What Questions Do You Have?


I thought it might be a good time to invite questions once again. The last time I did this, a lot of GREAT stuff came of it!

So, whether you are participating in our Bible Study or not…no matter what your experience with Thin Within, here is a chance to ask questions!

Relative to Thin Within, what do you wonder about, want to know, or what objections do you want a response to? 🙂 Use the comments section to ask or email me privately using Heidi Bylsma at gmail dot com (no spaces). Let me know in your email that you are emailing me because of the blog post to give me context. 🙂

I will respond to each question either here in the comments or in a separate blog post or both! If I don’t have an answer, I will find someone who does!

OH! And Don’t forget! These comments and questions COUNT to add your name in this week’s drawing! In fact, today is the last day to comment on the blog to be entered in this week’s drawing. You can win one of three prizes (your choice): Thin Within book, Hunger Within book, or a week of FREE coaching.

Secondary Boundaries To Support Your Journey


In Thin Within, our primary boundary is typically eating “0 to 5” or between the parameters of physical hunger and physical satisfaction.

There are a number of behaviors that can set us up for success in keeping this primary boundary, however. If we don’t establish these “secondary boundaries,” we may find that we are not as successful in keeping our eating within 0 to 5 parameters.

In Thin Within, the most logical secondary boundaries are the Keys to Conscious Eating.


1.) Eat only when my body is hungry.  This is one of the primary boundaries so we won’t elaborate on it.

2.) Reduce the number of distractions in order to eat in a calm environment. This is a great secondary boundary. If we try to become calm within, even if we can’t make our environment calm, we find that we can enjoy our food. We “record” the dining experience in our minds and this goes a LONG way in helping us to keep our primary boundary of 0 to 5 eating. Judy and Arthur Halliday say that  a chaotic environment produces chaotic eating. Turn off the TV, the computer, quiet the loud noises, and try to establish a quiet spirit and environment if you can.

3.) Eat when sitting down.  Eating in the car doesn’t count! 🙂 Much of our unconscious or “mindless” eating is done while driving. Standing up to eat often means we aren’t taking note of the food we are eating. That, too, makes it easier to break out primary boundary of 0 – 5 eating.

4.) Eat when my body and mind are relaxed. Invite the Lord into your meals. When you pray asking God to calm your body, mind, and heart, it is easier to respect your primary boundary of eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are no longer hungry.

5.)  Eat and drink the food and beverages my body enjoys. Be authentic. We can eat and enjoy whatever our hearts desire and whatever our bodies tell us they need—all with thankful spirits and no guilt! Be sure to acquaint yourself with the phases of Thin Within shared in yesterday’s blog post. In Thin Within there are no forbidden foods. Ask God to show you what your body needs and you may sense him nudging you in a particular direction.

6.) Pay attention to my food while eating. If you are eating with others, attempt to establish a rhythm as you eat. Look at your food, take a bite, chew deliberately and fully experience the flavor. Then, set your fork down and focus on your friends or family. Repeat. 🙂 Again, ask the Lord to help you with this and you will be amazed at how doable it is! It also helps in maintaining your primary boundary of eating 0 to 5.

7.) Eat slowly and savor each bite. Eating fast may be one of the most common reasons we overeat. We just blow right by the “satisfied” signals. As we eat more slowly, our stomachs can accurately signal our minds about when we should stop eating.

8.) Stop before my body is “full.” Again, this is a part of our primary boundary, so we don’t need to elaborate. Just be sure to stop at a place of comfort where you have had “just enough.” The goal is not “How much can I eat before I am too full?” The goal is, instead, how little does it take to be satisfied? Our bodies are remarkably efficient!

Which of these keys can act as a secondary boundary for you? Have you thought of other secondary boundaries you might establish? What are they?

Phases of Thin Within

Image Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Image Courtesy of iStockPhoto

“Everything is permissible for me”
—but not everything is beneficial. 
“Everything is permissible for me”
—but I will not be mastered by anything.  
– 1 Corinthians 6:12

This is a repost. I have found that this issue has been coming up for a lot of the people I have been coaching, so I thought others might be encouraged with this information, too.

For those of you who are visual and prefer the video version, here is a video (email subscribers will have to come to the blog to see). This is an old video posted first in about 2008:

Thin Within has three “phases.” For some people, these phases are, indeed, a progression. For others, it is more like layers of an onion…they get to a certain “phase” to discover God peels away the onion and they step back and discover a new level to an earlier phase. I will just describe them in a linear fashion though, for simplicity.

First phase is the Freedom Phase. “All things are permissible.” This phase blows the lid off the dieting box! God designed our bodies to give signals when we are hungry (what Thin Within calls “0”) and to cue us when we have had enough food, too (what Thin Within calls “5”).

When we respond to our bodies in this way, any food is permissible. All the “can’t haves” and “do nots” of the dieting world fall away and no longer make us feel condemned! Freedom! No need to worry about counting anything.

The temptation many experience is to go a bit bonkers with this phase.  😀 Foods that have been “off limits” for years are suddenly “legalized!” When eating 0 to 5, a person can eat hot fudge sundaes, pizza, full fat salad dressings and still release weight. It is true! (True confessions: I lost most of my weight eating foods that people consider “junk” food or “unhealthy” food. Honest. I only like veggies in salsa. :-))

The freedom phase is a time of building, building, building, a foundation of my relationship with the Lord. He teaches me to lean on him more and more–especially as I discover that waiting for hunger is REALLY HARD! I realize that I have so many reasons I want to turn to food other than physical hunger. Remove my coping mechanism (overeating) and now I have to deal with my heart. God shows me He can be relied upon to help with this process.

So phase 1 includes learning how reliable He is to help me wait for physical hunger, to heal my heart that has issues that surface and that he can also help me to know when to stop eating. What does “hungry” and “satisfied” even feel like? Phase 1 participants are not considering so much the nutrition or benefit to eating one food or another. They are developing confidence that their bodies are reliable and that God is sufficient for meeting all their needs.

Phase 2 – Discernment Phase is based on the next part of the verse…Since all things are permissible, but NOT all things are beneficial, I need to exercise discernment.

Now I begin to evaluate prayerfully how does God want me to nourish my body? What foods really work best for me? As I ask, He shows! I begin to see that I have a responsibility and this is an awesome privilege! I begin to scrutinize my choices. Thin Within calls the categories for food Teasers, Pleasers, Whole Body Pleasers, Total Rejects. This is explained in the Thin Within book in detail in chapter 18.

I still don’t worry about nutrition labels, but some phase 2 folks have the freedom to be able to read labels and use what they know to ask God for wisdom in feeding their bodies. More importantly than food labels, however, I begin to notice how various foods cause my body to react or feel. I still eat only when hungry and stop when satisfied physically. But I begin to see that my body is amazingly efficient! It gets by with so much less food than I ever thought possible, so I begin to want to fuel it with high octane fuel! Like a high performance race car, I begin to see that different fuels will cause performance to vary! With so little food needed, I really begin to make what I put in my body count. I do this with joy and without a sense of deprivation because the foundation established in Phase 1 is still in place. I am free. All things are permissible! I delight to do God’s will and what that looks like for one person will be VERY different than what it looks like for another.

In phase 2, we probably don’t have an entire meal of German chocolate cake like we may have during phase 1. Or if we do, it won’t be as often as during phase 1.

Instead, in phase 2, we may reserve some “space” in our stomachs (within 0 to 5 eating) for a small taste of whatever it is we have always loved so much at the end of a small meal. We continue to delight in our freedom, but we begin to see that freedom means not just free TO eat, but free from having to have whatever it is we used to live for! Having a smaller amount at the end of a satisfying meal does as much for us as having the entire thing for dinner did in phase 1.

One other thing about Phase 2, the Discernment Phase, is we also begin to scrutinize our choices regarding activity. We begin to see that this body, God’s chosen dwelling place on earth, can operate best when it is given some activity. In phase 1 we have delighted in the *fact* that we don’t *need* exercise to lose weight (not if we eat between 0 and 5!!!), but we nevertheless realize that we are free to exercise in a godly way…that this is something that honors the Lord when we do it for His glory instead of our own like many of us have in our dieting/exercising pasts. We realize in phase 2 (if not sooner) that we don’t just want to release extra weight, but we want our bodies to be fit temples as well. We want to be able to go up stairs and not be winded. We want to be able to run and play with our kids, go to the snow, go swimming and splash around, horseback ride, and not feel like our bodies are going through the ringer! We want to be healthy, vibrant and truly as alive as possible for all the days God ordains for us to be on this earth! That all happens as we worship God through moving our bodies! Be it through dancing to praise music, walking the dog, getting silly with the kids, or our every day chores done with a bit more spring in our step…and some, of course, can even do a regimented workout schedule without becoming obsessed. Some can do it with a worshipful submissive heart!

Phase 3 – The Mastery Phase – is based on the last part of 1 Corinthians 6:12 “I will not be mastered by anything.” Can I say no to hot fudge sundaes? Sure, they are permissible. And I can choose to have some if I wish…but do I have to have ice cream? (Or whatever it might be for any particular person?)

The person in the Mastery Phase might discover that the brownies the kids made last week got buried beneath mail on the kitchen counter and never got eaten, even though previously she LIVED for brownies!  Sure, they are “permissible” and sure she can have some…but it just doesn’t matter any more…she doesn’t have to have brownies or any dessert at all! Or she can slide the chips and salsa away at the Mexican restaurant without having any because she would rather enjoy the entree! She isn’t going to bow to her tastebuds!

These phases are dynamic, not static. You don’t just “arrive” at Mastery and stay there forever *necessarily*. Maybe some people do eventually. But I have found that some of us may always have a “thorn in our flesh” that causes us to keep needing the Lord to help us through…our desire for food may be what God uses to keep us clinging to Him the rest of our lives…but what a wonderful thing it is for something that once caused so much pain in my life (my overeating) to be used of God to call me to himself again and again…Praise Him for redeeming that which the enemy intended for my constant harm all my days!

Which phase are you in? What will you need to believe in order to move to the next phase?

Weight Loss Bible Study Week 5

Image Provided by iStock Photo

Image Provided by iStock Photo

What a great week we have ahead of us! I am thrilled to see so many of you participating and continuing to post. This is an awesome experience for me.

And I do so hope you had an amazing Resurrection Day pondering the awesomeness of our Jesus’ victory over the grave!

If you are just joining us and have landed on this page, I encourage you to go back to Week 1 and do Day 1 of the study. Then come back here and join us right where we are. The bible studies are each stand-alone, though it is best to lay a foundation with the first one.

(If you are subscribed with email, please come to the blog to view the video.)



  • Read and do Barb’s material for  Day 9 – Evaluation  at her blog. Share with us here how your evaluation goes and what changes God prompts you to make. I showed you mine, so you have to show me yours! LOL!
  • Read and do Barb’s Day 10 – Emotional Eating study at her blog as well.
  • Keep up with your renewing of your mind goal. Do you need to adjust it at all? If so, do so and then be sure to renew your mind numerous times each day.
  • Consider creating your own audio file–you can download the files I have at Sound Cloud if you want and put them on your iPod or a CD or record your own voice! Use it to help you to renew your mind when you are driving someplace… after work on the way home, going to pick up the kids at school, on your way to a board meeting. Whatever works, use it!
  • Have you tried truth journaling yet? Is this week a week to try it? Here is the link to the blog post that tells about it.
  • Continue to post here and participate in community. Remember, each time you comment here OR AT BARB’s blog about this study, we enter your name into the drawing for Friday!

The Point

Image Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Image Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.

Let nothing move you.

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,

because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:55-58

How does the truth that Jesus blew the lid off the grave affect you today practically?

Renew Your Mind After Holiday/Vacation/Dining Out “Mess Up”

Photo Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Photo Courtesy of iStockPhoto

What can we do after we have broken our boundaries during holidays, vacations, or dining out? We can renew our mind. This is how I might do it:


(If you subscribe by email, you will need to visit the blog to see the video.)

What can you do to ensure you won’t give in to eating outside of your boundaries today and tomorrow? What will you do about the mistakes that have happened previously so that they don’t dictate what happens next?