Ten pounds in two weeks has allowed me to officially retire the worst pair of "Mom Jeans" that hung in my closet. I will not miss that big, stretchy block of denim that boasts zero style. No amount of cute flats, embellished cardigans, or whimsical necklaces could hide the fact that my jeans could qualify me as an obvious candidate for "What Not to Wear". Good riddance to THAT pair of MJs!
The past week has been one of big and small personal successes. Last night, husband and daughter baked from-scratch individual molten chocolate cakes, and I didn't even bat an eye. Well, I did lift a lusciously decadent little cake to my nose and inhale the rich smell of the Guittard chocolate and butter, but that was enough! I am learning to control (versus being controlled by) my physical appetites, and this is a beautiful thing.
Did you happen to check out last week's link to Elder Enzio Busche's amazing talk called "Unleashing the Dormant Spirit"? I love knowing that my friend Michelle did, and though I know she does not struggle with the same issues I do, she too found a goldmine deep with inspired insights on living more closely to the Holy Ghost, which can help all of us with whatever our "hard things" are. Here are a couple of my highlighted excerpts that have really made a difference for me in the past week:
"...being under the influence of the fullness of the Spirit fills us with satisfying joy and makes it easy to make necessary adjustments, even in the most difficult circumstances. This Spirit lets us develop the true potential of our intellectual capabilites and delivers even the motivation to use it ... under the influence of the Spirit, all uncomfortable things -- such as hard work, getting up on time, going the extra mile ... overcoming flaws of character, and other things requiring sacrifice -- are easy ... under the influence of the Spirit we act in wisdom. We see the complexity of a problem in its simple parts, and we see the possible solutions unfolding in front of our eyes -- to our own surprise. In other words, our creativity is developed and multiplied. That which is a burden without it becomes a privilege when we are under the influence of the Holy Ghost."
One more quote from the same talk that I have returned to again and again:
"The Spirit is a divine entity. It therefore gives the ultimate example of politeness. It will not intrude into our lives ... The Holy Ghost has been given to us as a gift, but it can only become an active part of our lives when we become aware of its dormant state and develop in our souls a desire to awaken the Spirit to life."
I have come to realize that enlisting the help of the Holy Ghost in my efforts to overcome ANY weakness is an absolute must. Otherwise, it is ME OUT THERE BY MYSELF, being tossed to and fro on the whims of every new diet, every new article on nutrition, every new weight-loss "revelation", and I will never see lasting, deep-to-the-core personal change.
Using the promptings of the Spirit at every turn in my daily life is the answer for me. My morning prayers have moved from obligatory at best, to real heartfelt, direct, specific conversations with my Father in Heaven. My evening prayers have progressed from a list of "I'm thankful fors..." to a real "return and report" session from my day. And, most miraculous of all, as I have internally slowed down during the days to make deliberate and conscious choices regarding food, exercise, and other things, I see the stepping stones placed divinely in my path so that I can advance through temptation and toward success. This has been the greatest testimony-builder that I have encountered in the past two weeks: that my Heavenly Father is perfectly aware of me on every level, and if I but ask for and listen to His steady guidance, I will be led almost effortlessly toward my deepest heartfelt, righteous desires. Really taking the time out of the chaos of regular living is absolutely key, both morning and night, then several times during the day. In this way, I am able to stay close to the influence of the Spirit, which in turn, guides me in Just The Right Way for Macy.
I am still holding fast to my original list of personal guidelines that I outlined a couple of weeks ago. I have found that abstaining from all refined sugar is huge for me, at least for now. I do believe that I had become addicted to sweet treats (Can you say warm brownies, Ben & Jerry's whatever flavor, and seasonal Hershey's chocolates? I could, and did, nearly every day) I have discovered some wonderful, healthful foods that still indulge my "foodie" leanings, but are actually good for me. Here are a few of my new favorite treats:
**Silk light vanilla soymilk: with 70 calories per serving, this makes morning oatmeal absolutely divine. I cook our oatmeal in this, with a little sprinkle of cinnamon, then top with fresh berries and/or bananas.
**"Sunrise": this is something my daughter and I created and love! Slice a cold grapefruit and a cold orange in half, use a grapefruit knife to cut out the little sections, and scoop them into a bowl. Squeeze all of the juice from both fruits over the beautiful orange and red sections, then slurp up with a big spoon. Feel your body getting healthier by the spoonful!
**Clif Kid Organic Z Bars: chocolate chip, honey graham, and chocolate brownie. The sweetener used is brown rice syrup, 10+ grams of whole grains, vitamins and minerals, and 130 calories. This is a satisfying, chewy treat in a kid-sized portion that gets me over a "sweet tooth" hurdle. I allow myself one every few days.
**Whole-wheat pasta: We've jumped head-first into changing out all of our breads, rices, and pastas to whole-wheat versions. Spaghetti Pomodoro was ALMOST as good with the WW as it was with regular pasta, and the same was true with my mom's Vegetable Lasagne recipe. I can do ALMOST AS GOOD, and think that in no time we'll be completely used to it. (Husband just requested whole-wheat pasta tonight, a good sign!)
**Chobani Greek Yogurt: fruit-at-the-bottom, evaporated cane juice, 140 calories, and no fat. I eat 1/2 of one of these cups for a creamy, satisfying treat. The biggest bonus of Greek yogurt: 14 grams of protein per cup!
Here are a few dinner menus from the past week that were hits with the fam, as well as with my diet:
Chicken Tortilla Soup with lime (recipe posted last week)
Grilled, sliced steak with homemade pico de gallo
Whole-wheat Vegetable Lasagne (spinach, mushroom, carrot, tomato, onion)
Toasted whole-wheat loaf
Strawberries and blueberries
Cobb Salad with chicken and light vinaigrette dressing
Mostly-defrosted frozen peach slices ... mmm!
In conclusion! A final quote from Elder Busche's fabulous talk:
"The pain of sacrifice lasts only one moment. It is the fear of the pain of sacrifice that makes you hesitate to do it."
I have proven this to be true! Once I make a firm decision in my mind about something, I am finding that I am FREE to move forward, knowing that when a temptation regarding that comes along the path, I have ALREADY DECIDED. The hard part is done. Just like we counsel our children to make decisions regarding morality and other standards EARLY, so it is with us and our adult struggles. I play out scenarios in my mind where I'll be faced with a choice ... I see myself firmly making the correct decision and feel what it would feel like to do that ... I see myself walking away from that decision, stronger and happier for it. Sometimes I even practice saying "NO!" out loud, just so I remember that I have that in me! Somewhere I heard that "saying 'no' to temptation is saying 'yes' to myself", and I like that.
So many of you are exercising, changing eating habits, and looking fabulous. I would love to know what is working for you. If you had to condense your healthful tips into just a couple of points, what would they be?? What are you eating that is both delicious and healthful?? What is inspiring you to be better??
Onward, my sisters! We can do anything in the strength of the Lord!
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