How To Keep At It

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

When will this not be so hard any more? When will it not be such a struggle?

To be honest, the only truthful answer to this question is… maybe never.

We have lived many years of our lives without boundaries for ourselves with our food or, if we have had boundaries, they were too broad or too stringent.

Now that we are doing something about this, we want there to be hope on the horizon that the hard work will end. That we will arrive at a size or shape that we are happy with, godly character established, shining like the sun! “Ta DAH!” Finis! Perfectamundo!

Keeping at it is hard. We wonder how we can keep on being consistent!

So, you probably don’t want to hear that this may not ever get easier. At least not until we leave this earth and are in the presence of Jesus.

I can say for certain that it gets less hard (notice I didn’t say “easier”). Our goal is to fall off our horses less frequently and stay on the ground less long. That’s the way it is with any type of sanctification. Growth in godliness, becoming more like Jesus… progressively.

Here is an assignment for you and this is one that I have been encouraging many of my coaching clients to do because I think it is invaluable for all of us if we want to stay the course. Sometimes, “losing weight” just isn’t important enough to us. Well, that makes sense, when you think about it. So how about this:

1. ) Generate a list of all the blessings, joys, benefits to living according to your boundaries, to renewing your mind, to working so hard at this. Whatever it is that you have to do that is a part of your “plan” to help you be faithful to 0 to 5 eating. Like if you listen to Sound Cloud files, watching YouTube videos, if you listen to praise music, if you have special bible study time, create Truth Cards, review truth cards, meet with an accountability partner, or even hire a coach to help you…whatever it is that are the components of your plan and the hard work you are doing to experience success and victory. Sit with the Lord a bit and ask him to show you:

  • How are these practices benefiting me and blessing me and others (through me) emotionally?
  • How are these practices benefiting me and blessing me and others (through me) spiritually?
  • How are these practices benefiting me physically?
  • How are these practices benefiting me and others (through me) socially?
  • What changes are there in my life that have come about as a result of working this plan?
  • Have any of these practices nurtured a servant’s heart, an evangelist’s heart, a heart passionate for people?
  • Am I loving people well in any way as a result of these practices?
  • Am I less focused on myself and more available to others and to God?

My hope is that you will see that the list is quite long and truly wonderful! It isn’t just about fitting into a smaller pants size, but you are seeing changes in your character that are helping you with life generally!

2. ) Once you get your list created (and feel free to add to it over time), I strongly encourage the people I coach to read this list at least once each day and, perhaps, to turn it into a prayer:

God, thank you so much for the way you have given me new awareness of the tendency I have to hide from my emotions. You are leading me to live a life of integrity, to have my emotional needs met by you. As hard as it is, I am finding myself less needy and able to focus on the needs of others and to encourage them. Thank you that you are using my renewing of the mind and truth cards to change the way I think about my job and the challenging relationship I have with my boss. I am living a life of deeper meaning because of what you have done in my life to help me stay focused to live within my boundaries. I have begun to see how I can apply the same principles of praising you, giving gratitude for your gifts to overcome other bad habits in my life…

Etc. As you do this each day (or something like it), you are, again, renewing your mind with truth, reminding yourself of the many ways God is using the hard work you are doing to affect your life on a much grander scale than merely your size! Your body and size and shape are temporary, but he is forming and shaping your character and it is changing you for eternity! As you review these reasons daily, it will help you naturally realize there are a million reasons you want to continue to be consistent! To keep on pressing on, even though it is hard.

If you don’t feel like you are working in some way to participate with God in your own transformation, you may want to ask yourself if you really want to experience victory. Many of us who struggle with over-indulging in food, also overindulge in other things, such as feeling sorry for ourselves. If we aren’t careful, this “self indulgence” can keep us stuck and actually get us stuck more deeply. Not so deep that Jesus can’t haul us out, though!

There are so many strategies we have shared here at this website that can really help a person experience victory. You have to let go of insisting on perfection and, instead, embrace the mystery and wonder of the process! One step at a time!

How About You?

Would you feel comfortable sharing with us here? What are some of the benefits that you have been experiencing in your life because of the renewing of the mind you are doing, the studying, the staying in your boundaries, the working with an accountability partner? None of us are doing this perfectly!

Realizing the many benefits (other than merely weight loss) might be just what you need to hang in there! Review your list each day. 🙂

12 Ways to Know if Your Eating is Sin

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

I get asked frequently if I think overeating is a sin and if I do, how MUCH food can be eaten before it becomes a sin. The article I am sharing with you today is a very powerful address of this subject. I hope you benefit from it. Please post here to share your thoughts!

Please visit and read this blog article.

Then, I would love to hear from you. Will this acronym, DISCIPLINED, be helpful to you?

Which of the listed words is hardest for you?

Share with us here what you “took away” from reading the blog post.

What Place Anger? (Repost)

If I want to break free from unhealthy eating habits, I have to be willing to prayerfully evaluate what place my emotions have in my choice to eat. I can be as practical as anything, but when it gets down to it, there are times when my compulsion or drive to eat something is like a run-away train–there is no stopping it. No promise to pray to overcome temptation or to look for a way out, to sing praise songs, to journal seems to keep the inevitable from happening. In times like those, I want the craziness more than I want to be sane…what is that about? Why can all my godly and good intentions be overcome in a moment of intensity? What place does my anger (or other emotions) have in driving my eating?

I don’t really know the answer to this yet. I know that God has graciously exposed moments when my thinking is heading in the direction of *becoming* that run-away train…before it happens. I continue to pray in my moments when I *want* that–that I will see it before it happens so I can derail it…take my thoughts captive rather than be taken captive by my thoughts.

I have seen that much of the “inexplicable” agitation or angry feelings that seem attached to more compulsive eating are often due to unresolved issues in my life. If I haven’t forgiven my husband for a careless remark he made on vacation, then when he does something that triggers that memory, I tend to give him “what for”…or turn the equivalent amount of anger inward…and allow it to drive me to eat. If I don’t take these things to the Lord and work to forgive and release my wounds, unmet needs, and anger, it is almost surely going to bite me in the rear…

I must sit with the Lord and ask him to search my heart and know me. Show me if there is anything in me that needs to be brought out into the light. A survey like this daily is helpful. It keeps that unresolved anger at bay and compulsive eating because of it at a minimum.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
       test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, 
       and lead me in the way everlasting.
– Psalm 139:23-24

How About You?

Would this be helpful for you? Are there unresolved wounds or feelings that may be festering within you that you need to bring to the Lord? What will you do to carve time out today to do so?

Blast from the Past – From Exercise Obsession to FREEDOM!

Image Courtesy: ME - It's my daughter and her friend!

Image Courtesy: ME – It’s my daughter and her friend!

I chose this image to open today’s post because it sounds like such a great illustration of freedom to me.

Today, I am blowing the dust off the archives. 🙂 This video is from 2002. (Subscribers, please visit the website to see it.)

Here I share how I went from fat gram counting and exercise obsession to freedom  as I began to trust my hunger and satisfied signals–even through a period of bed rest!  I also talked about the hunger graph, one of the Thin Within tools available for you to try!

If you are interested in trying the hunger graph for additional accountability, you can download a copy from the Thin Within website here. When our Thin Within/God is Doing a New Thing app comes out (we are getting to the last stages of development) it will include, among other things, a hunger graph tool! I am excited about that!

How About You?

Do you struggle with fear any time you don’t get the activity that you are accustomed to getting? Are you free? Are you able to trust your body’s hunger/satisfied signals? Where are you in this journey? If you are just starting out, please share with us in the comments. I know there are many veterans here who would like to support you!

Week 9 ~ “Why Should I Care?”and “YIKES! I Don’t Like My BODY! HELP!”

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

This is a stream of consciousness video…but maybe there is something here that can encourage you. Obviously, I have my work cut out for me this week! Do you? LOL!

Carelessly grazing as we walk through the kitchen, dipping into the candy dish on the office-mate’s desk, or sucking on mints just because they are there…these are little examples of Careless Eating. Careless eating is what often leads to that sudden panic… OH MY GOODNESS! I have been eating TOO much and I must GET SKINNY NOW!

All those moments when we said, “It’s just one bite” haunt us when we reach for a pair of pants hanging in our closet that we haven’t tried on in a couple of months. As we go to slip into them we wonder if our “just one bite(s)” will have cost us anything.

How does God feel about “just one bite?”

Is it possible that “Just one bite” is how we got in trouble in the first place? Either God has called us to the boundary of 0 and 5 or he hasn’t. If he has, does “just one bite” have a place?

How might those “just one bite” moments affect your appearance? Will this matter to you?


1. I haven’t asked you to do this in a while, so it is time. Are you committed to 0 to 5 eating? Do you believe it is from God for you? Why do you feel convinced in your heart that this is so? Write in your journal your thoughts about this and the statement “I know 0 to 5 eating is a boundary from God for my life” (or something similar). Date it and sign it if it will help. We want to recommit to this!

2. Visit Barb Raveling’s Careless Eating Study at her blog. Can you relate to her illustration about the alcoholic at all? Barb says: We can learn a lot from the life of an alcoholic. Although we can’t say not even one bite, we can say, not even one bite outside our boundaries. What do you think about that? Journal your feeling about that. What do you think of her statement, “The minute we think it’s just one bite, we are in danger.”

3. Do all the Bible Study questions that Barb has for us on that page, including looking up the bible verses. Journal what you discover.

4. Add any truths you have come up with to your Truth Cards.

5 Are you willing to take the challenge? TELL US! 🙂 Get an Accountability Partner. It isn’t too late!


1. Return to Barb’s Careless Eating Study at her blog for part 2.

2. Barb challenges us to incorporate the “Careless Eating Questions” into our lives so that when we are tempted to eat outside of our 0 and 5 boundaries we evaluate by using those questions. You can do these now, even if you aren’t experiencing temptation. I recommend going through these questions today and journaling your response.

3. Jot down any truths you have come up with for your Truth Cards.

4. Share with us here in the comments any thoughts that God has laid on your heart, truths you have added to your cards, or new insights (or old ones) that you got from the questions or the bible study.


1. Visit Barb Ravelings Appearance Eating Bible Study”. How important is it to you to lose weight? Ask God to show you just how fixed your heart is on the physical results you want. What if you could have God in all his fullness and beauty, but not be the size/shape you want? What then? Would he be enough?

2. Can you relate at all to my confession in the video? How so?

3. To what source are you looking for your happiness?

4. Is there any living you are waiting to do until you look a certain way? What would God have you do…today?


1. Visit Barb Raveling’s Appearance Eating Bible Study again.  Complete Questions for your Journal numbers 1 through 5 and journal your answers.

2. Share here anything that God impresses upon your heart. What you share may encourage another person who visits and reads the comments–even if they don’t post. Consider it a ministry to others that you do in faith! (It ministers to ME! LOL!)

3. As you consider a person in your life that you feel requires you to be a different size or shape, it might be helpful to do some forgiveness work. When I do forgiveness work, it includes “telling on them to God.” Think of being a colossal tattle tale…you are God’s precious little child running to him to tattle on whoever it is. Pour it all out. What did they do to you? How do you feel about it? Tell your Heavenly Abba (Daddy) and then leave it with him. Ask him to help you to forgive…to choose to trust it all to His care.


1. Visit Barb Raveling’s Appearance Eating Bible Study yet one more time. 🙂 Complete questions 6 through 10 and journal your responses as time allows.

2. What truths can you add to your truth cards…or, if you aren’t yet creating a deck of truth cards, what truths is God speaking over you?

3. Share with us here how you feel God leading you to approach your desire for weight loss (Barb’s question 10).

4. If you haven’t done so as a part of any of the other questions in today’s assignment, you may want to reaffirm your confidence that God is calling you to 0 to 5 as your primary boundary. What are the secondary boundaries he is calling you to? Write these down to affirm them and date it.

5. How are you doing with your summer study?

6. How are YOU? 🙂 I care!

How Did the Fire the Desire 3 Day Challenge Go?


Hey, all. I wanted to offer a place here for you to report in how you did on the Fire the Desire 3-Day Challenge. Did you make it through the three days? What did you learn during the experience? About yourself? About God? About how it feels to follow your boundaries? About observation and correction? What’s next for you?

Let’s hear from you!

BEWARE! Salad Can Be Bad for You!

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Image Source: Stock Exchange

After the first “freedom” phase of Thin Within–the phase where we have tossed aside our former dieting mentality and all the “Good Food/Bad Food” lists that restricted us in our dieting days–we move on to the second phase–the discernment phase. This is when many people begin to notice that they actually enjoy foods that they had to eat when they were on diets. So sitting down to a wonderfully, nutrient-rich salad may end up being a “whole body pleaser” experience for you. Not only is that ok, but it is desirable!

That is…UNLESS you allow certain thinking (and acting) to kick in!

There are some potential pit-falls to be aware of as you head into the discernment phase and begin to select more nutrient-dense foods.

Pitfall Number 1: Many of us come from dieting pasts when fresh fruits and vegetables were considered “freebies.” We didn’t have to “count” them so we could have them as often as we liked. If we bring this thinking into our Thin Within program, it will mean that we will justify eating those foods even if we aren’t yet at a 0.  Remember that no matter what form your fuel comes in–a candy bar OR a salad–if your body doesn’t need the fuel (as indicated by clear hunger signals) it will be stored on your body…as…well, you guessed it: Fat! So whatever you select as the food you will eat at any time, you want to do so only when you are at a clear “0”–physically hungry.

Pitfall Number 2: There is a tendency to think that because it is nutrient rich, it is a carte blanche for eating MORE of it. So, as we sit down to eat a salad (or celery or carrot sticks–or even fresh salsa!) it isn’t uncommon to do some “justification eating.” To justify having a larger portion than we need because it is, after all, a “healthy” food. Again, no matter what form the fuel comes in, if it is more than our bodies need, we will store it as fat.

 Pitfall Number 3: When we eat more of a food–even a food like salad, carrot sticks, etc,  we get used to quantity. We can overeat even salad. We begin to get desensitized to the feeling in our stomach that sends us the signal that we don’t need to eat that much. We then take this desensitization into eating other foods which means “energy dense” foods (or what we called “high calorie” foods in our dieting days) are then consumed in greater amounts as well, without our feeling quite so bothered by the feeling in our stomach that, had we been faithful to 0 to 5, would be uncomfortable for us.

The solution to avoiding all three of these pitfalls is to keep in mind that no matter what foods you select, you want to do so according to physical hunger–a true need for fuel–and physical satisfaction.

When you select a beneficial food like a fresh garden salad be aware of the potential to justify eating outside of your primary boundaries and the impact this can have on you the rest of the time!

How About You?

Do you see this thinking at work in you? Do you tend to think of salad and other similar foods as “freebies?” Is this affecting how sensitive you are to “5” so that you are more likely to overeat other foods as well? What will you do about this going forward?

What to do when you mess up…

Grazing...nom nom nom...

Grazing…nom nom nom…

Last week, I created the Fire the Desire 3-Day Challenge form (did you download it on Tuesday?) in response to a request from one of my coaching clients that we “shake things up” to stimulate a change. I wanted to partner along with her, so I decided to take the challenge myself. Silly me. The first day I had stars in every box. WOOT! WOOT! YAY! I had an early breakfast 0 to 5 on the second day…off to a rousing start. Then, my daughter, recently returned from her first international trip, announced her desire to go to IN-n-Out. Hubby, Michaela and I headed off and, since I wasn’t hungry, I just got a diet soda. How about that! I would guess that was about when pride set in.

Next, I persevered through some tennis drills with hubby, still sustained by my breakfast. But after that? Well, I have no idea what happened. Something…I think when I got home I started “grazing” maybe because nothing sounded really good even though I was hungry (or was I?). So suddenly, my Fire the Desire 3-Day Challenge form had a big circle for one of the hours instead of a star! GASP!!!

THIS WAS NOT OK WITH ME! (Perfectionism rears its ugly head…it is not our friend!)

So, I did the mature thing…I crumpled it up (a tantrum, basically) and threw it in the trash. I printed out another chart so I could pretend to be perfect after all.


Please tell me you won’t do this (or haven’t done this)!!!

And if you aren’t doing the challenge, I know you can relate even generally to applying yourself to eating 0 to 5, right?

Here is what I propose: If we have an hour when we feel hard pressed to put our star or favorite mark in the box (or experience victory if you aren’t doing the challenge with the chart), let’s circle the box, sure. Then, in the space below the grid, jot down an observation and correction. Prayerfully answer these questions: What happened to cause me to eat outside of my boundaries of 0 and 5 (or to drink sweetened beverages or not to have time praising the Lord at all during the day, etc)? What can I do differently next time so I won’t give in to whatever it was that got me during this hour?

Once you have answered these questions, you can consider the hour that is circled on your grid (or the choice you made to “mess up”) REDEEMED! You have allowed God to take your misstep (or, if you want to be really hard on yourself, a “failure”) and turn it into a victory where you have learned something to do differently when a similar situation presents itself the next time. THAT is a victory! This is what the Hallidays mean when they say failure can be a teacher, a coach, rather than your undertaker.

So, don’t do what I did and act like none of those starred boxes matter just because one of them didn’t have a star in it. Don’t assume that all the time you have made choices to honor God and to stay within your boundaries don’t matter just because of a mess up! Instead, observe and correct and praise God for the opportunity to learn.

In fact, let’s celebrate those boxes with stars in them. Let’s rejoice over the many moments we have made God-honoring choices!

But, of course, let’s have godly balance here…if you have more boxes that are circled than you do ones with stars in them, there is a problem–you may not be committed. But one hour out of 24–an hour where you were willing to observe (confess) and correct (repent) and make a plan for next time doesn’t a rotten day make!

How About You?

How are you doing on the challenge? Sure, you can start over from scratch if you want to, but why not observe and correct and press on now? This is the way life is. It is rarely perfect!

What Place Exercise?


In a tennis tournament at Sutter Lawn in Sacramento in 2012.

I love getting out and playing tennis. Tennis is something I have loved for much of my life, but I took a LONG hiatus from competitive tennis. In 2010, I returned to the courts and have been on USTA and other teams and played in tournaments ever since. I definitely LOVE it.

Some of you may be wondering the question that I am occasionally asked by Thin Within participants.

“What about exercise?”

First, it is important that I mention: I have a background in exercise obsession. Though I never practiced any other means of “purging,” I did exercise to excess–so that my husband calls one season of my life my “Bulimic Period.” I am not sure a doctor would have considered it clinically so, but I exercised to compensate for my eating.

I had a lot in common with Winnie the Pooh in this video:

If I exercised more, I would eat more. If I ate more, I would exercise more. NOT a good place to be in!

Second, given my previous obsession, when I started blogging and releasing weight (this time for good) in 2006, I resolved not to release weight depending in any way on exercise. I “fasted” exercise as I knew it. I wanted to learn how to exercise for other reasons and that took time. Granted, I lived a relatively active life (for a woman who was 100 pounds overweight). I have horses and kids and dogs and land that always seemed to need fences or something. So, it is true that I released the 100 pounds without doing what I had always done before to lose weight…without a workout routine like I had depended on previously in my weight-loss attempts.

About six months into this leg of my journey (in about spring of 2007), I discovered “Dance Praise.” This is a dancing “game” for the computer that had a floor mat and steps on the computer screen (think “Dance Dance Revolution”) all done to Christian music. I had so much fun with that program and would mix it up all the time with different settings. Given where I had once been with exercise and how “light weight” Dance Praise seemed to me, I felt like it was an acceptable form of being active. I would lose myself in the music and just enjoy moving and praising God!

I haven’t used Dance Praise in a long time, but I do enjoy playing tennis a lot. I sometimes also use a workout DVD to do a step workout or Turbo Fire workout. But I have a rule for myself: I MUST ENJOY IT.

Even since 2006, though, I have noticed that when I feel most out of control in my life, I will revert to exercise obsession if I am not cautious. Therefore, I have to be cautious!

My goal with exercise  now is, simply, to do it 0 to 5. What does that mean? Sort of like 0 to 5 eating or 0 to 5 spending or 0 to 5 drinking of favorite beverages…all things in moderation. I want to exercise if and when my body needs it like I eat when my body needs food…not less than that and not more than that.  I believe that this is an appropriate goal for most people. If we sit with the Lord and ask him what that might look like, I think–just like he is with food–he will show us what that means.

For me, someone who loves to be active and has a history of compulsive exercise, if I am fearful of NOT doing whatever it is, then I have to evaluate the place exercise has in my life.

If I have to chart it, graph it, log it, mark it, track it…then I have to evaluate the place it has in my life.

But, honestly, if I avoid it like the plague, I may want to evaluate the place it has in my life! (Or doesn’t!)

I love exercise that I don’t keep track of. I have logged my routines, my strength training workouts, reps, weights, and sets. I have logged miles, wind-sprints, and so much more. I just won’t go there again. That is one thing about tennis I love. I really can’t keep track in any way.

I love playing a song on my iPod player and just kicking up my heals and dancing. One of my favorite songs is by Mary Mary (and Mandisa has done it too…) Shackles (Praise You). Another one is a fun song by Mary Ann Kennedy about owning a Golden Palomino. 🙂 Whatever has a great beat, I just love moving, but hopefully without anyone around so I can really bust a gut! 😉

So what about exercise?

“All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. All things are permissible, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) That can be exercise, or lethargy. If you have a medical reason not to move your body joyfully and gently, then by all means, protect your body. It is amazing, though, what you can do in the water (water aerobics is very gentle!) and even sitting in a chair! If you know you physically *could* move your body joyfully and worshipfully without injury, I would encourage you to ask the Lord what He would have you to do with this if you aren’t currently active at all.

Please note…the purpose is not for losing weight. EVER. It is to honor the Lord with your body, to help it be relatively healthy, period!

Since my body is not my own, since it was bought at a price, since I am called to honor God with my body (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), I think it is incumbent upon me to prayerfully ask God to show me what it means to joyfully, gently, and with a worshipful spirit move my body. What will give me the best possible health for the length of time I am on this planet without sacrificing mental or spiritual health or hurting myself physically?

How About You?

What place do you feel God has shown you exercise should have in your life? How are you doing with that? What ideas do you have for improving on that…meaning, if you over-exercise now (which may mean you do it out of fear and God wants to spend time with you on that) or under-exercise now? What do you think? What Scriptures has God used to convince you of His will for you in this regard?