Anyone who has been paying attention to the weight loss/healthy body conversation for the last few decades (and even some who have not!) has heard so many conflicting reports about what they should do to shed those last 10 pounds or find the energy of their youth or have their “best body ever.” Here are a few “for-sure” things that I’ve heard, and a few that I’ve tried myself:
- Atkins Diet – a focus on protein and fat with the exclusion of carbs vs.
- Low Fat Diet – if you don’t put fat into your body, your body won’t be fat, right?
- Paleo – focusing on eating what primitive man ate before he learned to farm and domesticate animals. Bonus: no Indominus-Rex trying to eat you vs.
- Man-made sugars and fats – no-calorie sweeteners, Olean (a fat your body can’t process)… man has made huge strides in every other field, why not in improving our food?
- Blood Type Diet – eat (or avoid) certain foods depending on your blood type vs.
- The Zone Diet – eating specific percentages of macronutrients to balance your diet for your body type
- Limited Food Diets – this includes the Cabbage Soup Diet where all you can eat is cabbage soup for a week, or other diets like the tuna fish/peanut butter diet and liquid diets… promoting fast weight loss that may (but probably not) stay off vs.
- Grazing Diet – eat every 3 hours to keep your metabolism burning hot
- Shangri-La Diet – where you drink olive oil and sugar water between meals to train your mind to not associate flavor with calories (what?!) vs.
- Eat Like a French Woman – because there are apparently no over-weight French women, they all have a healthy relationship with their food and never over-indulge (except in feelings of superiority)
With all this confusion amongst the professionals in this field, how are we (the lay man) ever to know what we should be putting into our bodies? What is our for-sure thing?
Probably most people know about the Mormons’ code of health, called the Word of Wisdom. This is the commandment from Heavenly Father to not drink alcohol, tea or coffee, or take drugs or other harmful things into your body. Whether you agree with or live these things in your own life, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints promises to go without these things when they are baptized.
These “do not do” things are one of the most well-known things about the Mormons. I’m especially grateful for growing up with these safety guidelines in my life. I look at the problems I have with sugar and can only imagine how I might have abused alcohol or drugs if I hadn’t grown up knowing that the Lord didn’t want me to even try them.
But the Word of Wisdom is a lot more than just “thou shalt nots.” Even a lot of Mormons don’t know or live the rest of the Word of Wisdom. The majority of this revelation is recommendations from the God that designed and created our bodies for what we should do with them.
One of my LDS friends has a valid point when he says, “So, I can’t drink a cup of coffee in the morning, but I can eat a whole pound of bacon for breakfast?”
When I was in high school, I was an exchange student to The Netherlands – drug capital of Europe. Before I left, I was given the counsel to be careful with the Word of Wisdom. After living there a year and not drinking or doing drugs, I left feeling like I could put a check mark next to that box: done. It wasn’t until years later when I was struggling with my health that I realized that I had failed. I had focused on the things that I was prohibited from eating and assumed that it was enough. Instead, I was 100 pounds overweight, my husband was in a similar situation, and I was starting to see my children begin to have problems of their own. The counsel to obey the Word of Wisdom will never have a check next to it. It’s a life-long mission to treat my body with respect.
Here are a few highlights from the Word of Wisdom:
- Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
- Eat meat sparingly
- Use wholesome herbs to heal your body
- Eat whole grains
I’ll post more about this later, but I wanted to burst the myth that there isn’t a place to turn to calm the confusion that is our obsession with our health. Rather than continuing to jump from diet to diet looking for “the secret weight-loss ingredient” (thanks Dr. Phil for having something new for us each week to waste our money on, but no thanks), do an experiment: take a look at the Word of Wisdom and see what you can incorporate into your life. See how you feel. And if it’s good, pass it on.
Week 2, out!