What am I doing?
I have had a lot of people asking me lately what it is that I have been doing to lose weight. I have made a lot of changes and am happy to share, it just might not be what you would expect! I am going to give you a little bit of a back story to help you understand what lead me to this unexpected plan for weight loss and most importantly, better health.
I have always wanted to be the parent that was able to run and play with their kids. I wanted to have the energy to get out and play tag, or kick a ball around. Problem was, even in my youth, running just didn't happen. I felt miserable anytime I made an attempt to exercise. It wasn't just that I didn't enjoy exercise, I couldn't breathe, felt pressure in my chest and neck and felt as though my heart would either explode out of my chest, or the vein in my neck would burst and I would die right there on the spot. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but not as much as you might think.
My mom was always good about making us home cooked meals. It was rare that we ever went out to eat growing up. I think the most fast food we got was the occasional day when mom needed a break during the winter and she would buy a large french fry for all 5 of us kids to share so that she could let us play on the play place while she visited with a friend. It was rare that we got to have a soda, and we obviously weren't eating a lot of french fries.
When I got out on my own, I most definitely started eating out a lot more. My mom always cooked for a large family so that's how I cooked, and I could make something for just me, but I often ended up with large amounts of leftovers that would go to waste. It was so much easier for me to just pick something up on my way home. My eating habits obviously declined at this point in my life, and between poor eating habits, and not knowing how to plan ahead, I had created a recipe for disaster.
In the video above, my husband caught me showing how I truly felt about life.
The Word of Wisdom has always been something that stood out to me as a recipe for health. I have always trusted in the teachings of the scriptures. I had a testimony of the blessings of living the truths of the scriptures, so it only seemed logical that the Word of Wisdom as written in Doctrine and Covenants 89 would have blessings for me. I always obeyed the don'ts aside from maybe a taste of coffee and an accidentally switched drink in my youth. I never smoked, drank or did drugs, I didn't drink coffee, and only drank herbal teas when I was sick. I thought I was doing pretty well, but when I came to the verses about what was "ordained for man" I became lost and hung up on various verses about meat and grains. I just stopped trying when I got to those because I wasn't doing anything wrong. I mean really, if it said not to do something, I listened, so I just kept on my merry way.
Fast forward to a little over a year ago. My 3rd baby was a few months old, and I had been sick ever since. I got an infection after he was born and it seemed to keep coming back. They never even really figured out what it was that I was dealing with. Abdominal pressure and pain, stomach sickness and vomiting every couple of weeks for months and months. A fever that would come and go. I was dizzy and light headed most of the time, and often had to drop to the floor for fear I would pass out. I felt nauseous a lot of the time, and there were a few times where I felt like something was so terribly wrong that I might die. I even wrote goodbye letters to my husband and each of my kids because I was convinced that I just might not wake up in the morning. I began to have more than just strange heart rhythms, I had moments where I felt like gravel was passing through my heart and that pressure in my neck that I described earlier, was no longer something that only showed up only when I was trying to work out, it was pretty constant. Then came waking in the middle of the night with the sweats but so cold that I couldn't warm up for anything. My whole body would shake uncontrollably and I had this weird dizziness that I couldn't adequately describe. I also had this weird symptom that I couldn't explain if I tried, probably neurological, but it was as though my mouth and my hands and my brain would all of a sudden feel this wave, as though they were rubber. It felt as though my brain was slowing down and unable to appropriately process what it was that needed to be done. I was sick!
After dealing with all of those symptoms for a while, and the Doctors telling me that aside from being borderline Diabetic, overweight and my blood pressure being a little elevated, I was fine. My blood work was fine, my physical exams came out great, they didn't see anything wrong with me. I began to have even more symptoms. Symptoms that would point me to Gallbladder problems, food allergies and IBS. So I went in and had several tests, including an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy, multiple ultrasounds, and a HIDA scan. I was given a large list of allergies I had never seemed to have problems with before, but otherwise I was given a clean bill of health. Everything was working normally, nothing was showing up on these tests either. I even had an ultrasound of my reproductive organs and everything looked great there too. The doctors started to imply that maybe it was all in my head and maybe I needed to go and see a neurologist. The Allergies explained only a small number of the symptoms I was having problems with. What on earth was going on?
In the midst of seeking out help from doctors, I was adjusting my diet. Though the Keto diet didn't seem to fit the Word of Wisdom, and I had avoided it, it had worked for other people, so I started my own adaptation of it, I got worse.
I decided that I needed to really sit down and approach the Word of Wisdom with greater intent. I began to fast and pray and spent a lot of time tearing it apart looking for answers. As I understood a new concept, I would implement it into my diet. I quit going out to eat, cut out processed foods and continued to pray. I went to the library as I had been, to look for cookbooks, only this time in prayer. I told my Heavenly Father that I had been trying to make the changes necessary in my diet to heal. I told him that I had been studying the Word of Wisdom and had been searching for a diet that closely resembled it so that I could find cookbooks with recipes that could actually help me. The problem was, I wasn't finding any diets that fit. There were several that had aspects that applied, but none that were close enough that I could use their cook books. I prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me find a cookbook that fit the Word of Wisdom closest so that hopefully this change would be a little less challenging. There was no question to me that Heavenly Father was prescribing plants as the main part of our diet, and there were little hints about whole foods when it mentions "in season" and "of your own make". I had been looking at paleo cookbooks, but most of those recipes had an abundance of meat in them.
When I went into the library that day, there were 2 cook books that really stood out to me from the shelf. The first one was The China Study Cook Book by Leanne Campbell, PHD and the other was Dr. Neal Barnard's Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes. In my mind I was taken aback. These books didn't sound anything like what I was looking for, but I took them home and read the forward in each book. Not only did both books promote a diet that fit the Word of Wisdom better than any other diet I had looked at, but they had medical research to support the amazing and even miraculous benefits of eating that way! Both Doctors ascribed to a Whole Foods Plant Based diet or better yet, lifestyle. What had I just stumbled upon?
I immediately went home and changed everything I was eating cold turkey. Within a week, many of my symptoms had either decreased or gone away. I was feeling better than I had in a long time! Within a couple of months, most of my symptoms were gone and I was feeling better than ever. I was able to go on a hike that had been difficult to me all throughout my youth without even needing to stop! I had better energy and endurance than I ever remember having, I even managed to handle the hike better than some who had always passed me up in the past! The next day, everyone was complaining about being sore and I felt great! Remember, the only thing I had changed at this point was my diet, I was not exercising at all yet.
After the hike, I realized that I was able to DO so much more than I had ever thought I could. I started running in the mornings until it got too cold and dark. All of a sudden, fitness became something I enjoyed doing, it was no longer a miserable experience to me. Never have I been able to even play tag with my oldest, now I could out run him! I am finally that much closer to being the mom I wanted to be!
9 months in, and my symptoms had almost completely gone away aside from a flair up from time to time when I would occasionally slide off the wagon.
I am almost at the year mark, and am feeling better than I ever have. I have witnessed all of the promised blessings in Doctrine and Covenants 89 in the last year. I have seen miracles with my body that I had never thought possible. I even managed to spent 2 hours out in the snow shoveling a blocked driveway and the thing that stopped me was not my heart, lungs or even muscles, I stopped because my elbow was a little sore, and the stuff that was left had been driven over multiple times and was a thick sheet of ice! It felt amazing and I felt so strong! To make it even better, I was barely even sore the next few days and I was able to load and unload a moving truck with my husband as well.
I have lost 55 lbs give or take a few pounds any given day. Most of what I buy is healthy and nutritious (aside from special occasions and travel). In addition to diet, I have sought the help of a biodentical hormone replacement Doctor who has been able to help me get my hormone levels and vitamins back up to where they need to be faster. I have more energy than ever, my mood swings are much more mild. I still have my down days, but the depression I have battled all of my life doesn't linger anymore like it used to. I'm able to move past more of the things that have bothered me in the past, and have a much more positive outlook on life. There is no question to me that the Lord inspired the Word of Wisdom, and my life has been deeply blessed by living by it's precepts. I am so grateful for the Lord's divine wisdom in sharing it with our dear prophet Joseph Smith so that my family can benefit from the foods that God intended for us to enjoy.
As a disclaimer, I want to make sure people know that I never intended to replace proper medical care, I just wasn't finding answers and decided to take what I could into my own hands and it has been a supreme blessing to me.
Second; I believe that the Word of Wisdom is a very personal journey and discovery, and I don't want you to take my word for it. Please study Doctrine and Covenants 89, ask your Heavenly Father and decide for yourself.
Also, even though I have lost a lot of weight, I am still wearing a body suit under my clothes in the picture above (in the jeans and grey shirt). I have had babies, my tummy hangs. Most days you can see a little bit of tummy hanging over my pants, some days I even look 9 months pregnant due to a food allergy. I don't want to give false impressions here. We are all human, and most of us use extra little "tools" to help us feel good about ourselves, how we look in our clothes, in pictures, etc. Don't feel bad about yourself if you are using one of these tools too. Thats why they were invented, to help us smooth out those extra bumps and curves we struggle with. Just rock it! Whether you are confident in your own skin or need a little boost, stand tall and keep smiling.
Have a fantastic day!