Travel Tips

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Traveling can be a challenge, so I like to go prepared. The following video (blog subscribers may have to visit the website to see it) shares a couple of my strategies for traveling so that I won’t “belly up” and eat outside of my godly boundaries. Or, like my husband has suggested in his videos, I plan to “refocus” by having some “safe” meals planned. I share about that in this short video (half of which is out-takes…I was being a dork).

Thanks to PamW for pointing out some things in her comments that I want to be sure to highlight (so I am going back and editing this post).

Some things to consider if you want to try this approach:

1. Are you loving others well by eating your own food? I believe God wants us to prayerfully depend on his leading. If you are traveling with your family, taking food with you is probably NOT the most loving approach. You will want to ask God about that. Eating with the family–eating food out with them or down in the breakfast room if you are staying at “suites” that provide breakfast) is probably much more important than having a meal of your own food. PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW MY ADVICE if this is your scenario!

2. Even if you are traveling alone (as I am right now), if this throws you back into dieting mentality, do NOT do it! Listen to the leading of the Lord, depend on him.

3. If you do bring food with you as I have, take food with you that you ENJOY! NOT diet food. The food that I have brought with me on this trip is what I eat for breakfast when I am home. For me to go out to eat or downstairs to the breakfast room (since I am staying at Springhill Suites) would mean I was planning to over-eat. This may not be the case for you. Having my food packed with me means I get to enjoy my favorite breakfast in the comfort of my hotel room all while abiding by 0 to 5! I ENJOY what I brought…this is a biggee. Please don’t overlook this! 🙂

How About You?

1. What plans can you make to assure you eat within your 0-5 boundaries next weekend, next holiday, or next vacation? Will doing so love others well? Is there some way that you can both love others well and follow your God-given boundaries?

2. My husband calls  intentional meals when traveling “Strategic Eating.”  Which meals this week might you plan to employ “Strategic Eating?”

“Holiday/Vacation Time! Let’s EAT!” & “Darn, I Blew It!”

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Do you ever hear yourself saying those words?

Or, maybe if not those words, then these? …

It’s Friday…Time to EAT!

It’s Monday…Time to EAT!

It’s a holiday…Time to EAT!

We’re on vacation…Time to EAT!

Then, have you ever experienced this sequence of events? That once you gave in to eating because it was a holiday, vacation, or weekend, you felt like a failure and it made you want to eat more?

Let’s kick this “left over” from our dieting days TO THE CURB!!!

This week, Week 11 of our Renewing the Mind Bible Study, we will have a look at these motivators for eating outside of physical hunger and satisfaction. We want to continue to scrutinize our thinking, expose the lies, dismantle them, and replace them with truth.


1. Time to update your “memorial stones” again in your journal. I am asking this question for the umpteenth time, but it bears repeating. Are you convinced…is it a conviction of your heart…that God is calling you to 0 to 5 eating?  If the answer is yes, write it down (yes, again!) in your own words in your journal and sign and date it. We are soooo prone to forget our convictions! If you aren’t resolute today, but have been in the past, go back through your journal and find an entry (or two) when you were convinced and wrote it down. Spend time with the Lord, asking him to restore that conviction.

2. Evaluate “Commitment.” The point of a commitment is that we do whatever it is, even when we don’t feel like it. It is the same with “Boundaries.” A boundary is a demarcation that we might stray across if we didn’t have the boundary there to protect us from veering. It is something we know is best for us. So, if you have said in the past that you are “Committed to eating 0 to 5” (or something similar) or that you have a “Boundary of 0 to 5” (or something similar) when you don’t FEEL like living that way is when your commitment or boundary is tested. That is the point of a commitment or boundary! That is when you really see it for what it is. Think about it this way…when you tell your child to wrap up the leftovers after she is done eating and she does it because she thinks it is a great idea so she can enjoy the leftovers again another time, is her submission to your authority really tested? Not really. When she doesn’t see a good reason, or doesn’t agree with you, but does it anyhow, that is when obedience or submission is really seen. Likewise for us. If the only time we are obedient is when we feel like it, if the only time we are committed is when we feel like it, then we aren’t necessarily committed. We may need to spend some time with the Lord on this one, so that is why I am including it as part of today’s assignment.


1. Visit Barb Raveling’s website and complete her study on Holiday or Vacation Eating.

2. The reason we are doing this study now is Labor Day is next Monday here in the United States. As you journal your answers to Barb’s questions, try to be as practical as possible. If you aren’t in the US, then consider strategizing about an upcoming holiday that you will celebrate.

3. Share with us here any strategies you will use next weekend to celebrate.


1.  Make a plan for what you will do if you “fall off the horse” during this week or the upcoming holiday weekend or a vacation you have coming up. What can you do to minimize the damage and to get back ON the horse? What plan will you have in place so that you will NOT beat yourself up?

2. Visit Barb Raveling’s study on Failure Eating. Read the introductory paragraphs, Self-Condemnation section, and the section under the subheading, “Does it Have To Take That Long?” Journal any thoughts that you have that are triggered by what Barb shares in these paragraphs. Can you identify with what she has shared?

3. Feel free to click any of her other links and explore the resources she has there.


1. Depending on how much time you have, visit Barb’s Failure Eating page again and select one or both of the bible studies she has in her “Bible Study” section to complete.

2. You can also read the article that she refers to. It is encouraging, too.

3. Add any new truths to your truth cards.

4. Share with us here any new insights you glean!


1. Visit Barb’s Failure Eating page again and complete her Failure  Questions.

2. What truths can you add to your truth cards?

3. What is your VERY PRACTICAL plan to be victorious TODAY as the weekend begins?


Consider vacations and holidays a training opportunity. Many of my coaching clients and bunches of the emails I get mention the concern that weekends are very challenging. Each weekend there is a change in the routine, a change in structure (there may not be ANY structure). We may have attitudes of CELEBRATION!!! Then, when we give in, we beat ourselves up and get caught in continuing to break our boundaries because we are stuck in that old dieting mentality of “I already went off my ‘program,’ so I may as well forget it…” Let’s use THIS WEEKEND (be it a holiday, vacation, or just a normal weekend) to practice rejoicing in the pleasant, wonderful boundaries that God has established for us! If we fall off that horse, let’s get back on QUICKLY and rejoice that his mercies are new each minute!!! NO failure eating! You with me? 🙂

Thin Within for the “Free Flowing,” Non-Structured Type :)

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

On Wednesday, I shared a post that asserted that the #1 reason we fail at eating 0 to 5 is because of a lie that we believe that eating outside of our boundaries will be a bigger blessing to us than honoring God and staying inside our boundaries. I also shared an alternative truth that we can memorize and plaster (in sticky notes) around our house, office, and car so that we can begin to replace the lie with the truth that obeying God is an honor and privilege and no food will taste as good as the joy of obedience will feel.

If trading the lies for truth is the foundation upon which our eating is to be built (and I believe it is), then the mechanics—the how-to—of our hunger/satisfaction eating is the infrastructure.

Yesterday, I shared that there are two extremely different (opposite) ways of living within 0 and 5 boundaries.  I also mentioned that a person can choose a combination or a variation of either or both. More on that in the weeks to come!

In brief review, the first of these two extremes is a very structured approach. Yesterday, I provided a link to a Google Docs chart that you can copy, save and use if you feel God is leading you to do so. It isn’t likely to be a good idea to use it all the time. It might be for a week or a month-long “season.”

Today, I want to share the extreme opposite approach–that of the “free spirit,” “free-flowing” non-structured approach. This might be right for the person who—at least for now— does best (for any number of reasons) without charts, logs, or reports. God has wired us all differently, so if this is you, I hope you will celebrate it! But, before I share with you how this can work, I want to lay some groundwork with a couple of caveats:

1.) Our hearts are deceitful.

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9

2.) Our bodies are not yet redeemed

 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, 
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, 
the redemption of our bodies. 

Romans 8:23

Because our bodies are not yet redeemed, because our hearts can be quite convincing, using this “less restrictive” approach is best used by those who have an intimate relationship with Christ, who are aware of their own weakness and tendency to wander. Not all people with this kind of relationship with the Lord will be suited to this, but it would be very difficult to have this approach if you know that you are definitely more of a “seeing is believing,” or “nuts and bolts,” or “cerebral” kind of Christ-follower! Even if you think of yourself as a true-blue “contemplative,” if you are like many of us and are too busy to be still in God’s presence daily or through the moments of the day, if an entire day (or week!) can go by without you being aware of God’s presence, if you think people “over spiritualize” the eating thing too much or you are convinced that God doesn’t care that much about your eating…then this approach isn’t likely to be for you at all!

Let’s talk straight. For some of us, structure can actually masquerade as godliness when it is really (perhaps, maybe?) a play for control.

Conversely, those who are sensitive to the Lord’s leading in the moment (or who think they are ;-)) might develop an air of superiority to those who are more technical or concrete in their walk with God and may attempt to justify sin as “The Lord led me to….” OUCH. We don’t want either!

To blow everyone out of the water :-), let me just say that one of the most tender-hearted, sensitive-to-the-Lord’s leading people I have interacted with is a client who is very “routine-oriented.” So while these approaches may appear to be mutually exclusive, they aren’t. My client has shown me that structure and free-flowing sensitivity to the Lord’s leading can not only co-exist, but be wonderfully complementary!

To make it even more confusing, some people who are “free spirited” might be challenged by people they respect to add more structure to their lives when what they really might need is to:

“Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Specifically, I would urge those who are drawn to this more “free flowing” approach to:

1.) Recognize the voice of the Lord—that He speaks at all—even in the moment (John 10:27)

2.) Know that He has a will—and is willing that you know what it is—even in the moment (Romans 12:1,2)

3.) Rest in the fact that He gives you what you need for life and godliness—even in the moment (2 Peter 1:3)

What do I do to do this, Heidi? You have convinced me!

It is pretty tough to provide instruction or a “This is How This Is Done” to a NON-structured, FREE-flowing approach! LOL!

Jesus says that his sheep know his voice—he speaks, but sometimes, we prefer not to hear it. We  may even hide behind 0 and 5, pointing to them as the rule we follow for our eating. Sometimes, the rule written on our heart, breathed into us by the Holy Spirit—the voice of Jesus—will over-rule what we claim is our 0 and 5. God may lead us to abstain from food, to choose another food, to eat more slowly, to stop eating…or, he may challenge us to love well by eating when we aren’t yet at a 0 when an aging aunt showers us with love (via a meal we weren’t expecting). GASP!!!! I know. I sound like I am contradicting everything, right? Sometimes that is the way God is, but we don’t want to blame God for a rebellious act, either. God’s #1 goal is for us to love well and he typically provides ways for us to do that without breaking godly boundaries. But, when in doubt, the Spirit can guide us to what God wants in the moment. In theory, anyhow! 🙂

If you know that you have the freedom to flow with the Lord and that you have a heart for obedience–not the heart of a rebel unchecked–then this unstructured approach might be where you will find the freedom that you know Jesus has purchased for you. When we boil it all down, asking the Lord “Is now the time to eat?” or “Is now the time to stop eating?” “Is God in this bite?” is probably what we want to do.

This first came to my attention in 2007 when I was still releasing weight. I had 0 and 5 wired and I was zipping along to my “natural God-given size,” releasing weight steadily. I was stoked! Then, I began to notice incredible stomach pain if I got to a zero. Also, I could only eat tiny little bits without hurting, too. I couldn’t eat to a 5. A visit to the doctor confirmed what I had suspected…I had a stomach ulcer–my first and, so far, my last! God used this season to show me I had turned 0 and 5 into something I listened to even more than I did the voice of the Lord!! I had turned it into a law that couldn’t be trumped even by God’s leading by His Spirit! I depended on 0 and 5 as if it had the right to tell me what to do. I had to stop being so rigid about hunger numbers and start listening more for God’s leading. HA! Fancy that! I found I needed him so much and he showed me just how much he was there for me, leading, guiding, strengthening. I continued to release weight, too!

If you think it is possible that you are looking to 0 and 5 or charts, challenges, reports as your “functional Messiah”—to save you from the sin of gluttony or over-eating, then you may want to consider waiting on the Lord to show you when to eat and how much. He may actually lead you to eat smaller quantities than you would eat if you depended on 0 and 5, although more frequently.

Be mindful of the fact that the heart is deceitful and prone to go astray. This isn’t a license to abandon 0 to 5 eating. Truthfully, the best approach is probably somewhere in-between both the extremes I have shared today and yesterday. I believe that, for most of us, it may be possible that the Lord wants us to listen to HIS voice, praying about what we are interpreting as our 0 and 5 signals (remembering that the physical body is not yet redeemed) as well as which foods will provide us the nourishment we need.

How About You?

  1. Have you been replacing the lie with truth as mentioned in Wednesday’s post?
  2. Will you sit with the Lord and evaluate which approach might be better for you or if God is calling you to a “both/and” approach of some kind? What do you think?
  3. What has worked best for you in the past to be faithful in 0 to 5 eating?
  4. Is your 0 to 5 eating about what you choose to DO or is it more about what you BELIEVE?
  5. What will you do about that?

Two Radically Polar Opposite Approaches

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Yesterday’s post shared that we often believe a lie…at the heart of our “failures” with eating between the parameters of physical hunger and physical satisfaction. I suggested actively replacing that lie with truth. This is the foundation for lasting change!

If we daily take our thoughts captive and surrender them to the Lord, trading lies we believe for His truth, we will be on our way.

Beyond that, there are a couple of approaches that we might choose to take when it comes to the “mechanics” of Thin Within. Anything in-between might be a viable option, too! The two radically polar opposite approaches are:

1.  Extremely structured

2. Extremely free flowing.

Today, I share the first of these. It isn’t uncommon for participants to use extreme structure to help get a handle on eating 0 to 5. What I will share with you here is something you can try for a week (or less)–though I HIGHLY recommend that you sit with the Lord and ask him if you should. This is not for the faint of heart or the person who still feels like they have some obsessive tendencies related to the old dieting days. In fact, as one person I know recently shared, you may feel like you are a person who should use structure, when God is actually calling you to the other approach which I will share tomorrow (or some variation of one, the other, or both!).

Thin Within has a number of tools that can be very helpful. These tools are intended to serve you, not for you to be a servant of the tool. It is important to be circumspect in your use of any tool or you might find that you are enslaved to the tool! That isn’t the way of freedom!

Paul’s challenge to the Galatians about their tendency to operate in their own strength rather than God’s might be applicable here:

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit,

are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

– Galatians 3:3 (NIV)

So, hopefully, I have shared enough disclaimers. Buyer beware! Please don’t go into this super-dee-duper-structured approach unless you are certain the Lord is calling you to do so. Then, if you do, I suggest that it be temporary with a plan to re-evaluate if you are experiencing the freedom Christ purchased for you. Sometimes, some of us discover that tools like these can be tools of grace.

So what am I talking about? Here it is: —>

If you visit this link, you will see a Google Doc that you can copy and save and make your own to use.

You can copy it to your own Google account, edit it to reflect the things that you want to keep track of and then, if you have an accountability partner (which I highly recommend), you can share it with her so that she can visit your Google doc online record any time.

What is the value of this? Well, I have been doing this for just over a week now. During that time, I have seen patterns and tendencies in my behaviors. I have been able to learn about myself a bit. For instance,  if I don’t eat to satisfaction at lunch, I have difficulty with figuring things out for the rest of the day. Crazy, huh? I tweaked my log to include a column of  renewing my mind and I jot there what I have done during the day to think differently. This helps a lot, too! VERY much, in fact.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

– Galatians 5:1

Whatever you do, I urge you to be sure to pray about whether God would have you do this!  If this would be a return to slavery for you, don’t even go near it! It may not be right for you! 🙂

Tomorrow, we will look at the polar opposite end!

What About You?

Before you make a choice about if you will use this extremely structured approach, be sure to replace lies with truth beginning with the lie that is operational for most of us when we eat outside of our God-given boundaries (see yesterday’s post about this). Daily, repeat the truth and reject the lie! Write it on a sticky note and place it in a strategic place or on an index card that you can carry with you. Find scriptures that support your efforts. Write them down. Create a deck of truth cards.

Will you take a moment and prayerfully consider whether God would have you give this structure a shot for a week? Will you connect with your accountability partner again (or get one using the Accountability page)?

We can do this, but we are stronger together!

The #1 Reason We Keep Failing

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Image Source: Stock Exchange

…for we have made a lie our refuge
    and falsehood our hiding place.

Isaiah 28:15b

At the heart of almost all of our eating “failures” — our choices to eat outside of our God-given boundaries of physical hunger and satisfaction — is belief in a lie. In fact, this lie is likely the #1 reason we keep “failing” at releasing weight or at sustaining 0 to 5 eating.

The belief we hold is this:

Obeying God is not as rewarding as eating will be.

“OUCH!,” right?

Is this a lie that is operative in your life? It is in mine (I hate to admit). In the moment, when the ice cream calls your name from the ice box or the GF muffin (when you aren’t hungry) insists that you peel back the paper and sink your teeth into it, what are you believing? This is going to taste soooOOooo good…and be more rewarding than heeding the Lord and living within the boundary that He has graciously given me.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t what you are intentionally thinking, but somehow, this thought is there, influencing your actions. It may have happened by accident.

How can we break this cycle? How can we stop the lies from affecting us accidentally? We can dismantle and, even, destroy this stronghold by being proactive. Each day when we wake up we can read, speak, listen to TRUTH. Even saying a true statement out loud can help set the tone for our day:

Lord, I know that obeying you is an honor and privilege

No food will taste so good that it will be worth disobeying you.

This is what it means to renew our minds with truth. I can use my truth cards to help me with this, taking just moments each morning before my feet hit the floor to practice what I want to think for the rest of the day!

We want to take a lie that has been causing us to act in ways that run counter to our godly goals (like eating within 0 to 5 eating boundaries) and reject it outright. We then replace that belief (rooted in a lie) with TRUTH–God’s thoughts after him.

As we do this more and more, we will experience transformation.

Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. We want to expose the lies where they exist and welcome the truth into our lives. As we do this consistently, we will find that we actually like the freedom from the tyranny of the lie! We will find that we like the freedom from having to eat outside of our boundaries!

What About You?

1. What are some examples of truths that you can tell yourself each morning (and maybe throughout the day) so that when you are faced with an opportunity to eat outside of your boundaries, you have a truth at the ready…right there at the front of your mind…to refute the lie?

2. What is one practical way you will do this…today?

Stick With It! Here’s How!

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Last week I shared in this post about some strategies that you can use to generate some motivation to stick with it when you lose your OOMPH! I believe in this so strongly that I wanted to create an audio file for those of you more “auditory learners!” (If you subscribe to the blog notifications, please visit the blog to  hear the 10 minute audio!)

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

I would LOVE to see your responses!

How are you all doing now that school is back in session for so many of you? Are you finding you have renewed motivation to get going again? Even if your kids don’t start school for another two weeks, you can dive back in right now! Why wait? Real life doesn’t wait for us, so let’s just do what we can to learn new strategies, new ways of thinking so that in real life we can do this. It takes time and practice, so let’s practice now! 😀