For Guaranteed Lasting Success, Switch Your Focus!

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Image Courtesy of Daniel Bylsma
Weather in Wells, Nevada

If you are like I was, you have dieted for years on and off and had “success” on and off, but have lost and gained the same weight. Even if you have been a Thin Within participant, this may be your experience with it, too–it was mine! Until 2006, that is.

There are a number of things that made a difference for me (three of them are mentioned in an audio link that I send you when you subscribe to my newsletter…what a shameless plug!). But I can summarize those three by saying the single key was a general shift in my mindset.

So…What made the difference for me so that I released the weight and then have stayed a healthy weight since?

And, more importantly, what will make the difference for you?

If you are doing the HEAL study with us, then you may have read the section entitled Breath of Fresh Air on page 15 (of the latest edition).

Even if you aren’t doing the study…the truth is the same! What you can do to experience a different, permanent result this time is, simply:

Change Your Focus

Think about it…in the past experiences with dieting or Thin Within, whether you were successful or struggling, what did you focus on? Was it, perhaps my weight, my success, my food, my eatingmy body, my deprivation…MY MY MY ME ME ME? 🙂

Think about it for a moment in another context… When you “fell off the wagon” was it perhaps my stress, my lack of support, my trials, my lack of self-discipline, my busyness?

Oh…shoot! **I** quit!!!

The solution to the problem of being caught in this cycle, again, is to:

Change Your Focus

Ok, I know I said that already. I want you to believe me. 🙂

So maybe you buy it, but you want to know what should you change your focus TO?

Bear with me on this one, too.

Simply… Change your focus to…God.

HIS power

HIS provision

HIS will

HIS way

HIS love

HIS character

HIS performance

HIS actions and activity

GOD GOD GOD!!!

So, how practically can you do this?

Here are some tools you can use that will make all the difference in the world. In fact, these tools–no matter what I am going through–if I shift the focus from ME and “How ever will *I* make it?” to “God is strong enough, mighty enough, loving enough, caring enough to do ANYTHING!” I find that nothing is impossible.

This really is all about HIM, even if it FEELS like it is all about “me” (or YOU in this case!).

Like Allie and Judy say in the HEAL book, To experience authentic healing and restoration, we need to focus on something bigger than ourselves.

God.

Here are the tools for you to try. And you just knew I would challenge you to choose one of them today!

  1. Each time you hear yourself saying “I will never be able to…” recognize it as a lie and one that is about YOU and trade it for a God-thought, “God, you are more than able to perform anything!” Write them down…keep track. One column is LIES and you cross those out as you go and the other column is TRUTH and you make those phrases big and bold and biblical!
  2. Develop a God List. Take a moment each day to jot down aspects of God’s character and his deeds. Here are some places where you can learn more about that: YouTube Video, How to Create a God List, Sample God List. You can use the inside of your HEAL book or, even better, a larger journal, or, for you techno-geeks (like myself), you can keep it in Evernote on your iDevices and computer! It is always at the ready that way!
  3. Have a Praise-Feast daily or during those moments when you are tempted. More about that at these locations:  What to do with the God List, Sample Praise-Fest
  4. Create a play list on your mp3 player or iPod that has songs that specifically state the truths about God and his character. I will be sharing some ideas for songs you can include here at the blog from time to time. Or you can have a look at my other blog to see the songs there that I have recommended for a similar play list.
  5. Memorize scriptures specifically praising God for His character. Put post it notes up around your car, office, kitchen, wherever would help to keep you remembering that this is *not* about your will-power, but about God’s work in you. HE is able and more than willing.
  6. Keep a growing list of gratitudes–things that you are thankful for. These are gifts that God has blessed you with. It’s different than the God List. The God List is for keeping a list of what God is like. The list of gratitudes is a list of the gifts that he gives you personally. The idea is that you take note throughout your day of things he gives. Have a look at my online gratitude blog to see what I mean (I don’t keep it up to date like I need to!). In fact, YOU could start an online gratitude blog and share the link with us here!
  7. Set the timer on your watch to go off every hour (I have been known to set mine to go off every 20 minutes…I am desperate!). Each time it goes off, I breath a prayer “All for your glory, Lord,” or “Jesus, help me honor you,” or…well, whatever you choose. Check in with the Lord this way and use your timer to remind you!

When we focus on the Lord, something happens…the attitudes of entitlement and justification that seem to cause us to reach for food dwindles. We are kept in a humble place. Instead of insisting on “my rights” we turn to the Lord and think  “For your glory!” We also aren’t so prone to “failure” eating, since we understand that this isn’t about MY performance, but about God doing a work in me that HE will complete. It takes time to create a thing of absolute perfection…God will take my entire life and do the finishing touches on it when I go through the door to heaven and not one moment before!

When I focus on him, I am not so prone to engage in “Keeping Boundaries is Hard” eating, either. Gosh, in fact, if you were to go through all of the different types of eating that Barb’s study had us look at, I bet a BUNCH of them would disappear if we took a proactive approach to focus on and exalt God instead of thinking of ourselves quite so much. Dieting does, by definition almost, insist that we be myopic…self-focused. Let’s transform our experience! Let’s try something radical!

Who is with me? Will you start today? Right now?

What tool will you begin with (or continue, or restart) today so that your focus is more on the Lord and less on you? Be sure to check in here again and tell us how it went. I can’t wait to hear!

 

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24 Responses to For Guaranteed Lasting Success, Switch Your Focus!

  1. Joyce May 9, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    Wow. This is just what I needed to hear. I have been following your blog for about 4 weeks and have been blessed. I am running out of steam which is the sure sign I am trying to operate on my own power. I need to focus on God, Jesus, and who I am because of Christ. Thanks.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 5:51 am #

      So glad, Joyce. We get to learn to do the struggle well. So often, we keep expecting the struggle to go away. I think God wants us to learn to depend on him and do the struggle well, instead. I love your tender heart, Joyce!

  2. Michelle Renee May 9, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Thank you once again Heidi, These truths struck me. The truth about my obsession with myself, even under the guise of godly improvement. I went over 5 last night and started the downward spiral into hopelessness, but did not take food into the bathroom to hide my eating and did not go whole hog, as I used to. I so need to believe his grace Is sufficient and his approval of me has not changed from yesterday afternoon when I was feeling so ” good” to my “bad” behavior last night. I am going to set my alarm on my phone for several times today as a reminder to praise him and I am going to start a God list on my lunch hour. I am a florist and this being Mother’s Day week I am very busy, yet so thankful for all the beautiful flowers I am surrounded with every day. I hear my Lord saying, see honey, this is all for you! Enjoy my creation as I enjoy you! Have a great day everyone and let the steadfast love of the Father sustain and fill you to overflowing today!

    • Sherri May 9, 2013 at 7:52 am #

      What beautiful thoughts! Thank you!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Wow, Michelle. I love that you have personalized the flowers you are surrounded with. YES! Exactly! Also, please know that as you pursue thinking differently, it will be challenging…but you WILL do it as you continue to allow him to renew your mind with His truth! How did it go today with setting your alarm? Did you start a God List? 🙂 I would love to hear about it!

  3. mk May 9, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    One of yesterday’s comments (just catching up reading them) + today’s theme REALLY hit home… I’m going to prayerful spend some time today refining my Renewing of the Mind Goal to be GOD focused. Ha… the one I started with is still pretty much all about me (0-5 as a Godly training ground for things ahead in my life…). Instead, the idea of “viewing 0-5 eating as a way to connect with and honor God and to allow Him to speak Truth into my life through this practice” is a far more powerful perspective! Cool.

  4. Sherri May 9, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    Wow, Heidi, I love your post today – definitely what I needed to hear. It’s not about me! And to feel like I can’t but God can is so hopeful. We are so blessed to have such a loving God that cares about us. Thank you so much for all the helpful tips; I have started a lies and truth list and plan to set my phone for prayer reminders.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      I would love to hear how it is going, Sherri!

  5. Penny Geiser May 9, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Thanks Heidi, Are you sure you haven’t been here watching me from a see through mirror? I have just been there done that for so any years and when I read your blogs , it is like, how does she know these things about me. I see so many things that just fit me to a T. I want to do all of these things but , But, always seems to get in the way. Another lie from Satan that I can’t do it and never will be able too. I am working on my focus and trying to have a change of attitude also. I know God Loves us and gives me so much grace and I am so thankful for that. Once again your blogs seem to bring the Lord to my door with the Holy Spirit knocking, saying, I am Here, Take My Hand and Follow Me. Thanks so much for you time Heidi. I so enjoy reading about your life and don’t know how you mange to do what you do for all of us.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Hi, Penny. LOL! I know that feeling! I think we are all sisters…none of us is alone. It helps to know that we all have so many of the same struggles. You and I may overlap 5 of them. Another person here and I overlap a different 4. You and that other person have 3 of the same “issues,” and so on…we all can relate to one another. There is NOTHING new under the sun! Thanks for your kind words, too. I would love to hear how today went, Penny. 🙂

  6. cyndieq May 9, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    CHANGE MY VOCABULARY–many of us as we have set our renewing of the mind goals changed the word “diet” to 0 to 5 eating. Well the Lord has revealed to me to go one step further…He has told me that what He wants in my life is that I eat that way He created me. The 0 to 5 eating is still about numbers like the dieting world gets us into with the calories and fat grams and points and carbohydrates. So the Lord has been revealing to me that I am just to eat between the parameters of hunger and satisfaction. It has taken me many years to get to this place. You may not agree with me or you may feel content with thinking 0 to 5 (I am in no way putting this thinking down or condemning it) and that is fine if you believe in the 0 to 5 thinking because we have liberties and freedoms in Christ according to I Cor 6:12 and I went from the dieting spectrum to the 0 to 5 eating thinking, to the parameters of hunger and fullness but over the last few weeks the Lord has made it clear to me to go one step further–that I am to eat between hunger and satisfaction and to GET MY MIND OFF OF THE NUMBERS (kind of like the scale issue) and to GET MY MIND FOCUSED ON HIM and the way He created me. This goes right along with the HEAL Bible study of how wonderfully and fearfully we have been created and we can invite the Lord to feast with us and during those times of emptiness and we do not have physical hunger we need to feast on Him!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Great idea, Cyndie. When people want it simplified, I do that very thing as well. Hungry? Not hungry. It really is that simple. I like the way you spin it, too. Thanks!

    • SARAH May 10, 2013 at 10:47 am #

      YES!

  7. Lisa Meyer May 9, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Thanks to everyone who is contributing to this study. I so appreciate al the comments and Heidi, I am learning so much from the study. I do agree with you cyndieq that it is kind of freeing to think of this journey as listening to the God given signals of hunger and satisfaction. The numbers are useful but hunger and satisfaction are more understandable and more in line with how our body feels. So far, I use most of the tools Heidi has mentioned at different times throughout the day. They really help to prevent me from overeating. The new one I will use is putting the timer on my phone for every hour and then saying a short prayer in honor of God and as a way to remind me that He is working in me and through me. The focus will switch from me to Him. MK I really like your renewing of the mind goal. It is great to use this struggle as a way to stay close to God. Thanks to all. There is so much here!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

      I agree with you, Lisa. All the thoughts, contributions that people are sharing make this study SO rich! I am loving hearing from all the people here! I am learning and growing and being encouraged so much, too! How did it go today to have your timer go off, Lisa? I would love to know!

  8. Lynn Powell May 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Well said Heidi! I laughed when I saw your comment about just wanting the struggle to GO AWAY! If I choose to keep focusing on that it will go downhill really QUICKLY! Thank you for the encouragement

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Isn’t that the truth, Lynn? It really DOES go downhill when we keep waiting for the struggle to go away. I think once we finally embrace the struggle and make it our goal to do it well, it is a “game changer!”

  9. Linda May 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Great post Heidi! I love how you are providing us w/ tools to get this right! It really is all about what we think about, what we focus on. Dieting made me think about food, which made me want to eat. I get excited thinking about can happen when I switch my focus over to God. I love the God list – I always knew about it, but I never saw your post about exactly how you do it nor did I get a peek at your personal list. I feel inspired now to go create my own God list!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

      Awesome, Linda! Tell me how it goes with creating your own! I have added to mine for at least the past 3 or 4 years. I love pulling it out for a praise fest. It totally fills me up!

  10. JEN May 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Thanks for this God-thought Heidi, “God, you are more than able to perform anything!” God is able to perform what needs to be accomplished in me. Yes Father help me holy spirit bring it to the front of my mind God you are more MORE than able to perform this in me. I have failed. I praise you Father for who You are I thank You Father for Your word.
    Heidi I as well as many I have observed over time have been asking God to help me lose weight….Help me to obey….it is not me that can do it…you are so right. God in me CAN perform through me that which I cannot….I surrender Lord,

    • Heidi Bylsma May 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      I think there is a slight but profound difference between asking God to help us lose weight and asking him to move in our hearts to be satisfied with him as our portion instead of reaching for food to meet a need that he longs to meet. I think the longer I do this, the more I loooooong for God to just BE my portion. (He responds with his name “I AM”). I just, simply, don’t want to look outside of him. Sometimes I lose track of this, and that is when I go awry…but he is always ready to draw me back to himself and invites me into his forgiving, warm embrace. Hallelujah!

  11. Sheila June 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Well, this is June 8th and I just watched your God List video on You tube, Heidi. I also checked out your sample God List and your Gratitude List. I’ve been procrastinating for a long time re starting a gratitude list. Today, I’ve set up a page in a notebook to start the Lies and Truth. I think I will also start the God List and Gratitude List in my book. With the Praise Fest actually using my God List, it will be to start that at the same time. I can see how these tools will work together for God’s good in my life. I am grateful for all you are posting. Thank you.

    • Heidi Bylsma June 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      I look forward to hearing how it goes, Sheila! Thanks for your comments. It means a great deal.

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