By: Brittney Moore
As long as I can remember, I have been interested in health and fitness. I remember doing aerobic videos in my living room when I was 12 years old. I got my degree at BYU in Health Promotion so I’ve always considered myself a healthy eater and regular exerciser. Health is a topic that I am fascinated with, and I continue to spend many hours reading the latest research, especially as it applies to the Word of Wisdom.
Most of the stories on the Discovering the Word of Wisdom site so far are about the physical changes that happen from following the Word of Wisdom. My story is more about the mental and emotional changes that have happened to me.
I started dieting after my first child was born in 1998. I’ve never been particularly heavy, but I always wanted to lose the last ten pounds, so I would follow whatever diet I found. Low carb, low fat, low calorie, I did them all. They all gave quick results, but then I’d start putting the pounds on again when I stopped following the diet perfectly. I felt like I was always trying to walk up a slippery slope, and I could never get to the top. The bathroom scale started ruling my life, and if I gained a pound or two, I would feel like a failure and start looking for a new diet that I could stick with. I felt like I couldn’t trust myself around food. I felt like my happiness each day depended on the number on the scale in the morning. I felt out of control and hopeless.
During this time I was an avid Crossfitter and was pressured to follow the Paleo diet, which is eating lots of meat, but no grains or potatoes or beans. I knew many LDS people who were eating this way, and I questioned them about following the Word of Wisdom. Most people just shrugged off my question or said they felt they were following the Word of Wisdom since they didn’t smoke or drink. I decided to try it for a month. I felt awful. I had no energy and wanted to lay down all day. I also had huge cravings for cookies, cakes, donuts and anything sweet because I wasn’t getting enough carbohydrates. By this time I had six children and didn’t have the energy to get through the day. This was a huge testimony to me that the Word of Wisdom is true. I would not give up my grains, potatoes and beans, because obviously they helped me “run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.”
I prayed hundreds of times to know how to eat and not gain weight. I always thought that Heavenly Father must have a way for us to eat enough to feel full but not get fat. I was eating according to the Word of Wisdom but also ate chocolate, cookies, cakes, and oil and butter.
Then in 2011 I came across an article written by Dr. John McDougall about how eating starches can help you stay thin and how good carbohydrates are rarely turned into fat. He challenged us to include large quantities of rice, corn, potatoes, beans, and bread into our daily diet. He also said to eat as much as we wanted. I thought, “Finally something that supports the Word of Wisdom and lets you eat until you are full.” From that moment on I have felt like I had been guided by the Spirit to find that article.
I now follow a whole foods plant based diet with no oils or added sugars and the best part is that it has freed me from dieting because I can eat as much as I want and not gain weight. I don’t worry about the number on the scale because when I eat like this I am at the perfect weight for my body. I had my seventh child four months ago, and I’m already thinner than I was before I got pregnant. I also feel happier and more confident. I would never trade this peace for anything.
When I was trying to avoid carbs and diet to lose weight, I was constantly thinking about what my next meal would be. I always had an internal battle raging inside me between giving in to my cravings for junk food, or sticking to my current diet and “being good.” I felt out of control because I knew that if I had one cookie, I wouldn’t be able to stop, and I would feel bad about myself later.
I have since learned that when I eat until I’m full on the whole food, plant-based diet, the internal battle is gone because I have satisfied my body’s need for nutritious food. I don’t obsess about what I will, or will not eat because I already know. I have so much more emotional energy to spend on others things now. The Word of Wisdom has blessed me emotionally and mentally and has helped me achieve peace with food. I wish I could shout it on the rooftops about how wonderful this has been. Heavenly Father answered my prayers and cares about what I eat.
Brittney Moore is 42 years old and lives in St. George, Utah. She and her husband both served missions in Argentina, and they now have 7 children. She loves being outside and running on trails through the red rocks of Southern Utah.