Book Review: Love Your Body: A Diet-Free Approach to Balanced Eating by Brooke Parker

Today, I'm reviewing Love Your Body: A Diet-Free Approach to Balanced Eating by Brooke Parker.

From the back cover:

Are you tired of dieting and feeling unsatisfied with your appearance? In
this book, registered dietitian Brooke Parker shares secrets for developing
a positive body image and creating your own customized eating plan. You'll
also learn how to replace negative thoughts about yourself with positive,
motivating thoughts.

With the tools you master in Love Your Body, the scale, the media, and your
"skinny jeans" will no longer have the power to determine your mood or your

Topics include:
€ Finding a New Relationship with Food
€ Honoring Your Hunger and Fullness
€ Finding Your Own Healthy Balance
€ Creating Healthy Expectations
€ The Inner Dialogue
€ Put an End to Worry
€ Your Body Is a Gift
€ Eliminating the Physical Triggers
€ Destructive Thinking Styles
€ Pampering Activities
. . . and many more.

I have personally been struggling this past fall and winter - trying to balance stress, family, and life. During that time, I felt so overwhelmed I decided to simplify my schedule. One of the things that ended up on the "temporary hiatus" list was exercise. And oh how I regret it now.

Spending hours and hours each day, sitting in front of my computer editing, writing, and working on various other projects for my kids' school, I ended up growing out of not just one, but a few pant sizes. As a result, I've felt absolutely horrible about myself. The tighter my jeans felt, the more I hated how I looked.

I was asked to review Love Your Body the same week I decided to get back to a serious exercise routine. I was excited to read a book that doesn't say, "Follow this diet & lose twenty pounds in one week!" or some other such nonsense.

As I read, I was impressed with the logical and sound advice Brooke Parker gives. Right from the beginning, I found techniques that were helpful. My favorite of which is the hunger scale. There's a scale you can use to gauge how hungry or full you are. You use your best judgment to determine where you are.

After reading and understanding the concepts of using the scale, I found myself stopping to ask myself how I was feeling about every hour or so during the day. If I was starting to have hunger pangs, but it wasn't close to a major meal, I first drank some water. Another thing I've discovered is I'm horrible about drinking enough water and in general drink very little. So sometimes when I feel hungry, really my body is just thirsty. After having a glass of water, I wait about five or ten minutes to see if I'm still hungry or if my body is happy again.  If I'm still hungry, then I'll have a snack - like a granola bar or apple. As I've exercised and started gauging my appetite, I've been reaching for more healthy snacks rather than tempting sweet snacks.

I think Love Your Body is a great book for anyone - from teens and adults. I highly recommend it. You can purchase Love Your Body through most bookstores or order it on

Or you can enter to win a copy! The publisher of Love Your Body is doing a blog tour giveaway. For more information, keep reading!

We will be giving away 5 copies of
Love Your Body: A
Diet-Free Approach to Balanced Eating
as part of the online book book
tour. The contest starts February 17th and will close on March 5th at
midnight, MST.

Entering the contest is easy--all you have to do is blog, tweet, follow, or
comment and then fill out this little form here.

So exactly how do you blog, tweet, follow, etc. Here's how.

1. Become a follower of our reviewers
You can follow one of our reviewers or you can follow all of
them. Remember that each blog you follow gives you another chance to win, so
why wouldn't you choose to follow them all? But what if we are already
following a them ask? Well lucky you because you get an entry for that too.

Walnut Springs Press
Brooke Parker RD
Of Writerly Things
Random-ish by Nichole
Queen of the Clan
Rachelle Writes
The Write Blocks Ronda
Gibb Hinrichsen
Tangled Words and Dreams
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS

Why Not? Because I Said

LDS Women's Book Review

Cami's Book

2. Post a comment on the reviews. .

3. Blog about the contest or one of the
Spread the word. Just remember that the blog post either
needs to link to the contest or to one of the reviews.

4. Follow us on twitter. Maybe you
use twitter, maybe you don't. But if you do, you should follow us.

5. Tweet about the contest or one
(or all) of the reviews.
Yep, 144 characters or less is all it takes
to enter.

6. Become a fan of Love Your Body
on facebook. Brooke is constantly
updating her fanpage with articles, recipes, and helpful hints.

7. Post about the contest on

8. Anything else you can think of that will
spread the word.
If you mention it on goodreads, shelfari, google
buzz, or any other social media site, or make it your status on gmail chat,
MSN or yahoo messenger let us know. We want to reward your creativity with
an entry.

Also, here is the blog tour schedule, so you can find the reviews on the correct days.

February 22 Valerie Ipson
Of Writerly Things

February 23 Nichole Giles
Random-ish by Nichole

February 24 Danyelle Ferguson
Queen of the Clan

February 25 Rachelle Christensen
Rachelle Writes

March 1 Ronda Hinrichsen
The Write Blocks

March 2
Tangled Words and Dreams
Alison Palmer

March 3
*Tristi Pinkston, LDS
Tristi Pinkston

March 4
Why Not? Because I Said
Sheila Stayley
LDS Women's Book Review

March 5
Cami's Book Cami

Mormon Mishaps & Mischief Blog Tour Winners Announced!

Nichole Giles and Cindy Beck, authors of Mormon Mishaps & Mischief, announced the winner of the grand prize this morning. Anne, who commented on my blog, won a $20 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble! Congrats, Anne! Be sure to contact Nichole and Cindy with your information so they can send you the prize. You can email them at

Michele Ashman Bell won an autographed copy of Mormon Mishaps & Mischief from moi. Michele, please email me with your mailing address & I'll get it shipped out to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered. And remember, if you entered contests on the other blogs during the tour, you need to go check them out to see if you won. Good luck!

I *Heart* Cheese!

Many of you know our oldest son, Isaac, has autism. Along with his autism, came an allergy to milk. In fact, he didn't look at us or even speak until after we took him off milk. Then within 2 weeks, he had over 150 words in his vocabulary and was speaking in short sentences. He calmed down and started initiating eye contact. All within an amazing two weeks & due to taking out one small item of food from his diet.

The last five years, there's been a lot of research about autism and the milk issue. Just in the past year or two, studies have shown that using the digestive enzyme DPP-IV (pronounced DPP-4) helps individuals with autism digest the milk protein much faster so it doesn't leak out of their gut and enter their bloodstream.

My hubby and I have debated for the last year about whether or not to try this enzyme or not. I've been really afraid to try it, let him eat the foods he misses, and then if it didn't work, go through heck and back to transition him back to a milk-free diet. But Isaac is 10 years old now. Next year, he's going to Jr. high (or middle school if they rename it to that). What an incredible thing for him if he could eat lunch at school, just like all his peers - and to go hang out with his friends without Mom needing to send substitute food for him.

So I finally broke down and decided to go for it. I had to search for several days to find a brand that had the right amount of DPP-IV. I finally found Enzymedica's GluetenEase at Whole Foods. A boy, that stuff's not cheap! We purchased one bottle for $40, which is enough to split between home & school for a two week trial.

My hubby and I had several conversations with Isaac about trying the new diet and enzymes. He showed a good understanding and has really taken a lot of the responsibility seriously. We started the new diet on Monday. Isaac asks for his enzyme before every meal or anything he eats a snack that has milk in it. His teacher & aide at school are keeping careful data on his behaviors to see how the new diet plan effects him. And so far . . .

It's going great!

Isaac hasn't had any of the normal behavior issues we usually see when he gets even just one cupcake made with milk. He's stayed steady and is his normal self. He's enjoyed trying a bunch of new foods - and even asked if I'd make him Kraft Mac & Cheese this weekend because he really wants to try it.

This week, we've had pizza & birthday cake, 3 Cheese Chicken & Noodle, and White Lasagna. Today after school, we are planning to take the kids out for ice cream as a family. We've never, ever been able to do this before. And I'm so totally excited!!!

So I'm crossing my fingers, toes, and eyes and praying, praying, praying that everything continues going well!

It's been so much fun to introduce our family to meals my hubby and I loved before we started the milk-free diet. It's also been interesting to discover I can't remember half of the meals we used to cook! We've been doing the milk-free diet for at least eight years. I've had to search for recipes online because I don't have some of my old favorites anymore. So here's where you can help me. If you have a favorite recipe, please send it to me! I'd love to try it out. You can email it to A huge thank you to everyone who sends me recipes!

Anna Banana is Three!

I still can't believe it. My sweet baby girl has turned into a spunky three-year-old. She's still quite small in stature, but she's packed with attitude!

We had a fun party with one of Anna's good friends, Sarah. Of course, Sarah's family joined us too. Anna just loves Sarah's family - and who could blame her? Sarah's mom, Kelly, spoils Anna rotten with hugs and tickles . . . and occasional trips to the movies. Sarah's older sisters - Jessie & Tashua - babysit our kids quite frequently. Anna loves it when they come to "play."

Here are some fun pictures from the party & a totally cute video of Anna playing with her favorite gift!

Anna is 3!
Our illustrious guests . . .
Isaac & Tashua

MJ & Jessie

Isaac & Rob
showing off their "pouty lips."

A very silly bunch of chicks!
Kelly, Sarah & Tashua

Anna with her favorite gift -
A Disney Princess Microphone from Sarah.
It plays "Be My Guest"
from Beauty & the Beast.

And now, the best video of the night . . . Get ready to chuckle!

Share the Love: The Gift of Laughter

This week has had some interesting twists and turns. Some of this week has been filled with extreme stress, frustration, and lots of tears. For me, the only thing that balances out these moments is laughter. This time around, my hubby challenged me to some games on the Wii, added in a bit of teasing and some snugly hugs in between bowling sessions. Another thing I really like when I'm frustrated, is to sit down with a funny book and give my mind a break from it's swirling stressful thoughts.

A great humor book I recommended back in December is Mormon Mishaps and Mischief. I've picked up this book many times to read a few of the short stories. It's a great tool for a quick chuckle.

This week, co-authors D.N. Giles (Nichole) and C.L. Beck (Cindy) are hosting a blog tour and fun contest. I'll tell you more about the contest . . . but first, let's learn a bit more about Nichole and Cindy, who both agreed to let me interview them.

QOTC: So, chickies, I have so many important questions for you. Let's dive right in. Since it's still early in the morning for me (almost 11 am and I wish I was still in bed!), what's your favorite cereal?

Cindy: Chex - which I love as Chex Party Mix. Does that count?

Nichole: Hm. That's a tough one. We're a cereal family at my house and could probably live on it for quite a while if things got tough. Or even if they didn't. I'm going to say Fruit Loops. You know, because I tend to be a bit loopy at times. Plus, they're colorful and fruity delicious.

QOTC: What was the name of your first pet?

Cindy: Mickey, but he wasn't a mouse.

Nichole: My first?As in, the very very first one? See, that's a problem. When I was five, we found a family of desert turtles and brought them home. We got to keep them in an unfinished portion of our house for about...two days before they mysteriously ran away. Poor turtles. I can't even remember their names! That same year, we also caught a rattlesnake. It didn't get a name.

QOTC: I am totally not a morning person. So I'm curious - what time do you get up in the morning?

Cindy: Well, sometimes 3 am when the train comes through (not the house, through town) and the engineer lays on the horn. But usually I hope for 7 am.

Nichole: I plea the fifth. Really. Because I stay up late a lot, writing. Sometimes reading. But my kids get to school, and that's the important thing.

QOTC: One of my very favorite things is fun socks. Tell me about your favorite pair of socks.

Cindy: Soft and fuzzy. They're actually bootie socks. And boo hoo, I'm down to my last pair and can't find them anymore. Waah!

Nichole: A good friend gave me a pair of fuzzy red ones with skids on the bottoms. They're very cozy. Except I don't love the skids because I can't slide on slick surfaces. For that, I have to get out the stripped knee-high toe socks, which are another favorite pair.

QOTC: I'm friends with people of all different ages, but they all have one thing in common - their true age isn't the number on their driver's license - it's an attitude. So, what age are you at heart and why?

Cindy: Well, I think my heart is about 57 years old, counting from the day I was born and don't include the nine months I was in the womb. Oh, you mean like how old do I feel mentally? About 105.

Nichole: It depends on how much I've laughed that day. Laughing can sure make me feel like a carefree kid. I don't mind that feeling at all.

QOTC: My hubby is an ice cream addict - although root beer floats & anything from Cold Stone are his favorites. What's your favorite ice cream creation?

Cindy: Baskin Robbins peanut butter and chocolate. In a cup. With lots of napkins (on my lap, not in the cup!).

Nichole: Ben and Jerry's used to make a tropical concoction called Island Paradise. It was pineapple ice cream with a rich mango swirl, and--I think--bits of banana. Sigh. It's discontinued. I miss it. Let's all go petition Ben and Jerry's to bring it back! Hurry!

QOTC: What is your favorite jewelry item to wear?

Cindy: My grandmother's opal ring. I only wear it for special occasions.

Nichole: What a question. How could I ever play favorites? It's almost like choosing my favorite child. It just isn't done! Sorry.

QOTC: And last, but certainly most important - Do you sing in the shower? And if so, what do you like to sing?

Cindy: Sometimes. And if you promise not to tell anyone (Sorry Cindy - did  you really think I'd not tell anyone an interview answer?), I like to sing the Rubber Ducky song from Sesame Street.

Nichole: Absolutely. I actually had my husband install speakers in my bathroom ceiling, so I can really get rocking in the shower. My favorite song totally changes on a daily basis, but recently I've been listening to "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga a lot. It has a beat that really gets me moving in the morning.

QOTC: Seriously? Speakers in the bathroom? That's a genius idea! I love it! I wonder if I can get my hubby to do that for me, too? Thanks for letting me interview you, chickies. I think I found some kindred spirits.


And now, for the contest portion of the blog tour! There are actually many contests running during this blog tour.

1. Cindy & Nichole have donated a $20 Amazon gift card to one winner. This winner will be chosen from ALL the comments left on ALL FIVE BLOGS participating in the tour. So the blog tour stops you visit and comment on, the more opportunities you have to win! (blog tour schedule is posted at the end of this post).

2. Queen of the Clan is giving away an autographed copy of Mormon Mishaps and Mischief to the readers who leave comments here on THIS BLOG.

3. Some of the other bloggers participating in the blog tour are also giving away books and other items. Be sure to check out their blogs & enter to win there as well. Each blog has different requirements to enter. So please be sure to read the rules at each stop carefully.


All of the contests will end on Friday, February 19th. The winners will be announced on various blogs Monday, February 22nd.

Be sure to leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry. Each comment will count as one entry, even if you leave feedback for multiple entries on that one comment. To enter, you can:

1. Leave a comment on this post. Tell me why you'd like this book.

2.Facebook the contest with link to this post.

3. Tweet about this contest with a link to this post.

4. Follow me on Twitter @TaDaFerguson

5. Become a Queen of the Clan follower on Facebook.

6. Sign up for my newsletter-- email:

7. Follow my blog.

8. Become a fan of the LDS Humor blog.

9. If you've read Mormon Mishaps & Mischief, post a review at Amazon, Goodreads, or Shelfari. You can leave one comment for each review.

Mormon Mishaps Blog Tour Stops

MJ's Gift of Love

Ever since I had my hair cut last summer for Locks of Love in honor of my four-year-old cousin, Trenton, who has leukemia, my daughter MJ has been growing out her hair to donate as well. After nine months, she was finally ready to make the plunge! Here's a photo tour of our trip to Great Clips.

The BEFORE pictures. Look at all that long hair! It was "fun" to put in a bun every week for dance.
(Can we pause for a moment so I can say I absolutely LOVE MJ's hair color. 
It's like caramel candy. It's gorgeous!)


The braids . . .  Aren't they so Pippi Longstocking?

Then we pulled out MJ's ruler (yes, she brought one with her) to make sure we had a full 10 inches. The 10 inch mark is where the top rubber band is.


The first cut . . . 
While the stylist was cutting MJ's hair, MJ was telling her all about how she got to cut my hair when I donated my hair & how she cut it crooked. It was really fun to tease her and say, 
"Oops! Guess we'll have to buzz your hair after all!"


Oh no! It's all gone!

And the AFTER pictures:




The hair cut is totally cute on MJ. It's stacked in the back, then comes down at an angle to her chin - which you can't really tell cause she wanted to wear her headband - but trust me, she's a cutie! 
This was a really fun experience to share with MJ. She's already asked me how much longer it will take for my hair to grow out enough so she can cut it again for Locks of Love - and she plans to grow her hair out again as well. I actually think my youngest daughter, Anna, will be the next one who has hair long enough to cut for Locks of Love. She'll be 3 years old next week. I think in about six more months, she'll be ready to make a trip to Great Clips, too. What a fun Mother-Daughter tradition!

Happy Valentine's Week!

2009 Whitney Award Finalists Announced!

After 30 days of reading, reading, reading - and yes, even more reading - I was so excited to wake up this morning and see this awesome banner:

Oh yeah, baby! All that hard work and we finally get to see the results. I imagine authors, publishers, and book reviewers everywhere are heading out to The Whitney Awards website first thing this morning to see which authors & books received enough nominations to make it into the coveted TOP 5 in each category.

There are so many AWESOME finalists. I honestly don't know how the Whitney Academy - made up of hundreds of book stores, publishers, authors, bloggers, and book reviewers - will ever narrow it down to their favorite in each category. I'm excited to attend the 2009 Whitney Awards gala in April to see which nominees walk away with the coveted Whitney Award for their category.

While you're out at The Whitney Awards website, be sure to check out who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding Achievement Award.

Calling All Writers

It's one of my favorite times of the year again. Nope, it's not my birthday and nope, I'm not celebrating a holiday. I'm excited about something you won't find pre-printed on your wall calendar, but it's till something that makes my heart skip a beat and start craving the smell of paper and ink.

It's time to register for the annual LDS Storymakers Writers Conference!

The Storymakers conference is my very, very, very favorite writers conference. I've attended for  - hmm . . . five years, I think? Maybe six? Each year, the conference gets better and better. Bigger names, more agents, expanded classes that teach everything from the basics for beginning writers to the nitty-gritty details for experienced authors. I'm super excited about this year's conference as it will be my first time attending as a soon-to-be published author. I can't wait to dive into all the classes on promotion, book signings, website design, and taking care of business (my tax lady will love me for taking that class!).

LDS Storymakers Writers Conference
April 23-24, 2010
Marriott Hotel
Provo, UT

Guest speakers include:

Jessica Day George, author of The Dragon Slippers series, Princess of the Midnight Ball, etc.
David Farland (aka David Wolverton), author of NYT's best-selling series, The Runelords.
Aprilynne Pike, author of Wings 
Bree Despain, author of The Dark Divine
Elana Johnson, contributor of blog
Matt Whitaker, writer & film director
Christian Vuissa, film director
Nephele Tempest, agent from The Knight Agency
Laura Rennert, agent from The Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Krista Marino, editor from Delacourt Press

Now writers, wipe that drool from your chin and hop on over to sign up for the conference right now!

If you're already signed up for the conference, I recommend you check out the Show Your Love contest the Storymakers are holding through the month of February.

Love . . . Aunt Jan

So, for the last few weeks my hubby's Aunt Jan has been HOUNDING him to watch this Subaru commercial. She's texted, Facebooked, and called until finally he got his tush in gear, tracked it down, and watched it. He laughed, then brought it over to me.

"I have a video I want you to watch. I'll tell you why after."

So we hit play . . .

After the commercial, I said, "Yeah? And?"

"Someone told me I needed to watch this video because it reminded them of you. Or at least the chick in the video's facial expressions reminded them of you."

So I watched it again, and just had to laugh. Am I that expressive? If so, sweet! Then I bugged my hubby until he told me it was my awesome auntie through marriage who loves this commercial so much. She told him every time she sees it she thinks - Danyelle!

Thanks Aunt Jan! You're awesome!