In the wide world of losing weight, despite all the tricks, tips, programs and techniques, there is only one way for weight to actually be “lost” or “released.” Are you ready? Here it is…
To lose weight, the body must be allowed to utilize its own fat stores.
In other words, our previously-eaten fuel reserves ~ also known as fat ~ must be accessed and used.
If, on any given day, I consume the same number of calories as my body uses, (not that I count calories, cuz I don’t,) my weight will stay the same because my food intake matched and took care of my body’s fuel needs.
And if you eat more food than your body uses, you will gain weight.
So, this means that… even if you eat only healthy foods; even if you exercise, work out, use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest parking spot, and choose the menu item with a little heart beside it…
…if you do not eat less than your body actually needs to function, thus putting your metabolism into a state of being required to access its own previously-eaten fat stores to obtain energy, you will not lose your excess weight. It will stay exactly where it’s at, decorating your body.
But this is not an enjoyable experience, and is where many of us lose it ~ as in fail to lose our excess weight.
I have a simple tool, but first I need to give you a…
QUICK INTRO TO THE THIN WITHIN APPROACH
To understand where I’m going next with this, you need a basic understanding of what Thin Within is about. So here it is, straight from Thin Within’s “About” page:
“Thin Within is based on three principles: physical, emotional and spiritual. The physical principle emphasizes that we eat only when truly hungry and stop eating before we are full.
At Thin Within, we use what we call a “Hunger Scale” to track eating patterns. We encourage people to eat when they are at a “0”, or truly hungry, and stop eating when they are at a “5”, which is before they are full.
We don’t use labels such as “good” foods or “bad” foods. However, as people learn to respond to their God-given signals of hunger and fullness, and forego worldly legalistic food rules, they will begin to enjoy the freedom of making healthy well-balanced food and eating choices.”
One who typically diets might be thinking: “NO WAY! I can’t lose weight without being on a DIET!!!” Ooooh yeah, you actually can! And much more enjoyably so. Many people have done so ~ just read a few of the testimonies at the Thin Within website! (Christine’s story, Deanna Lewis’ story, Kelly McGarry’s story), Marilyn Osborn’s story)
In addition to following these eating principles, emotional and spiritual aspects are also addressed:
“The emotional principle of Thin Within addresses the fact that we often eat in response to being upset, excited, anxious, nervous, depressed, lonely bored, etc.
At such times we turn to food to fill an emotional or spiritual emptiness, rather than for its intended purpose, which is physical nourishment. If this substitution becomes a habit, food can become an idol rather than a God-given gift.
The spiritual principles of Thin Within come in to play because it is often hard for us to eat from “0” to “5” in our own strength. We need supernatural strength and power to overcome fleshy habits and indulgence.
While food may provide some pleasure, physical nourishment it is not intended to provide spiritual fulfillment, which can only be met through a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father…”
There’s lots more, but that’s a good intro! Now let’s pull all this together.
No matter what my approach or plan, my body needs to use up its own fat reserves, which is going to mean some discomfort for me. It may be physical, emotional, spiritual, or any or ALL of those. And that is where the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone enters the picture! (It may not be uncomfortable for all, but at my age, with my slower metabolism, it gets uncomfortable for me when I’m at a 0. Not pain; just discomfort.)
The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone
The capitalized letters in this acronym spell “PERFUME” which stands for: Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization & Metabolism Enhancement Zone:
P = Previously
E = Eaten
R = Reserve
F = Fuel
U = Utilization &
M = Metabolism
E = Enhancement
This not a product; there’s nothing to buy. It’s simply a way of regarding and dealing with hunger. (I made it up, so you won’t find it on the Web.)
The “Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization” aspect is simply allowing my body to utilize the “fuel” that I have previously eaten in excess, which I’m now storing as fat on my person.
So now I must allow ~ more like push ~ my body into that mode of accessing my stored fuel by eating less fuel than I use.
Very simply, this means I need to allow myself to get hungry so that my fat reserves are accessed for fuel. There have been times in my life when I have not felt true hunger for months. No wonder I am overweight! And that is precisely where the problem is for me!!! Because, very simply…
I DO NOT LIKE TO ALLOW MYSELF TO GET HUNGRY!!!
It is NOT fun, I DON’T enjoy it, and my “flesh man” wants to avoid it at all costs, cuz it just wants to EAT all the time!
But, if I’m going to lose my excess weight, I must stop that, and think and live O-5 eating.
Yes, there are other options, like surgery, but I don’t want to go there. (My sister did, and it was a good choice for her.) I want to bring the heart stuff (junk) that’s been lurking in the dark corners of my heart for years out into the light and dealt with so that I can live in freedom for the rest of my life.
Which, by the way, will be much shorter ~ or at least less comfortable and active ~ if I don’t tend to this weighty matter. (Pun intended.)
So I must allow my body to utilize its fat stores.
I have a feeling that when we are getting down to a 2 and a 1, we are actually starting then to access our fat stores. (If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments!)
And that is where the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” comes in. It’s that zone between “starting to empty” and “true hunger.” However, for it to be the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone,” I must make a heart connection that I’ll explain in a moment. But first…
WHAT IS TRUE HUNGER?
First, a couple things hunger isn’t…
- It’s not just wanting food. If you are not physiologically hungry, but you want or even crave food, that’s “heart hunger” or “head hunger.” Heart hunger is just as real as “true physiological hunger,” and it’s very very strong, but it’s not true physiological hunger.
- Neither growling nor rumbling constitute true hunger, either. One or the other ~ or both ~ might accompany true hunger, but they aren’t reliable indicators that you’re truly hungry.
True hunger is where your stomach feels that gnawing, slightly burning sensation – aka a “hunger pang.” To be hungry can be (is for me) a bit uncomfortable, which is actually its purpose – to motivate us enough to get nourishment and thus enable ourselves to live.
WHERE IT GETS HARD
But this is where it gets hard! Emotionally ~ because, as I believe I have mentioned, I LIKE to eat! I LIKE food!!!
A little while after we eat, (and how long depends on how much we just ate,) we start to feel our stomach “emptying.” This feels a little like being hungry, but it’s not yet true hunger. In the book God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis said that, when we stop eating, the walls of our stomach start to shrink, and that is what we are actually feeling at this point. So we shouldn’t confuse that with hunger. And that does make total sense.
But, no matter how much sense it makes, if my heart is not dealt with, and my flesh is still in control of my eating, head hunger kicks in at this point and beckons me to the kitchen… or to my purse where there’s a packet of trail mix… or to Burger King where something yummy can be ordered real quick-like! But I’m actually only at a 3 or a 2 or a 1 at this “stomach-emptying-and-shrinking” point. I don’t get ~ or need ~ to eat until I’m all the way down to a zero.
So, instead of gleefully rushing to get food, I need to allow my body to shift into utilizing its own fat stores. If I take in food at this point ~ when I’m only at a 3, 2 or 1 ~ I will actually stop up the process of allowing my body to make this shift over to utilizing my fat- I mean FUEL reserve.
Because my flesh is strong, and it wants what it wants ~ food, in this case (in fact, food by the case sounds great!) ~ and, as I may have mentioned, it wants it now. so this is hard!
And this is exactly when I am in a prime position to enter the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone”!
Meaning… I choose to sacrifice my desire to eat right now, and I offer up that desire to God as a living sacrifice. A fragrance to Him.
But I need His grace working in me to even be able to do this.
SCRIPTURES THAT SHED MORE LIGHT
There are several Bible verses that shed more light onto the concepts of fragrance, perfume, and sacrifice.
“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
Christ’s sacrificial act of giving Himself up was a fragrance to God. Likewise, I want my giving up my right to eat what, when, and how much I want to be a pleasing fragrance to God as well!
Giving up my right to eat (now and a lot) is actually part of “walk(ing) in the way of love,” as I am loving myself, which we are told to do in Matthew 22:39:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
By shedding my excess weight, I’m loving my family, too, because I’ll be better able to serve them, and hopefully for a longer time.
This sacrifice is “expensive” for me. It’s costing me full rights to myself. But our Lord, whose sacrifice on the cross was more “expensive” than I could ever imagine, is worth it, isn’t He?
“BE HANGRY, BUT SIN NOT”
Then there’s the matter of our mood when we’re getting hungry. “Hangry,” which is “hungry and angry” at the same time, is the perfect term for it. Is your grumpiness evident to all when you’re in a bad mood? Over anything, not just not getting all the food you want, when you want it?
If so, the other part of my sacrifice, is laying down my right to act out my “hanger” while in this grumpy-feeling state. Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don’t need or get to act grumpy. What’s that scripture?
“Be (h)angry, but sin not.” (Eph. 4:26)
Since this doesn’t come naturally to most of us, the heart ‘n’ soul of getting and staying in the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” is choosing to allow God to help me crucify my flesh to the cross, and to be pleasant, despite how I feel or what I desire.
(I delve into this more in my article “Be Hangry, But Sin Not.”)
So what does the “metabolism enhancement” aspect mean?
First, we don’t want to slow it down by eating too little or being hungry for an extended time! Like starving myself.
I read this at WebMD.com:
“You slash your daily calories to fewer than 1,000, and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly, and you usually regain the weight.”
And once your metabolism has slowed down, weight is harder to release because the body, thinking it’s not going to get more food, slows down to conserve!
We want to increase our metabolism. We do this by increasing both activity and (thus, eventually) muscle.
Exercise is about more than just “using up calories” or “moving” and staying flexible. When we exercise, we are actually building muscle, and, what’s cool is that it’s the muscle tissue in our bodies that increases our metabolism by using calories even when we are just sitting! How cool is that?!? So “Use it, or lose it” really applies here!
Drinking ample water also helps increase our metabolism. I think of it as lubricating the weight-loss process – which it does, literally and figuratively.
So when I first start sensing that emptying-but-not-yet-hungry feeling, I like to get a glass of water, (also a “sacrifice” because I’m not crazy about water), and then do some moving. When I most feel like just sitting and waiting for it to be time to eat, that is actually the best time to go for a walk and get myself moving, and also to renew my mind so that my heart gets pried off of food, and transformed into a heart that longs for the Lord more than it longs for food!
A note to you who are
“not as young anymore”
When I was younger, losing weight was much easier. It was never “fun,” but it wasn’t nearly as hard as it is now at age 65.
As we age, our bodies tend to slow down, so our metabolisms naturally slow down, too. Partly just because of aging, but also partly because of not being as active as I used to be, which is partly because of aging. It’s a vicious circle that I have not done the best job of being on top of.
For me, there were the additional hindrances to being active that resulted from several injuries, plantar faciitis, and a knee surgery, each one slowing me down or altogether stopping me physically for weeks at a time. These also messed up my efforts and desire to have a regular exercise routine ~ which was already a challenge for me ~ and basically took the wind out of my sails. Or I let it.
Plus life just changes once children are grown up and out of the house. Less movement is required to maintain your normal day-to-day living, unless you have an otherwise active lifestyle or job, or unless you have a naturally active lifestyle and/or have applied yourself to physical exercise.
This is all a natural part of life, but we have to be UNnatural and very intentional to combat it.
So, at my age, I now have to allow myself to stay at a 0 for a little longer period of time if I want to release weight. The way I’d put it is that I have adjusted my “0” a bit. Since how we define a zero is quite subjective (who knows how and what we really feel), there’s room for adjustment anyway, so we have the freedom to define it in a way that works for us.
For example, I know of older gals who have said Thin Within doesn’t work for them. They did 0-5 eating for a long period of time, but didn’t lose weight. I wonder if they had adjusted their numbers a bit, redefining their “5” to be more what they had been thinking of as a “4,” and their “0” as a little more hungry.
As Heidi puts it, we need to allow ourselves to get “good and hungry.” If I only allow myself to get “barely hungry” for just a minute and then go ahead and eat, especially at my older age with my lower metabolism, I will likely not release weight.
So we just need to invite the Lord into this process and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in how to apply all this to our own unique situations, and also surrender our flesh and wills to His lordship!