Let’s Celebrate How Far You’ve Come!

Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name;

give to him glorious praise!

Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! 

– Psalm 66:1-3a

Some of us have been on this journey a while now. It is so easy to be discouraged when we look right in front of us. Sometimes, we miss the forest for the trees we keep ramming!

Today, let’s do some evaluation…some surveying of the road we have traveled. Let’s get to a clearing and have a look back over the land we have traversed!

1. Have you said NO to more food lately than you did previously? For instance, if you were to compare a year or two ago or even a month ago with the past week or two (or three or four), have you overeaten anywhere near the quantities of your “old days?” Have you overeaten nearly so often?  Let’s get specific…did you used to “binge” on a full bag of cookies and/or an entire loaf of bread, and/or  a half gallon of ice cream…and/or….etc., etc. Compare what you consider as having overeaten now with then. Is the quantity smaller? Has there been progress? While there is likely room for improvement as there is for most of us, note patterns of babystep progress and I bet you will see you have come a long way!

I remember back to Saturday night TV with my husband. There were four shows back-to-back that we looked forward to watching all week. We planned for that binge each week! It consisted of chips with melted cheese all over them….mounds and mounds of cheese (no kidding) and the giant sized bag of Hot Tamales that we got at Costco. That was just for starters! We continued the “salty-sweet-salty-sweet” food frenzy all night long while we watched our shows. God has delivered me from that. I bet there is behavior that you used to engage in that you no longer do! Right? Take a moment to praise God for bringing you out of that, for giving you moments of grace to take steps closer to having a healthy relationship with food.

2. Have you said YES to God more? To obeying his leadership? To spending time in his presence? To allowing him to have his way with you just a bit more? Have you prayed more? Praised more? Given thanks just a bit more?

3. Have you been exposing the lies you believe even just a bit? Have you been rehearsing believing his truth either with truth cards, music, scripture memory or some other means, allowing your mind to be renewed even just a bit more? Are you thinking differently even a little? 🙂

4. Have you been moving your body just a bit more? Again, think back to a year ago or so. Maybe this hasn’t been one of your goals. That’s ok. Prayerfully consider if God would have you move just a bit more. I don’t mean strenuously, but in a way that gives you joy and that can be an expression of worship! If this hasn’t happened yet, see if God might lead you to make gentle plans (that you will hold loosely) to do so. What are the possibilities?

5. Are you exploring the foods that best fuel your body just a bit more? Some foods make you feel energized. Some, depleted or even sick to your stomach. Have you been evaluating which does what? Have you been selecting Whole Body Pleasers a bit more than Taste Bud Teasers? Even just a bit?

Some of these things you may not have made any headway with just yet, but I bet it is because they haven’t been included in your list of things to be intentional about.

If you are going to do an evaluation like this a year from now and come up with answers that delight your heart, what changes—babysteps—will you begin to take now?

Let’s celebrate! You have come a long way, Baby!

5 Truths To Believe for Lasting Weight Loss

I hope you have been developing a batch of Truth Cards. If so and if you don’t have these truths added to them yet, maybe you would want to include these truths:

Truth 5

Truth 1

truth 2

Truth 3

truth 4


What About You?

What truths are you adding to your truth cards today?

THIS IS TOO HARD (and Preventative Eating) Week 12

Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Have you been tempted to throw in the towel and just say FORGET IT to this entire boundaries/renewing the mind/losing weight/having a healthy relationship with food project?

It is totally normal to feel that way.

This is the 12th and final week of our Renewing the Mind Bible Study and the truth is…it IS hard to stick to your boundaries. If it wasn’t hard to stick to your boundaries, they probably wouldn’t be boundaries. Just think about it for a minute. If you don’t have any temptations to go into a certain store at the mall and spend up your credit card, you don’t need to have a boundary about that store (or the credit card)! If you don’t feel tempted to overeat shrimp scampi, you probably don’t have a boundary to give shrimp scampi a wide berth.

We establish boundaries because we know that we are likely to venture across a line or to welcome outside forces in that would influence us in a way that wouldn’t be best for us.

So, of course it is hard! We are training ourselves which implies that, left to our own devices, we would behave differently than we know we should.

Barb does a great job of exposing a lie that we want to RENEW OUR MINDS ABOUT. That lie is this:

Life should be easy.

Think about it for a minute. Do you have a feeling that you will only follow through if something is fun or easy? If you get tired of working at something, maybe you believe this lie that life should be easy. God never has promised us that life will be easy. In fact, if we read the Scriptures there is much there that speaks to us about being diligent, persevering, hanging in there. If life were meant to be easy, I don’t think these exhortations would be in Scripture!


1. It’s that time again! Evaluate your feeling about 0 to 5 eating. Has God called you to 0 to 5 eating? Are you convinced in your heart he has? If you have written this commitment in your journal previously, review the dates and entries when you were convinced that this was so. How about now? If you are convinced today, add a statement reflecting that conviction and date it with today’s date.

2. Visit Barb’s blog page on “Losing Weight is Hard.” Read her introductory material.

3. Complete the “Life Should Be Easy” bible study on the same page.


1.  Looking at yesterday’s bible study, what are some truths that you can add to your truth cards? Take some time to do this and renew your mind with truth!

2. Visit Barb’s blog page again at the same link. Please remember that Barb isn’t a Thin Within participant and don’t be put off by any “dieting” jargon that you see in her material. Complete her “Dieting is Hard” questions.

3. Are there any additional truths that you can add to your cards? If so, take some time to do so now.


1. Visit this page here at this blog. Take some time to read the introductory material and to watch the video on that page.

2. Can you list some situations that you have been in that are similar to what I describe? What upcoming situations might you face this week that fit this description?

3. What are some truths about situations like these that you can possibly renew your mind with?


1. Visit this page again. Complete the “Preventative Eating Questions” on that page. (When asked in the questions about “now”, just insert in your mind a recent experience when you have done this…or if you are currently facing a situation where you are tempted to “preventative eat.”)

2. What are some of the possible solutions that God might want you to consider?  Are you willing to use any of his solutions? If not, why not?

3. If you are not willing to use any of God’s solutions right now, please take some time to review your thoughts from Monday, Question #1 where you evaluated your commitment and God’s leading to 0 to 5 eating. Following boundaries IS hard, but if we are unwilling in these moments to do what we can (work!) to do so, when do we really expect to be willing? If we only follow our boundaries when it feels good, how often will we follow them?


1. Visit the Preventative Eating page again and work through the Fear Bible Study.

2. If fear isn’t something that fuels your preventative eating, how about if you evaluate what IS? Then create a bible study to share with us here so we can all benefit! What other emotions might possibly fuel the desire to eat outside of 0 and 5 in anticipation of not being able to get near food?

3. What truths can you add to your truth cards today? Take a few minutes to add two or three.

What’s Next?

If you made it through this entire study, then you deserve extra KUDOS! We started strong, but many of us got swept away by the fun, freedom, and busyness of summer! In January, I will likely lead a Thin Within workbook study here at the blog. I will do so with a renewing of the mind focus. Start saving your $$ for the workbook packet (about $50 on Amazon) if you don’t own a set. More information to come later this fall, but for now, just know that I will continue to provide  support here at the blog (as I have been) with a study launching  the first week in January 2014!

Let’s press in to our Lord and not give up!

7 Strategies for Holiday/Vacation/Weekend Success (repost)

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Need some strategies for managing through the holidays, weekends or traveling? Consider these tips:

1. Figure out why you are going to a social occasion like a party or family gathering. (See chapter 25 in Thin Within.)

– Write down your purposes in attending and plan accordingly. Most of us, once we have decided to surrender this area of our lives, don’t go to parties intending to overeat. So ask yourself if it is because you want to connect with family, friends and co-workers, it is easier to accept that food isn’t required for that.

– Then, when you get to the event, achieve your goal! Socialize or network or whatever it might be!

2. When planning to attend a social event that includes food, plan to be at a zero (stomach totally empty) by eating a smaller meal earlier in the day.

– It may be unreasonable for you not to eat at some events–like sit-down holiday dinners and the like. If your event is at 7pm, for instance, and you get hungry at 5:30 pm–you are definitely at a 0 at 5:30pm–then have just a few crackers or a cup of milk or something that will just remove the hunger. You don’t need to eat to a 5. This way, you will be more likely to arrive at your holiday dinner at a 0 and ready to eat.

– You can also “ride the 0” a little while unless you know yourself well enough to know that you will have a hard time eating slowly if you get “too hungry.” Sometimes, when we eat too fast, it is easy to eat way too much.

3.) When you are eating 0 to 5 at a holiday party and there are TONS of choices from which to choose, you can look at all that is offered and evaluate before you choose the foods you will eat which choices are most likely to be “teasers,” “pleasers,” and “whole body pleasers” (see chapter 18 in Thin Within). You want to be “picky” about what and how much of each “pleaser” or “whole body pleaser” food you select.

– Identify which foods offered are teasers and don’t even “go there.”

– If something is available all year long (like fresh french bread) you may want to forego selecting it in favor of something that is a favorite at holiday time.

4. ) Look around the party or dinner for a naturally thin eater and note their behaviors. See if you can spot someone who is naturally thin, but who is enjoying the party without overindulging. (This may be tough as most Americans use holidays as an excuse to eat way more than we need.)

5.) Sometimes people give gifts of food. It is true that some people “love on” others by giving food any time of the year–all the more during the holidays! In Thin Within, there is nothing wrong with having a small piece of whatever food that you receive, of course. If you know that you can withstand temptation to overeat it, feel free to have it in your home, of course! But if you know that you can’t handle the temptation, then here are some suggestions:

– When someone wants to send you home with a bunch of treats 🙂 either politely tell them “No, thank you,” or oblige and state (or not) that you will be glad to share the treats with others…then re-gift them as soon as possible before temptations lures you into eating them.

– When you end up with treats anyhow…THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH FLUSHING THEM DOWN THE TOILET THE MINUTE YOU WALK THROUGH THE DOOR! If you are like me and sometimes need “permission” to do something so drastic, consider this a blanket permission… “Flush the cookies, cakes, pies, candy, whatevers…down the toilet!”

6.) Put the fork down between bites when you are eating out or at a holiday party. This helps slow me down quite a bit any time…not just for holiday parties.

7.) Maybe most importantly, EXTEND GRACE to yourself. If you “blow it” for a party or a meal or even for a day or a week…just OBSERVE and CORRECT! This isn’t a diet, so you don’t have to feel like you “blew it!” Instead, you just had a step or two back on your path…but forge ahead “forgetting what is behind!” Remember this is a journey…a life long journey! God extends grace to you in all things, so extend some to yourself!

What about you?

Do you have strategies that have helped you make it through the holidays? What are your plans for this weekend?


The Most Important Thing of All

Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Sometimes, with all the time, effort, and intensity that we put into Thin Within, it is hard to remember that the most important thing of all in our lives isn’t pursuing good health.

The most important thing of all isn’t eating within the parameters of physical hunger and satisfaction—even though, as we do this, we seek to surrender our hearts, lives, thinking, choices to God.

These are noble, important goals, but they are superseded by something that is The Most Important Thing of All.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

– Philippians 2:3-7 ESV

What was it that motivated Christ to act while on this earth? We see it many places in the Scriptures, but this sums it up:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world,

so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

– 1 John 4:9-11 ESV

This has practical applications to our 0 to 5 eating. I want to share with you how by telling a story first. 🙂

I love getting up each morning and having my quiet time. This isn’t because I am godly (as that is quite debatable!). It is because I am desperate. The days I don’t start the day quiet with Him, I feel deflated and defeated. I am desperate for that time of being still, soaking in God’s presence. Since Monday of this week, I have been in the Chicago area with my 19 year old daughter, returning her to Wheaton College for the beginning of her sophomore year. Between jet lag, a busy schedule  with Michaela, and my inability to sleep away from home, I am tired!

Yesterday evening, I said goodbye to Michaela for the last time (I thought) as she starts class this morning (I am writing this Wednesday morning, but it is posting on Thursday). Last night, I planned today. My plane doesn’t leave until later in the afternoon, so first, I would sleep a bit later (assuming I could sleep). Then, I would relish a nice long leisurely time with the Lord. After making my plans last night, I got a text at 11pm from Michaela asking me to come back to see her at the school. I had a choice…to preserve my plans, including a longer time with the Lord? Or take the hour and a half to drive to the school, help my daughter with one last task before class starts, and then come back to the hotel for a shorter time?

I longed to just be still and know that God is God…to be refreshed in His presence. But I also knew that I couldn’t spend time in His presence without Him asking me “Have you loved well?” If I had chosen not to go back to help my daughter with one last task, I know  having my quiet time, no matter how valuable, would not have honored Him. In this situation, having my quiet time at that moment, would have dishonored Him as He has called me to love well. I knew in my heart of hearts that He wanted me to help her one more time. (Besides, I wanted one more hug or two!)

This serves as a reminder  to me that nothing is more important to God than love. I want to be sure that I  love others well — even above insisting on having a quiet time or eating 0 to 5 if there is a conflict.

Sometimes, I elevate having a quiet time or even eating 0 to 5 above The Most Important Thing of All—loving others. God wants to cure me of this legalism.

I don’t think God will often put us in the position of having to choose between loving others and obeying him with regard to our eating boundaries. It’s important to be aware that the human heart is deceitful and will rationalize and justify breaking our boundaries using “loving others” as an excuse. Please don’t let what I am saying here today be fuel for that lie.

The truth is, God wants us to delight in living within our boundaries. But every “rare once in a while,” a dear friend will work hard in her kitchen to bring warm brownies over when she comes for a scheduled visit. The fact that I just finished my lunch before she came and am not at a 0 yet, might need to be set aside for the greater, the Most Important Thing of All… loveI may need to have a small brownie to love my friend well–-even if I am at a 5 already.

I believe that in instances like these, asking the Lord to give His wisdom, we will experience a confidence as to what will be the right thing to do. We can know that, generally speaking, there is nothing godly or honorable about eating outside physical need, but the Most Important Thing of All is beyond that. When faced with a decision between loving well and adhering to my 0 to 5 eating boundary, I want to do both. If I can’t do both, I want to PRAY first with a surrendered heart. Am I WILLING not to eat at this moment if God were to make it clear that THIS was His will? If I can honestly answer that question “yes,” then I may be in the best position to know that right now, loving well means honoring God in some way outside of 0 and 5.

Again, these instances are extremely rare, thankfully. But we don’t want 0 and 5 to become our functional Messiah. It can’t save us. Only Jesus can. And he loves people. We want to learn greater dependence on the Lord, to ask Him for His leading. To respond to His direction.

The Most Important Thing of All is not 0 and 5.

It isn’t a thin body.

It isn’t mastery over food.

It isn’t consistently eating only when hungry.

The Most Important Thing of All is to love God and love others.

How About You?

Can you think of any situations when you had to choose between maintaining your 0 and 5 boundaries and loving others well? What did you do? Looking back at it now, is there something you could have/should have done differently? What will you do the next time this type of situation presents itself?

Does God Want You To?


Image Source: Stock Exchange

Years ago (and in some countries today),it wasn’t unusual to mark property lines or a change in direction of property lines with the use of giant stones or markers. It was understood that these “boundary stones” represented true, physical restrictions from going freely into adjoining property or having someone encroach into one’s own property. The boundary stones were practical ways people in history knew whose land was where.

Sometimes, these properties were expansive. I picture myself frolicking amidst large, lush, rolling hills all within the boundary lines established by the Lord. The boundary stones are off in the distance and I so relish the freedom and joy I have skipping, dancing and playing in open fields with grass and flowers that I don’t even consider running to the stones and pushing against them with all my weight. It wouldn’t occur to ancient peoples to object to the presence of the boundary stones in their lives. Proverbs 22:28 challenges us not to move ancient boundary markers.

What if we were to rest in the portion God has assigned us?

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5-6

Does God want you to follow your 0 to 5 eating boundaries today?

For me, when I don’t live according to the pleasant boundaries he has established for me, I feel like I am that girl in the open meadow, forsaking all the beauty and freedom that is available to me, striving with all my might to push against the monolithic stone to justify my desire to go beyond it.

What will you have to give up in order to follow your God-given boundaries today?

Sometimes, I feel like I am giving up so much wonder and joy of what is beyond the boundary markers. When I have my eyes set on what is out there, I fail to rejoice in what is mine, right in front of me.

What will you gain now and in the future if you follow your God-given boundaries even when you don’t feel like it today, tomorrow and the next day?

Could the joy of living within the boundary stones be enough for me, knowing that I do so as the Father sings over me with joy? Can I “feel like it”—feel like living within the parameters that my good and gracious Father has set for me—by getting my eyes off the stones in the distance and setting them, instead, on all the freedom I have within these stones and His presence here with me?

What will life look like  in 3 months if you begin to live within your boundaries now?

What will life look like in 3 months if you put off living within your boundaries?

What will happen if you decide to wait until you want to live according to your boundaries? Is that likely to happen anytime soon?

What is God doing in your life through your participation in working to live within your boundaries?

Are you hindered by perfectionism?

When will you follow 0 to 5 eating perfectly?

Will you join me in delighting, rejoicing, praising within the boundaries that God has so graciously given us today? Will you resolve, along with me, not to push against the boundary stones, but instead be in awe of all that has been given to us to freely enjoy?

Note: The questions in this post are adapted from Barb Raveling’s Following Your Boundaries questions.