Note from Carolyn: Our wonderful herbal detox is the perfect way to launch a healthy New Year. It’s on sale now through Friday, January 11. CLICK HERE.

Happy New Year and … Happy Anniversary for Jeanie McBride of Syracuse, Utah! It was exactly one year ago (January 4, 2018) that she, her daughter and her daughter’s mother-in-law joined Wellness Wins (Formerly called Weight Watchers). For their one-year weigh-in last week on January 3, 2019, their grand total lost is 130 pounds! “We lost a whole adult person in weight” laughs Jeanie. That calls for a celebration, like … a new pair of jeans, a new outfit and the ability to keep up with a busy one-year old granddaughter. A very fine celebration indeed, one that will continue into 2019 and far beyond as the journey progresses.

“The three of us did it together and will continue together. We have shared recipes, brought healthier choices to family gatherings and listened to each other’s up and down struggles. We realize that we have to be accountable for what we eat, do and think. It’s an ongoing learning process.”

How did she get to this happy and exciting point in life? Jeanie’s primary goal was health. She had always struggled with her weight, adding on pounds with each pregnancy (she has five children) and just every-day life. There have been two full knee replacement surgeries along with aches, pains and difficulties associated with being overweight. As everyone does, she has had her share of trials – the loss of a grandson, the care and passing of parents, and a daughter being diagnosed with lymphoma cancer.

“But blessings come with trials,” she emphasizes. Her daughter is cancer-free and had a miracle baby girl just over a year ago that has added a lot of life and love to the families.

“I’m not sure that there was really a ‘last straw’ moment, but there is so much to live for and I knew that I could not face being 70 and unhealthy. So, like many do the first of the year and usually on a Monday, we joined WW! We decided we all needed to work on dropping our baby weight, even though two of the three of us have babies that are adults now!”

Unlike many however, the three of them hung in there for the entire year, each losing pounds and inches along the way. They made a weekly commitment to each other at their weigh-in to just follow the plan and not quit. “It wasn’t and isn’t easy!!! There were good weeks and not so good weeks. Be we keep on keeping on, which will continue in 2019.”

“We promised ourselves to prioritizing health first and losing weight second, and here we are! In one year, together we’ve lost 130 pounds! We decided we didn’t want to compete. Our goal was to support each other, so we really didn’t talk about our own personal numbers that much.” “Although we’d worked at it all year long, it didn’t really click for me how much I’d personally lost until November and Thanksgiving. I went grocery shopping and struggled to lift two large turkeys out of the cooler. I looked at how much each of them weighed and realized that I had lost that much weight plus an added four pounds of butter!”

“Learning to eat healthy and smaller serving portions, drinking LOTS of water, being more active and being accountable for what I eat, do and think is, as I tell myself and the others often, an ongoing learning process. I still have a little bit of good chocolate and then get right back on track.”

When Jeanie and I visited over the phone on her exact one-year anniversary last week (January 4, 2019), she told me that she’d even lost weight over Christmas!

“The weight loss was like a Christmas gift in and of itself. To be free of pain and able to go to Christmas events without dragging around an extra 35-55 pounds, which is the range that each of us lost, was just wonderful. ”

“It is exhausting when you think about it, to carry that much weight continually – imagine it as that many pounds in a bag of flour, sugar or cement all day long. No wonder we feel so much better! Over Christmas I had a jar of homemade caramels on my counter. I have only eaten a couple of them, not the whole jar as I may have done in the past. The same for all the holiday goodie plates that came from neighbors. It’s lovely and empowering to be free of the sugar cravings!”

Jeanie continued: “It is so fun to be able to buy clothes in a “real” person size, fit easily into an airplane seat and keep up with a very active 1-year-old granddaughter for longer periods of time. Yes, all of this feels better than I can say! I still cannot leap small or tall buildings in a single bound but being able to just move without pain and be active is a blessing! My journey is not over, it is a forever journey.”

She told me how much she’d enjoyed my health articles through the years here at Meridian, and then, she said: “My goal when I started was to be a healthier and happier 70-year-old. I am not yet where I want or need to be but my next goal is to fit into my wedding dress.”

As exciting as the pictures and the numbers are, it’s important to emphasize that the underlying foundation for Jeanie truly is health and that it was a long journey that slowly led her to be ready for changing her eating habits.

She’d had numerous health problems that her weight had caused, notably full-knee replacements, one knee was replaced before she and her husband served a 23-month mission to Germany, and one after they returned home in 2013. She also had foot surgery just before their mission that left her unable to put any pressure on her one foot for three months.

“Our assignment did not have the extensive walking as many missionaries do. When we did walk in the little towns, those cobblestone streets and walks were difficult for me. Extensive walking would have been very difficult indeed.”

During their mission they lived close to the Temple in Frankfurt, Germany. “It is a perfect post card picture village. You feel as though you are in a fairy tale watching people carrying their baskets or bags to the market or bakery each day. It was wonderful to meet so many amazing people and to serve as we did. There are not enough green crayons in the crayon box to describe the colors of green in Germany! We loved it!”

But it was more than that, she continued. It was such a vivid contrast to her regular life In Utah as she described the nearly two years they were there.

“The European lifestyle is very different. One of the things that was most intriguing was a completely different approach to healthy living — especially in Germany. We found that herbal remedies and natural foods played a much bigger part in everyone’s life. Health shops with herbal products are very common and very popular.

It seemed that the Germans were constantly sipping on herbal health tea! It was definitely more popular than soda. When anyone is sick there, it’s most common to go first to the pharmacy where there is a doctor/pharmacist. He would recommend one herbal tea or treatment after another. If none of them worked, then it was time to go to the doctor for medicine, treatment or antibiotics, but as a last resort, rather than the first. In fact, we even had lessons in Relief Society on using herbal tea and remedies for health and healing.”

They were able to personally experience some of these perspectives and remedies. She came home ready for better health through nature.

“It was at this time, the last six months of our mission in 2013, that My Miracle Tea/Detox was first being advertised on Meridian and I was excited to return home to be able to purchase it and use it. It was not available for international shipping or I would have purchased it while we were still there. After all we’d observed about healthy living from the people in Germany, I knew it was an excellent direction for improving my own health.”

Once she got home, she ordered and immediately appreciated My Miracle Detox/Tea, but she wasn’t really focused on her weight. She needed another knee replacement surgery and was especially grateful My Miracle Tea/Detox at that time. “I genuinely don’t know how I would have made it. It was so helpful for the side effects of the drugs, for just feeling better over-all, and for normalizing my system after surgery. I totally understand why our German friends are so well-versed in herbal health teas.” (You can learn more about that product HERE.

After the second knee replacement surgery, it was time and soon Jeanie was ready! She’d had enough of her own health challenges that were caused by being overweight. “I have everything to live for. My family, serving in the Church and so many things to do. I’m 70 years old, but I want to be healthy, fit and active! I want to be comfortable, sharp and energetic in these important years of my life!”

The Wellness Wins program has been a great fit for Jeanie. The three of them followed the program carefully, which allows for all kinds of healthy food. The most important thing she has learned is how to be aware of what she’s eating. She says: “Fresh is best! If you’re hungry or need a snack, an apple or an orange is better than a cookie or a packaged snack.”

The three of them have not had a specific exercise program, but with WW, all activity counts – even housework like standing to iron or clean closets or a garage. “I like that and that really works for me,” she says.

“We attend the Ogden, Utah temple frequently. For the past ten years or more, I would always take the elevator. Now I take the stairs! Isn’t that great? To have that kind of strength and energy at 70? My next big goal is to fit into my wedding dress. I have a ways to go, but it’s a journey I’m delighted to be making and I know I’ll get there.”

I didn’t ask Jeanie to talk about My Miracle Detox, the drink we’ve been sharing for over 10 years here at Meridian, but it came up again and again in our conversation.

“I can tell when I’ve taken it and when I haven’t. Over the past 5-6 years, I used it sporadically for my surgeries and health difficulties before I was ready to focus on my weight. But when I began to focus on healthy living and eating, I became very committed to using it daily! When I feel sluggish, or ‘bleh’, I know that it’s because somehow I’ve skipped it. We love the capsules because we’re on the go so much, but the tea/drink is especially wonderful for feeling sharper … and clean inside. It makes a huge difference and I know it has contributed significantly to the weight that I’ve lost this past year.”

What does Jeanie eat these days? Fresh fruit is a favorite! She loves to cut up apples and keep them in a container with the mixed frozen berries purchased in a bag at Costco. “The apples take on the raspberry flavor and it’s such a great snack!”

For family gatherings, her favorite answer that everyone loves is a huge big plate of cut-up fresh fruit with berries, grapes, apples, pomegranate and any kind of fruit that is easily available.

“There are so many resources and recipes available online,” she says.

For this very special trio it’s clearly been a matter of deciding to decide, then not turning back on that life-changing decision made one year ago.

So ring out wild bells! And ring in the New Year! Although Alfred Lord Tennyson, (1809-1892) was probably not thinking about health and weight management in 2019 when he wrote the poem “Ring Out Wild Bells”, it is the perfect description of what 2018 was for Jeanie and what it will continue to be in 2019 – for her and for all of us who choose to make health a happy choice:

Ring out the old, ring in the new – Ring out the false and ring in the true!

There’s lots that’s false when you think about modern life and health: such as consuming a lot of artificially created false “foods” and snacks that have little nourishment in them, false personal limiting beliefs about what we can control for our health and minimizing the value of good health choices for a happy, well-balanced life.

And what is true when it comes to health choices? The fact that there’s much we can do on our own every day to prevent disease and heal our bodies. Fresh, natural food in appropriate amounts, lots of water and exercise, very little sugar and refined foods, the supplements that our bodies need for our various ages and stages, and a gentle detox that keeps everything running smoothly.

These choices, when followed as Jeanie has — with optimism and diligence – creates joyful health and fun for now and the years to come! Happy New Year! Here’s to our own healthy New Year and our Heavenly Father’s wonderful gift of free agency that allows us to progress every day in every way.

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