I’ve noticed that, as I’m getting close to zero ~ truly hungry, but not starving ~ anxiety rises up in me. If I’m busy and my mind is occupied, anxiety is less likely to happen, but it often does.
I obviously need the Lord to renew my heart and mind regarding zero. So I thought I’d start by defining anxious.
The word anxious has two different, almost opposite meanings, and I feel both aspects of the word as I approach zero…
One kind of anxious is what you feel when you’re looking forward to something and you have tingly butterflies in your tummy. Like when you think of meeting a friend for coffee, or going to get a pedicure, or an upcoming vacation to a fun destination. Eating my next meal may not be quite as exciting as vacation or a pedi, but my resident butterflies nonetheless say otherwise.
Linked to the fun kind of anxiety is the other kind of anxiety – where you feel nervous with a sickish sense of dread. Like…
• a test coming up that you haven’t studied for, or…
• stopped-up traffic on the freeway when you’re trying to get to the airport, or…
• someone told you they want to talk to you, but didn’t tell you why, and you have a hunch it’s going to be hard.
Because of that dreadish kind of anxiety, just getting down to zero is a huge victory for me!
In my “pre-Thin-Within” days, I seldom felt hungry! Seriously! I often went months without ever feeling a single hunger pang! If I ever did, it was purely accidental; never planned for, and certainly not something I desired or sought!
So I’m thankful that I’ve become much more acquainted and comfortable – in an uncomfortable way – with zero! It’s not quite my “friend,” but we’re definitely more than “mere acquaintances.”
Instead of rushing to fill my tummy once I hit zero – and thus stuff that anxiety with food – I have asked the Lord to give me a fresh view of zero, to help me renew my mind about it.
I want to deal a death blow to the dreadish anxiety, but doing so is a process. And, thanks to Thin Within, I have a wonderful array of tools to help me deal with these anxieties!
I’m “attacking” it from four different angles, which I think of as the four sides of a boxing ring. I actually hate how violent boxing is! Why would any sane person would put themselves inside a ring where the sole intent of their opponent is to punch them repeatedly and win over them by knocking them out! But that is exactly what I want to do to my unruly appetite! Deal its unruliness some death blows and gain victory over it!
The four “punches” I’m utilizing are to: 1) Renew my Mind about Anxiety, 2) Make Truth Cards (or a Truth List) about Zero, 3) Gain Wisdom Regarding Eating (Once I’m at Zero), and 4) A Prayer as I Approach Zero.
Let’s take them one by one…
1. RENEW MY MIND ABOUT ANXIETY
I did a word study on anxiety using a study tool I share in “Two Forms for Studying Scripture” called the “Word Alive Study.” Here’s the one I did on the do-on-your-computer version. (There’s also a print-and-write-in version for those who prefer handwriting.) I copied the definition from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and pasted it into a box on this form!
(Click on this form to see it more clearly in a new window; click your back arrow to return here.)
2. MAKE TRUTH CARDS (AND/OR A TRUTH LIST) ABOUT “ZERO”
To get a fresh view of zero, I created several Truth Cards about it and made a Truth List using the same truths. So the two are the same in content; one is just in card form, with one truth per card and a pretty picture or page, and the Truth List is just a list of the same truths. This can be hand-written on a piece of paper, or typed and printed out, in a list on your phone or computer. Or you could make them into a small booklet.
Here are several truths relating to “zero”:
When I reach my zero, it is not an excuse to chow down, but to simply replenish my body’s fuel.
I need to be more thoughtful about my zero, and “spend” it wisely and with self control.
Zero is not to be feared; it is God’s design for my body – as is self control.
“The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize, He is my food and drink, my highest joy.” (Psalms 16:5)
“Nothing tastes as good as obedience feels.” ~Heidi Bylsma
“When I eat at zero, food tastes so much better, I am free from bondage to food, and I feel peaceful and content.” ~Christina Motley
And here are several of the above truths made up into Truth Cards. These first four are photo/graphic truth cards I made in Canva(.com):
I also make many on my phone using Word Swag, an awesome free app. Here are three using that:
I keep all my digital Truth Cards in an album on my phone, and have printed some out and added to a pack of Truth Cards.
These last two are actual physical cards in a spiral card pack that I made like small scrapbook pages, using stickers, pretty papers, and buttons:
3. GAIN WISDOM REGARDING EATING (ONCE I’M AT ZERO)
EATING PARAMETERS & ENVIRONMENT
The Keys to Conscious Eating are the foundation of becoming wise in how we eat. These are presented and discussed in:
However, even though the concepts are simple, for those of us with disordered eating and food addiction, it’s not so simple. This is why there are several more resources to help you dig down and deal with the reasons behind our disordered eating. (It’s not just a simple matter of loving food!) These resources each have different but dove-tailing messages that will greatly help you gain freedom from food addiction:
WHAT TO EAT
There are no food rules in Thin Within! No “taboo” foods, omitting of entire food groups, nor focusing on just a few certain foods… just common sense, really. And, while there are some basics that don’t vary much, specifics vary from person to person.
Here are a few words from Judy Halliday in Hunger Within, page 112:
There are no forbidden foods. Nevertheless, as we follow the leading of the Spirit, we will find ourselves making wiser, healthier, God-honoring choices. While we have the freedom to choose what we will eat or drink, we know not every food or beverage is beneficial for us, nor do we want to be enslaved by anything. When we are guided by the grace-giving keys to conscious eating, we recognize that certain foods can be detrimental to our health, and are best enjoyed in moderation or avoided. We also develop discernment about what we call “trigger” foods and beverages.
4. A PRAYER AS I APPROACH ZERO
Finally, in my prayer, I want to cover what I’m feeling as I approach zero: the good anxiety of looking forward to eating, the harmful anxiety of fearing that I will throw off all restraint and just binge.
Lord, I’m getting close to zero, and I need You to help me process this anxiety that I’m feeling, and not just rush to squelch it with food. I’m excited to eat, but I don’t want to use it as an opportunity to indulge my flesh.
I don’t want to have my heart be so connected to eating that I look forward to eating more than is appropriate. So help me utilize the Keys to Conscious Eating and really take time to enjoy what You have provided for me.
I’m also feeling some fear that I will lose self-control and just devour everything in sight, so would You live Your life through and in me so that, “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me,” I can eat as You originally designed me to eat? I want to learn how to “eat to live instead of living to eat”!
We do not earn grace or our salvation. Salvation is “the free gift of God to those who believe in Christ Jesus” and grace is “unmerited, unearned favor.” Which means we don’t have to DO a single thing to get them. Both are entirely free!
So I think of doing “all the above” work not as a way to earn my healing and victory, but simply as applying all that He has given me to “work out [my] salvation,” making it my own, especially as it relates to this very difficult area of my life. This helps me get all the hindrances out of the way that keep me from receiving all God has offered me! And you, as well!
Please feel free to share any prayers YOU pray as you approach zero, as well as any insights you have gained in this arena that would bless and encourage your fellow journeyers!
It was silent, and I couldn’t see it, and I could not hear it. The water was cool and calm, easily flowing down the mighty river. The sun was shining and warming my face while the locusts buzzed, the birds sang, and a cool summer breeze blew through my hair. The scenery was wonderful.
In reality, I should have been hearing the ominous music from the movie “Jaws” playing in the background, because of what was approaching. I could hear fast-moving water ahead. Until now, my companion and I were oblivious, but there they were, rapids! The rushing noise made my heart start pounding. I started shouting to the guy in the back of the canoe, “STEER TO THE LEFT, STEER TO THE LEFT!” where the calm water was. But instead, the canoe was heading right for the rapids!
It was too late. We cascaded over rocks and waves. Then our flimsy canoe hit a concrete pillar from a bridge above and I was suddenly sucked into an undercurrent. I could not see because I was no longer in the canoe. I was under it, grabbing, gasping, thinking “This is it, I’m going to drown!” The water kept pulling me under as I clung to the boat.
Suddenly, in a moment of clarity, I thought to stand up! I stood up and pushed the canoe off of me, only to find that the water was shallow ~ only three feet deep.
By that time, all of my belongings for the trip had floated away and disappeared into the distance. I vowed never to go canoeing again, much less with that guy. But, I was alive! I returned home wet, muddy, and mad. The trip wasn’t all that I thought it would be.
The scenery was no longer picturesque.
What made me think back to a high school blind date, canoe-trip-gone-wrong, and dieting? It was the thoughts about the undercurrent. I have come to believe, as I’ve learned to renew my mind in Thin Within, that there are some main “undercurrent” lies that all diets seem to have.
Those lies are:
“If you eat this and not that, you will lose weight.”
“If you don’t eat this way, you will be overweight forever.”
Here’s another good one:
“If you consume our very pricey product and stay on it forever, your weight problems will vanish,” along with my money, I might add, just like my belongings that drifted away down river.
But, for so long, I didn’t really hear those lies, just like I didn’t hear the “Jaws” music. What I heard were the false promises. I would hear how easy and fun it would be to do their eating plan and workout. Before and after pictures of group members would mesmerize me and secretly make me wish that it was me in the photograph. I would hear “This is the good life, come join us. We’ll save you!” Sadly, I would hear what I wanted to hear.
I really could not hear the fast-moving waters ahead or feel the undercurrent before I got swept away by those other plans. As a result, God allowed me to “crash” many times before I was willing follow His lead.
Once I was ready to part with weight-loss plans that were failing me, God asked me to simply “listen” to Him. He asked me to hold onto Him and not the diet gurus.
Here is where I read this: In Deuteronomy 30 verse 20, It says, “Listen to His voice and hold fast to Him.” Him being God the Father. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “hold fast” as “Something to which something else may be firmly secured“. I was holding fast to the canoe and had to let go to be saved. I now know, that I cannot hold fast to a diet or diet expert and truly hold fast to God at the same time. I need to let go, then firmly attach myself to Him.
I have also learned that I must shut out the voices of the world in order to hear Him better and in order to hear the lies that I was believing. I’m reminded, that if I am His sheep, I will listen to his voice (John 10:27). But, I had to do that by being intentional, getting out of the rushing waters, unloading diet books, magazines, social media groups, and anything that would crowd out the voice of God. Recently, I realized that even thinking about the number on the scale was taking space in my thought life. I decided to stop weighing so that I could stop even thinking about that number.
In the end, I’m thankful that God allowed me to experiment. He let me see just how shallow and useless those other plans that I tried to follow really were. When all is said and done, they didn’t get to the heart of why I was in the overweight and, at times, underweight condition that I was in and the results were always temporary.
Because of Thin Within, I have been willing to hear God warn me of what is ahead if I continued to follow the wrong messages. By committing myself to classes, support groups, and renewing my mind through those and other means, God continues to reveal the lies, and help me replace them with His truths through His Word, and other participants.
I have a feeling that it will be a life-long trip down river for me. But the scenery is amazing! I have been slowly releasing weight according to His time table and not mine; according to His ways, not the ways of the world.
I have been eating foods I enjoy and not what someone else says I should eat. Thin Within is the good life!
So, where do you find yourself today? Are you in the canoe going down the stream and going in and out of diets? Are you hitting the rapids and crumbling emotionally from listening to the world? Are you frustrated with the temporary results and watching your efforts and money go down the river? Or are you listening and hearing the Lord say “Stand UP, that water is shallow”?
Decide to intentionally listen to God today and, as the scripture says, hold fast to Him!
Imagine a pile of gifts under the Christmas tree. Actually, no need to imagine; here’s the exact scenario I’m talking about…
Now imagine that one of the gifts has this message on the tag: “Do not open until December 25!” (See further down.)
Of course, even if that message is not stated right on the tag, the expectation is still there that it is not to be opened until “the appointed time,” be that Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or whenever your family chooses to open gifts.
So let’s say it’s a week before Christmas and I spot a gift with a tag that says “To Barb from Dave.” I grab it, shake it a little, say “THANK YOU, Dave!” and start tearing off the wrapping paper.
Dave says “What are you DOING?!?!?!? You can’t open that!”
I say “What do you mean?? It says right here that it’s from you to ME!”
Dave answers “But it’s only December 18th! It’s not time to open presents yet!”
Reluctantly I put it back… to wait for December 25 to get here.
So let’s take a closer look at what I was really doing…
Was I thankful? Indeed I was! Wasn’t that enough? Nope! I was thanking Dave for a gift that, while it had been bought and even wrapped for me, and was going to be mine eventually, it was not yet the appointed time for me to receive and open it. I was starting to open something that had not actually been given to me yet.
The Lord showed me that this is what’s actually taking place when I give thanks for food I want – and even start – to eat, but I am not yet at a zero.
Yes, the food was chosen for me (perhaps by me) and it’s intended for me, but the Giver is not yet giving it to me because it is not yet time.
So I really don’t have any business thanking God for it until it is actually “the appointed time” for me to eat. Which is when I’m actually hungry!
If I sit down at the table and start to say “Thank You Lord for this meal,” no matter how appreciative I am, it’s not going to change the fact that I should not actually be thanking God for it when he has not actually given it to me – YET.
“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy desires of every living thing.“ (Psalm 145:15–16)
He gives us our food “at the proper time.” I looked up proper, and one of the meanings is “appropriate to the purpose.”
Okay, so what is the purpose of food? … To nourish our bodies and keep us alive and healthy.
So “proper time” doesn’t mean we have to have meals at a certain (or proper) set time, like breakfast at 8am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm. It means that when our bodies are actually getting hungry, then is when it’s “the proper time” to refuel them.
So what we want to aim for is eating in the right timing – as in when we actually need the food. And I do not actually need it physiologically until I am physiologically hungry.
Head hunger cannot be satisfied with physical food. God alone, as it says in verse 16, satisfies our desires – our head hunger – with Himself.
He opens His hand to me, but my part is to take from His hand. At the proper time – when I’m actually hungry.
And it is at that point I can – and, of course, should – express my gratitude to Him, because He is actually giving it to me then. That is the right time to be thankful for my food!
Years ago, I looked at what search parameters were bringing people to the Thin Within blog on New Year’s Day. I noticed each January that people had typed into Google their earnest question, “Is God is doing a new thing?”
I don’t know if Google is clear on the answer, so I definitely want to be:
Our God, the King of the Universe, is doing a new thing! Even now!
His Word is filled with examples and passages of promise that state that this is so!
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. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
But note what he asks US to do! To forget the former things and not to dwell on the past.
So, what if we stop telling tales of former glories, former wounds, former victories, failures, and the pain of our past? Let’s release our grip on whatever we think we know and open our arms, hands and hearts to what God IS doing now! Sometimes there is great benefit at looking at the past to learn from it, but let’s refuse to wallow (dwell) in it. Let’s invite our God to cut away anything that tethers us to our past so that we might be free to soar into what He has for us NOW!
In-19 God IS doing a new thing. RIGHT now. Even as you sit here reading this…
…God is doing a new thing.
Even if you think you are stuck in a rut…
…God is doing a new thing!
No need to ask Google! God IS doing a new thing! His eternal Word promises that this is so! This moment is brand new! Let’s capture it for the Lord.
He says the new thing He is doing is springing up!
Delight and surprise! Hope and joy! Like children in the heat of summer playing in a splash pad fountain that squirts up from the ground at a water playground, we, too, can delight to be refreshed by God’s new thing that is SPRINGING up!
He IS making a way in the desert of my life. He IS making streams in my wasteland!
AND in yours!
Many are caught in the “I’ll start dieting Monday” trap, but when Monday comes, their resolve often goes. Is that the “new thing” that God is speaking of, though? Or is that done in my own strength?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
What is the pattern of this world that we are not to conform to? Well, I don’t know about you, but saying “I’ll start Monday” or after this holiday, or jumping on the “New Year’s Resolution” bandwagon all sound like a “pattern of this world”.
I get the impression that God has set up a choice here. I can either conform to the pattern in this world OR I can choose to be transformed. Which do I want? Do I really believe any resolutions that I can make will promise transformation? Have they ever before?
How does the transformation I need take place according to this passage in Romans? Is it by pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and making promises to yourself or New Year’s Resolutions? Or, is it by renewing my mind?
It’s by renewing my mind!
Doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result is one of the definitions of insanity. Has having a list of “New habits I will form this year…” ever benefitted me? On the contrary, the enemy has used it as a club of condemnation for me often.How about you? So, what about joining me? Let’s be done with the insanity of doing the same thing we have done every year that hasn’t helped us. Instead, this year, let’s commit to the transformation that comes from God. It happens BY the renewing of our minds according to Romans 12:2!
We focus on this very thing in our small coaching groups. We learn how to renew our minds and experience transformation that STICKS!
We want to help with that! These groups are the best possible means to a new start, joining God in the new thing He is doing in your life!
Start “the first day of the rest of your life” knowing that you have planned and set in motion YOUR transformation!
Groups run for 10 weeks, and new ones start up every few months. Check on this coaching groups page to see where we are currently at in the schedule and what we currently have going.
We usually search out and go on diets as a knee-jerk response to that moment when we step on the scale, look too long into the mirror, or fail to fit a clothing item that we used to wear with ease. We freak out at the number on the scale or the pants that would not button, and off we go on a diet hunt. Maybe we go back to a diet that worked “once upon a time.” Or we decide to try what so-and-so did to lose “X” number of pounds.
The problem with this is that it’s only temporary, and eventually we go “off” of the diet only to land right back where we started. Or worse, we end up even heavier than we were before we went off of the rails.
The word “diet” has its roots in the temporary. We “diet” for a one-time event like a wedding or reunion, for surgery, or for a “cleanse,” and then we stop and return to our previous way of eating. Deep down we know that it is not sustainable to restrict ourselves from our favorite foods for very long in this way.
Let’s be honest, we also know that if it was sustainable to stay on that particular diet, we would still be on it today!
So why do we go back to those “weak and miserable principles” referred to in Galatians 4:9? And what is the solution? We need some solid answers. Praise be to God our Father who can provide answers for all things, including our weight and food woes!
First and foremost, we need to ask God what HE thinks! What does He want for us as individuals? No diet or boundary is “one size fits all.” If there was such a thing, we would ALL be doing it!
However, here at Thin Within we subscribe to our natural hunger mechanism that we believe God gave us at birth. We define that hunger mechanism as eating between zero and five (0-5), which is our primary boundary. Zero is fully hungry, and 5 is “just satisfied”; not full or stuffed.
We believe that God never expected us to be preoccupied with food and diets, or our bodies (Matthew 6:25). He certainly talks about food a lot in scripture and had food rules for the Israelites. However, now that we are in Christ, or rather Christ is in US, we are given so much freedom!
Notice that I said freedom, not license! He tells us that we now have the fruits of the Spirit. One of those fruits, listed in Galatians 5:23, is self-control. He tells us that everything is permissible (1 Corinthians 10:23), but that nothing is to have mastery over us (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Then let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look at what we need to do!
5 Steps to Connecting Our Eating with God
1) We need to view 0-5 as being our life-long chosen boundary with God’s blessing. This is hunger and fullness on a definable scale. I realize that this may not be the boundary God leads everyone to. Barb Raveling says to look for a boundary or boundaries that you can keep for the rest of your days here on earth. For some, that might just be calorie counting, three meals a day, or low-carb eating. But chances are you are reading this article because, to you, those were diets and they just didn’t “work” for you. So consider that God may be prompting you to do zero-to-five eating!
2) We need to utilize whatever means we can to keep 0-5 as our primary boundary. Just as alcoholics need to avoid situations that would cause them to imbibe, like Joseph, we need to flee tempting situations when possible. I like to tell myself Romans 13:14 often and “make no provision for the flesh.” I do this by not purchasing certain foods that I know I have little self-control with at the moment. I do this by avoiding situations where I might lose control, like in front of the TV at night. It may be a temporary restriction or limited in scope (think of a single serving bag of m&m’s and not a five-pound bag). I know my weaknesses and that certain foods could derail my efforts if I have them easily accessible. This is different from saying “I can eat this but not that! And it might just be for a season.
3) We need to realize that we need God’s power! This should always be number one on our list. His Word says that “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). NOTHING! I have to shout this to myself! Another verse reminds us that we need Him, the Holy Spirit, to bear the fruit of self-control in us (Galatians 5:23). Diets just do not provide God. IF they do, they might still tell you what you can and cannot eat just like a person in authority over us used to do. We want to mature beyond that. Think about it: Diets have the potential to keep us immature! How humiliating. We want to be grown-ups in Christ. It is shocking to think that a diet could potentially keep us from growing spiritually.
4) We need to find support. AA to an alcoholic is Thin Within Ministries to us. We need loving accountability. We need to be in groups where others can lead us through valleys and trials. We need cheer leaders, people to help us not give up! And let’s face it, we all need others who “get us.” We also need as many ideas as we can employ to do this 0-5 thing! Just as you would not visit a foreign country for the first time without a guide and a translator, you do not want to try to do this alone. It could be disastrous in a foreign country and it could be disastrous here.
5) And last, we need to actually believe and trust God! It’s one thing to realize that we need God’s power, but quite another to actually trust His direction each day and not get focused on the end result, whether that’s a number on the scale or an outfit we are dying to get back into. If we keep looking for the end result, we will not be focused on Him. We need to focus daily on keeping our boundaries with God’s help. Then the results become God’s responsibility. We do this by utilizing tools such as “The keys to conscious eating” found in the Thin Within workbook series in conjunction with renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), joining classes and groups for support, and maybe getting individual coaching.
It is the daily focus and disciplines that get us where we need to go (Matthew 6:34) one meal at a time, one bite at a time. We want to learn to be content with food and our bodies, don’t we? “For godliness and contentment are great gain!” as it says in 1 Timothy 6:6. Thankfully, that is not weight gain!
By Guest Blogger: Brooke Espinoza
The year is full of holidays and special occasions – Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve. Plus there are baby and bridal showers, church potlucks, summer BBQ’s, family reunions, birthday parties, and eating out. There are always tons of goodies to eat and special drinks to enjoy.
We may already have challenges keeping our 0-5 eating boundaries when it’s not the holidays, but how can we keep our boundaries with all the delicious foods and drinks we look forward to enjoying during each special time of year?
Keeping our 0-5 boundaries during the holidays can be easier than we may think. Below are strategies – in answer to specific struggles and questions – that you can start applying today too keep seeing results throughout each holiday season throughout the year.
Let’s take a few struggles and questions one at a time…
Q: I’m not at zero yet but I want to eat! What can I do to stick to my boundaries and hold off eating until I’m hungry?
Often we may feel like giving in when the temptation entices us with some form of instant gratification, even though we’re not technically hungry yet. Temptations abound like:
- free samples
- cookie exchanges
- celebratory cakes and candies
- office donut day
- delicious leftovers that look so good
While no foods are off-limits, we may be tempted to eat favorite foods when our body isn’t telling yet us we’re hungry. Here are a few effective strategies:
- Distract yourself with a project you can make progress on until you get hungry.
- If you’re at home, see how many items on your to-do list you can complete before your body truly gets hungry.
- Do something fun you enjoy like watching a favorite show, taking a walk, playing a game with someone, reading an interesting book, running an errand, calling a friend to catch up
Use the above ideas to make a list of activities you can do – whether fun or on your to-do list – that you can get engaged in to get your mind off eating until your body says it’s time to eat.
Q: When I do get hungry, I feel super hungry! Then I end up bingeing and feel bad that I didn’t practice more self-control. How can I avoid this?
If you feel ravenously hungry when you’re finally able to eat, a stash of nuts on hand can diminish the intensity of your hunger signal, enabling you to eat calmly and consciously.
If mealtime is an hour or more away, eat a little something to tide you over until mealtime. Eat enough so you aren’t unbearably hungry, but not so much that you aren’t hungry for your meal (especially if you’re having dinner with friends or family at a certain time.)
The key is to listen to your body and not get overly hungry.
When my daughter was a toddler and was going through potty training, sometimes she’d run to the bathroom on the verge of peeing her pants. Thankfully she never had any accidents. I’d ask her, “How long has your body been saying you needed to go?” I explained to her that our bodies tell us when we need to go and will become more insistent the longer we ignore the signal that we need to go until we reach a point where we desperately have to rush to the bathroom. My husband and I always encouraged our potty-training daughter to listen to her body, because God made our bodies to tell us when we need to go.
For me, recognizing hunger is the same way. I listen to my body for a clear message that I need to stop what I’m doing and go eat. My zero is when my body has been nagging me to eat, until I no longer can ignore my body’s need to eat. Still at that point I’m not so hungry that I feel starving or ravenously hungry. I just know I definitely need to eat. I have a small bite to eat if my hunger becomes too intense before a planned mealtime with others. I enjoy eating meals with my family when it’s meal time, so I will curb how much I eat during the meal prior to make sure I’m hungry when our family mealtime comes.
Q: I started eating at a zero but I’m tempted to eat past a 5 because there’s still delicious food left to eat. (Or I’m having a rough day and deserve a yummy pick me up.)
Whatever tempts you to eat when not hungry or past contentment, there is hope!
I’m always comforted by 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
I’m comforted that our struggles are not the exception, but they are totally common. God in His grace will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able with His help to overcome. God puts limits on our temptation, just as He tells the oceans waves how far they may come up on the beach.
I love that, with every temptation we face, God will faithfully provide a way of escape. Every. Single. Time. May God open our eyes to always clearly see that way of escape and help us to always choose to take it.
When I’m tempted to go outside my boundaries, I like to ask myself, “What’s at stake if I indulge in this food when I’m not truly hungry? What’s at stake if I start eating at zero but continue to eat when I’m already satisfied?” Those calories will get stored as fat, and it’ll take me longer to release my excess, unhealthy weight.
“What’s at stake if I eat my food way too fast?” I risk eating past a five because my stomach and brain need about 20 minutes to clearly communicate to me how satisfied I am.
“What’s at stake if I eat when distracted?” I risk not feeling satisfied after my meal because didn’t pay attention to it. So I’ll want to eat something else I’ll enjoy to make up for the meal that didn’t satisfy.
Considering what’s at stake helps me see my temptation as much less attractive.
Today, thank the Lord that each temptation you face has God-ordered limits so you will not be tempted beyond what you are able.
Moreover, with each temptation God will always provide a way of escape! Praise the Lord for the way of escape so we be able to bear our temptations. Ask God what way of escape He has provided just for you when temptation comes and be on the lookout for it.
In Christ we are more than conquerors! And God has provided all we need for life and godliness. Putting on the full armor of God, let us not fear temptations, but boldly trust the Lord to give us the victory in Christ! With God all things are possible!
As you look to the Lord and trust in Him, you will surely be blessed! See what God’s promised you in Jeremiah 17:7-8.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Creating truth cards and truth journaling is a great way to combat temptations and stand firm in your boundaries.
Q: I eat at a zero and stop at a five, renew my mind, and have been doing the book study, but my weight still went up! How is this possible?
Since you’ve been diligent to wait for a zero and eat just enough to satiate your hunger, here are some strategies I use to reduce the quantity of food I eat, resulting in losing weight consistently:
- Try shrinking your portion by using a smaller bowl or plate for your meal. I do this and it has helped not only to consistently get my scale to go down, but enables me to be satisfied with my smaller portion because my small bowl looks full. I use my little dessert bowls for cereal, chili, ice cream, etc., and am plenty satisfied.
- Lengthen how long it takes to eat your meal. The faster we eat, the more we eat. Since it generally takes 20 minutes for your brain to say its time to stop eating, I like to take mini bites and chew til there’s nothing left to chew. See how long you can take to make your meal stretch. Heidi has said, “Take twice as long to eat half as much.” It’s a fabulous strategy to take the weight off!
- As mentioned above, packing snacks with you to take the edge off when you start to feel famished between meals will help prevent overeating at your next meal.
Q: How can I keep my boundaries with all the tempting holiday food that is around me?
If you have See’s chocolates or pumpkin spice muffins begging to be eaten, give yourself permission to eat them when you get hungry.
There are many times when I see something delicious, and I think, “I don’t want that just yet because I’m not hungry. But when I do get hungry, that is definitely what I plan to enjoy to satiate my hunger!”
When you’re not hungry, make a list of your favorite holiday foods and drinks you love to enjoy throughout the holidays. Then, plan to enjoy a favorite when you get hungry, working off your list.
You might pack a favorite food to enjoy when you eat lunch in the midst of running errands. Alternatively, you can wait intentionally to run errands until you are hungry, then drive thru and get your holiday favorite to enjoy when you take a break. Another option is to work in holiday favorites into your family’s meal plan for the week. By satisfying your hunger with a satisfying favorite, you’ll feel doubly blessed!
Q: How can I diligently keep my boundaries at a party or gathering of friends or family?
Since people typically gather at a specified time, make sure you eat light before it’s time to go to the get together. Eat light enough that you will feel hunger when it’s time to eat. Then you’ll be able to eat when everyone else does, yet you will not be breaking your boundaries by enjoying yummy foods with your favorite people. Rather than taking a whole scoop of each potluck food on your plate, you can use your plate to make up a little sampler platter so you’re able to enjoy the flavors of all that look appetizing to you, but without overdoing it.
If you love dessert like I do, you don’t have to go without. Simply serve yourself 2/3 the amount of what would satisfy your hunger, and then indulge in and savor a small portion of dessert. This way your hunger will be satisfied as well as your sweet tooth! Who says you can’t enjoy your favorite dessert while releasing weight?
Q: I’m so tempted to abandon my boundaries and start over after New Year’s Day.
Again, whenever I’m tempted I cling to and am encouraged by God’s promise to us in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Since the Lord promises to provide a way of escape from each and every temptation, I look for the way out He is so faithful to provide.
While we are free in Christ, if we let go of our 0 to 5 eating boundaries, we will regret doing so after the holiday. God doesn’t want us to be gluttonous—especially as we celebrate His birth or His resurrection, or as we give thanks for all He has blessed us with. He wants us to enjoy our food, but with self-control. Thin Within 0-5 eating and renewing our mind are wonderful in helping us release unhealthy, extra weight and help us to naturally get down to our God-given size.
Take the deprivation out of staying within boundaries by changing your mindset about how you think about your boundaries
How we word any boundaries we set for our eating can make or break our ability to stick with them. If I say “I can’t eat anything after 8:00pm” I will feel deprived, restricted, and like I have no choice in the matter. However, the rebel in me is less likely to rear up if I say, “I’m free to eat past 8:00pm, but I choose not to because my body already had enough to eat earlier at dinner time.”
Boundaries are actually freeing!
When you think of boundaries, what comes to mind? Restriction? Denial?
I see my Thin Within boundaries like I see guard rails on the road where there’s a sheer drop-off just on the other side of the guard rail! They are put in place, and are there for my safety and to guide me in the way I should go.
I don’t trust in my boundaries; I trust in the Lord. I thank Him for my boundaries because of how He uses them in my life to protect me from overeating and guide me in eating what I love, without overindulging.
Until just a few months ago, I looked at boundaries as being depriving and restricting. Now I recognize them as being freeing! I am not free to eat whatever my heart desires when I am hungry.
- I’m free to stop eating when I’ve eaten enough to soothe my hunger, so I don’t have to feel heavy and overly full after a meal.
- I’m free to shed my excess weight, almost effortlessly, without counting, tracking, weighing, and measuring everything I eat.
- I am free to eat when I’m hungry.
- I don’t have to deny myself from eating when I’m hungry if I don’t have enough points or calories left for the day.
- I am free to eat from all food groups and continue to release weight without cutting carbs, sugar, etc.
I’m still excited about the weight I’ve lost, and all without depriving myself of my favorite foods and drinks. I love the way God is using gentle boundaries in m life to help me shed my excess weight. Thin Within works! Stick with it and you will be blessed!
Brooke Espinoza has found freedom from overeating through Thin Within, and she couldn’t be happier about it. She has been married to her husband almost 20 years and keeps busy homeschooling their daughter, caring for her family, blogging at Hemmed In By Love, and designing products for her Etsy shop, Joyful Life Printables.