How Did the Fire the Desire 3 Day Challenge Go?


Hey, all. I wanted to offer a place here for you to report in how you did on the Fire the Desire 3-Day Challenge. Did you make it through the three days? What did you learn during the experience? About yourself? About God? About how it feels to follow your boundaries? About observation and correction? What’s next for you?

Let’s hear from you!

BEWARE! Salad Can Be Bad for You!

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Image Source: Stock Exchange

After the first “freedom” phase of Thin Within–the phase where we have tossed aside our former dieting mentality and all the “Good Food/Bad Food” lists that restricted us in our dieting days–we move on to the second phase–the discernment phase. This is when many people begin to notice that they actually enjoy foods that they had to eat when they were on diets. So sitting down to a wonderfully, nutrient-rich salad may end up being a “whole body pleaser” experience for you. Not only is that ok, but it is desirable!

That is…UNLESS you allow certain thinking (and acting) to kick in!

There are some potential pit-falls to be aware of as you head into the discernment phase and begin to select more nutrient-dense foods.

Pitfall Number 1: Many of us come from dieting pasts when fresh fruits and vegetables were considered “freebies.” We didn’t have to “count” them so we could have them as often as we liked. If we bring this thinking into our Thin Within program, it will mean that we will justify eating those foods even if we aren’t yet at a 0.  Remember that no matter what form your fuel comes in–a candy bar OR a salad–if your body doesn’t need the fuel (as indicated by clear hunger signals) it will be stored on your body…as…well, you guessed it: Fat! So whatever you select as the food you will eat at any time, you want to do so only when you are at a clear “0”–physically hungry.

Pitfall Number 2: There is a tendency to think that because it is nutrient rich, it is a carte blanche for eating MORE of it. So, as we sit down to eat a salad (or celery or carrot sticks–or even fresh salsa!) it isn’t uncommon to do some “justification eating.” To justify having a larger portion than we need because it is, after all, a “healthy” food. Again, no matter what form the fuel comes in, if it is more than our bodies need, we will store it as fat.

 Pitfall Number 3: When we eat more of a food–even a food like salad, carrot sticks, etc,  we get used to quantity. We can overeat even salad. We begin to get desensitized to the feeling in our stomach that sends us the signal that we don’t need to eat that much. We then take this desensitization into eating other foods which means “energy dense” foods (or what we called “high calorie” foods in our dieting days) are then consumed in greater amounts as well, without our feeling quite so bothered by the feeling in our stomach that, had we been faithful to 0 to 5, would be uncomfortable for us.

The solution to avoiding all three of these pitfalls is to keep in mind that no matter what foods you select, you want to do so according to physical hunger–a true need for fuel–and physical satisfaction.

When you select a beneficial food like a fresh garden salad be aware of the potential to justify eating outside of your primary boundaries and the impact this can have on you the rest of the time!

How About You?

Do you see this thinking at work in you? Do you tend to think of salad and other similar foods as “freebies?” Is this affecting how sensitive you are to “5” so that you are more likely to overeat other foods as well? What will you do about this going forward?

What to do when you mess up…

Grazing...nom nom nom...

Grazing…nom nom nom…

Last week, I created the Fire the Desire 3-Day Challenge form (did you download it on Tuesday?) in response to a request from one of my coaching clients that we “shake things up” to stimulate a change. I wanted to partner along with her, so I decided to take the challenge myself. Silly me. The first day I had stars in every box. WOOT! WOOT! YAY! I had an early breakfast 0 to 5 on the second day…off to a rousing start. Then, my daughter, recently returned from her first international trip, announced her desire to go to IN-n-Out. Hubby, Michaela and I headed off and, since I wasn’t hungry, I just got a diet soda. How about that! I would guess that was about when pride set in.

Next, I persevered through some tennis drills with hubby, still sustained by my breakfast. But after that? Well, I have no idea what happened. Something…I think when I got home I started “grazing” maybe because nothing sounded really good even though I was hungry (or was I?). So suddenly, my Fire the Desire 3-Day Challenge form had a big circle for one of the hours instead of a star! GASP!!!

THIS WAS NOT OK WITH ME! (Perfectionism rears its ugly head…it is not our friend!)

So, I did the mature thing…I crumpled it up (a tantrum, basically) and threw it in the trash. I printed out another chart so I could pretend to be perfect after all.


Please tell me you won’t do this (or haven’t done this)!!!

And if you aren’t doing the challenge, I know you can relate even generally to applying yourself to eating 0 to 5, right?

Here is what I propose: If we have an hour when we feel hard pressed to put our star or favorite mark in the box (or experience victory if you aren’t doing the challenge with the chart), let’s circle the box, sure. Then, in the space below the grid, jot down an observation and correction. Prayerfully answer these questions: What happened to cause me to eat outside of my boundaries of 0 and 5 (or to drink sweetened beverages or not to have time praising the Lord at all during the day, etc)? What can I do differently next time so I won’t give in to whatever it was that got me during this hour?

Once you have answered these questions, you can consider the hour that is circled on your grid (or the choice you made to “mess up”) REDEEMED! You have allowed God to take your misstep (or, if you want to be really hard on yourself, a “failure”) and turn it into a victory where you have learned something to do differently when a similar situation presents itself the next time. THAT is a victory! This is what the Hallidays mean when they say failure can be a teacher, a coach, rather than your undertaker.

So, don’t do what I did and act like none of those starred boxes matter just because one of them didn’t have a star in it. Don’t assume that all the time you have made choices to honor God and to stay within your boundaries don’t matter just because of a mess up! Instead, observe and correct and praise God for the opportunity to learn.

In fact, let’s celebrate those boxes with stars in them. Let’s rejoice over the many moments we have made God-honoring choices!

But, of course, let’s have godly balance here…if you have more boxes that are circled than you do ones with stars in them, there is a problem–you may not be committed. But one hour out of 24–an hour where you were willing to observe (confess) and correct (repent) and make a plan for next time doesn’t a rotten day make!

How About You?

How are you doing on the challenge? Sure, you can start over from scratch if you want to, but why not observe and correct and press on now? This is the way life is. It is rarely perfect!

What Place Exercise?


In a tennis tournament at Sutter Lawn in Sacramento in 2012.

I love getting out and playing tennis. Tennis is something I have loved for much of my life, but I took a LONG hiatus from competitive tennis. In 2010, I returned to the courts and have been on USTA and other teams and played in tournaments ever since. I definitely LOVE it.

Some of you may be wondering the question that I am occasionally asked by Thin Within participants.

“What about exercise?”

First, it is important that I mention: I have a background in exercise obsession. Though I never practiced any other means of “purging,” I did exercise to excess–so that my husband calls one season of my life my “Bulimic Period.” I am not sure a doctor would have considered it clinically so, but I exercised to compensate for my eating.

I had a lot in common with Winnie the Pooh in this video:

If I exercised more, I would eat more. If I ate more, I would exercise more. NOT a good place to be in!

Second, given my previous obsession, when I started blogging and releasing weight (this time for good) in 2006, I resolved not to release weight depending in any way on exercise. I “fasted” exercise as I knew it. I wanted to learn how to exercise for other reasons and that took time. Granted, I lived a relatively active life (for a woman who was 100 pounds overweight). I have horses and kids and dogs and land that always seemed to need fences or something. So, it is true that I released the 100 pounds without doing what I had always done before to lose weight…without a workout routine like I had depended on previously in my weight-loss attempts.

About six months into this leg of my journey (in about spring of 2007), I discovered “Dance Praise.” This is a dancing “game” for the computer that had a floor mat and steps on the computer screen (think “Dance Dance Revolution”) all done to Christian music. I had so much fun with that program and would mix it up all the time with different settings. Given where I had once been with exercise and how “light weight” Dance Praise seemed to me, I felt like it was an acceptable form of being active. I would lose myself in the music and just enjoy moving and praising God!

I haven’t used Dance Praise in a long time, but I do enjoy playing tennis a lot. I sometimes also use a workout DVD to do a step workout or Turbo Fire workout. But I have a rule for myself: I MUST ENJOY IT.

Even since 2006, though, I have noticed that when I feel most out of control in my life, I will revert to exercise obsession if I am not cautious. Therefore, I have to be cautious!

My goal with exercise  now is, simply, to do it 0 to 5. What does that mean? Sort of like 0 to 5 eating or 0 to 5 spending or 0 to 5 drinking of favorite beverages…all things in moderation. I want to exercise if and when my body needs it like I eat when my body needs food…not less than that and not more than that.  I believe that this is an appropriate goal for most people. If we sit with the Lord and ask him what that might look like, I think–just like he is with food–he will show us what that means.

For me, someone who loves to be active and has a history of compulsive exercise, if I am fearful of NOT doing whatever it is, then I have to evaluate the place exercise has in my life.

If I have to chart it, graph it, log it, mark it, track it…then I have to evaluate the place it has in my life.

But, honestly, if I avoid it like the plague, I may want to evaluate the place it has in my life! (Or doesn’t!)

I love exercise that I don’t keep track of. I have logged my routines, my strength training workouts, reps, weights, and sets. I have logged miles, wind-sprints, and so much more. I just won’t go there again. That is one thing about tennis I love. I really can’t keep track in any way.

I love playing a song on my iPod player and just kicking up my heals and dancing. One of my favorite songs is by Mary Mary (and Mandisa has done it too…) Shackles (Praise You). Another one is a fun song by Mary Ann Kennedy about owning a Golden Palomino. 🙂 Whatever has a great beat, I just love moving, but hopefully without anyone around so I can really bust a gut! 😉

So what about exercise?

“All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. All things are permissible, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) That can be exercise, or lethargy. If you have a medical reason not to move your body joyfully and gently, then by all means, protect your body. It is amazing, though, what you can do in the water (water aerobics is very gentle!) and even sitting in a chair! If you know you physically *could* move your body joyfully and worshipfully without injury, I would encourage you to ask the Lord what He would have you to do with this if you aren’t currently active at all.

Please note…the purpose is not for losing weight. EVER. It is to honor the Lord with your body, to help it be relatively healthy, period!

Since my body is not my own, since it was bought at a price, since I am called to honor God with my body (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), I think it is incumbent upon me to prayerfully ask God to show me what it means to joyfully, gently, and with a worshipful spirit move my body. What will give me the best possible health for the length of time I am on this planet without sacrificing mental or spiritual health or hurting myself physically?

How About You?

What place do you feel God has shown you exercise should have in your life? How are you doing with that? What ideas do you have for improving on that…meaning, if you over-exercise now (which may mean you do it out of fear and God wants to spend time with you on that) or under-exercise now? What do you think? What Scriptures has God used to convince you of His will for you in this regard?

Fire the Desire – 3 Day Challenge!

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

You can do ANYthing for three days.

Camping with a boatload of kids.

Having twelve in-laws invade your house.

Taking care of your friends’ pets.

ANYthing. I know you can!

This is no exception.

The idea for this three day challenge was inspired by something that my friend, Barb Raveling, said at her blog on her “Careless Eating” page. She issues a challenge there about staying within our boundaries for just three days. Can we do it? I know we can.

Here is what I propose:

1. Eat only when at a 0 – physical hunger

2. Stop when you are at a 5 or sooner.

3. Drink sweetened beverages only with a meal…when you are at a 0. For instance, if you drink a Chai Tea Latte in the morning on your way to work, can you plan it so that you have it when you are at a 0? Or, wait until you are at a 0 and enjoy the beverage with your breakfast?

4. Daily, select from the following to keep your focus on the Lord and exalting him: Add to your God List, have a Praise Fest, add to a Gratitude Journal.
I recommend that whatever you do, do it OUT LOUD. There is something powerful about writing it, seeing it, speaking it, and hearing it as you speak it.

If you want to keep yourself accountable for each hour of the 3 – Day Challenge, you can use this pdf file: Fire the Desire 3 Day Challenge. It is a pdf that looks a bit like this:

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 4.25.39 PM

Please PRAY about doing this! If God says YES, then let’s start tomorrow…well, officially tonight at midnight. If you feel like now may not be the time, be sure it is the leading of the Holy Spirit and not just a preference of the flesh. 😉

How About You?

So are you going to give this a shot? What questions or concerns do you have as you consider this?

What might be a GREAT reason (or 5!) to DO this!

What might you need to be cautious about?

Week 8 – That Darn Scale (Again) and Food Just TASTES Good!

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

This week we are investigating two things that spur us to eat outside of our primary boundary of physical hunger and satisfaction. One is our response to our weight on the bathroom scale…(I really hope you aren’t still hopping on your scale, though!) As we begin this week, I urge you to remember that your ideal size is whatever you land on when you faithfully eat according to the God given parameter of physical hunger and satisfaction. You don’t ever need to step on a scale again! So, if you haven’t yet, why not give your scale to someone else to keep for you? 🙂

Additionally, we will look at how often we can wait for physical hunger before eating. We may even be growing in our willingness and ability to process our emotions with the Lord instead of running to food instantly each time. But when we DO sit down to feed our “0” , we may zip on past our comfortable “5” or place of physical satisfaction. Let’s see what we can learn to help us stop it!

If we can take care of these two things, practically speaking, we will eliminate a bunch of our overeating!

I have broken this week’s assignments down again in the hopes that it will be helpful for you.

Visit Barb’s page: Bad Scale Eating at this link. She points out that we typically want to lose weight in a way that is fast, easy and fun and that when we have been dying to self for 8 weeks, it really is hard to get on the scale and see that we haven’t lost weight…but maybe we have even gained!

To be honest, with the Thin Within approach to landing on your God-given size, it often happens that way (sorry to break it to you now…). People may gain weight when they start off! Sometimes this happens at the beginning before the weight starts coming off.

That isn’t to say you should ignore that fact, shrug your shoulders, and just accept it. NOPE! Instead, re-evaluate and see what it is that needs to be tweaked. Instead of focusing on the man-made bathroom scale, how about focusing on the God-given HUNGER scale–that true physical “empty” or what we call “0” and that true physical SATISFIED or what Thin Within calls a “5?”

Chances are, if you aren’t feeling your clothes loosening up, you may be either deceiving yourself about eating between 0 and 5 or you may be drinking a lot of sweetened beverages throughout the day (stop it!–said with love!), or is it possible you are already at the size God intends for you?

Which do you think it is?

Barb has a section in her post about the scale called unrealistic expectations. She hits the nail on the head! We often have unrealistic expectations, but, again, I want to urge you to THROW OUT YOUR BATHROOM SCALE or, at the very least, have a friend take it and hide it. We can get so focused on it that we miss the thing that God IS doing and he promises that HE IS DOING A NEW THING!

Wouldn’t it be a “new thing” if we stopped weighing ourselves? At least it would be for many of us. Give it a try and after the typical week or so of panic, you will likely settle in to experiencing the peace and freedom that comes from refusing to let a man-made hunk of metal, plastic, springs, etc., arbitrarily assign a number to your size.

In Barb’s section called Unrealistic Expectations, can you identify with either option #1 or option #2? Which?

So how about doing what she suggests! In order to keep following your boundaries with a good attitude, take some time to renew your mind about the scale.

What other unrealistic expectations do you have? Can you find any truths in God’s Word that speak to this? Jot them down or share them with us here.

NOTE: Tomorrow, I will be posting about a “Fire the Desire: 3 Day Challenge.” We can do just about anything for three days. You may want to plan now for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — for joining the Fire the Desire 3 Day Challenge!


Barb includes an “Exercise for Journal” section at her Bad Scale Eating page (this is the same page as the one I had you visit yesterday). This is an OUTSTANDING exercise for us to do. Note her examples. (Again, please note that Barb uses dieting “lingo,” but you can trade the words and phrases out for ones that fit Thin Within and 0 to 5 eating.)

If you do this exercise, share with us here what the truths are that replaced any of the lies that you struggle(d) with!

Read today’s blog post about the “Fire the Desire 3 Day Challenge.” Are you going to give it a try? Do you have an accountability partner?  If you haven’t connected with your accountability partner in a while, you may want to! Will you check in here? Tell us your intention if you plan to do the Challenge!


Turn to Barb Raveling’s Good Food Eating study at this link.

If you are like most of us, you can wait for 0 most of the time before eating, but stopping at 5 (or before) is another story altogether! What do you think? Do you find yourself continuing to eat past that place of pleasant satisfaction just because the food available is so YUMMY?   Sometimes the food just is there and tastes so good that we want to keep on eating it.

Do Barb’s More is Better bible study. Summarize what God shows you.

Are there any truths you can add to your truth cards as a result of going through these two studies of Barb’s?

Barb asks “Do you need to set any secondary boundaries to protect yourself from good food eating? If so, what boundaries could you make?” As you consider this question, we rejoice hat we don’t need to have ANY food be off limits completely, but what about staying within the boundaries of 0 and 5? How can you set yourself up for success with your eating when Good Food abounds and you waited until 0? How can you plan ahead to help you succeed?

Are you joining in the Fire the Desire 3 – Day Challenge? If not, why not? 🙂 Today is Day 1! (You can start it any time, actually, but why not today?)


Complete the Good Food Eating section included in Barb’s blog post (again, this is the same post as yesterday’s).

What insights come to you as a result of going through this material?

How are you doing on the Fire the Desire 3 – Day Challenge?


This is the last day of the Fire the Desire 3 – Day Challenge. How is it going? Stay off the scale in keeping with this week’s study. Truth journal about the scale if it will help. What about stopping at 5? Are you recognizing a 5 as it approaches? Are you eating slowly enough so that you can stop after a reasonable amount of food? What plan can you have to be proactive?

Extra Credit: 🙂 Weekends are tough for many of us. Sometimes it is because weekends signal us to let up our boundaries. Our routines are typically set aside. Can you create a plan for this weekend–a routine for yourself, some way to be proactive about experiencing success? Even if you aren’t doing the 3-day challenge, I hope you will include adding to your God List, having a Praise Fest, and adding to your Gratitudes Journal this weekend! I really believe that we will not stay in rebellion when we exalt God.

Share here with us how it is going!