A Lost Cigar Lighter and Finding 5

A Lost Cigar Lighter and Finding 5

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In Thin Within we get to enjoy whatever food we want when we are hungry–“0.” We stop eating when we reach a “5”–when the body has had “just enough” food…it isn’t full, but is satisfied. Usually, it will take about the same volume of food as the size of a loosely held fist (depending on the type of food eaten).

Sometimes, participants lament “I can’t find 5!” This typically refers to having eaten more than they needed and realizing it only too late. With Thin Within, this need not spell disaster. Simply wait for hunger before eating the next time. No more waiting for another Monday. 🙂

There is one primary reason why “Finding 5” may be difficult.

A distant relative lands on your doorstep, beaming with delight that he has decided to stay with you for a few nights. Oh, joy! We always liked Uncle Joe. Until…shucks…he has, unfortunately, taken up the habit of smoking a cigar–one in the morning and one in the evening–each day. Content to do so out on your wonderful deck beneath the trees, the distinct odor of cigars is, nevertheless, carried upon his person when he re-enters the house. The scent hangs in each room–the living room, bathroom, guest bedroom. And now, Uncle Joe has lost his special butane torch lighter (the kind that any good self-respecting stogie soldier uses) and solicits the help of the family to find it. Hmm….how eager are we to join the search when doing so means something we aren’t particularly eager to experience–in this case, more pungent aroma wafting through the house?

The desire to find what is lost will determine the zeal of the search! How easy is it to find something that you aren’t really that interested in finding? If finding something means an end to what you find pleasant, why would you *want* to find it?

Cathy Maher, who is teaching one of our Thin Within Workbook Classes, pointed this out in her video recently. It is a REALLY good point!

We are SO eager to “find 0″…that point where we get to eat. YIPPEE!!!! We have little difficulty finding “0”–in fact, many of us “find” it before it really appears, if we are honest…calling every gurgle of digestion a hunger pang!

But if we don’t really want to “find” 5–that place of physical satisfaction where we have eaten enough food and it is time to stop eating–then we will have difficulty! It is because we don’t really want to find it…we aren’t looking that hard, just as with Uncle Joe’s lighter.

It will serve us well if we evaluate if what we REALLY want is to “find” 5 or if we would much prefer to continue eating instead.  Are we really looking?

If this rings true for you, I want to encourage you to renew your mind with some of these truths:

  • My body is remarkably efficient. It doesn’t take much food to satisfy and as I stop at “just enough,” my body will become leaner and healthier.
  • God’s 0 to 5 boundaries provide a pleasant place for me to enjoy freedom in my eating.
  • It is best to live by design rather than by desire.
  • The portion allotted for me will be completely satisfying, physically. I may need to lean extra hard on the Lord to experience soul-satisfaction, though.
  • I can call on the Lord to give me the “want to” to find 5.
  • The Lord will grant me a willing spirit to sustain me (Psalm 51:12b)

How About You?

Do you look for 5 like you might look for Uncle Joe’s lost cigar lighter? Will you begin to pray today and renew your mind about the joy of eating within the godly boundaries of 0 and 5?

Celebration of God’s Grace – Lesson 12 TW Class 2014

Celebration of God’s Grace – Lesson 12 TW Class 2014



Image courtesy of hin255 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

This Week’s Video:

Video Questions:

1.  How is Thin Within different from the dieting approaches you have tried.

2. I describe in the video two times I have lost 100 pounds. What are the differences between the two? (One of the differences is that after losing with Weight Watchers, I gained my weight back! Not this time, with Thin Within, though!)

3.  What will happen if you look at Thin Within as a diet? What might be the benefits of looking at Thin Within differently than just as a means to losing weight?

4. How has this journey been like riding a horse down the trail? Where are you in the journey? Are you on the ground? Is it time to get back in the saddle? Do you feel tempted to “send the horse packing” and to forget about ever trying this again? How can you strengthen your resolve to stay on the path?

5.  What is the difference between celebrating your failures and celebrating what you can learn in your failures? List three things you can learn from your most recent “failures.”

6. In what ways have you seen God’s grace in this journey?

Renewing the Mind

Truth Journal at least once this week. Truth Journaling is a technique I learned from Barb Raveling. It isn’t typical journaling. Watch this video that explains how it works.

Pick One (book or workbook):

Trade Book

We have completed the assignments for the Thin Within trade book.  It was a ten-week study for those using the book. However, now would be a great time to go back through the study guide pages and the book itself and complete any exercises or questions you haven’t yet completed. Use this week and next as a chance to catch up. 🙂

Workbook Assignment

1. Read, highlight, mark 🙂 Lesson 12, Celebration of God’s Grace, on pages D48 – D52 or listen to the “audio book” version of it at Sound Cloud.  Discuss it here in the comments section below this post or at our Class Facebook Group.
2. Complete the exercises for Lesson 12 on pages D54-D60. Respond to the Review questions on page D61 and share your thoughts at our Facebook discussion group!
3. Use the entries for Day 78 through Day 84 in the Temple Tool Kit. Could any of the tools help you in having greater accountability for your eating? Is it time to set aside the fear of using the tools that might have been wise weeks ago? What is God leading you to do this week?
5. Memorize Philippians 3:13-14. Personalize it and add it to your truth cards.
6. Join us on March 31st for our live webinar at 4:30 Pacific Time. We will be wrapping up lesson 12 on Celebration of God’s Grace and our entire time of study together.

How About You?

For new class options, visit our class page.


NOTE: The Webinar wrapping up Lesson 11 on Prayer is here.

I will post the Webinar Lesson 11 Discussion Questions when they are available.

Pregnancy and Thin Within

Pregnancy and Thin Within

Christina at 35 weeks!

Christina at 35 weeks!

Christina, has done a great job in this video sharing with us how Thin Within–eating between the boundaries of physical hunger and physical satisfaction–works ALL the time…even when pregnant!

By the time this is posted, Baby Smith might have entered the world! 🙂

Here is what Christina says about this video:

“One thing I really wanted to emphasize in this video is that eating 0-5 works no matter what.  And it sure has worked during my pregnancy.  Praise God!  There is no magical eating plan.  No one is going to tell you what foods to eat.  We are completely free through Christ to choose our palate.  No matter what you have going on in your life, whether you deal with food allergies, food intolerances, or your activity level, abilities, metabolism, whether you exercise or not, your age, whether you are pregnant, breastfeeding, etc., 0-5 works!  Our body has been fearfully and wonderfully made!  God has designed it in such a way that we can know when we are hungry and know when we’ve had enough to eat.  It’s so awesome!”

How About You?

Do you think you have the exception to the fact that 0 to 5 eating works consistently whether you are an athlete, more sedentary, pregnant, lactating, or not? If so, will you take your “exception” to the Lord and ask him if it is possibly an excuse to keep your eating from his direction? (Ouch! I can’t believe I just said that…)

The Answer You’ve Been Waiting For Is…

The Answer You’ve Been Waiting For Is…


 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,

so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

The picture above is of my beloved Great Pyrenees, Duke, and a litter of foster puppies who raided his personal food bowl one afternoon. Duke, as you can see, was patient despite their poor judgment. Weighing just eight ounces shy of 150 pounds, Duke is immensely strong. The Pyrenees breed was created to protect flocks by being strong enough to kill any predator, even a bear. The massive chest, the powerful jaws, the legs as thick as bricks all point to an alpha male that can take down any opponent. Which is why I love watching Duke with those little puppies. Those fluffballs regard Duke as a living playground. They climb and claw and bite. Duke lets them disturb his naps, steal from his food bowl, and run away with his toys. I’ve seen them nibble on his nose and his ears, and Duke will only sigh and occasionally groan at their misdeeds.

Their foolish youthful indiscretions should put their lives in great danger. After all, Duke was bred for massive strength. Yet it is precisely Duke’s strength that keeps the puppies safe. His massive power gives the puppies a lot of leeway in their behavior. His strength gives them freedom. He is so big, and so strong, that he is not threatened when they growl or jump or bite. They can hurt him, but they can’t wound him. He is patient with them, because he’s not just powerful; he’s kind.

Yet when I sit down to pray to my heavenly Father, as I contemplate His massive power, sometimes I get nervous. My chest feels tight. My jaw muscles tense, I shift my weight in my chair. My body tenses as if to run; how can an all-powerful God be completely good? How can I trust so much power? Isn’t power similar to anger?

No. It’s not. If we’ve seen too many Hollywood movies, or if we grew up in a dysfunctional home, we may have forgotten that power and anger are worlds apart. God is powerful, but He is good. He is kind. That’s hard for me to grasp, and I’m thankful that every prayer is a baby-step to understanding God’s big, beautiful heart of love. Each prayer is a little invitation to see great power demonstrated through love. Mighty strength displayed in kindness.

Scripture tells us that this is how He wants to answer our every prayer. Psalm 119 is one of many passages that tells us God answers our prayers according to His loving kindness. Let me say that again: He will answer you with love plus kindness. Whatever you pray for today, His answer will be love. Plus kindness. If you eat past 5, if you spend past your budget, if you’ve betrayed a friend or you’re struggling with shame and regrets, His answer to you is love. Plus kindness.

Sometimes when I pray, I like to write my prayers down as if I am writing a letter to a friend. I may describe a situation or problem then ask on paper, “What is the most loving thing that could happen here? What would be the kindest thing?” When I am confronted with an action I must take, I ask, “What would love do? How would kindness act?”

I pray for everything and about everything. I have only begun to understand and believe that Love and Kindness are always the answer. Every problem and every failure needs both, and God knows we are weak. He knows we often use poor judgment, and that what we desperately need is what He has already promised. He is ready and willing to love us, exactly as and where we are. His enormous power and strength are demonstrated in His love and kindness toward our weakness. We are free to approach Him with confidence, and even boldness, because He delights in revealing how His love and kindness can transform our worst moments into His greatest miracles.

What About You?

When you pray, what do you expect? Do you fear punishment or expect love? What does your expectation tell you about your beliefs?

Think of your greatest problem or battle today. What is the most loving thing you could do? What would a great kindness be?

Can obedience be a form of kindness to yourself? When you submit to God’s ways, do you experience a freedom and joy that seem closely related to kindness and love?

Prayer – Lesson 11 TW Class 2014

Prayer – Lesson 11 TW Class 2014


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,

with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:6-7


This Week’s Video:

Video Questions:

1. God wants me ____________ more than he wants me ________________.

2.  Can you stop the video and pray about your desire to release weight, or to defeat your anorexic tendencies, or your bulimia or…? How about stopping and doing so now and waiting just a bit in his presence. If you feel led, share with the community here at the blog what you dared to ask the Lord for.

3. What is the one “rule” that I mention? What part does prayer play for you in this journey? Is there room for growth? How so? Is there a way you can be intentional about it?

4. Have you been keeping a God List? If this is new to you, have a look here for what a God List is and how to create one. It can be transformative!

5. Have you used your God List to do a Praise Fest? Here is a series of posts about the Praise Fest and also links to Sound Files that are examples of what a praise fest might look like. When I exalt God, I am not likely to exalt myself! Give it a try! Share with us what happens.

6. Can you think of a time when it might help you in your journey if you were to have a Praise Fest?

7. How can Praise and Gratitude profoundly affect our journey? “Instead of proclaiming myself as ________ over my life, I proclaim Him __________ over my life” (04:24). Why does this matter?

8. Praise is _______________________________________________. (05:30)

9. Gratitude is _____________________________________________. (05:35)

10. When I struggle with obedience, there are three questions I can ask (05:58). What are they?

11. How do these three things relate to Prayer?

12. What difference can any of this make to you?

Renewing the Mind

This week, ask the Lord in prayer to make you aware of any lies that you still believe. Invite him to show you HIS “Big T Truth” that can replace any lies or, even, “little t truths” that you are giving too much sway in your life. Create new truth cards from what He shows you.

Pick One (book or workbook):

Trade Book

We have completed the assignments for the Thin Within trade book.  It was a ten-week study for those using the book. However, now would be a great time to go back through the study guide pages and the book itself and complete any exercises or questions you haven’t yet completed. Use this week and next as a chance to catch up. 🙂

Workbook Assignment

1. Read, highlight, mark 🙂 Lesson 11, Prayer, on pages D34 – D38 or listen to the “audio book” version of it at Sound Cloud.  Discuss it here in the comments section below this post or at our Class Facebook Group.
2. Complete the exercises for Lesson 11 on pages D40 – D46. Next Monday before the webinar, respond to the Review questions on page D47 or even better–do so at our Facebook discussion group!
3. Use the entries for Day 71 through Day 77 in the Temple Tool Kit. What have you learned through your use of any of the tools in the Temple Tool Kit?
5. Memorize Psalm 139:23-24. Personalize it and add it to your truth cards.
6. Join us on March 24th for our live webinar at 4:30 Pacific Time. We will be wrapping up lesson 11 on Prayer.

How About You?

We have a new class starting up on the heels of this one. On March 31st (the same day as our last webinar for this class), Karon Ruiz is launching into a study of workbook #2 in the series. Visit our class page for more information.


NOTE: The Webinar wrapping up Lesson 10 on Forgiveness is here.

Here are the Webinar Lesson 10 Discussion Questions on Forgiveness.

Why Is This So Hard?!

Why Is This So Hard?!


Image Source: iStockPhoto

Isn’t that the question we all ask ourselves in our  Thin Within journey?  Whether we’ve been involved for one week — one month — one year — or even longer . . .

“Why is this so hard?”

“This is just too difficult for me.”

“I want to quit!”

“Is all this struggle really worth it?”

One reason it can be so difficult –>  We make it that way!  Plain and simple — we are stubborn!  We don’t want to let go of what we’ve known and enjoyed for so long.  Whatever holds us has become our “best friend”.  Who wants to say good-bye to their “best friend?”  When our “best friend” is food, we go to the “frig” when we’re lonely, bored, angry, sad, frustrated, or without answers in difficult situations.  Our “best friend” hugs us and says, “I can make you feel better.  I can relieve the stress.  I can give you pleasure in the midst of your mess. I’ll give you a break from all this!”  The relief is a temporary break from what will still be there after we take our last swallow.  Our “friend” is very deceitful.  But we love our “best friend’ anyway, because SOME relief is better that NO relief.  So — we remain stubborn and cling to our “best friend” like it’s the only friend we have.

This rebellion is something we must confess to our Father and repent of — plain and simple.  We’ve done no less than replace our TRUE “Best Friend” — God Himself — with a powerless substitute.

So — let’s say we do go to God in confession and repentance.  We bare our souls to Him and repent of our “idol.”  We know deep in our hearts that we REALLY want to “kick this thing.”  The question  still remains:

“Why is this so hard!”

Even when we are totally on board with God and desire to obey Him fully, the process can be full of ups and downs, great victories, and shameful failures.  Why?  If God sees we are “really trying and really want to get this right,” why doesn’t He bless us with a wonderful miracle and take the struggle away permanently?

Christ Himself could relate with us.  He asked God the very same thing.  He knew the road to “doing the right thing” was going to be paved with unbelievable pain and suffering.  And He asked God to bring salvation to all men in another way:

“My Father, if it is possible,

may this cup be taken from me.

Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 26:39

Why did God make Christ suffer to bring the final glory?  Why did that have to be part of the process?  And why is our road to glory paved with suffering at times?

Suffering breaks the power of sin.  1 Peter 4:1 says, “. . .he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.”  When we see the struggle that sin causes us as we move to repent of it, we realize it’s power.  It DOES have power, if we let it!  But Christ’s death broke that power downand any power we give to sin is of our own doing.  To tell you the truth — the struggle makes me angry!  It doesn’t make me angry at God, or Satan, or even me.  It makes me angry at sin’s power.  It makes me SO angry in the struggle — that I want to do away with sin’s power over me for good!  I want to “take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”  (Philippian 3:12)  I get stubborn in a new direction and want to “be done with this thing” once and for all!  Suffering can cause that kind of stubbornness and lead to final victory.

Suffering is a means of God showing His glory.  God could do an instantaneous miracle.  He has the power!  And — sometimes He does choose to do that.  But more often, He works slowly and shows Himself in the midst of suffering — to be faithful and true to His promises.  This is what builds our faith and confidence in Him — the experiences of seeing God work in the ordinary circumstances of life.  This is where He meets us and shows His greatest love.  Sure — He could perform mighty miracles everyday, but would we not become so de-sensitized to Him that He would become nothing to us?  In time, I really think this would be our reaction.  Look at the Israelites and all the miracles God did on their behalf.  They still found plenty of time to grumble and complain.  Very little character growth took place!  Suffering is the stage on which God’s glory is displayed in the everyday lives of His people.

Suffering is where God does so much to transform us!  An overnight miracle would make no permanent character changes in us.  It would just make us greedy for more miracles.  We would soon rely and even expect the next miracle — taking Him for granted and loving Him less and less.  He would stop being our loving Father and start being our “magic genie.”  Where is the love in that?  Our God would not tolerate it!  He knows a “slow trickle” of grace is the best way for us to grow and transform into the person He has planned for us to be.  He also knows we do our “best growing” little by little in the ebbs and flows of everyday life.  Those seasons of suffering are bringing permanent transformation.  No suffering — very little transformation.

Suffering is God’s workbench.

Having said all this — I still don’t like suffering any more than the next person. Fighting to say “no” to the rest of the beef enchiladas on my plate because I’m already at a “5” — and denying myself chocolate cake with ice cream when everyone else is having a beautiful plate of it — is not my idea of a great night!  But —

  • because I can experience a triumph when I know sin lost the battle this time.
  • because I can give God glory for — once again — doing something I could not do without Him — and tell others about it, too.
  • because I can grow just a little bit more each time I say “no” —  knowing that self-control gives birth to perseverance and perseverance gives birth to godliness.

I can handle the struggle!  God is at work!

“. . .let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,

and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,

and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1b-2

We can endure the struggle, because there is the promised joy ahead.  We can even take joy IN the process, knowing that God knows what He’s doing in us.  It may be hard — but it is ALWAYS good!

How About You?

Do you experience moments where you think the suffering is not worth the goal?  Does the power of sin makes you stubborn enough to desire to suffer in order to be “done with sin?”  In what ways has God shaped and grown your character through the suffering? Are you willing and anxious to give testimony before others of how God has graciously helped you in your Thin Within journey?