I first became self-conscious about my weight in elementary school, when my mother bought me “husky”-sized pants. In hindsight that was probably more a function of my short legs and long torso than my weight, but it made me feel fat.
After I got married in 1985, I began to notice that I had some “flab.” I realized it wouldn’t hurt for me to lose a few pounds. Still, I didn’t think I had a “weight problem.” Occasionally, I tried on sports jackets hanging in my closet and was perplexed that they would hardly encircle my chest. Likewise, there were pants that once fit perfectly that I could no longer even get in to, much less close and zip. Nevertheless, I wasn’t all that troubled when my weight rose from 160 to 175 and then to 190. I attributed the change to simply aging as a man, and didn’t give much thought to it as a significant weight issue.
When I was in my 20s, my wife, Heidi, and I played softball, and marveled at 40-something year-old men who were clearly frustrated that their bodies didn’t perform as they did when they were younger. Later, when I was in my mid-forties, I remembered those men and watched my body do the same. I read Thin Within for the first time in about 2008, after Heidi lost one hundred pounds using Thin Within principles. Since she collaborated with the Hallidays in the writing of the book, and also lost the weight, I was intrigued enough to take a look. I read the book, embraced some of the principles, and lost some weight. It was, apparently, short-lived.
By 2010, I had gained back whatever I lost plus some and weighed more than 210 pounds. My ever-increasing size finally captured my attention when I saw photos of myself with family members or professional associates. I didn’t like what I saw, but remained unmotivated to change. By that time, I realized I had a weight problem—I simply chose to ignore it.
It wasn’t until I watched our parents age and three of them die that I was moved to make some needed changes. I contemplated their health and mobility as they aged, and was concerned about my weight and lack of physical fitness resulting in a similar degradation of my quality of life. I wanted to age a little more gracefully than any of our parents had. That meant taking a serious look at both my fitness and, yes, my weight. There were two problems: First, I had embraced a very lazy lifestyle and was not at all enamored by the idea of working out. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I loved food. No, I didn’t just like it a lot. I lo-o-o-ved food. But things had to change.
I started a fitness regime that I embraced religiously. To lose weight, I needed to find an approach that I could live with. I never dieted in my life. In fact, I never really tried to lose weight other than maybe that short time in 2008. I had seen what worked for Heidi, and despite my love for food and large portions, I knew I didn’t need all that I was eating. So I began to try to eat between hunger and satisfaction. I started by taking smaller portions of food. If we ate out, Heidi and I often split the meal. When we didn’t share our dinner we came home with plenty of leftovers—sometimes multiple meals worth of leftovers. I was surprised and, honestly, disappointed at how little food my body required. Nevertheless, over a period of approximately six months, I saw my weight drop from 210 to approximately 170. All by eating the foods I enjoyed—just a whole lot less. I was on a roll.
But then one day the scale lied to me; or at least I thought it lied to me. I thought I had finally broken through that “Stuck-at-170” barrier. It turned out that the scale hadn’t been properly calibrated. For reasons I still don’t understand, I had a tantrum that lasted quite some time. I proceeded to gain back every pound that I had lost and a few more. I still don’t really understand the dynamics about why I made the choice I did to “throw in the towel,” but there I was at 214 pounds in November 2012. Just before Thanksgiving that year, I again decided that my health required that I lose the weight. I had done it before. I was pretty confident I could do it again and I knew that the Thin Within principles worked. So I restarted my journey and strategized ways to eat in moderation, whether at home or traveling for business, when others often dictated mealtimes and locations. I established habits that worked to embrace the principle of eating between hunger and satisfied.
Today, I weigh 173 pounds. Now, I use the scale more as a gauge. I am not obsessed with a number like I was before. Will I lose more? Perhaps, but probably not much. I think I’m fairly close to my ultimate weight, but we’ll see. I don’t view my current weight as a reason for complacency. I know all too well from what happened between 2010 and 2012 what complacency can do, and it’s at least 40 pounds!
And my love for food? Has it diminished? Not hardly. But I have an easier time controlling my “appetite” for food than I used to. It’s simply a matter of developing a habit of self-control and self-denial of an unhealthy lifestyle of eating far more than my body could ever require. And I suppose that’s the bottom line. I believe that anybody who is willing to put their mind to it can lose weight using this approach. Honestly, for me it wasn’t about God or healing past wounds; it was all about weight loss. Over the past couple of years I have processed some emotional issues, and perhaps that has helped with the eating, but my motivation and inspiration was always to lose weight. So whether or not you embrace the spiritual or emotional aspects of this approach, the methodology itself works: I just simply had to reduce and limit my food intake to what my body required. We live in a society of self-indulgent eating, often consuming several times what our bodies require not once but three or more times a day. Now, I simply wait until I am truly hungry. I had to learn what true hunger feels like before eating and make a conscious choice to consume less and less until I discovered that point at which my body could be satisfied, as opposed to when I “had my fill.”
No one can possibly love food more than me. Nor do I have extraordinary willpower or self-control. Not every meal was or, even, now is a “success/“ But what I try to build on is a string of successes, and when there is a failure learn from it and get back on track rather than wallow in my lack of self-control.
It has worked for me. It can work for you, too.
Bob Bylsma lives in the foothills of Northern California with his wife, Heidi. When not busy with his work for Union Pacific Railroad as an environmental lawyer, he enjoys driving fast cars, drinking good wine, and smoking cigars on the deck overlooking their homestead. [Editor Note: Bob has shared videos about his journey and strategies for succeeding even while traveling at our YouTube channel. This link will take you to a playlist of Bob’s Thin Within videos.]
How About You?
Can you identify with Bob that you aren’t so interested in the spiritual and emotional aspect to Thin Within, but nevertheless want to lose weight?
Have you experienced the ability to release weight using Thin Within principles, only to get on the scale, be disappointed and regain your weight? What can you do to prevent this pitfall in the future?
Have you been complacent? What are the results of your own complacency? What can you do to make a change—today?