affirmation (or empowerment) statement that translates the point of the message into a new health habit. Even as our children are taught who they really are by singing “I Am a Child of God,” we can learn new behaviors for ourselves with the words we use internally.
  3. A question or two to launch journal entries or discussions among families, roommates, or Relief Society special interest groups.
  4. An easy, healthy, family-pleasing recipe.

Sound fun and helpful? Of course! That’s what this column is all about!

This Week’s Assignment

  1. Buy a composition book (like students use) for the journal questions and easy assignments to come. Make sure it’s one you can glue in. You’re going to love what’s going to happen as you fulfill the assignments that go in this book!
  2. Be brave! Take pictures and/or record some measurements or your weight as the first entry in the book. (Leave an extra page or two for updates.) We’re going to want these records to access our success in the weeks and months to come, so no tears, no sadness, and especially no guilt! Think of this assignment as a reference and launching point for the rest of your mortal and eternal life, and how exciting it will be to look back in several months on these entries.

    President Kimball tells us that our goals should be measurable. Enough said, so we’ll just start humming ” Follow the Prophet ” and do it!
  3. Get out your walking shoes, exercise equipment/videos/DVDs and review your favorite healthy eating plan. If you’re needing guidance for a health plan, please check the link on my website called “Best Healthy Eating Plans.”
  4. Review President Woodruff’s quote above and use these simple yes and no questions to get your thoughts headed in the right direction: (Next week we’ll provide a link with the printable cards.)
    • Would I want my own same body on resurrection morning at its current weight and fitness level?
    • When not limited by physical challenges beyond my control, am I cheerfully and responsibly doing what is possible to show respect and honor the body I yearned for in the pre-mortal world? (Once again, no guilt! It’s just about the most fattening thing around and it ain’t for us any more than Girl Scout cookies eaten alone too late at night.)
    • Am I enjoying my days, dear ones and duties with the physical energy, comfort, and peace of mind that my loving Heavenly Father intends for me to have?

Next Week

The success story of Heidi Wolfe, a breast cancer survivor from Arizona. Her weight is way down and her spirits are way up!


Today’s Recipe
Creamy Coleslaw
(Serves 4 at 35 calories)

God bless yogurt and the tricks it can pull off – like transforming itself into a rich, “mayonnaise” dressing for this ambitious coleslaw.  It’s so low in calories that we can feel free to enjoy a double portion.

3 T. plain low-fat yogurt
2 T. light sour cream
3/4 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
1 3/4 cup coarsely shredded cabbage
1/4 cup coarsely purple cabbage or carrot
2 T. finely chopped onion

In a medium sized bowl, combine yogurt, sour cream, mustard, sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Add cabbage, carrot and onion. Toss well to mix. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, tossing occasionally, to blend flavors. (1 g Dietary Fiber; 35 calories; 2 g Fat; 4 g Carb