Tag: PCOS

Rachel’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

I love sauces.  One of the hardest things about sticking to a low GI diet is that most produced sauces/dressings are high in added sugar.  In addition, most not only have sugar but have high fructose corn syrup which is like concentrated sugar.  This left me with dry, boring food.  😦

Lately I’ve been experimenting a lot in the kitchen and trying to come up with recipes that are low GI and taste good.  I’ve had 2 less than stellar successes but today I think I scored.  ( I tried to make enchiladas with my own enchilada sauce and they were such a disappointment.).

I have made my own barbeque sauce!  BBQ sauce is usually loaded with sugar, molasses and honey.  Especially my favorite, Kansas city style, which is a dark, rich sauce.   Now I made this sauce with agave but you could use coconut syrup or brown rice syrup or yacon- whatever low GI sweetener floats your boat.  I don’t think stevia would work as well in this recipe because it isn’t a liquid syrup but you can try it!  I am also not a fan of splenda. Its not natural like the stevia or agave plants and to me it has a chemical aftertaste.

(For agave haters read this) The Agave Bad for You Fallacy

One thing you have to remember is that any sweetener is just that a sweetener but some are absorbed less quickly and converted into glucose.  Its kind of like the difference between whole grains and white flour.  They are both grains but one is absorbed more quickly than the other.  Our bodies are designed to taste sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and unami, and I believe it is important that any diet for it to be a realistic lifestyle change must incorporate all of these taste buds.  They are there.  They aren’t going away.  Doing a sugar fast may be helpful to change habits and lessen cravings but unless you cut out your tongue you will always want sweet.

there are areas of your tongue designed to taste sweet. Its how our body is made. Find healthier ways to satisfy those natural cravings

So, my goal is to find ways to satisfy my taste buds without raising my blood sugar levels (and its working I haven’t had a high reading in a year).  I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to take regular dishes and lower the simple carbs and substitute/reduce the sugar in them.  (Any recipes you have in this regard I’d love!).

My sister and a friend are coming over tonight and she suggested we make this soda pop crockpot pork I’ve made in the past.  At first I thought, no way!  If there was ever a dish loaded with sugar this is it.  In addition to 2 cans regular cola an average recipe has 1 cup or more of highly sweetened bbq sauce and an additional 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

One of the things I admire about people like Elana Amsterdam is she hasn’t let her celiac disease stop her from eating anything.  She finds a way to make cupcakes, cookies, crackers, pies all within her food restrictions (she also uses agave and explains why).  Amy Medling is another good example.  Her menus are so full and rich and yet completely PCOS/Low GI friendly.

I think an attitude of looking at food limitations as a fun challenge, not as a burden, is very commendable.  Sometimes I feel like all I get is one more thing I can’t eat each day (especially during the sugar fast, someone told me I couldn’t eat sugar free gum and I about lost it.  I couldn’t take all the no’s anymore!).

Never to be undone by a challenge I decided to go for it.  The pork is brewing in the crockpot right now but I have a feeling it will be delicious.  I used oogave cola soda .  This soda uses agave instead of high fructose corn syrup or sugar.  Again, its not about it being a non-sweetener because it is but it is a better choice.

So, then I added a cup of my awesome homemade bbq sauce.  Even if the pork doesn’t turn out it was worth it just for this recipe I invented. (And remember you are using just a little bit of sauce.  The recipe makes over 4-6 cups.  (I didn’t measure the final amount but it was a lot).

Here goes:

Homemade Low GI BBQ Sauce

1 large can tomato sauce (or pureed tomatoes in a blender and strained)

1/2 cup of water

1/2 c balsamic vinegar (doesn’t have to be the fancy stuff.  I used some I got from the dollar store!  Save the good stuff for bread or strawberries.  I think you could also use apple cider vinegar which has some health benefits but it wouldn’t give you the dark KC BBQ look.)

1/3 c agave (can add a little more depending on taste)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp yellow mustard

2 dashes of liquid smoke (start small and can add more because it packs a punch)

1/4 c Worcestershire sauce (this does contain hfc and sugar but it is such a small amount for a large quantity of sauce that I wouldn’t worry about it.  If anyone knows of a Worcestershire sauce that doesn’t have added sugars let me know. )

Mix all together with a whisk until it boils and then quickly turn to med low and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Then bottle and store in your fridge.

Rachel's Homemade LOW GI BBQ Sauce!

I’m really excited about this recipe.  I think it will be great on hot dogs instead of ketchup (and I do intend on making my own Low GI ketchup) or with sweet potato fries.  With roasted chicken it would be delicious, or on ribs it would be fabulous.   There is tons of potential.  Hurray!

Let me know what you think and if you alter the recipe in any way.  I will post a photo of the pork tonight.

“It is a far, far better barbecue that I have now, than I have ever had before” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“It is better to have burnt and lost, then never to have barbecued at all” – William Shakespeare

(Just a little joke!)

Posted later-

Here is the pork

agave bbq pulled pork

The pork is a 5 lb pork shoulder rubbed with salt and pepper.  Then you put it in the crockpot with an onion sliced up, 2 cans oogave cola and a cup of Low GI BBQ.  Let cook on low for 6 hours.  Then drain most of marinade, shred pork and add another cup of sauce, heat on high for 1-2 hours.

The pork was tender and full of flavor.  I really liked it.

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A Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

When I was little one of my favorite books was Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.  In the book Alexander has a string of bad luck including such tough events as slipping on his skateboard, being stuck in the back on carpool, losing his best friend, and no desert with lunch.  Alexander wishes he could go to Australia and be rid of his bad day.

The thing I enjoy most about the book is there is no happy ending to the day or ice cream cone to make everything better.  It simply says:

“My mom says days are like that…even in Australia.”

Isn’t it the truth? There are some days that just stink and where everything feels hard.  I think it is great to let kids know they are OK if they have a bad day.

Today was a bad day for me.  It actually started last night where my wicked sinus troubles turned into a full-blown ear infection.  My ears hurt like I was descending on an airplane and they were about to burst.  Luckily I had some old drops from a previous ear infection and that helped alleviate some of the pain.  Nevertheless, it was hard to sleep.

Naturally I woke up cranky and less than rested.  I had such visions for the week.  I was going to train every day and be a wiz in the pool for the upcoming meet on Saturday.  Then the meet was going to propel me towards glory in the Slam the Dam race in Vegas next Saturday.

I was caught up with most work projects and was looking forward to a productive, fulfilling work-week as well as a number of social activities.  Then Saturday, the sore throat came, Sunday the cough and by Monday I was a snot-filled, wheezing machine.

“Take the day off Monday.  You’ll bounce back”.  I said with great optimism.  Now Thursday is fast approaching and no training has been done. I am totally unprepared for the meet on Saturday (if I get to attend at all) and my work-week has been thin at best.  (Let’s just say its a miracle I work from home and have been able to squeeze my hours in. )

I also missed church, FHE, visiting teaching, voice lessons, 3 sessions with various trainers and anything else that would be uplifting or exciting during the week. Most importantly I went without crucial training time that I really needed to be ready for my events.  Instead, I’ve spent the last 5 days sniffling through a box of tissues until my nose is raw and sore and watching Toddlers and Tiaras and wondering ‘why anyone who isn’t sick watches these shows?’

So as you can imagine it was a cranky, sore and stuffy Rachel that went to the doctors this morning and as always they were thoroughly unhealthful, unsympathetic and ponderous but provided me with the most-needed prescriptions.  I was on my way.

This is where I made a fatal error.  Last week I had been to my OBGYN who had given me a medicine that is not covered by insurance.  She recommended I fill the prescription at Costco so I decided to fill all 3 of mine today, including the antibiotic.  After spending over $200 (I always do at Costco! ) and waiting over an hour (20 minutes my foot!) I finally got my prescriptions and $196 later I was out the door.  Did the Costco employees box my stuff up like they usually do?  No.  I had to find boxes myself.

Luckily I had some help loading my car which of course was a block away in the massive Costco parking lot.  By the time I got home I was exhausted but could I rest, no.  I had to lug all of the perishables up to my 2nd story apartment without any assistance (Downside to living alone…).

After 3 trips to the car and back I began to put items in the fridge and freezer.  Unfortunately in my haste to be done I inadvertently left the freezer door open and WHACK!  My head and the door met in a loud crack.  Let’s just say while there may not be a concussion, a goose egg there most definitely will be.  With a slam I packed the rest of the perishables in the door and cried.

I, like Alexander, wonder why does everything have to be so freakin hard? Why can’t I just lose weight like a normal person?  How come Jennifer Hudson can lose 100 lbs in a year and have a baby while I am still 262 with PCOS, pre-diabetes, a painful ear infection and a head that’s throbbing like one of those old Looney Toon cartoons after a character gets hit with an anvil?

I also have no relationship or even a dating life (although how one develops a dating life is beyond me! What does that even mean? Please someone tell me what living in a dating life is like? How does anyone actually get together, and even more so, how do all these plus size girls I know meet people?  I find it so difficult and losing the 50 lbs hasn’t helped one bit. In a way, it is easier to be fat and single because at least they aren’t rejecting me for my personality or so I thought…)

In addition, I’m going through money like it is candy (Whoever said exercise/healthy living is cheap is insane. Since the beginning of August I have spent at least $750 on my 2 trainers, equipment, entry fees, and that doesn’t include my gym membership or medical expenses. Not to mention the added expenses healthy eating adds (most of the time at least)).  I don’t have debt but I never seem to be able to save!

Its like I’m a cliched character at the beginning of a romantic comedy except without the sarcastic best friend or the  boy who secretly likes me but ‘we’re just friends’.

I just want to swim in my race and do my best.  Is that too much to ask?  I’m reminded of one of my favorite books by Norah Ephron called I Feel Bad About My Neck.  In one section entitled Exercise she says:

“I would like to be in shape.  I have a friend who gets up every morning at 5 am and essentially does a triathlon.  I’m not exaggerating. She is Ironwoman…A few summers ago I decided to do some swimming, and within a week I had swimmer’s ear.  Have you ever had it? It’s torture…My own theory about Van Gogh is that he cut off his ear because he’d made the mistake of taking up swimming…”

She goes on

“I myself swing between two universes.  I spend time getting into shape; then something breaks, and then I spend time recovering and then something new breaks.  So far, in the breakage department I have managed the following:  I pulled my lower back doing sit ups; I threw  out my right hip on the treadmill; I got shin splints from jogging and I entirely destroyed my neck just from rolling over in bed. ”

“A few years ago I made the mistake of confusing the movie Chicago with an exercise video.  It was, without question, the greatest exercise video I have ever had.  I could lift weights forever while watching it.  For the first time in my exercising life, I was never bored….But after 3 weeks I woke up one morning in horrible pain and I couldn’t move my arms. ”

“Millions of dollars in doctor’s fees later, it turned out that I had not one but two frozen shoulders, the result of lifting too many weights for far too long.  It took 2 years for those frozen shoulders to mostly thaw, and in the meantime, I had pretty much resigned myself to the prospect of never being able to scratch my own back…But I am now exercising again.  I have a trainer.  I have a treadmill.  I have my TV set over the treadmill.  I exercise almost 4 hours a week and I would rather be in Philadelphia (although not in labor!).”

There is something cathartic about reading her words because while I (knock on wood) am not prone to broken bones, it seems the pantheon of other illnesses is awakened when I set a goal or try to push myself in my training.

When I was in college two of my friends entered the St. George Marathon and upon proudly finishing they had to be sent to the hospital for an IV and treatment.  I always found it such a hollow victory when they would say ‘at least we made it to the end’.

Now I get it.  If I am in that race October 1st and they take me to the hospital after I finish it will be a victory- at least I will have ‘made it to the end’.  All of Satan’s minions could try to keep me from that race, but I will swim if it kills me.  Ok.  Maybe not kill me, but still, I get the victory of their hospital-lain achievement and it’s certainly going to take A LOT for me to give up.

Setting and keeping goals is tough because life gets messy.  People have no idea how hard it is to get into shape and on days like these I wish the ‘fat haters’ could walk in my shoes, and feel how I feel especially when they are prone to criticize the obese and heavy.  It’s really hard and the days of agony far outweigh the days of fulfillment.  That’s the way it is.

As Alexander’s mom says “Some days are like that”…

To having a better day tomorrow, to antibiotics working, and to being able to complete my goals somehow, someway.  Thank you everyone for your friendship, love and prayers.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I am going to watch Survivor and the premieres of Modern Family and The Middle- yeah!  Premiere week! On days like this I love TV!  (Except for Toddlers and Tiara’s- it will only make you feel bad about the world!)

I also understand that in the scope of human travails mine are at the bottom of the totem pole but as my aunt Chris once said in a prayer ‘Our problems are small but they are difficult for us and we need help”.

Put on a Happy Face

How happy is the little Stone
by Emily Dickinson
How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn’t care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears —
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity —
(If there was ever a poem that describes me this is it)

Today I went to a large church social and was doing my best to mingle with the crowd (not my favorite activity).  Eventually I came across a group I had not seen in many months.   As we chatted about our summers and the latest movies one of the girls perked up and said “Rachel, you look happier.  What’s going on?”.

The question caught me a bit off guard.  I wish I knew the answer.  I’ve always felt like a very happy person but I did go through a tough couple of months at the beginning of the year.  It was a lot of bad news in a short amount of time.  Plus, it is always hard for me to put on a happy face when I am not feeling well.  I’m afraid I’ve inherited some of my father’s complete inability to fake an emotion or to be anything less than genuine.  My entire family will tell you that I am a big grump when I’m sick, tired or hungry (so if you see me being crabby check one of the three!).

That said- the strange thing is I didn’t even realize an increase in my happiness had occurred until she pointed it out.   Isn’t that funny?  We can be happy and not really appreciate it or understand it?

I think a big part of my current happy heart is the  aloha spirit that I still have inside me.  I know that sounds cheesy but Hawaii was so good for me.  It made me feel active and alive in a way I have not felt in over 2 years.  With all the exercising and conditioning I never had a moment where I wanted to exclaim “Yes, I’m so much more capable physically than I was before”.  However, in Hawaii that happened again and again with surfing being the ultimate moment of triumph.  If I can surf, I can do anything!

Since returning home I dove immediately back into the fitness rat-race (in a good way) challenging myself with new routines and goals.  It is exhilarating!  In fact, on Saturday I completed my first mile-long swim since high school.  It still took me an hour but its a start.  Like I said, if I can conquer surfing I can conquer anything and that’s SO EXCITING!!!

My health has also been steadily improving since I gave up the various medications in May.   On  Thursday I have a check in with my endocrinologist, but I have a good feeling that the last 6 months of 2011 will be much better than the first.  Its a feeling in my gut that I find difficult to explain but its great.

I know there will still be challenges but Hawaii gave me hope for the future.  If I can be that happy on vacation then I know I can be happier in real life.   HOPE IS AWESOME!

One of the exciting goals I am setting for myself is to compete in an open water swim.  These are marathon type swimming races that are usually 1 mile, 3k and 5k.  There is one on August 13th that I am trying for but if not there’s another at the beginning of October in Vegas.  Can you believe that I can even think of signing up for something like that?  18 months ago you wouldn’t have believed it!

It is perhaps this feeling of accomplishment and balance that is putting a smile on my face- a smile which this girl noticed even before I did.  After the year I’ve had I’m grateful for every smile I get and I certainly don’t take it for granted.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who point out my happiness, so I don’t just let it go by unnoticed!

Good News

This is just a quick update but I wanted to let all of you know the good news I got today at the endocrinologist.  (yes, you read right.  I for once got good news at the doctors!).  Its complicated but basically he said I have a unique version of diabetes.  Some might say it is pre-diabetic but it is just enough symptoms to classify as diabetes for the insurance.

In fact, my blood sugar averages are normal.  It’s the highs and lows that show concern.  The doctor said with the new medicine I should be able to lose more weight (about 4 lbs a month is what I should expect for several months) and that my sugars should stabilize.  It is not an energy creating drug per say but hopefully that will be a ripple effect.

The doctor said if I continue to be careful with my low glycemic diet, take my meds and keep up the exercise I may not need the injections for long.  Depending on how I respond I could rid myself of the diabetic symptoms entirely- even eventually working in an occasional carb/treat into the mix.

I know the next few months will be difficult- as there is no easy road to health (especially for me!).  However, I feel encouraged and hopeful for an energetic, healthy future.  The doctor told me that a huge majority of diabetes patients don’t take care of their condition and naturally it gets worse and worse, causing greater health problems.  I will not be this type of diabetic.  I’ve sacrificed too much, come too far.  He actually said with my blood sugar averages my chances of cancer, heart disease aren’t much more elevated than any other person.

What we are basically doing is nipping the problem in the bud before it becomes such a dramatic health risk.  It is conquering it while it is an early stage and for this I feel proud.  Proud that I didn’t give up and kept pushing for more tests and treatments.  Without my copious notes and nearly constant prodding I would not have discovered my diabetes until much later in life when it would have been much harder to make the necessary changes.  Out of all the blood work they did nothing showed diabetic until I started keeping a careful log of my symptoms, food intake and medicinal responses.  I even did an experiment where I ate candy and then took my blood sugar.  Shockingly it went up to 309.  It was this evidence almost exclusively that convinced my doctor of my condition or at least my propensity towards it.  I’m proud I stuck to my guns and didn’t accept the easy answers he wanted to give me.

Even today I had to remind the doctor  that despite normal readings I did not feel normal.  He seemed a little skeptical but in the end said I was probably going through a type of withdrawal of higher blood sugar numbers. Eventually my body should adjust to having lower numbers and combined with the weight loss I should feel better than ever!

Like I said the road ahead will not be easy but I feel confident I am up for the challenge!  I also have a gut feeling that this is the big answer I’ve been praying  for.  I think the medicine will work.  I will lose the weight, get my sugars normalized, feel energized and live the active life I have been seeking the last 14 months (my whole life really!).  I’m looking forward to the future in a way I haven’t done for some time.  I’m full of hope and gratitude.

To finally getting the new me and feeling GREAT!

Brownies

seriously brownies that are actually good for you- omega 3s and protein from the almond butter, flour and sugar free! Wow! May be the best day of my life.

Yes you read right.  Brownies.  Have I flown off the diabetes band wagon?  No sir!

The last two days I have not felt well and been a bit depressed.  Actually I don’t know if depressed is the right word- exhausted is more accurate.  Exhausted in every sense of the word.  I feel wrung out emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Today for some reason I feel a lot better.  I don’t know if it is seeing my sister or having voice lessons or what but I just feel a little more energy than the last 2 days.

I am particularly happy about a new recipe I tried for BROWNIES!!!  You won’t believe this recipe actually works.  It has NO FLOUR and NO SUGAR!!  How can that be?  I was skeptical but it is delicious.  The chips have a tiny bit of sugar but you can use chips with cane juice, agave or other sweeteners.

Chocolate Chip Brownies
1 (16) ounce jar salted almond butter, smooth roasted
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup cacao powder
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips 73% cacao

  1. In a large bowl, blend almond butter until smooth with a hand blender
  2. Blend in eggs, then blend in agave and vanilla
  3. Blend in cacao, salt and baking soda, then fold in chocolate chips
  4. Grease a 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish
  5. Pour batter into dish
  6. Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes

I wish I could take credit for this recipe.  It is from an amazing blog called Elena’s Pantry written by Elena Amsterdam.  Ostensibly she is a gluten free author but her recipes also are low glycemic and use natural sweeteners.  She’s even introduced me to new sweeteners/flours such as yacon powder and spelt flour.

These brownies are AMAZING!!!!!

I feel I have been blessed to not care much about food but after two bad days I must admit these brownies made me happy and smile. One thing about being a medical freak show is it makes you appreciate the little things. 🙂

Try out these brownies and other recipes from Elena’s Pantry and let me know what you think.  I have been blown away.  (Unfortunately these are not cheap but you can’t have everything!)

The D Word

I don’t normally post twice in one day but in my last post I mentioned an appointment to the endocrinologist this afternoon.  I thought it would be a standard check up but it turned in a memorable direction quickly.  As part of the check up the doctor asked me some questions in regards to my general health, and I explained my continuing symptoms of fatigue, light-headness and inability to lose weight.

For the last month I have been keeping track of my blood sugar and most of the time I have been in normal ranges; however, I did not feel normal.  He said I was having hypoglycemic responses to normal levels.  This was a red flag of more serious problems.  Then I told him that only twice had it been over 200.  One time as a test I ate candy to see what a high would be and it was 309.  The minute my doctor heard this he said “you have diabetes.  That’s it.”

This is the diagnosis I’ve been dreading and as the words exited his mouth I felt shock, despair and surprise.  Why had this not come up in all the blood work we did?  Well, its hard to say for sure but I had already been on the metformin for over a month when I did the work so that could be part of it (as well as already working out regularly and dieting).

I got a bit emotional as he talked and as he noticed my reaction he said “no, no, this really is a good thing.  It really is.”  He also said the PCOS was probably still a correct diagnosis but this was a new level added to it.   (He explained a lot that was over my head especially because I was so overwhelmed with the diagnosis.  I mean to ask many more questions next time).

The good news is with the diagnosis we can get more aggressive with medicine and treatments.  I’m a little scared but there are two injections I will need to give myself after I am trained next time.  They are shots in my abdomen and  the doctor said they are a tiny needle and you don’t have to find a vein.  I’m still a little freaked out but we’ll take it a day at a time.

He went on to say this diagnosis could be the key to helping me finally lose weight and once that happens my body will be able to self-regulate. I won’t have to take the injections forever and may get to a point where I am down to just metformin.  At the very least I should finally see results from all the work I’ve been doing.

The other good thing is aside from injections the diagnosis does not require lifestyle changes.  I’ve already made those changes- no white carbs, no sugar etc.  Hopefully this will help me to feel good and experience the benefits of this healthy lifestyle, instead of feeling haggard and tired all the time.

To tie into my earlier post I think there is a side of me that was a bit embarrassed when I first heard the news.  There seems to be this stigma associated with diabetes that it is caused by neglect of the body and binge eating.  While I have had my moments over the years, in general I have tried very hard to improve my body to no avail.  This is where the insulin resistance made life more difficult for me.   I couldn’t lose the weight; therefore, I couldn’t radically change my insulin levels.

There may be people who cause their own diabetes but for me I know it is mostly genetics.  I just have to work through these feelings and I feel confident in the end this diagnosis will be for the best.  As my bishop said ‘it could wind up being the best thing that has ever happened to me.’  I hope and pray he is right!

Anyway,  I have tons to learn and absorb but I’m trying to remain positive and take each day as it comes.  I will keep you all posted as I go on this journey.  Thank you for all the support and for everyone’s calls/emails/facebook posts expressing love and concern.  It means everything.

Great and Spacious Building

It is no secret that the last few weeks have probably been the hardest in what has become my continual struggle to lose weight and get in shape.  With the added burden of chest pains, exercising and even basic functions like breathing have been difficult.   (I go to the endocrinologist today and hopefully will be able to exercise as well).

Anyway, I have tried to be strong and keep going but it is hard to not feel sorry for myself every now and then.  I say that knowing many, if not most people, have far greater struggles than I do; however, it still can be frustrating to see one road block after another.  Sometimes it feels like my body is fighting against getting in shape, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?  Nevertheless, I have persisted and am not giving up on my goal.

That said, there is one weakness I would like to confess which still bothers me as I try to make these changes- the idea of the mocking crowds.

Let me explain…In the Book of Mormon there is a story in dream-form given to the ancient prophet Lehi.  In the dream he sees a variety of things but in the forefront is a tree full of bright fruit.  Later we learn this fruit is the ‘love of God’ or the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Once you have partaken of the fruit you are filled with indescribable joy and light.  Immediately you seek to share this joy with your loved ones in hopes they might feel it also.

However, when you look around there is a ‘great and spacious building’ standing south of the tree.  This building is grand in scale and full of people mocking the faithful for their adherence to the tree. Their mocking can be so overwhelming that some of the faithful abandon the tree and head into darkness.  Others are strong enough to resist and continue partaking of the glorious fruit.

I have been thinking about this story lately because there are a lot of people who mock overweight individuals like myself.  In the past their words were easier to brush off because I was happy with the way I was.  Its a bit hard to explain but in opening myself up to the need for change I have become more sensitive to harsh words.

To give you an idea, a woman named Maura Kelly wrote an opinion piece for Marie Claire.com about a new show staring two overweight people called Mike and Molly.  In the article she says, ‘I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything”.

She goes on, “To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.”

Why does this bother me so much?  I don’t know.  It just makes me crazy to think of someone looking at me in this way when I am trying so hard.  The saddest part is I think a lot of people share Kelly’s views of overweight individuals but don’t have the poor taste to admit it.   When I was younger someone I know used to take videos of fat people at parks or in the city and laugh at them, mocking them.   This stung deeply at the time and hurts me whenever I think of it.  The idea that someone is taking a video of me and laughing makes me nuts.

Getting back to the dream…I recognize such feelings exists because I am looking at the great and spacious building, not keeping my mind on the tree.  One of the things I dreaded about losing weight is your body becomes so much of your identity.  People immediately think  ‘Oh there’s Rachel.  She’s lost weight.’  What I would prefer is ‘Oh there’s Rachel.  She’s such a great person’.   However, I suppose such responses are part of human nature and are only an initial response with the latter coming soon after.

I just have to remember to keep looking at the tree.  I know my Heavenly Father loves me regardless of my size. I have known that since I was a little girl.  I know Jesus Christ died for me and that in His atonement He paid for my sins and felt all of my mild struggles.  I also know that my family loves and supports me regardless of my fitness choices.

I am also grateful for my Grandpa Richards who never saw me as the fat granddaughter, just his beautiful granddaughter.   He used to hold my face in his hands and tell me how beautiful I was, how my skin was flawless. It is a memory I will always hold dear- someone in my life saw me as perfect.  I know how that feels, and I am so grateful for it.  I know he is looking down on me and helping me each day.

I have received support from so many that I do not know why I let the faceless mob bother me.  It is something I am going to work at. I know as I turn more to the tree and feel of Jesus Christ’s love I will be happier and my burdens will be made light. I have faith in His love and His power.  I hope you all feel it in your life as you walk  your uniquely rocky road.