ATM machines. Amazing devices. But, even after all these years, I still view them with distrust. All the more since the unthinkable happened.

On a lazy Saturday evening last summer, I stood at the local ATM machine to make a deposit in my personal account. I inserted  two checks totaling what, to me, is a significant amount of money. As I waited for the machine to verify that I had followed my end of the bargain :-), I noticed that all was not well. The ATM was taking a bit too long to respond. Then, horror of horrors!

“ERROR” appeared on the screen.

Something had gone wonky with the entire automated process. The checks were gone and no deposit was credited to my account. I fully anticipated that giving the machine my hard-won checks, I would have money present in my account in short order (even if not immediately).

After a conversation with a national customer service line representative and two visits to the bank, there was still no money posted to my account. In time, however, the deposit did show up.

I am not in the habit of waiting for much of anything. If I make a sacrifice of some sort, then this is especially true… I want a return on it …YESTERDAY! The ATM fiasco just illustrated this in a practical way.

Isn’t the same true for most of us in our quest to discover our “natural, God-given size?” In fact, this tendency may rush us right past what it will take to even make the changes. Or, assuming, we can “clean” the “outside of the cup,” or “constrain” our outer behavior, we may release weight, but the first trial that hits, we revert back to old behaviors and we are off on that downward slide once again.

What if we were to take the slow way…the reliable way? What if this struggle with food, our bodies, eating, isn’t so much about our size, but about our souls? What if God wants us to learn something we can learn no other way? What if he wants us to learn how desperately we need him? What if he wants us to learn the power of training our minds to think differently?

When you invest your time in renewing your mind, in training yourself to think truthfully, even before you are tempted to eat outside of your boundaries, you can actually gain a new mindset that can activate at just the right moment—say when you are most tempted to give in to desire eating! This does take extra time, yes. Like giving up my hard-earned checks to the ATM, I want instant gratification for a sacrifice. There aren’t many things we want to lose other than weight and there aren’t many things we are willing to give up, but we have to be willing to give up…to invest some of our time if we want to learn to think differently about food, about God, about ourselves, about our bodies, about this process.

First thing in the morning, when I am fresh, committed, resolved…it is then that I take the time to renew my mind, to carve out that time to go over in my mind what is true. I select from one of the many tools that I have shared here at the blog or from Barb Raveling’s website. I don’t need to do them all. I don’t need to take much time, even, but doing something makes all the difference in the world. Taking time to think, ponder, speak out loud such thoughts as these will be making an investment in a future return:

“Eating 0 to 5 is richly rewarding.”

“Eating according to these boundaries for me allows me freedom to enjoy all foods within moderation.”

“It is much better to live by design rather than by desire.”

“If I make sacrifices to live according to my boundaries starting now, life will be less chaotic, more peaceful and my body more healthy two months from now.”

As you begin to invest time in telling yourself the truth, in writing out these truths, in designing your truth cards, listening to encouraging Sound Cloud files or creating your own :-), you will find that in the moment of temptation, these are the thoughts that will come into your mind to strengthen you! When you just finished eating a wonderful dinner 0 to 5 and your high school daughter brings in a freshly baked plate of cookies that she made at a friend’s, the thoughts that you invested time thinking about will bathe your mind, enabling you to stand strong in the face of temptation.

Imagine, you are staring down a warm chocolate chip cookie (or four) and the thoughts that hit your mind are, “How many cookies will it really take to satisfy me right now?” or “Will I break a boundary right now if I eat this? What will I gain if I break my boundary right now? What will I lose? What will life look like (inside and out) if I practice *now* living according to this boundary? Is it a good boundary? How will what I do in this moment affect the larger picture? What choice do I really want to make right now?”

If I have spent time renewing my mind once or, even, twice a day, these are the thoughts that come to mind in those weaker moments, bringing with them life and strength infusing power to honor my body, my boundaries, and my God!

I can’t recommend enough the value of taking one set of questions from Barb Raveling’s book I Deserve a Donut and Other Likes That Make You Want To Eat (or her iPhone app) each day…preferably close to the time of day when you are most prone to struggle (I do this at 5pm each day in preparation for the temptation I have to engage in evening eating), and journal the answers. I have found that, for me, just thinking about the questions isn’t enough. I need to sit down and actually grapple with the questions a bit. Seeing my answers in print is really helpful. I do this even when I am not tempted. (Not many of us want to sit down and journal when we are being tempted.)

The time invested is SO worth it. In fact, I have found the investment worth some other sacrifices. I now set my alarm to wake me up earlier, giving me plenty of time in the morning to be able to renew my mind. It is like putting a deposit in an ATM (one that WORKS, though!). I know that if I put that time in, it will come back with lots of additional benefits.

How About You?

If you haven’t seen the consistency in your life with practicing the Thin Within principles or maintaining your godly boundaries of eating between hunger and satisfaction, are you willing to consider the possibility that you need to change things up? That it might be beneficial to begin now to invest some time (maybe even lose a little sleep…even 15 minutes!) in training your mind to be alert and ready for action? What are you willing to start doing today? If doing this every day is too much, you might want to consider 4x a week to start with. You might be surprised and actually enjoy it! 🙂 I know you will be pleased with the way it impacts your thinking!