Change Thinking for Holiday VICTORY!

Change Thinking for Holiday VICTORY!

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Are you like many? Dreading the holiday season?

Are you convinced that you will be taken out—knocked down for the count—all because turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie (etc.) have an amazing “left hook” and you feel like you just can’t resist heading straight for disaster in the presence of sweet potato pie?

Are you persuaded that all your good intentions will be for naught at Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow or the first Christmas party of the season…only to be multiplied in the days to come…so you figure why should I bother trying…I will only fail?

If we take on this fatalistic thinking, we will be convinced that there is “no point” in being vigilant through the holidays. We will put off having any boundaries and wait to focus in January—maybe even after we have gained some additional weight and hardened our hearts further!… After all, we reason, there is an online Thin Within class I can plan to take in January. I will get serious then!

Let’s DITCH 🙂 this trepidation, intimidation stuff.

Let’s DITCH the lies!

We serve the Living God!

He blew the lid off the grave!

The same resurrection power that raised Jesus out of the tomb is available to lift us away from the table and enable us to say NO to another bite beyond 5 (Ephesians 1:19,20).

Do I really think I can’t say no? That is a lie! Time to admit it!

Let’s choose to REDEEM the time we have right here and right now! Yes, even on the eve of Thanksgiving! Let’s embrace the meaning of passages such as these:

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,

and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

– Romans 13: 14

…train yourself to be godly

1 Timothy 4:7b

What if, instead of being intimidated by what’s ahead on the holiday horizon, we were to view this as an opportunity for training in godliness?

Wouldn’t it be great if, by this time on Friday, you could look back over the previous day and rejoice that you had taken captive run-away thoughts (many might be lies) and had emerged a victor, rather than a victim of yet another Thanksgiving Day feast?

Think about it! We have an OPPORTUNITY to navigate through the most CHALLENGING season and to learn a lot as we do—by desperately clinging to God and seeing his grace as a presence, provision, and power in the moment or even by observing and correcting in those rare instances when we “mess up!”

What if we were to truth journal, truth card, Sound Cloud, You Tube, bible study our way through this season instead of just belly up, give in, not care?

Has God called you to boundaries of hunger/satisfied eating? I know for many of us, this is a conviction in our hearts. Then is it really negotiable? Rather than making a provision for our flesh to go hog-wild and eat whatever we want tomorrow, maybe we can make a “provision for our spirit”… by doing as Christina suggested in yesterday’s post and having a battle plan!

Let’s think of the next five weeks as a great opportunity to train for godliness, to grow in dependence on the Lord, to build our thanksgiving muscles (not just tomorrow, but every day). This is a season for training. If we make it through January 1st staying on the horse, or getting back on immediately if we DO fall off, we can do just about anything relative to our eating after these holiday parties and cookie exchanges are over. We don’t need to come out the other side of December looking like the Christmas Cookie Crisco Girls! We can train our spirits AND our bodies so that we have grown closer to the Lord and have released weight, too!

The reason I know YOU can do it is because did it and I was the biggest rebel ever known to exist! So if I can do it, you can, too.  I wrote this post on January 2, 2007, where I share the details of my first holiday season being faithful to God and the conviction that he wanted me to eat 0 to 5 even during the holidays. I had released just over 20 pounds–much of it through November and December! If that is your need, YOU CAN do this, TOO!

How About You?

Honestly, it IS possible for you to emerge victorious on January 2nd! AND it doesn’t need to ruin your holiday fun, too! I can’t promise you won’t have to make sacrifices, but isn’t it worth it? This time next month, you could have shed the burden of some extra weight, enjoyed your holiday celebrations (so far), AND be closer to the Lord! To do that, I challenge you to:

  1. Shift from an intimidation mentality to an opportunity mentality. Think of this as an OPPORTUNITY to TRAIN for godliness this holiday season! Start now! Just think about how much stronger you will be for whatEVER challenges face you after December!
  2. Recommit to 0 to 5 eating boundaries. Ask God to show you if this is what HE wants for you—even through the holidays.
  3. Commit to getting back on the horse again quickly if you do fall off. Honestly, the success we experience in this approach is not by pursuing perfection. It is by refusing to quit. Instead, over time, you will fall off the horse less frequently and stay on the ground less long. So if you find yourself having “messed up,” just get back in the saddle. RIDE! 🙂 FIGHT! It is worth it!
  4. Try this…my friend Barb has a great idea. It has worked for me! Since she knows she may want an extra bite of _______ even outside of her boundaries, she tells herself she can have _______ after she has renewed her mind. You can do this by choosing to do a set of questions in the “I Deserve a Donut” app or the “I Deserve a Donut” book (both by Barb) or even after you have read a post at this blog (or another blog that encourages you). Chances are once you do that, you won’t want the extra bites of __________. Last night I did this when I wanted a second handful of chocolate covered cashews. It worked like a charm. I didn’t want them. I knew I COULD, but didn’t!

So, who of you are IN? 🙂

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, if you think you need a bit of extra support, you can get some coaching during the holidays. If you are interested in that, have a look at the Coaching page.

Eating Gluten-Free–an Expression of Freedom – Guest Post

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Food Restrictions…

….No, I’m not talking about diets.

I now—praise God—believe that all foods are permissible. And I have left dieting behind me. But here’s the rub for me – all foods are definitely not beneficial for me. For health reasons, I do have to exclude all foods that contain gluten from my eating.

About 5 years ago, I experienced several health issues and I was so relieved, after a year of misdiagnosis, when I was finally diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. In fact, I was happy to be told not to eat food with gluten. You see, this diagnosis occurred before I was freed from the diet mentality. So, I thought when I eliminated foods with gluten (bread, crackers, pastries, packaged foods, cookies) that my extra pounds would just melt away. I did experience resolution (slowly but surely) of all of my other health issues, but I was so disappointed that the weight (gained during this time of health issues) did not disappear. But the Lord met me in this place of despair and fatigue and freed me from so many strongholds. But, that’s another story for another day.

Now that I have been delivered from diets and am free to eat all foods, I have experienced frustration because I can’t really eat all foods. I have experienced the following thoughts:

“Well, since I can’t eat the __________ (bread, sandwich, cake, brownie), then I will eat the _________(ice cream even if I’m not at 0, gluten free sweet even if I’m at 5).”
“This isn’t fair.”
“I’m not really getting what I want to eat.”
“I don’t get to be satisfied by what I really want.”
“Everyone else is eating all of the meal and I can’t” or “They have the delicious bread and I have the mediocre GF bread.”

As you can see, many of my thoughts were about fairness. Well, as our parents told us, “Life isn’t always fair.” And if life were fair, the sinner that I am would be condemned to an unsaved life/death. But, unfair as it was, Jesus took on my sin and I am now offered the abundant life.

So, now I try to focus on the truth that I am actually allowed to eat all foods, but I choose not to eat the ones that aren’t beneficial to my body. Eating gluten-free is not a diet at all. It is a choice. I choose to treat this temple of the Holy Spirit well and choose to decline foods that will make it not work well.

I rarely whine about the foods that I “can’t” eat and I simply make substitutions. It is just food, after all, and there is a bounty of delicious foods available to me that don’t harm my body.

So, if you have food restrictions for medical reasons and wonder if the Thin Within approach is feasible for you, it is! You can have freedom! Be grateful for all of the choices you can make and the wide variety of “allowable” foods. I certainly had more restrictions when I was on a diet!

~ Carrie (Not South Africa)

How About You?

Are there some foods that you know your body doesn’t tolerate well? Are there even categories of foods, like those that include gluten, that your body does best without? What if you were to make a list today of all the many foods you can enjoy that are whole-body pleasers for you—foods that you enjoy and that leave you feeling energized, without any negative side-effects? Might it be worth it to make some adjustments to your food selections today, given all the many options that remain?

Thoughts from a Recovered Binge Eater – Guest Post

Image courtesy of jannoon028 at

Image courtesy of jannoon028 at

In Thin Within we refer to “phases”…it isn’t just a one-size-fits-all, do-this-and-presto! sort of experience.  The phases that are considered a part of Thin Within in the published material are 1.) The Freedom Phase 2.) The Discernment Phase 3.) The Mastery Phase. This may not paint the complete picture for all participants, however. Here is how one  participant, who previously struggled with binge-eating, describes the phases during her own journey so far.

My Phases of Thin Within

1. Eating for hunger: Freedom. When I was first introduced to the Thin Within material, I was exhilarated. No weighing and measuring? I can eat sweets in moderation instead of bingeing on them? Really? I thought I was addicted to sweets and had to avoid them for the rest of my life. I tried to wait for hunger but unwisely let myself get too hungry. I wasn’t eating enough. I ended up replicating the starve/binge pattern that I had developed with my eating over the years. But it was an introduction, and I had hope that this approach could work for me. I just didn’t know how to work it.

2. Eating for satisfaction: Binge-free. With support from Heidi, I moved into phase 2. I started focusing more on eating for satisfaction. The binges stopped abruptly. It was a miracle. But I was still relying on calorie counting and meal patterns (three meals and two snacks) to help me feel safe and to regulate my overall food intake. I was able to have some flexibility around these old rules, but was afraid (and felt unable) to totally cast them off. I was on the path to freedom and incredibly grateful not to be bingeing. In my old mindset, this would have been “in recovery,” but I wanted more. I was on the path to freedom, but not there yet. I didn’t want to be self-regulating my food. I wanted to let go and let God more, but again, felt stymied. I didn’t know what to do to get to the next level (sounds like a video game, doesn’t it?)

3. Discernment: letting go of food restrictions. Phases two and three have been interwoven for me. At first, I was afraid that I couldn’t eat sweets in moderation, so I had only small amounts of sweets and that worked great. Then I tested my limits by eating pop tarts for breakfast and having bread sticks for a snack. I didn’t binge, but I did learn that “everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial” because the more I relied on eating sweets and highly refined carbohydrates, the more sweets and highly refined carbohydrates my body craved, and it felt wrong. I downsized my sweet intake back to where it had been originally: sweets as treats, rather than as staples, and that feels a lot better.

4. Mastery: Freedom in Christ. A whole new level of letting go. This is a prediction rather than a review. I’m not sure about this. I don’t know where I’m going. But I have hope. I’m not bingeing or restricting. I’ve been binge-free for over six months. I’ve learned that my body does not want sweets and highly refined carbohydrates in anything but small amounts. With phases 2 and 3 under my belt, I now feel more ready to let go in the way I tried to do when I started trying to implement Thin Within. Perhaps I’ve come full circle, but maybe it’s a spiral rather than a circle. Now I have freedom in Christ: I am less in charge and have to be more open to the Spirit’s leading. Maybe my meals will be regular and predictable, maybe they won’t be. God is in charge. Until now, I have relied on counting calories as a way to reduce my anxiety – not all of the time, but much of the time. Now I want to turn to God to reassure me that he won’t steer me wrong. One challenge here is that feeling of chaos is almost intolerable to me. I want to trust God, but my ongoing struggle has been not trusting God. So putting myself back in God’s loving arms on a moment-by-moment or at least on an as-needed basis is my directive right now. I am ok. God is with me.

How About You?

Can you identify with this person’s struggle? What phase are you in? What might it take for you to press forward to the next phase? What is God’s Spirit testifying to your heart right now?

Failing My Way to Freedom – Guest Post

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

As much as I hate to admit it, I know a thing or two about failure.

Ten years ago, I discovered Thin Within and released over forty pounds in the span of two years. It  was a time of blessing and victory in my life and I am so thankful that the Lord brought me to Thin Within! Unfortunately, my success was not long term and I gained thirty of those pounds back over the past six years. It’s hard to admit that, but my lessons in failure have helped bring me into a sustained place of freedom with food and obsession with weight. Praise God!

During those six years where I regained the weight, I stopped and started Thin Within close to two dozen time (gosh, that’s hard to admit!). I would commit to Thin Within for a few weeks, experience a little success and then immediately fall of the horse and find myself three pounds heavier than when I started. It was a cycle that I went through over and over again. I felt  hopeless as I cycled in and out of Thin Within… “Lord! Will I ever just get this 0-5 stuff and stop failing?!” I worried that my failures meant that I was a failure.

Thankfully, I can truly say that God is doing a new thing in me right now. He has shown me that all those past failures had a purpose and are currently carrying me into a place of learning, correction, grace and freedom. I have learned many deep spiritual lessons about my past failures and those valuable lessons are leading me through a time of sustained victory right now. Not everything about failure is bad; there are many lessons and tools that can spring forth out of failure. God can truly use our missteps for His glory!

Heidi encouraged me to read Chapter 10 in the Thin Within book in one of our coaching sessions and discover all the wonderful things that are true about God and about failure, especially when it comes to Thin Within. I was amazed at all the nuggets of truth I was able to dig out of that chapter! These truths helped put my past failures into perspective and have helped me put aside my fear of any future failure that may loom on the horizon. Here is my “Top 10 List” about failure and what God can do with it. I’m sure there are many more truths to find!

1. Failure cannot win if you continue press on and move forward
2. God can bring wonders out of failure
3. God’s grace is sufficient to cover failure
4. Failure can be turned into opportunity
5. Failure is delay, not defeat!
6. Failure can be the result of leaving God out, the result of sin, acting in our own strength or trying to do something God has not called us to
7. Failure is not something you are, it is something you do
8. If you believe yourself to be a failure, you will likely act like one
9. God is bigger than failure
10.God equips you for sustained success and the ability to defeat failure!

One of the most powerful truths for me was # 1 and #10. Failure truly only wins if I stand still and choose to do nothing. Each day I decide to press on, move forward and get back on the horse is a day that failure is defeated! And I love the security I feel in knowing that God equips me with His word, power and Holy Spirit to walk in victory and defeat failure. Amen to that!

How about you?BeckyY

Have you seen how God has used failure in your life to teach you valuable lessons? Are there any truths about failure that you would add to the “Top 10 List?” How has God used failure for His glory in your life?

~ Becky Y.

Becky lives, hikes, plays and makes a living photographing weddings in the Western part of the United States. She is happily married to the best man on the planet!

7 Phrases To Ditch For Victory!

Image Source: Morgue File

Image Source: Morgue File

“It’s just a little snack!”

“I am going to eat healthy today!”

“Oh…if I get the house clean, I will have a little treat.”

“I am swearing off of all junk food.”

Food phrases come in all shapes and sizes, but I have discovered that certain words and phrases can be “little foxes” spoiling the “vineyard” in my eating life!

“Snack” – In the past, I, like many other people, would use the word “snack” to mean “free” eating—an “eating occasion” that doesn’t count. 🙂 It didn’t matter if I was hungry or not (or so the reasoning went) because it was “just a little taste of something.” While it probably wasn’t really a “sit down meal,” these “feedings” (as my naturally thin sister refers to them)  count! Now, I prefer not to use the word “snack” at all because it carries years of meaning from my dieting background. If I DO refer to a “snack,” it typically means sitting down and enjoying a smaller portion of anything when I am at a 0 and just shaving off my hunger—not eating all the way to a 5…like stopping at a “2” or “3” on the hunger scale. True Thin Within “snacking” happens only at a 0 and it does, indeed, “count!” I know this isn’t a “fun” revelation. 🙂

I find it most helpful if I consider every single time food crosses my lips as a “meal.” With Thin Within we come to realize we don’t need that much food to sustain our very efficient bodies. So, if every time food crosses my lips I think of it as a meal (or “feeding”), I am more likely to use more discernment about what I choose. This is a basic boundary for us. (I can see you cringe…But where has NOT having this boundary really gotten us?)  In the past, the quantity of food that I now consider a “meal” might have been called a “snack.” This is another reason why I don’t use the word “snack” much any more.

Think About It: If you have been doing Thin Within very long, consider the size of your portions and how they have changed. Is it possible that what you now consider an appropriate-sized meal you might have formerly called “just a snack?” How might this continue to change over time as you refine your hunger numbers?

“Junk Food” –  It is popular to believe that some foods are “junk.”  When we think of certain foods as “junk” it usually means we have declared those foods as “bad.” While it is true some food choices are better than others to feed my “perfect 0,”  when I call something “junk,” I imply that the food is the culprit to my weight and eating issues. The truth is, *I* am the culprit with the way, the why, the when, of my eating. Food is not immoral in any way. It is not the culprit in my eating challenges.  Instead of thinking of food as “junk food” (or not), I prefer to categorize foods the way that Thin Within speaks of in the second (Discernment) phase, as “teasers,” “pleasers,” “whole-body pleasers,” and “total rejects.” If I like the way a food tastes, but I feel lethargic after eating it, it might be a total reject or it may be a “teaser.” But I try not to think of it as “junk food.” The problem is typically more with ME and what I will DO with those foods than it is with the foods. (Even with a food that has no nutritional value, I find it helps me to just call it a total reject.)

Think About It: Are you like me? Needing to take responsibility for your eating instead of laying blame with the food? I have found that when I refer to foods as “junk” I beat myself up for eating them…which just sends me into a downward spiral. By referring to them, instead, as “total rejects” or “teasers,” I remind myself how *I* respond to them is what matters.

“Treat” – Ever notice that the foods that are in the “junk food” category are also often those referred to as “treats” as well? Calling something a “treat” sets up whatever-food-it-is as desirable to me. I end up seeing it as a reward. Do I really want to call food a “reward?” If I do that, it definitely lures me to eat outside of 0 and 5 whenever I am deserving of a “reward” and we know that I am always deserving of a reward (supposedly)! If I am happy, I deserve a reward. If I am sad, I deserve a reward. If I worked hard, I deserve a reward. If I run errands, I deserve a reward. If I stay home and vacuum, I deserve a reward.  What if we think, instead, of things like “Time alone reading a good book,” or “A long hot bath” as rewards? Consider non-food blessings. 🙂 If I think of food as “treats” then those foods are in my mind as something I get when I am “good.” This sets me up for failure.

Think About It: What are some other non-food ways you can “treat” yourself? Is there any chance that viewing some foods as “treats” is hindering your victory? Do you find that some of the foods that you may have considered “junk food” are the very foods you have also considered “treats?”

“Healthy Eating – What IS “healthy eating?” It is most helpful to me to consider it “Living within God’s parameters.” Or eating according to physical need (empty) and physical satisfaction. Eating whole-body pleasers when my body needs food is my idea of “healthy eating.”  It is important to note that my whole-body pleasers may be different from everyone else’s! This is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach! Healthy eating isn’t about which foods, but why (because of physical need) and when (when I am hungry). To think of “healthy eating” this way is definitely not the norm. Usually when we think of “healthy eating” we think of people who eat fruits, veggies, and lean meat and it isn’t about being hungry or not. I have known people who do not “eat healthy” even when they choose foods that seem more nutritionally dense. They still over-eat and don’t have a healthy relationship with food. Maybe you know some whole food connoisseurs or vegans who struggle with their weight just like others who eat primarily “junk food.” This really isn’t about the food, but about why we eat.

Think About It: What does healthy eating really look like for you? Is it what you choose to eat? Or is it when (hungry)? Or how much (enough to satisfy only)? Or a combination? What if you were to select only fruits and vegetables and lean meats, but eat for emotional reasons without regard to physical cues–would that be “eating healthy?” If you grab for the pita crisps instead of the Oreos when you just had a fight with your daughter is that “Healthy Eating?”

“Healthy Food” – This is like the other phrases that describe food, like “treat” or “junk food.” The problem with “healthy food” is it, again, seems to indicate that if I fix the food, then it is good to eat it…even if I don’t NEED food at that time. Sure, some foods are more nutritionally dense…more nutrition “bang” for energy “buck” and other foods are more “energy dense”…a lot less nutrition for the amount of energy consumed. But food is really inert, neutral, amoral. It isn’t the food that is healthy so much as how I relate to it. Is it  “healthy” to eat a large salad when I am not hungry? I guess every person has to make this decision for herself, but the answer for me as a faithful Thin Within participant and veteran…NO. Eating anything when I don’t need to eat it isn’t healthy. It becomes recreational eating again! Categorizing foods into “healthy food” and “junk food” keeps me from owning my need to scrutinize the why and when of my eating choices. I have found it much more helpful to consider foods as teasers, pleasers, whole-body pleasers and total rejects for the reasons I shared above. I also have found that if I set up a category of “healthy food,” then if I want to be “healthy” I end up trying to force myself to enjoy those foods. While I am all for expanding our culinary horizons and venturing out into new tastes and textures, if I don’t like something and eat it just because it is a “healthy food” then I am setting myself up for a fall.

Think About It: What are whole-body pleaser foods or meals for you? Would it be helpful to you and support your godly goals to consider food this way instead of “healthy food?”  Or as “beneficial foods?” I am not advising not to care about nutritional value, certainly, but giving an eye to nutrition and an eye to how foods make you feel might help you not try to force yourself to eat only foods that have certain nutritional content…so often that backfires! Or is that just me? 🙂

“Sort of Hungry” –  Hunger/satisfied signals exist on a continuum. But I try to stay away from speaking about being “sort of hungry,” because I have found that if I do this, it “sort of” justifies “sort of” eating! 🙂  In fact, there are even times when I need to strip the hunger scale back to simple terms: “Hungry” or “NOT Hungry.” If you are experiencing limited success with your 0 to 5 eating, consider if you are possibly pre-empting “hungry” by entertaining the idea that being “sort of hungry” justifies eating.

Think About It: Do you find yourself eating when you are “sort of hungry” or “a little bit hungry?” Is that working for you? If you are not seeing the physical results you think you should be seeing, maybe honing in on a true zero … completely empty… will be helpful.

“Kind of Full” – If I am “Kind of Full,” that means that I think I “still have room” for more food. Maybe I need to see if my body is satisfied with less food, rather than if I can get away with more! (If you have a history of restricting, I am not speaking to you. Please know that God wants you to eat what you NEED to sustain good health!) Again, for me personally, it has helped to go to “bare bones” with my terminology with the hunger scale. Instead of looking at “AM I at a 5? Or is this only a 4 and I still have room for more food?” I need to look at “HUNGRY” or “NOT Hungry.” “Kind of Full” is definitely in the “Not Hungry” category.  If I am NOT HUNGRY it is time to stop eating. Getting rid of  “Kind of Full” helps me be faithful to the boundaries that God has set for me.

Think About It: Do you push to see how much food you can eat before you have pushed too far? Or are you happy with eating until you know you are not hungry any more and call it good? Again, if you are not seeing the physical results that you think you should be seeing, you may want to evaluate this. One strategy that has been helpful for me (when I do it!) is to have a boundary of always leaving some (even just a bite or two) of food on my plate. Sometimes, this gets fed to the family dog, but I find that it helps to cure me of my tendency to be greedy! (But builds bad begging habits in my dog!)

How About You?

Are you willing to eliminate these words or phrases from your vocabulary to see if that might help you move closer to the victory that you desire? What other words or phrases do you find might be like “little foxes,” hindering your realization of the victory that you know is yours?

Choosing Peace or Chasing Perfection? – Guest Post

I am traveling with my husband this week and so it is with great pleasure that I get to keep sharing blog posts written especially for you all but BY you! People who are in our blog community here, commenting along with you, in the trenches along with you. This author has a powerful challenge for us! Then, tomorrow, Christina will share some valuable insights for pregnancy (and beyond!). ~ Hugs, Heidi


A few years ago, I competed in a women’s triathlon. When a competitor arrived for the event, a volunteer would write two things on her calf. On the outside of the calf, the volunteer wrote the competitor’s race number. On the back of the calf, the volunteer wrote the woman’s age. As I competed that day, whenever I would race behind a woman, I noted her age and her figure. Was she thinner than me, or bigger? Older and younger? I wanted to be thinner than the other women, and younger, too. I hated to realize that many times, I was neither.

Suddenly, I felt a firm conviction from the Lord. “You’ve set a standard for your life that did not come from Me.” Having a perfect figure had always been so important to me; but apparently, not for God. As a child, I was a normal weight, but was pushed into dieting at a young age. I wonder now if it was because I developed early, and the extra curves made everyone uncomfortable. Either way, I knew my body was the problem in my family, and I needed to “fix” it. When I wanted to eat normal food, instead of diet food, I had to sneak it. I felt guilty about my appetite. I also felt doomed, because I wanted more. More food, more approval, more love, and more of anything than filled the aching hole in my heart.

When bullies at school targeted me, they made fun of my body. Humiliated daily, I retreated further into both shame and striving. If only I were perfect, I thought, the bullies would stop. I made it my mission to eliminate anything that made me a target for cruelty. I wanted, above all, to fit in. To be perfect, and perfectly acceptable.


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Believing the lie that perfection is a good and obtainable standard is like staring into the eyes of a snake. I’ve read that some snakes hypnotize their prey this way, rendering them immobile before the poisonous strike. Overeating became a way for me to “break the trance” of perfection. It allowed me to give up the fight temporarily. But God calls me to give up the fight forever. He is asking me to love peace not perfection.

Surrendering to God by living within my 0-5 boundaries also means surrendering my attempts to insulate myself from pain. God never promised to spare me from reality; He did, however, promise to redeem it. To have the peace of surrender, I must accept the pain and uncertainty of imperfections. I must, actually, accept myself.

And that’s a race I’m just starting.

Hunger Within states, “When we are assaulted in this spiritual battle and tempted to give way to despair and old patterns of thinking and behaving, we must remind ourselves that God has provided his spiritual armor to equip us for holy action.”

How About You?

” Abstain from sinful desires that wage war against your soul.”
~ 1 Peter 2:11
“If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace.” 
~ Luke 19:42
What desires are stirring your discontent and anger?  And what choices could you make, just for today, that would bring you peace?
~ G. Ann Arias

Get Rid of “The Little Foxes!”

Between the Vines - Artist: Carl Brenders

Between the Vines – Artist: Carl Brenders

Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.
Song of Solomon 2:15

…A taste of the spaghetti sauce while it is simmering…”SooOOOOooo good!,” …it requires another taste and just one more!

…A french fry (or two…or six!) from a family member’s “Happy Meal”…”Ooh! I need me some of these!”

…Just one more handful of popcorn at the movies…”Ok, well, maybe one more….”

While it is certainly true that Solomon probably didn’t have these scenarios in mind when he penned the request to “Catch for us the foxes that ruin the vineyards,” there is definitely an interesting principle that we can draw from the biblical context of the verse.

Small foxes can ruin a wonderfully good thing.

Do you find that you aren’t quite experiencing the physical results that you feel you should be as you apply yourself to eating between physical hunger and satisfaction? While it is my deepest heart’s desire to convey that this journey is about SO much more than food and weight, the fact does remain–at least in part–most of us chose to connect with Thin Within in the first place because we felt that we could/should be a smaller size than we were (I know this isn’t true of everyone…many of you hope to be willing to eat what God calls you to eat instead of restricting).

It IS true that God may be teaching you personally that HIS desire for you is to be content at a certain size instead of something as small as you had hoped, but if the size that you think you are supposed to accept contributes to extreme health problems, perhaps there is still yet work to do. If you aren’t seeing some progress in letting go of the physical weight, I want to suggest that you evaluate:

Are there little foxes ruining this vineyard?

It takes a lot of work to get a vineyard to produce! The worst thing to a vineyard owner is to put all that time, money, and effort into having a producing vineyard only to have the little foxes ruin it all. Charles Wesley is credited to have said:

Spoil vines –  foxes do this many ways, by gnawing and breaking the little branches and leaves, by digging holes in the vineyards, and so spoiling the roots. Tender grapes – Which are easily spoiled, if great care be not used to prevent it.

I realized that the little foxes running amok in my life and my attempts to adhere to the principles and boundaries that God has led me to embrace (0 to 5 eating) were a problem for me. I had waited for my definitive hunger signal at one particular lunchtime. I eagerly put left over Mexican food in the oven to heat up. Even as I set the timer for 15 minutes, I realized that my hunger was INCESSANT!  I reached for small fox #1…a few chips. “Yum!” Then small fox #2…A cookie. “Yes, perfect!” Small fox #3…A bite of frosting from the jar…”That will do.”

All three foxes had dashed through before the meal emerged from the oven. By the time my leftovers were heated, I wasn’t hungry any longer and the amount of food that I had placed in the oven was based on my eating it from hunger to satisfaction…not from whatever-hunger-number-I-was-at-currently to a 5. Meaning, by eating the amount I had prepared, I was almost assuredly overeating! Being a “veteran” Thin Withinner I had put a fist sized portion in the oven, but only now I needed to be honest…there was a “three-finger sized” amount of space left in my stomach!

This didn’t happen just once before I became aware of the little foxes, either. It happened numerous times…each time with the justification of “Well, I am hungry!'” The truth is, if all of those little bites were going to be a part of my meal—used to satisfy my hunger—they needed to be considered. The portion I was yet waiting on from the oven might not even be necessary at all!

Having shared this with some of my coaching clients who have lamented that they wonder about their physical results not being quite what they had hoped, they have approached their eating with additional vigilance. You know what has happened? You guessed it. The physical changes are happening once again.

How About You?

On your way to your God-given natural size, every so often you might have to re-evaluate, refine, hone in on what is going on. Is it possible that you could benefit from evaluating if the little foxes are ruining your hard work? They can be quite subtle and we tend to justify and minimize them. Consider this thought, though…When we justify them not only do those small bites here and there represent energy that we are consuming that our body may not need, but might it also be adding a little bit of hardening to our hearts spiritually speaking? Maybe we can ask God to make us sensitive to His leading so that we get rid of the little foxes and welcome His Presence as the good Vinedresser that He is into our Vineyard!

What “little foxes” do you need to catch?

A Milkshake for Lunch?! – Guest Post

For Lunch? REALLY? Yes! You bet!

For Lunch? REALLY? Yes! You bet!

I must start by sharing this happy realization. A few months ago, Heidi recorded a long winded 40-45 minute conversation with me about breaking free from dieting. The Lord has delivered me so far from dieting now that I can barely remember the details of how I broke free! Now, that’s freedom. But, I will use my journal to help me remember my steps because I want to encourage any of you who are still stuck, or partially stuck, in diet land to break free and leave it behind.

I was prepped from an early age to diet. I watched my mother and her friends diet, jazzercise, jog and talk about what they should and shouldn’t eat. While I did not follow an official diet until I was 31 years old, I knew that I should never eat chicken skin, fried food, chips, candy, ice cream, cream sauces, etc, etc. I knew the “rules” without following a particular plan. But, eventually I was tired of my extra 30 pounds, post-baby weight included, and I joined a popular dieting program. My type- A self jumped in with both feet and thus began my obsession with my weight, food, exercise and clothing size.

My mind became full of rules – about exercise and food – and I became obsessed. When I look back, I can’t believe the time that I wasted planning meals and workouts – and all of the attention I put on my body and not on the people who really mattered. I am the saddest when I remember hanging out with my kids and, while I looked like I was paying attention to them, my mind was really in food and workout planning mode. I thought I was happy when I was skinny, but I am now so thankful that I had health issues that caused me to gain weight and then forced me to stop exercising. God met me in that fearful place and revealed to me that I could live a life in freedom with Him. I am not exaggerating when I say that the first Thin Within workbook truly brought me to Christ and helped me to really understand who Christ is and what he did and continues to do for believers. I started to sense that freedom from dieting and exercising was possible, but the lies of the world kept pulling me back. It took almost 2 years for me to really see the Truth and to really commit to this way of life. And I am not looking back!

The breaking of my diet chains was multifaceted, but the most important part was prayer. I prayed every day, starting last January, to be set free from the bondage of dieting, over-exercising and body image issues. Then, in February, when I realized that had some heart issues that were contrary to godliness, I prayed Psalm 51:10: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Let me stress, I prayed this every day, multiple times a day.

And then I found the “God is doing a new thing bible study” in March and began focusing on the renewing of my mind. I took notes and studied the scripture and made scripture cards. With daily study and prayer, the Truths of God’s word and character and love moved from my mind to my heart. And within a few months, I knew that I would never, could never, diet again. I wanted my mind and heart set on my Creator and Lord, my Abba, my Savior, my Healer, and not on the size of my clothes.

Do I backslide? Sure. Sometimes I try on an old dress and hope it fits. Sometimes I eat too much at dinner. Sometimes I think about carbs vs. proteins. Sometimes I think I should run a few more miles. But then quickly, and it happens faster and faster these days, I remember the Truths in the Bible and the freedom, peace and joy that I feel when I live in God’s boundaries and on His path. I can then leave the worldliness behind and focus on Him. I put on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) and let Him fight my spiritual battles.

Friends, if you have put trust and faith in diets or workout plans, you are not alone. It is what our culture asks of its people, especially women. But you can break the mold, you can live in freedom. I, who used to be obsessed with counting every morsel that I ate and evaluating its nutritional value, drank a milkshake for lunch last week! A full fat butter pecan ice cream milkshake! But, since I have the freedom to drink milkshakes any day of the year (although this was my first in over a decade), I only drank 2/3 of it. I was satiated. It was enough. God’s love and grace is more than enough for each of us – they are sweeter and more satisfying than any dessert imaginable.

~ Carrie (Not South Africa) 🙂

What About You?

Do the chains of dieting still hold you fast? Do you believe that God can call you to freedom without the use of a diet or restrictive eating plan and rigorous exercise that is harder on your body than you know you should do? Will you consider possibly renewing your mind with truth? God never intended for food to torment us or for our avoidance of it to become an obsession. Let us know how we can pray for you.

Prepare Now for January 2014’s Thin Within Study!

There are so many exciting changes ahead relative to God is Doing a New Thing and the Thin Within ministries! I am so excited to roll out each one by one. But let me just tease you a bit with that for now and get to the point of this post!
We may just be beginning the 2013 holiday season, but it isn’t too early to think ahead to January and that time when so many of us want to start fresh (though, truly we can start fresh EACH day—we don’t need to wait!).
In January 2014, I will be leading an online Thin Within group studying the Thin Within workbook material. The first orientation meeting will be Monday, January 6th. The class will wrap up Monday, April 7th, 2014. Posts will be accessible here at the blog for discussion, but we will also have a “live” online meeting each week on Mondays, from 4:30-5:30pm Pacific Time. The web url will be made available each week to those who sign up and who provide their email addresses to me for that purpose.

Here are some details about the  Rebuilding God’s Temple Workbook Kit #1. If you have done this workbook before, you can still join the weekly chats January 6 – April 7 and work through *any* of the Thin Within workbooks as they are all designed so that they all have the same lesson topics each week.

The first kit is the most comprehensive and comes with three pieces:  

    1. Workbook #1
    2. The Temple Toolkit
    3. The Memory Challenge Cards (click on the image to see a large version and some images you can click again to see it magnified further):

The contents of Kit #1

First, the workbook itself, is a spiral bound volume that has material for 12 weeks of study. To download a sample of the material, visit this link. The download is an Adobe Reader (.pdf) file of Week One – “Hope.” After you download it,  print it and take a week to try it out! 🙂

Each week’s unit consists of the following:

  • Lesson material – This is dense written material that you will read to glean the concepts that we are teaching or reviewing during the week. I usually recommend about an hour spent with this, highlighting, asterisking, and looking up the verses in my own bible. I may even write comments in the margin or, if I am leading a group, questions to be sure to ask participants.

Each of the reading portions of the lesson are divided into these segments:

    • Introduction – A brief overview of the week’s focus
    • Spiritual Information – The relationship this material has to the Scriptures
    • Physiological Information – The “mechanics” — what you can actually do to make additional changes in your eating to honor the Lord
    • Integration – How it all works together
  • Exercises – Don’t worry! These aren’t calisthenics! LOL! They are basically guided daily quiet times. 🙂 Each week includes “exercises” for each day of the week. Days six and seven are optional and a bit “lighter.” Days one through five include the following sections:
    • Going Deeper – This relates some aspect of the lesson you have read to your life
    • Bible Study – This shows how Scripture illustrates or illuminates the principles taught in the lesson
    • Knowing God By Heart – One of the best parts, this is a study of the attributes of God. We have found that the way a participant views God impacts how she will view food, herself, her body, as well as her willingness (or not) to surrender this aspect of her life to the Lord for His purposes.
    • Getting Practical – These are suggestions for putting some of the mechanics of the program into practice
    • Memory Challenge – Hiding God’s Word in our hearts will enable us to be reminded of our commitment to him when we are weak! Memorizing scripture is extremely helpful for renewing our mind and changing our thinking!
  • Review of the Week – This provides a space where you can summarize what God has shown you or questions and thoughts you have had. This section is especially helpful when you meet with others in a group setting. 🙂

In addition to these resources in the workbook, there is an extensive Introduction at the beginning and Appendices in the back, providing a great deal of material that will support you on your journey.

But wait! There’s more! 🙂 (Couldn’t resist saying that!) Not only do you get the Workbook, but when you purchase the first kit, you also get the Temple Toolkit. This is a resource that offers a place for you to log your own journey throughout each day during the full twelve weeks. As you progress through the material, the pages change to match what you have learned in the workbook. Let me show you what I mean.

The first image below shows Days 25-28. Click on the image to see a larger version and then click again to see FULL size what these pages look like in the temple toolkit:

Days 25, 26, 27, 28 in the Temple Toolkit

As you progress through the workbook and new material is introduced, the Temple Toolkit changes, too:

Days 49, 50, 51, and 52 in Temple Toolkit

Again, click on the image above and then click again on the bigger image to see it full size. You will see new tools have been added.

Of course all of the tools are optional as you go through the 12-week workbook. If you have come out of a background of excessive charting and graphing, you may only want to use the journaling pages. Or, as time goes on, you may experience freedom with one tool and not another. The Lord will lead each of us individually. Some have freedom to use all the tools, charts and graphs. Some have the freedom not to.

By the time you are closer to the end of the first twelve weeks, you will have been introduced to all of the tools. Note how the material in the toolkit has evolved:

Days 77, 78, 79 and 80 in Temple Toolkit

Again, “Wait! There’s more!” 🙂 When you order the first kit, you get not only the Workbook, the Temple Toolkit that changes as you go through the material, but you also get the Memory Challenge and Temptation Buster Cards:

Memory Challenge and Temptation Buster Cards

Again, click on the image above and the larger image, to get a full size view of what these include. You cut them up and can carry them with you so that Thin Within isn’t just a bible study that you begin in the morning and leave behind the rest of the day. These resources are very supportive in helping you to keep the principles that God is leading you to embrace and apply with you throughout the day.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. 
Do what it says. 
Anyone who listens to the word 
but does not do what it says 
is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, 
after looking at himself, 
goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
~ James 1:22-24

We don’t want to just accumulate head knowledge, but then leave it behind for the rest of the day! We want to ACT on what we learn in our times of study and in God’s Word!

$40 includes three months of workbook material and exercises, as well as the Temple Toolkit and a set of Scripture Memory Cards, one verse for each week. There is no additional cost to participate in the class at this time.

Did you know that there are 3 additional workbooks, each covering 12 weeks? The material is designed so that people who have gone through workbook #1 before, can do workbook #2 or #3 or #4, even while most in the group use workbook #1. Each of the workbooks are presented in 12 weekly themes that parallel each other. These are the themes for all four of the workbooks:

  1. Hope
  2. My Body–God’s Temple
  3. Identity in Christ
  4. Celebration of God’s Grace, Part One
  5. Restoration
  6. Counting the Cost
  7. The Fight of Faith
  8. Celebration of God’s Grace, Part Two
  9. Building Godly Boundaries
  10. Forgiveness
  11. Prayer
  12. Celebration of God’s Grace, Part Three

When the group is on week five, everyone will be studying, reviewing, learning about the theme of Restoration. This helps prevent the material from becoming stale! It is a great system that allows people of all experience levels to enjoy a group together, studying and reviewing together.

Workbooks #2, 3 and 4 cost about $25 each.

To order materials, call Thin Within 1-877-729-8932 (9:00am-5:00pm Easternor visit this link at Amazon.

To sign up for the class starting in January 2014, visit this link and fill out the form. This email list will only be for the class information.

The group I will be leading starting January 6, 2014 is an “open” group. You can join the chat at any time. There will be more details to come—but if you want to get the information sent directly to you, please sign up to be on the class email list. Hope you can join us!

How About You?

Do you need and want support? Now is your chance. I will probably not be leading another class through the workbook in 2014. Sign up today and purchase your materials! 🙂

Want to lead a group? If you want to live dangerously :-), you can lead a Thin Within group. The best way to do this is to plan to use the material here at the blog and the videos will be created along the way. Plan to join us for the discussions here, the videos, and the class sessions on Monday. Then, following the Monday classes, you can meet with your own group of people live and in person to lead them through the material using the resources provided to you by your own participation in the online class! By the time class time rolls around for us online each Monday, you will have all the material under your belt and be ready to teach it yourself! I would love to know if this interests you! 🙂