By: April Harker
I’ve struggled with my weight throughout my life. I’ve tried different pills and fad diets that never worked. I’d lose weight and gain it all back. Being overweight is just a depressing way to live. I hadn’t learned how to eat nutritiously, and I struggled with binge eating and severe food addiction.
In January of 2014 I was diagnosed with Hashimotos and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Within a year of diagnosis I gain over 100 lbs. I was sick, depressed, hungry, tired, and lethargic all the time. It took everything I had in me to just get out of bed in the morning.
On July 19, 2015 I decided to start a health journey and get my life back. I started out doing swimming at our local gym and did my best to change my eating habits. I lost a significant amount of weight, but I just wasn’t feeling good. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it was as if my body was trying to tell me something. I had become brainwashed by the health and fitness industries that I needed huge amounts of protein. I was consuming two whey protein shakes a day and two meals loaded with animal protein. Although the weight slowly started to come off, my diseases hadn’t gotten any better, and my body just felt miserable.
Fast forward a year to August 2016. My father ended up passing away due to 30+ years of battling food addiction and diet-related disease. I struggled losing him knowing he could have had a much more enriched life if he just would have been willing to make some changes. Losing him sparked a fire in me. I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps, and I was determined to break an unhealthy cycle in regards to food. I dove into nutritional research at home and school, and watched just about every food documentary I could find searching for answers. I felt similar to Joseph Smith searching for which church was true, except I was searching from truth in regards to nutrition.
Like Joseph, I too found myself on my knees praying for answers. After a few days of study and prayer I came across those amazing verses in D&C 89:
Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
It was as if the Lord himself was speaking directly to me. I’d never read those verses together and understood them as they should be read. It pleases the Lord when we abstain from eating animals! I knew it was time for me to reflect on the choices and decisions I had been making with food, and I wanted to desperately to heal myself of the thyroid disease and PCOS.
On September 13, 2016 I eliminated all animal foods from my diet. Going whole food, plant-based has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel physically stronger, and my body is continuing to lean out every day. I sleep so much better and wake up with a clear, focused mind that used to be in a state of constant fog. I also feel so good knowing I’m doing my part to help protect the animals and our planet from destruction.
The best part of it all is I no longer suffer with thyroid disease or PCOS and am off ALL medications. To be off all medication and cured of my ailments in just three months is miraculous, and I thank the Lord for this wonderful wealth of knowledge I’ve been blessed with. I’ve now lost a total of 121 lbs. since the start of my journey in 2015, and I’m continuing to drop weight due to a healthy whole food, plant-based diet and lots of exercise. I enjoy life more fully than ever before, and I truly love the woman I’ve become!
April Harker is 27 years old. She and her husband live in Phoenix, Arizona where she is currently studying nutritional research. She enjoys weight lifting, boxing, and cooking.