“The peril of this century is spiritual apathy. As the body requires sunlight, good food, proper exercise, and rest, so the spirit of man requires the sunlight of the holy Spirit; proper exercise of the spiritual functions; avoiding of evils that affect spiritual health, which are more ravaging in their effects than typhoid fever, pneumonia, or other diseases that attack the body” (Gospel Ideals , 360).
This has been an interesting week for me. To start with, I began a real, honest to goodness, diet. I must admit that it has been far from easy. I fell OK, but I do miss some of my favorite things. Ice Cream probably comes to mind the most. I might not have eaten it all winter, but right now, it is a serious craving! Perhaps I should start at the beginning in explaining this new resolve.
I have been unhappy with my weight for a number of years. I don't diet often, but did cut back on what I was eating and increased the exercise I was getting. I have lost 40 lbs since I moved up into the mountains. That was not a small feat, but it was relatively easy and painless. Mostly, I just quit eating seconds and started buying small things instead of large or king-sized portions. Kid portions work very well and still allowed me to feel like I was "normal". However, time not being my best friend, I seem to have stopped losing weight and stayed right where I am currently for the past year. I haven't gained any more weight, but I am not losing it either.
Have you ever noticed how you can look in the mirror and be totally shocked about what you see? I always feel like the real me is hidden somewhere inside the person that I have become. When I imagine my spirit, it is not and never has been, "fat". I finally decided that I am going to have to do something a little more concentrated that I have in the past if I want to lose this weight. Once I get it off, I think I can keep it off and maintain. It is the getting it off in the first place that is so difficult.
I have a good friend who used to be about my weight and size. She went on a dedicated diet a year ago. She lost 55 lbs and now wears a size 4 in clothes. I have known her before, during, and after her diet. She did not talk about it at all until she had lost about 30 lbs and everyone started noticing. It took her 5 months to lose all the weight and reach her goal. She has kept it all off for the rest of the year. I am really proud of her and I know that it is quite a victory.
I was in the valley on business with her all week. It is one of the reasons that I did not blog very much this past week. (I don't have easy access to a computer or the internet when I am not home). We were finishing up our Stamp destruction detail and counting all the remaining stock before taking it to destruction. She talked to me about her diet and what she is doing to keep herself at her current weight. Somehow, I ended up trying her food and her diet for the past week. I have lost 5 lbs. So, with a new found conviction, I have joined the ranks of dieters everywhere. So far, I am not cheating. Hopefully, I will be able to say that in a few weeks!
I am blogging about it because, if there is one thing I have learned about myself, it is that I need to be accountable in order to be successful. I need to feel as if someone will notice. Maybe, someday in the not so distant future, I will do a before and after photo! (Maybe not as I hate being in pictures! I much prefer to be the one taking them!)
Now, what in the world does dieting have to do with the gospel?
Sometimes, in our lives, we all stray away from the truth. We add little things we learn and incorporate them into our habits and teachings. We sometimes pick things up that we enjoy doing, but those things aren't good for our spirits. For instance: We might watch suggestive movies; we might enjoying reading suggestive books; we might spend too much time doing things the world values and not enough time doing what the Lord would have us do; or we might not treat our family quite the way we know we should. There are so many more things, but I will start and stop with these four. You can make your own list for the things that you might value that are not healthy for you.
These things that we do, might not be as terrible as other things that we can think of. After all, it is not pornography, it is not R rated movies, it is not working in other countries and leaving our children with nannies, it is not like we are abusing our children or our spouses. It is just that we are not doing some of the things as well as we could be doing them. We are making choices that don't add to our progression here on this earth. We are making choices that contribute to our spirits becoming unhealthy. We are taking things into our spiritual bodies that we don't want or need to be there. Sometimes, we need to go on a spiritual diet.
President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901), a counselor in the First Presidency, had something to say about our recreation:
“The mania for recreations of various kinds which has seized upon many of the people is harmful in several ways. It unfits them for the regular duties of life. It renders them restless and impatient of proper restraint. It obstructs business. It tends to contract habits of dissipation. It throws our young folks into the company of persons whose society should be shunned. It cultivates worldliness. It conducts to many evils, and the spirit of purity, temperance, holiness and peace will not abide in resorts such as have been established for the purpose of enticing the Saints into folly. …
“We have no disposition to deprive either young or old of proper amusement. It is necessary to perfect health and rational enjoyment” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1957–74], 2:147).
We need to focus on the things that are most important of all. And the funny thing that I have learned, is that when you focus on what is most important, you find that the other stuff doesn't seem to matter quite as much as it used to. May each of us reflect on what we need and strive to change our lives so that we can do those things that matter most of all.
"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."
St. Francis of Assisi