When to stop eating – What is 5?

I am excited to have joined Pam Sneed’s online study group of the first quarter workbook. What a blessing! Pam is awesome! We had our first meeting on Monday night and God was definitely present! I have never seen anything like it in an online chat before. It was new to me. God really IS doing a new thing!

As I was reading the first lesson this morning in the Thin Within workbook, I thought that the way the definition of 5 was worded was very clear. Thought I would share it with you and hopefully it will help someone.

“When you are hungry and choose to eat only to a point of comfort, we call that a 5 on the Hunger Scale. It is when you have had ‘just enough’ and your body does not need more food. A 5 is not ‘full’ or ‘stuffed.’ It is ‘satisfied.'” (page B-6 of Workbook Quarter 1 2004 edition)


This is one reason why I personally feel uncomfortable when we talk about “hunger/fullness” as I know God doesn’t want me to look for “How *full* can I be without being uncomfortable?” I think He wants me to find that place of what it will take to take away the hunger…where my body no longer *needs* food.

I have found that if I *do* go to that place, my body needs far less food than I can imagine. I guess this is where I really have to face the fact that I *want* to be hungry more often to justify eating…and it exposes my heart and the connection I continue to have to food for the sake of eating.

Often when I waffle about what I will call a 5, it is plainly because I don’t *like* the truth.

Again, that may be me.

This week, I am finding a lot of sinful attitudes are being exposed in my life…things that I thought I was done with. It has been a hard week and it isn’t even half over yet! LOL!

I love the verse, Isaiah 43:18-19 that says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Today, God laid on my heart to apply myself to the first part of this verse: “Forget the former things.” I must forget the previous failures…even if they came earlier today. Or the failures of yesterday or last year or 10 years ago. I must forget it all and allow God to create a TODAY with me. Not only that, but I need to not try to coast on previous “successes.” The fact that God has removed 25 pounds from my body relatively quickly doesn’t somehow win me an award for checking out now. It isn’t an accolade. It isn’t an award to hang on the wall and be proud of. I must forget the former things. Even NOW he is doing something new…a new NEW thing!

TODAY, I choose to forget the former things and not to dwell on the past.

I also choose to apply myself to this definition of 5 in a fresh new way…I will eat “only to a point of comfort” and see what God does. I know this means letting go of a lot of food. I seem to have a way of trying to eat as much as I can before I get uncomfortable. NOT ok. I must return to eating only until I am not hungry any more.

NEW DAY! New MOMENT! Thank you, God, for Do Overs!


Three Meals a Day?

Another hurdle that I have had to (and have to) overcome is a sense that I can eat three meals a day. In the past, when I ate listening to my body’s hunger/satisfied mechanism, I had a higher metabolism and got hungry many many times in a day. I could literally eat 4, 5 or 6 times between the 0-5 parameters and release weight.

This time around, I get hungry much less frequently. In fact…so infrequently, that I feel like the three meals “I am owed” in a day to enjoy food…well…even that often isn’t necessarily legitimate. I am far from sedentary, but a lot of the muscle I once carried isn’t there any more. This may change over time, of course…certain seasons I work much harder physically than others because of the horses and caring for them, the fences, throwing around hay bales and the like. But right now, today, I know that often, my body just doesn’t need food as often as I *want* it to need food.

(Have you ever LUSTED for hunger? LOL!)

Here is the way it might happen for me… I wait wait wait for 0 in the morning when I get up. 11am rolls around and I am “not sure” if I am at a 0 yet. I “know” that my not being hungry for breakfast is ridiculous.

“Of course I am hungry!! I am ALWAYS hungry in the morning!”

I might even rationalize that even if I don’t feel the definite cues of stomach hunger that I have learned are legitimate 0, that since it has been SO long since I have eaten I better eat or else I will get dizzy or a terrible headache. “After all…”, I rationalize, “…I have virtually skipped breakfast.” (For some people, the concern about dizziness and headaches may be legitimate…for ME it rarely is!)

I might use this train of thinking to go ahead and eat.

This ignores what my body is saying. If I eat at this point, how do I know when to quit, for instance? It all becomes a guessing game. (The diet mentality sneaks in here and says “About that much should be the ‘right’ amount.” Once again, I have ignored my hunger mechanism.

Not only that, but I have claimed my right to do with my body as I please. God has convicted me that this is my pride again…I want to do what I want when I want…period:

“Lord! I should be able to enjoy at *least* three meals a day! They *are* small meals, after all! Will you take them away from me too?” (I can almost hear the serpent as with Eve in the garden, whispering to me about how God is holding out on me and how “mean” he is to deny me my rights….bleah)

When I really analyze this, I realize I feel this way for one reason, simply:

I do NOT want to give up food.

“Normal people…” (I again rationalize) “…eat three meals a day. My meals are so small. Of course I can still eat three meals a day!”

Truth is, if I really want to grow in my walk with the Lord, listening and responding to what He tells me is the key. Some days he may tell me I don’t need breakfast (or dinner…whatever!).

And please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not saying that if I am hungry and I KNOW I am hungry I should bypass hunger and skip a meal to release weight. Nope. God has convicted me that, unless He lays a spiritual concern on my heart to fast and pray over, skipping hunger for any other reason is dishonoring him as well (until he tells me otherwise).

But I know I have said it and I have heard others say it…that we assume we will eat three meals a day…plain and simple. We seem to think of it as a part of being human or something–like taxes, brushing our teeth and other “necessities”…or at least I have in the past and I hope to get over this. I almost think of it as a “divine right.” In fact, a part of me looks at God cross-eyed and says, “Don’t be messing with my three meals a day, Lord!”

When I am most active, I might legitimately need to eat a bit more frequently. My body is reliable, though, and will signal the need for nourishment. Generally, though, I seem to be in the habit of thinking that if I rule out all snacking then that means I have been “good.” But my attitude is such that I act like three meals is something I am entitled to.

This sidelines listening to the Lord and to my hunger/satisfied mechanism.

I want to be done with this sort of thinking…

Releasing Weight or Not

Something that God has worked with me on is related to some of the disappointments some have shared recently with not releasing more weight. This is still coming home to me, though, I must admit. I continue to be slow to learn.

In my case, when I don’t release weight, first I have to ask the Lord, honestly, if I am submitting to his will. This goes beyond this notion of 0-5 eating for me. I can *fake* 0-5 eating pretty well. You know what I mean? I can rationalize things…I have found that a subtle “dieting mentality” comes in and “helps” me with this…it will casually do an estimation of calories and whatever and say “See? I have ‘suffered’ and so I should release weight.”

But the reality God is trying to bring home to me is, the Lord wants me to love HIM more than I love food. No, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t find joy in my enjoying food, but delighting in food more than Him…well, that is a problem. He has laid on my heart that He has given me parameters within which eating food is to be enjoyed. It is like sexual intimacy…there are certain parameters. Within those parameters, it gives God joy for me to enjoy intimacy, which He created. I believe He delights in my enjoyment of food within godly parameters as well. Outside of the parameters of marriage, “sex” is indulging my fleshly lusts and is sin…Outside the parameters of my body calling for food, eating is indulging a fleshly lust and is sin. Or that is how He has broken it down for me. I need it made really simple! LOL!

It helps me to ask WHY am I eating right now? Am I eating because I am hungry and my body needs nourishment? Am I eating because I simply want to enjoy the taste (which is so fleeting!)? God has laid it on my heart to enjoy the taste of food (YES!), but only when my body needs nourishment. How perfect is that? 🙂 I can oooh and aaah about the incredible flavor of cheese enchiladas all I want when I am hungry! YIPPEEE! I get hungry pretty routinely! There will be loads of opportunities in my life to enjoy enchiladas with a totally pure conscience, eating them because my body needs sustenance! Why do I want to mess with that?

When I don’t release weight, I have to honestly evaluate if I have been truly loving eating beyond the parameters God has for me. Am I living like my body is my own to do with as I please?

For me, it comes down to that.

Sometimes, when I am not releasing weight, this is as far as I need to go to have my answer as to why.

BUT…and this is a big BUT…sometimes this is where it gets pretty tough. (As if dealing with brutal honesty over my love of my sin isn’t hard enough…) If I really truly think that I have been living for the Lord and He seems to confirm this through His Spirit, if I have been heeding His voice pretty diligently, and I am *still* not releasing weight (and this has happened before), then He has shown me to ask Him what He would have me be in this moment. How does *He* desire that I responsd? This can be so eye-opening for me. Almost every single time, He has asked me “Heidi, am I enough? Am *I* your very great reward? Or do you love losing weight or being thin more than you love knowing I am pleased with the choices you have been making?”

The answers to these questions really do a lot to expose my motivations. I have found that the Lord sometimes wants to purify my motives and can do this by restricting the movement of the scale for a season…I lived a long time losing weight with praise of men being my motivation. I love verbal accolades. I know for a fact that now the Lord wants me to love Him more than that (He always has).

Additionally, during one of these little struggles with not seeing the scale go down, God laid on my heart that I had a bit of an attitude…if *I* did *my* part, I reasoned, He would do *His* part and see to it that weight would come off. After all, wasn’t that what this was about? In essence I had a truckload of subtle, but insidious, pride going on there. I got disappointed with *God* when I didn’t see the scale doing what it “should” be doing. I was holding up my end of the bargain…now what about Him holding up His? This led to my throwing in the towel often enough. I got frustrated with God. I told you I was the Queen of Pride!

I hate that I like seeing the numbers go down on the scale better than delighting the Lord with submitting my will to Him in each moment. This time around, my journey is about learning to love Him more–no matter what happens. I am daring myself to get rid of my scale, in fact. I don’t have the courage yet. I know if I seek to put pride to death and live for the Lord, the weight will leave my body! I am just soooooo slow to learn it. I still really really like seeing the numbers get lower…nuts!

Don’t know if any of these thoughts can be helpful for anyone else or not. As always, I have been too long winded!

Better is One Day – Devotion on Psalm 84:10

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
– Psalm 84:10

Over the past 3 weeks, I have, at times (often), ignored the voice of God when He has instructed me or sought to offer guidance. I have not been as consistent in honoring the Lord with my eating. As much as I would like to, I can’t blame it on “the stress of the holidays.”
If I am honest, I must say it is a root of rebellion and pride. I was disappointed by God. He had allowed certain circumstances to unfold in my life and I thought He should have done differently! Such pride!!!

This little thought, when allowed to run away, took me away from my single focus—that of hearkening to God’s voice and responding to Him.

Recently, I got on the scale with trepidation, fearful that my lack of diligence to eat only what my body needed, would be reflected in increased weight. I was surprised to find that I had not gained any weight.

But you know what? While I *did* thank God that this was so, the discovery of having maintained my weight through this time was empty compared to the ongoing peace that I have when I listen to His voice. When I respond to His voice in humility, when I thrill to hearing HIM…there is nothing like the peace that permeates my heart. Weight lost or kept off is *nothing* in comparison.

As I stepped off the scale, I pondered these things. Psalm 84:10 came to mind. I realized that fellowship with God is much sweeter than weight not gained (when it should have been), or releasing yet another pound or two. I wouldn’t trade fellowship with God for all my weight gone. No way.

I would rather be a doorkeeper if that is what God wants, than have everything that I desire—a thin body, for instance—if God ordains it! Better is fellowship with him.

The Sons of Korah are listed as the writers of Psalm 84. In Numbers 16 a rebellion was started against Moses and Aaron by Korah. Korah was a Levite. He already had an important job in service at the tabernacle (see Numbers 4). But the job he had wasn’t enough from his perspective—God had disappointed him as well. Korah felt he should be on par with Moses and Aaron. He wanted to be a priest. He wanted more, different, from what God had called. He instigated a rebellion and dragged many others with him. God judged them for this and many were slain.

Years later, “the Sons of Korah” wrote Psalm 84. This psalm reflects hearts content with what God has determined…even being a doorkeeper is better than something “greater” if that something “greater” is outside of God’s will. It is more satisfying to be in the place that God ordains than it is to be anywhere else that is outside of His will. What a change from their father’s attitude!

This touches my heart. If I am outside of God’s will, it doesn’t matter how much weight I lose or what accolades I receive from people. It is so empty. It truly is. How much more I would rather know in my heart of hearts that I am walking in obedience, joy, and peace, in fellowship with the Lord, heeding His sweet voice…than obsessively stepping on and off the scale to see physical “proof” that I am releasing weight.

In verse 2 of Psalm 84, the Sons of Korah write: My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

This is my heart today. More than my pandering after a new physical body, I want a new heart, a new soul…one that yearns, faints, cries out for the living God!

I know that God has promised in His Word that those who hunger and thirst for Him will be satisfied. This desire, for Him, will be with me for eternity. I choose to nurture this yearning today, to allow the Lord to feed it. More than releasing all my extra weight, HE is my very great reward.

Lord, I pray that you will help me today to fix my eyes not on earthly things, but on things above. Help me to set my mind on YOU, and to have ears attuned to your voice. More than anything that I might seek here on earth, I pray that I might long for and yearn for You. Be my satisfaction in this day, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Practical Tips for Thin Within Living

Some things that have come my way recently that struck me as practical tips for applying oneself to 0-5 eating and heeding the voice of God…

1. Ask God if He wants you to abstain for just one day from drinking any beverage other than water. If He says yes, then prayerfully evaluate how this affects your ability to determine your hunger/satisfaction cues. If you are like me and cringe at the thought of not drinking a favorite beverage for a “WHOLE DAY!?!” prayerfully ask God if it is an idol…(I don’t want to think about this today…I will do this tomorrow! Bleah!)

2. When heating up some leftovers (like from a great meal you had out when you dutifully packaged up at least half of the portions served), rather than heat up the entire left over portion, take only a portion of *that* and heat it up to eat. It may not look like much food at first, but put it on a small plate, set down your fork and practice the “First Meal” exercise from like Day 15 I think it is. If you are not satisfied after you are done, you can always heat up more. This has kept me from overeating my leftovers a few times and also given me yet another meal of some of my favorite foods to enjoy. (Maybe this is obvious to others, but it sure wasn’t to me! LOL!)

3. This may seem to totally contradict item #1 above, but I found myself really thinking I was “hungry” and it was for something sweet. Well, when I did a “bodometer” and really checked in, I wasn’t hungry…not really. I gave myself a diet soda and my craving for something sweet went away. Later on, I can have something sweet if I still want it as part of hunger.

4. Don’t turn “discretion” into all out denial. I did this in December. I felt virtuous because I had chosen not to eat sweets as part of my meals any more. It felt fine at the time. It didn’t feel like denial. But at some point something clicked…and I went bonkers. Not full out bingeing as in the past (thank you, Lord!) but somethign went haywire! I almost bemoaned continuing. I was so disgusted with myself for having assumed I had been “delivered”!!!! The truth is, there is a happy medium (unless you are positive that GOD tells you otherwise!). I won’t use my 0 to feed a hunger for a sweet tooth any more. That isn’t where I feel God wants me, but I know that I *can* have a small bit of something sweet in there…and all is ok with the Lord. The trick is, am I *mastered* by it? If I am, then I have to re-evaluate it. The goal is to be able to co-exist in the same house as a bundt cake given us by the neighbors without self-destructing! LOL! That is what God wants! So, I must learn how to lean on HIM in those moments of weakness. Then maybe someday I won’t have to flush the thing before the neighbor has even gotten back to her hourse or inhale it before it has even cooled completely! LOL!

5. When God has given me freedom to have brownies in the house, rather than storing them in their original pan with a knife next to it for cutting as I go, cut them up into small pieces and store them in baggies. That way, I won’t be likely to keep carving on it without realizing it. Of course, sitting down to FOCUS on the pleasure will also help avoid unconsciously sucking up more of the stuff than I realize!

Enough from me for now!

Oh…about the Thin Again study. I don’t feel the freedom to do that study right now. If anyone wants me to send the study components I have dug up off my hard drive from doing it 5 years ago, I will gladly do that. Let me know! Right now, I am progressing through the Thin Within quarter 3 program materials.

Year in Review and Hopes for 2007

This is long!

I suppose it is more for me than for anyone to really read! LOL! I hope that saying it here will build in some accountability. I have an accountability partner. I will forward this to her as well.

2006 was a challenging year for me in many ways. I spent most of it wallowing in my sin…Truthfully, I worried myself almost sick about my health, having gained a bunch of weight…That is until a lady who owned a christian horsewomen’s list invited me to join her list and then discovered my involvement with Thin Within in the past (by looking at my websites)…She asked me to lead her group through a study of the TW material! None of them had ever been exposed to Thin Within or any other hunger/satisfied program. It was a wonderful month with those ladies, as they were always discovering new things…just God revealing stuff to them! It was so refreshing and sure was motivating! Our paths had to part all too soon.

God sure used that lady to jumpstart me! 😀

To reinforce what He was planning to do…to make sure I didn’t MISS it (as I am prone to do), the Lord lovingly, but very pointedly asked me what I felt really was the difference between MY family torn apart by MY death due to health complications (due to rebellious, willful obesity and the indulging of MY flesh) and some “normal American” family torn apart by a husband and father’s addiction to pornography and HIS indulgence of HIS flesh. YIKES! That comparison by the Spirit of God really penetrated my hard heart.

So the last 6 weeks of 2006, God removed just over 20 pounds from my body and revealed so many things to me–Wow….He walked with me in intimacy and showed me, once again, that His grace knows no bounds, that His mercies are new every morning…no…every MOMENT. He showed me that pride has GOT TO BE PUT TO DEATH and that it is insidious in my life…and it rears its ugly, self-protecting head at almost every turn! BLEAH!

I came out of 2006 understanding that God is God and I am not– even if my son is autistic, my youngest horse is permanently lame, and my mother is driving me nuts. 🙂 This is progress in a big way. It isn’t measurable by most peoples’ standards, but I shout Hallelujah! God has brought me far! Thank you Lord….I bow before you.

Ladies, I don’t have the freedom like many of you do to graph, chart, log and journal. In 1995 and 1996 I counted everything and logged everything and charted it, too. I did it on paper and on the computer. I put signs on the wall and on the fridge. I counted fat grams, protein grams, carbohydrate grams, made sure they were in a specific proportion for every meal percentage-wise. I graphed my intake and my weight and compared the relationship between the two. (I even graphed that!) I was always looking for new ways of graphing and charting!

I logged strength training repetitions, sets, and weights, fat percentages in my body when hydrostatically weighed. I logged my run miles/locations/type of workouts/races and other carido workouts, making sure I often did two a day to compensate for some of the secrets I tried to keep from myself and my logs. I compared calorie intake with projected calorie expenditure.

I came out of those years thinner and fitter than I had ever been in my entire life…and…more totally chained to food and in bondage to compulsive exercise than ever before, as well. I was obsessed. In my case, I missed the idol I had erected. Although my eating was disordered before, it was WAY disordered by then. Food was still an enemy…I was NOT at peace with my body, even though it was fit! I found a way to control the food…and control my exercise….presto.

When I went to my first Weigh Down meeting in spring of 1997, the ladies there scoffed at my presence there…I was thin…looked pretty good for a mom with two young kids. They didn’t get it…it was my heart. My heart was suffocating with the idol that lived there…and my thoughts, my plans, my family’s life totally revolved around it.

That wasn’t freedom! I was NOT free! I looked it on the outside, but the idol threw back its head and laughed at my presumption!

So……all that to say…I can’t even use the Thin Within graphs and charts. They are too much like the chains of my past. So I don’t. God has asked me not to return to that. Most people probably don’t have a problem like that. I have always been a slow student! LOL! I think it is great that many can journal and graph and log. He has shown me that, for me…and only for me…to do so wouldn’t help His cause in my life. I guess this is my disclaimer! LOL! My goals sound nebulous and UNmeasurable. But God will show me when it works. He certainly did during these past months.

I have to tell you, I have to resist the logs and charts for all I am worth. I found an old “Penguin Brigade” log book that I had never used…saved it…and I put it on my dresser, thinking I would begin to log again. YIKES! I can’t! I still can’t! I can feel the weakness….I am SOOOO tempted!


For 2007, here are my nebulous goals. LOL!

I desire to see myself get to my God-given size and stay there so that by next January, I can be a group leader for TW. If God calls me to it sooner, great. I am willing. But I feel this strong leading right now that after all my practice at unfaithfulness, He would like to give me an opportunity to practice listening to his voice in each moment for a good solid year. 🙂 It has to do with credibility. When we moved up here and started attending a church here, I was humiliated and ashamed when someone approached me and said, “Hey, your name….I have seen your name in a book I have been reading…haven’t I?” They were reading Thin Within and I wanted to hide under the furniture! I felt like I was such a blight on His name and on the good name of Thin Within!….I know that God isn’t about shame…that is why I have shared these things here, but as for leading a TW group at my church…I feel that I must have credibility with the ladies who know me and who might choose to be a part. So that is one goal.

Additionally, I would like to reach my God-given size by May. This is a HUGE God-sized goal. I would like to release another 30 or so pounds…if God says more is needed or less is fine, then I am ok with that. Selfishly, perhaps, my reason for wanting to get there that soon is because I want my horses to carry less weight when things dry out enough to ride them this late spring or early summer. When I am too heavy, I worry about how they feel. Then I get fearful that if they hurt at all when they carry me that they may object (this can result in bucking! LOL!) (To see my tales visit http://rocklinheidi.bravejournal.com) …and I may get hurt! So it all works together to help me be less fearful and them happier about things. Specifically, I want to ride Dodger, my mustang, by late spring early summer. He is built like a small tank, but he is my smallest horse at about 13.3 hands and 800 pounds (he needs to “release” weight, too!).

(Please visit his special video with my autistic son at http://bylsma.spiritofequus.com/vid/dodgerdaniel.wmv They were in the Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul Volume 2 and also are featured at the BLM website if you are interested! I am a proud mamma of my two redheads–though the video has footage about 3 years old in it! LOL! And you can see in the video that I needed to release weight even then…and I gained even MORE weight after that!)

Anyhow, Harley will be going to a trainer this spring. I am concerned about being too heavy for him. He is quite athletic, but hasn’t had practice carrying a heavy load since his first training. He has carried me some, but always been troubled about it. I hope that the trainer will prepare him for at least the weight I will be then. I know this all probably sounds silly.

I hope to also be fit enough that my core body strength enables me to be a *good* rider. It requires a lot of a person to be a *good* rider. I only hope to trailride, but I still want to gel with the movement of my horses so they are comfortable (and I will be, as well). This requires fitness. Some folks think that if you ride horses you don’t have to be fit! Well, the horses know the difference! LOL!

Another goal for this year is to fully investigate agility with my new dog. I have to be able to run and move for this. We start our first pre-agility class next week. I have watched handlers with their dogs and those folks do have to sprint around quite a bit. I hope to be able to do that. I would like to go far enough with her to try one competition. This relates to my weight-releasing and fitness goals!

While it isn’t a goal, I am toying with the idea of running a bit, too…For now, I will continue to do my “Dance Praise.” I am having a blast and being edified while getting an awesome workout. I hope to continue to do that 4 or more times each week for an hour or so each time. It is just too much fun!

This time next year (January 1, 2008), I hope to have walked with God more faithfully in 2007 and grown in knowing Him more intimately. I hope to be involved in a ministry again that I know is of God…I recently bailed out of all ministry. I would love it if I could do TW and/or a horsewomen’s biblestudy group. I miss leading a bible study…

Another thing that I really think the Lord wants me to do is to develop three of my friendships. I have three friends in mind and things have gone by the wayside a bit…busy-ness of life. I think, too, my shame caused me to hide out a lot more…hard to get to know folks when you are hiding!

Ok…all from me for now.

Blessed New Year, All!