Q and A


Image courtesy of ponsulak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hi, folks. What questions do you have that I can respond to here at the blog or in the Orientation class on January 6th? Please post them here and I will try to address them here and/or during our webinar in a couple of weeks.



When Your Routine Will Be ZAPPED – 3 Survival Strategies

samson kids christmas dog (2)

A very young Michaela and Daniel Bylsma, with the Christmas Dog, Samson.

Holidays and weekends are wonderful. Many of us get to enjoy a footloose and fancy free attitude. We get to “let down.”

But often this change in our routine  brings with it some challenging trials to navigate.

Often we get a sense of “safety” and predictability from our “business as usual” routine during the week when we don’t have holiday happenings, weekend wanderings, or guests landing on our doorsteps. So managing these “zaps” to our routine require intentionality!

The question becomes: How can we incorporate some sense of predictability and a friendly bit of routine into our weekends or holidays or when family/friends are visiting without ruining the experience?

1. ) Integrating some aspect of predictability into our lives can be very helpful without spoiling the party! Sometimes, I call this “planned spontaneity.” For instance, if we know that the family really enjoys suddenly jumping in the car to go out looking at Christmas lights followed by a stop at the favorite Marie Callendar’s for pie, it can help us to plan to be at a zero for this event if we are intentional about the timing of the “surprise” visit out to look at the lights and to enjoy pie. Rather than leave these sorts of events up to chance, we can build the joy and suspense in our family members’ lives by surprising them with a plan earlier in the day. I have found that the family looks forward to the event and the joy isn’t diminished. In fact, it seems to be intensified in a fun way as we anticipate the outing all day! AND I get the added benefit of not having left something like that to chance when I might still be satisfied after having dinner just an hour prior. I can plan to be hungry so that I eat pie guilt-free!

2. ) When company comes to visit, I know that meals may not be quite so predictable. Having an assortment of nuts and fresh fruit/veggies available for pre-meal munching if we get hungry before the meal is ready can be a life-saver! This eliminates the concern that we will get too hungry before the holiday feast is prepared. That said, however, we have also learned over the years that we won’t melt into nothingness if we get hungry even an hour before we gather at the table and the meal is ready. “When in doubt, leave it out” is a helpful adage. Having company doesn’t need to spell disaster for our 0 to 5 boundaries. Instead, we can commit ourselves to honoring our godly boundaries, call on God’s strength and have some “fortifications” on hand that we can turn to if we need to. Knowing that foods are accessible any time we get hungry, but also that we are perfectly safe and ok if we get hungry and linger there for a little while, helps prevent the panicked eating we sometimes do when things are less predictable.

3.) For me, to maintain my focus and not give in to continuous celebratory grazing during holiday time, I have to carve out time to renew my mind each day at least once, if not twice. I can do this by setting my alarm a bit earlier than normal so that I take the time to be still with the Lord before company or family members awaken or arrive. Lately, I also take time at 5pm each evening to refocus…to recommit my eating to the Lord for the evening–even five minutes helps! While this may seem to be a sacrifice that is too great for us when we would rather use those extra moments to sleep in or to relax, I have found that it is worth it. Establishing a priority to taking time to bible study, review Truth Cards, Truth Journal, listen to Sound Cloud files, journal a set of “I Deserve a Donut” questions or other similar activities brings me out the other side with a sense of accomplishment and victory! It is worth it!

What About You?

What baby step of routine can you incorporate into the days ahead that lead up to Christmas? What about for Christmas Day? How will you maintain your godly boundaries in spite of the challenges to your routine? If you share here, you may inspire and encourage others!

Social Pressure to Eat

Social Pressure to Eat


My wonderful friend, Barb Raveling, just posted a GREAT post to her blog the other day. It is too good NOT to share it with you. Pop on over to her blog and read:

The Social Pressure to Eat – 7 Beliefs That Make Us Cave In

I hope you will let Barb know that you were there.

How About You?

Which of the lies are you most likely to believe in the moment you feel pressure to eat outside of 0 and 5?

Which truth can you use to replace the lie? You can choose Barb’s or one of your own.

Can you begin now–before the temptation strikes–to renew your mind–to change your thinking–with these truths, knowing that you may very well face the challenge to believe these lies?

Can you think of any other lies that you face during this season? What corresponding truths can you embrace?

I would love to hear from you!

Spiritual Warfare ~ An Interview with Carrie (South Africa)

Spiritual Warfare ~ An Interview with Carrie (South Africa)

Image Source: Morgue File

Image Source: Morgue File

Some time back, Carrie from South Africa, shared an incredible story of God delivering her from an intense eating disorder that had kept her imprisoned for years.  That post gives context to this one. Don’t miss it! 🙂

After getting to know Carrie a bit through the preparing of her testimony, I wanted to follow up with her about the God’s healing in her life. Today, I interview Carrie a bit and get her thoughts: 

Heidi: Carrie, on November 4th we shared your testimony. So many people were greatly encouraged by your story. It is an amazing tale of escaping from incredible, long-term captivity to dieting and eating disordered behavior. How did you ever begin to break free when you were in so deeply?

Carrie: Thanks Heidi. I look back at that time in my life and it is incredibly dark. I sometimes wonder how on earth I managed to get out of it! You know, when you’re in that kind of bondage, you don’t realize how obscured your thoughts have become. I was just at such a place of exhaustion and hatred for myself, and I thought that Jesus surely didn’t die for me only to for me to live in such a hell hole. (Excuse that, but that’s what it felt like. Trapped.). So I think my desire for self preservation must have kicked in and I began to think about what I was thinking about. I know that sounds silly, but I knew that my thoughts weren’t right. All my disordered actions where coming from a disordered thought.

All I knew at that time about spiritual warfare, was that somewhere in the bible there was a verse that said that some things can only be broken by prayer and fasting. And so started my amazing journey of freedom.

Heidi: What did you sense God was leading you to do to change the disordered thoughts that were fueling the eating disorder that you struggled with so much?

Carrie: Well firstly I just want to say that I’m not a person who sees the devil behind every little thing. If the waiter is slow in bringing my coffee, I don’t automatically think the devil is behind it! LOL! But I’m also not of the school of thought that believes the devil is a fairy tale and doesn’t exist. The bible is full of references pertaining to the devil and his demons. In Ephesians 6:12, it says we are involved in an invisible war that has eternal implications.

So when I was in the midst of my fasting weekend [mentioned in the testimony], this verse kept on coming up, in almost every book I was reading:  2 Corinthians 10.3-5. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

And I thought, well how does this war work then? If it isn’t a war in the flesh, how does the enemy attack me? And how do I fight a fight I can’t see? I started to get filled with fear and cried out to God. There are verses that say we must just stand our ground and God will fight on our behalf,  and then other verses that say that we must put on our armour and actively fight.

And I didn’t know what to do!! But God is so gentle and PATIENT!! It was like He was saying to me not to get my knickers in a knot, and just chill. I felt I needed to read and believe the verses in Isaiah 40. I realised that even though I was a saved, born again, Christian, I was being influenced by the works of the enemy. I think I had been so influenced by how “Hollywood” had portrayed “evil” and the “devil”. You know those terrible movies of exorcisms and evil stuff – that’s how we think the enemy operates. And I’m sure he does but he is a lot more subtle too. If he were to present his evil self at the get go, then everyone would be frightened off. So he whispered a thought to me, to put it into my thoughts. I don’t know what it was. Perhaps that I wasn’t good enough, or pretty enough. Or perhaps I have sinned so much, God will never love or accept me. I don’t remember what the lie was that I started to believe. But what ever it was, I “thought” about that thought, and then came into agreement with it. That’s the danger! As soon as I accepted that thought, the enemy had legal ground to start influencing more of me. I was horrified at this, when God revealed that to me. I got those knickers in a knot again and in the midst of my frenzied panic, I felt God say,”You are not fighting FOR victory. You are fighting  FROM victory. There is victory through the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:14-15)

There is victory in the name of Christ (Mathew 10:1, Acts 5:16)

There is victory in the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 4:4)

Proverbs 23:7 says For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…..

So my problem was, I had no good thoughts about myself. I hated everything about me. God had now lead me to a place that made me realise that the thoughts I was thinking, were not from Him. But what now? (Although, just coming to that point was a miracle in itself!).

Heidi: So what did you do?

Carrie: I slowly picked up my sword and began the fight. The sword is the Word of God. It is what has brought me so far. In those early days I literally had to take most of my thoughts (and you have at least 1500 thoughts per minute!) captive. For example, I would walk past the mirror and instantly think,”Suck in your stomach. You are so fat.”  I would catch myself while in conversation with someone. I’d suddenly find myself saying,”Ah man! I’m so stupid!” Or “I’m such an idiot!”  I felt the Holy Spirit making me feel uneasy when I’d say these things. So the first thing God did was to let me know that my thoughts were not in agreement with His truth. The second thing, was the Holy Spirit giving me a sensitivity to what I was thinking and saying about myself. And the third thing was the picking up the sword, which is the word of God, and fighting the thoughts.

Heidi: What did that look like for you practically speaking, Carrie?

Carrie: In those early days I struggled a lot with fear. Behind everything I did or said, fear was the motivation. So I would literally ( and still do this) say out loud,” I rebuke you fear in the name of Jesus.” And when I said that, I would back it up with a verse. Something like: “God has not given me a spirit of fear.”

I did that with every thought I had. And I did it out loud.  I must have looked a tad crazy. I would think,”This healing is fake. I will never get better. I’m useless and fat. No body likes me.” And even though I didn’t feel like saying the truth ( or even believe it), I would immediately say,”I rebuke that thought in the name of Jesus, because he says I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He has plan for me that is good, to prosper me. Not to harm me.”

Heidi: Did that take care of it?

Carrie: In the beginning, I didn’t even believe the words I was saying. But I did believe in Jesus. And that’s all I had. As I took each thought captive that way, I found the attacks less and less. And my sensitivity grew more and more.

Just the other day, I was having lunch with a friend who is very beautiful and much thinner than I am. And all of a sudden, I start thinking I’m not a good person because I’m not as pretty. And while I’m not as pretty, I may as well go to gym tonight because I feel so fat and unworthy. I stopped myself right there and went to the bathroom. I started rebuking (softly… LOL!) and calling upon God. I find that if I know that I’m being attacked but I can’t think of any verse to say out loud, then I start to praise God. I sing full ball and out of tune ( usually in my car). My kids are use to this now. If I’m alone in my bedroom, I’ll put on some worship music and sing and dance before The Lord. Usually within minutes, I’m flooded with peace, and I realise how bizarre those thoughts were.

Heidi: What else can you share with us about doing battle, Carrie?

Carrie: I think one of the biggest lessons I have learnt, is what I need to do when I’m thinking things that don’t line up with what God says. In that moment, I’m in FULL agreement with my thoughts. I totally feel fat or stupid or less than. Or what ever it is. But the secret is – even though I totally feel like that, I go against what I’m feeling and replace those words and emotions with truth. I have got to do what is right even when it feels wrong.

Heidi: I call that letting TRUTH define my feelings rather than letting my FEELINGS define what I consider TRUTH!

So, Carrie…how do you think this is different (or similar) to the renewing of the mind that I have been crowing about here at the blog for so long? 🙂

Carrie: Hahahaha. Well Heidi, it is absolutely NO different to what you’ve been harping (LOL!) on about! Faith comes from hearing, so maybe the more we speak about it, the more people will confront it and fight.

It says in 1 John 4:4 and 5:4-5, that we are to claim Gods promises out loud. We need to take our authority and position in Christ to command demonic forces to stop their activity and depart. If you don’t know what your authority in Christ is, read Ephesians. (Particularly chapter 4).

What does this have to do with losing weight?

The way we think, what we think will have an impact on how we act. Many of you may just want me to share practical tips about how to eat 0 to 5 or how to handle being at parties, etc. I hope you do get practical help with the mechanics of Thin Within here, but constraining the outer actions will only last a short while before we boomerang back to acting like we used to… unless we change the way we think.

How About You?

By no means are Carrie and I saying that there is a demon under every rock and behind every bush. But the truth is, the Bible speaks about the warfare we fight. We are called to demolish strongholds of the enemy. The first line of attack in almost any struggle we endure is the MIND. Taking captive your thoughts and submitting them to obedience is vital. Here at the blog we have talked about Truth Cards, Truth Journaling, reading God’s Word, doing the Renewing of the Mind Bible Study, listening to Sound Cloud files, memorizing scripture, watching You Tube videos, adding songs and playlists to your mp3 player so that you can hear the truth wash over your mind throughout the day. What are your tactics for trading lies you believe with God’s truth? Are you stuck letting your feelings define what you think of as fact? Or are you letting what God says is true…true FACTS…define your feelings?

It is relatively easy to lose weight compared to learning to think differently. But it is worth it to learn to think differently. That is where lasting change is birthed!

Doing Battle – Even a Veteran Has to!

Doing Battle – Even a Veteran Has to!

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christina posted yesterday about the spiritual warfare she is experiencing lately.

I am in the trenches, too. Even though I may be a “veteran” and have been at this a loooooong time, I nevertheless go through seasons of difficulty. To be honest, this is the most challenging I have ever experienced.

As a result, I have been struggling with an ungodly behavior pattern in the evenings. It is a pattern of not caring nearly so much about obedience as I do to use food to deal with life…to cope!

My accountability partner challenged me to truth journal even several times each week, knowing that God has used it in such an amazing way with me in the past. I am so grateful for this challenge and have since decided that I need to do it every day.

To coddle myself into being willing to do this, though, I told myself when the urge to eat outside of my boundaries hit in the evening, “I can eat after I truth journal…” This is a strategy I learned from Barb Raveling in her Taste for Truth Bible Study material (have I ever confessed to you all that I wish I had written that study? LOL!). After I have truth journaled or used another method to renew my mind, I often don’t want to eat outside of my godly boundaries after all–which is, of course, the point. As warped as this sounds, this causes me to be more willing to truth journal. It is almost like in my old-way-of-thinking-now-resurfacing, I tell myself I get a food reward for truth journaling! Crazy, right? Especially given all the things I share here at the blog. By telling myself I can ignore :-/  my boundaries if I want to after I have done some of the nitty gritty renewing of the mind work, I end up being more willing to live within the boundaries God has established for me. After I truth journal, my heart has a different focus and I feel as though I have feasted. My hungry heart has been fed a rich, nutritious “meal” of what it really longed for.

In this pretty intimate video (that I have designated as “unlisted” at YouTube), I share with you as the struggle unfolds. I give you a glimpse into the battle that is raging for me (even by the light of the Christmas tree) and what I am doing about it in real time. I also tell what happened after I renewed my mind.

I hope it is encouraging to you. There is really no way around the hard work of training our minds to think differently. THIS will cause lasting change.

If you get blog notifications in email, you will have to visit the blog for the video to display correctly.

How About You?

What work are you willing to go to in order to REALLY beat the tendency to eat outside of 0 and 5?

Sign-Ups Under Way for the Online Thin Within Class 2014

Sign-Ups Under Way for the Online Thin Within Class 2014

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you looking for an opportunity to dive in deep into the Thin Within workbook material, but value the freedom and flexibility of an online group? If so, you can join us for the launch of our Winter/Spring 2014 Thin Within workbook study starting January 6th.

To Do:

First and foremost, you will need the Thin Within Rebuilding God’s Temple Workbook Kit, available here.  If you have previously completed workbook #1, then purchasing and using workbooks 2, 3, or 4 will work just fine as the workbooks are all synchronous. This post describes the workbook #1 kit in some detail. (NOTE: Many have asked if they *have* to have a workbook or can use the trade Thin Within book published in 2002 or 2005. You can use the book, but except in a few instances, there won’t be a good “fit” to match up synchronously with the workbook. For instance, the first lesson in the workbook is on “Hope.” There is no perfect fit in the Thin Within book for that–while it is true that the topic of “hope” saturates all the pages of both books, there is no chapter on “hope” in the book. Just keep plugging away in the book and I am sure it will be an encouragement to you, though!)

Secondly, please sign up to be on the online class email list. You can do this even if you are interested only and not yet committed to the study. This will be informational and you can unsubscribe at any time. I sent out an email to this list already. If you didn’t get that email and wish to view it, see it here in your browser.

If you are on Facebook and want an additional way to connect with class members, please visit this page and ask to be added.

I would love to tell you definitively that I know precisely how this class will run, but honestly? It will be an experiment! There are about 165 people currently on the mailing list. That is wonderful! I know not everyone will really be in the class and we typically end with a fraction of those we start with (life gets busy). Regardless, we have never done a class this size, so we may shift and adjust as the class unfolds. Here is how I think it will run:


Monday, January 6th, 2014, we will host a webinar-style meeting online at this link (it will also be sent to those on the class email list). Each Monday, we will have a LIVE online webinar-style class from 4:30-5:30pm Pacific Time (please check a timezone converter to be sure you know what time this is in your timezone!). As of this writing, we plan to use AnyMeeting for this. It currently is free, because it is ad supported (so please expect ads that Thin Within doesn’t necessarily endorse!). I will use the Class Facebook Group page, the regular Thin Within Facebook page, and the email list to share the link, agenda, and class assignments for the meeting each week. Assignments will also be posted to the blog.

You can join in the class at any time. You can leave at any time.

There is no charge for the class, though if you would like to donate to the Thin Within ministry, I am sure that can be arranged! No one in Thin Within gets a salary of any kind. We all donate our time. Any money that comes in to the ministry is used to run things. Please let me know if you are interested in donating. 🙂

On Tuesday of each week, I will post the assignment for the week here, at the blog. The assignment made on Tuesday will be the “loose” focus for the following Monday’s class. See the tentative schedule below for an idea of what we will be studying during January:

Monday, January 6, 2014 ~ 4:30-5:30pm Pacific Time  ~ Online Class LIVE Presentation: Orientation

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 ~ Blog Post with Lesson 1 Assignment for the week – “Hope”

Monday, January 13, 2014 ~ 4:30-5:30pm PT ~ Online Class LIVE Presentation: Lesson 1 – “Hope”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 ~ Blog Post with Lesson 2 Assignment for the week – “My Body, God’s Temple”

Monday, January 20, 2014 ~ 4:30-5:30pm PT ~ Online Class LIVE Presentation: Lesson 2 – “My Body, God’s Temple”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 ~ Blog Post with Lesson 3 Assignment for the week – “Identity in Christ”

Monday, January 27, 2014 ~ 4:30-5:30pm PT ~ Online Class LIVE Presentation: Lesson 3 – “Identity in Christ”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 ~ Blog Post with Lesson 4 Assignment for the week – “Celebration of God’s Grace, Part 1”

Additional Support:

In addition to the Thin Within workbook, I strongly recommend that you have a copy of Barb Raveling’s I Deserve a Donut and Other Lies That Make You Eat found at Amazon here and/or her I Deserve a Donut app for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. These are optional for this study, but you will not regret having them!

Other resources that you might want to make use of include the official Thin Within audio files for the workbook. These are professionally recorded audios that are available at the Sound Cloud website. You can download these files and put them on the device you use to play audio files as an additional means of supporting you on your journey. There is no charge for this. There are a lot of other audio files available there as well…they aren’t professionally done, but crafted from my heart. 🙂

At the YouTube site, we also have the professionally recorded Thin Within files (in addition to a lot of “homegrown” instructional and supportive videos). Here is a playlist of some of the professionally filmed Thin Within videos and here is another similar playlist (though this one is older).

Our final online class meeting will be April 7th (I think).

If everything goes as I hope, I will be able to share a link for the recorded online classes each week. But that one I can’t guarantee as yet. The class email list will be the best source of news throughout the duration of the class.

Would You Like To Lead?

Now is a great time to lead your own live Thin Within group. You could use the material that we generate in our online class and lead your live group a week or two behind us so that you already have familiarity with the material as you present it to your group. What this means is that any videos that I create for our class (something I plan to do each week as part of the weekly assignment made here at the blog), the recordings of our online class (if all works as I hope), support blog posts, and assignments could be used to support you as you support others. If you are interested in this option, I would love to know about it. 🙂

If you have any additional questions, please post them here.

I hope you will join us!

Success – What Does it Look Like? Guest Post

Success – What Does it Look Like? Guest Post

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What does success at Thin Within look like to you?

Like many, when I first stumbled upon Thin Within, I was looking for a way to lose weight. Sure, I wanted to do it in a way that honored God, but really… I just wanted to drop some excess weight and fit into a smaller pants size. And God was faithful, He drew me closer to Himself and He also allowed me to release 40 pounds.

If you read my post on Failure, you’ll know that in the years since first coming to Thin Within, I have regained 30 of those pounds back. And during that time, God has really been challenging me on how I define Success and Failure with Thin Within. In the last 4 months through my coaching with Heidi, I have been able to take a hard look at how I’ve set my standards for what success really is.

In these past fruitful months, God has revealed to me over and over that success with Thin Within is about so much more than just releasing excess weight. It started slowly, but I could hear Him whisper to me each week that went by, “What if my definition of success is more than just losing weight? What if that is just a small piece of the pie?”

He began to show me that success really meant having daily quiet times with Him. Success was about surrendering my selfish ambition, my pride over appearance and my self-centered efforts to release weight. Victory took the form of me depending on him in humble submission on a daily (and often minute by minute) basis. Success was committing to praying against the enemy’s attempts to throw me off track with Thin Within. Victory was inward change in my heart that was reflected in my outward actions.

And as the weeks have turned into months He has shown me more and more about what true victory in Thin Within really looks like. There are so many wonderful ways we can experience success with Thin Within. And I just can’t keep all of these things to myself! Consider the many ways we can experience victory in Thin Within through Christ.

  • Success is saying no to a second helping when you’ve reached a 5
  • Success is getting back on the horse if you’ve fallen off
  • Success is dying to yourself
  • Success is seeing your faith deepen and your walk with God strengthen
  • Success is listening to your body and obeying its hunger signals
  • Success is asking God to help you get through that all-you-can-eat buffet
  • Success is defeating Satan’s attempts to steer you in the wrong direction
  • Success is seeking the Lord’s face each and every day in prayer and through His word
  • Success is rejecting preventative eating
  • Success is not allowing a “slip up” or failure to hold you down
  • Success is seeing that your body actually thrives within 0-5 boundaries
  • Success is being set free from food’s power over you
  • Success is overcoming a stronghold for the very first time (hallelujah!)
  • Success is delighting in obedience to God
  • Success is weeding out all those little foxes
  • Success is not letting yourself fall into shame if you ate from 6-9
  • Success is seeing changes in your heart, not just your appearance
  • Success is running to Him in prayer when you feel tempted to start eating and you’re at a 3
  • Success is spending just one day where every meal was eaten between 0-5
  • Success is setting aside attempts to lose weight through your own power
  • Success is honoring our bodies with foods that make us feel energized and satisfied
  • Success is giving all the glory to God when you release even a tenth of a pound
  • Success is allowing His power to work through your weakness
  • Success is walking in humble dependence on God in this journey
  • Success is overcoming a challenging situation for the first time (0-5 on Thanksgiving Day anyone?!)
  • Success is breaking a bad habit
  • Success is seeing the fruit of Observation and Correction
  • Success is realizing you are being set free from bondage, one chain link at a time
  • Success is when Thin Within becomes more about growing closer to our Savior than dropping a pants size

I believe that God absolutely positively allows success to also include the release of excess weight. I’m living proof of that. (Editors Note: Becky has released ten pounds in the past four months!) But that is just one small piece of the victory pie! There are so many other pieces of the pie that He cares more about…like how our hearts are being transformed and how our minds are being renewed and how we are being drawn closer to our Creator.

How about you?

Have you experienced success with Thin Within other than releasing weight? Has God shown you any other pieces of the victory pie in addition to weight loss? Have you experienced freedom from strongholds or broken a bad habit? Did you see anything on the list of successes that you didn’t even realize were successes?  Let’s celebrate those together!

Written by Becky Young

Getting Back on the Horse, Again–AGAIN! :)

Getting Back on the Horse, Again–AGAIN! :)


I used to write about my challenges with my horse, Harley, on a Yahoo group I was a part of. Readers of the posts said they thought that he breathed fire based on my description of him. I had turned him into a 5-headed monster! The truth was, he was spunky and needed reassurance from his human. If he didn’t get that…well, he might…um…buck. 🙂 Yes…BUCK.

Unfortunately for both of us, I wasn’t really situated very well to give him those reassurances. So…well…buck he did. Land on the ground…yes…I did that…frequently. I couldn’t stand the thought of coming off…again and again and again. I just quit riding him in 2005. The fact that I was 100 pounds overweight at the time, certainly contributed to my decision. I was somewhat convinced that my large size *hurt* him to carry! It broke my heart, but I was so tired of failure.

Finally, with the help of a couple of very gifted trainers…who trained me…I dusted myself off and got back on the horse. The above picture was taken, the second time I rode him after a two year lay off. I decided that I was done “giving up.”

You can tell by the smile on my face how I felt about the experience. The thing that strikes me about this picture is I finally overcame my fear and, other than the “death grip” of my right hand on the rein, I am riding with merely a halter! (No saddle!) It is one of my favorite pictures of Harlinator and me because in it, I had come such a far distance from where I had been.

[Note: Here is a video of the first time I got back on Harley after those two years of staying off. This was shot about a week before the photo above was taken. See if there are any similarities to how you feel when you consider “getting back on the Thin Within horse!” Note Melissa telling me to remember to “Breathe!”]

I haven’t come off of Harley in a long while, but when I did the last time, I dusted myself off immediately. I observed where I went wonky. I made note of a needed correction so that whatever-it-was wasn’t likely to happen again. Then I put my foot in the stirrup and lifted myself back in the saddle.

I approach my “eating life” the same way. When I fall off the horse, I don’t wait around until I feel like getting back on. I observe and correct and hop back on up in the saddle. There is fun to be had. Places to go! Adventures to enjoy! I don’t want to indulge myself in self-pity and woe-is-me self deprecation.

So, did you stay on the horse yesterday? Did all your good intentions win out? Did you keep your rear firmly in the saddle and are you smiling big, knowing that you DID it?

Or…Or did you get thrown off? Are you licking your wounds, mercilessly inflicted by the “Ultimate Caramel Apple Pie?” Or just a few too many bites (past 5) of turkey and gravy?

Well, I want to encourage you…you CAN get off the ground and back on that horse right now! 🙂 It is WORTH IT!

I was asked recently by one of my coaching clients…”What do you do when you overeat…when you overeat by a LOT?”

The answer…simply…is you just wait for hunger again. Presto! No big heavy emotional guilt tripping allowed! Instead, just get back on that horse and start riding again. Wait for 0 and serve yourself a modest portion, stopping when you are no longer hungry. It really IS that simple!

I do find it VERY helpful to build a foundation for lasting change if I deal with the beliefs that fuel my actions. Really, I can’t say this enough. We can keep restraining ourselves with “will power,” but unless we change the way we think and what we believe (beliefs fuel actions which fuel a lifestyle), we will find ourselves back where we were before or—worse. At the very least, change won’t be sustained.

God wants my heart more than he wants me to be thin. So it stands to reason he won’t let me be content to just lose weight. I got to the place where I carried 100 extra pounds on my frame because I believed food was a better comforter than God. I got to the place where I sustained such a large size because I turned to food to be my savior instead of to the Lord.

So, it stands to reason that the real work will have to be in my mind.

No, you really probably don’t need to read another book.

… and you probably don’t need to read the Thin Within book again.

Those things may be helpful, sure. But what you may need, if you are anything like me, is to work on what you believe more than what you know. You probably know plenty! But what do you believe?

If you watch even the first moments of the video I referenced above, you will see that I believed  that I was going to get hurt. The ride didn’t flow. It was hindered by my beliefs. By the time I was on Harley a week or two later bareback and with the halter, though, I believed that things were going to work between us! What I believe makes a HUGE difference in my actions! Watch the video to see what I mean!

So, what lies were motivating you yesterday if you overate? What truth can counter the lies?

EVERYTHING is redeemable by our wonderful Lord! In fact, no matter what you may have done eating-wise yesterday, God intends that “failure” be redeemed. “Failure” can be a great teacher. Observe what you did by looking back over yesterday. Look at where you went astray. And now, correct. What could you do differently in the future? What could you believe differently in the future that would help you to choose to do that behavior?

Getting back on the horse again after a mess-up is all about observing, correcting, choosing.

It is about extending grace.

It is about learning from your mis-steps and struggles.

It is about trading lies that have moved you with truth…doing it even before the lies have a chance to work again. Right now.

What About You?

What lies were at work yesterday that kept you from acting in a way that supported your godly goals of 0 to 5 eating?

What truths can you use to refute the lies?

How might your actions change the next time you are faced with a similar situation?

And if you negotiated through Thanksgiving Day with NO regrets, I would love to hear about it. It is encouraging. Tell us what challenge you faced and how you were able to emerge victorious. You may have experienced the bucking of that horse beneath you, but if you managed to stay on anyhow, we want to celebrate that with you!

A Thanksgiving Day Praise-Fest!

A Thanksgiving Day Praise-Fest!


When someone asks me what transformed my journey from one of not succeeding, not experiencing victory to being able to release the weight and to stay a healthy weight (for the first time in my life) since 2007, I know immediately that growing in gratitude is at the top of the list. Related to this is my willingness to develop a heart and life of Praise. It really is NOT about the food OR about the weight. God wants to do so much more in us!

The reason that I believe praise and gratitude are such effective weapons against the enemy and my flesh is because:

1.) When I praise and give thanks, I am exalting the Giver…God

2.) When I exalt GOD, I am, by definition, taking my place at his feet…recognizing that HE is the potter and I am the clay–this is a posture of humility

3.) When I take a humble posture, I am not as prone to argue with him about MY food, MY will, MY way, MY body, MY eating, MY MY MY. Instead, I am focusing “GODwardly.”

Today seems like a great day to share yet another praise-fest with you all. I hope this encourages your heart:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/122025333″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

While to me, praise and worship is about declaring God’s attributes and characteristics back to him, gratitude, to me, is expressing thankfulness for his gifts. His gifts are a product of his grace. Again, as I thank him for his gifts, I exalt him. I say, in effect, I am the one in need and he is the one who needs nothing but gives everything.  This transforms me. If I am feeling sorry for myself (something that has often led me to eat outside of my boundaries), practicing gratitude — thanking God for his gifts — or praising Him — proclaiming who He is and what He is like, are sure-fire ways to get me out of my “woe is me” mentality.

I have a 1000 Blessings Blog here. I am counting my way to 1000 of His gifts! Slowly, but I am doing it…and He is changing me!

How About You?

Why not have a praise-fest today? If it would help, refer to these pages: http://heidibylsma.com/step-6/ and http://heidibylsma.com/step-7/

You can also begin a gratitude blog or journal. Here are some thoughts about that: http://heidibylsma.com/step-9-fostering-a-heart-of-thanksgiving/

What will you do to humble yourself today and exalt God? How might that affect the way you view all the tantalizing options available to you to eat today?