Two Radically Polar Opposite Approaches

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Yesterday’s post shared that we often believe a lie…at the heart of our “failures” with eating between the parameters of physical hunger and physical satisfaction. I suggested actively replacing that lie with truth. This is the foundation for lasting change!

If we daily take our thoughts captive and surrender them to the Lord, trading lies we believe for His truth, we will be on our way.

Beyond that, there are a couple of approaches that we might choose to take when it comes to the “mechanics” of Thin Within. Anything in-between might be a viable option, too! The two radically polar opposite approaches are:

1.  Extremely structured

2. Extremely free flowing.

Today, I share the first of these. It isn’t uncommon for participants to use extreme structure to help get a handle on eating 0 to 5. What I will share with you here is something you can try for a week (or less)–though I HIGHLY recommend that you sit with the Lord and ask him if you should. This is not for the faint of heart or the person who still feels like they have some obsessive tendencies related to the old dieting days. In fact, as one person I know recently shared, you may feel like you are a person who should use structure, when God is actually calling you to the other approach which I will share tomorrow (or some variation of one, the other, or both!).

Thin Within has a number of tools that can be very helpful. These tools are intended to serve you, not for you to be a servant of the tool. It is important to be circumspect in your use of any tool or you might find that you are enslaved to the tool! That isn’t the way of freedom!

Paul’s challenge to the Galatians about their tendency to operate in their own strength rather than God’s might be applicable here:

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit,

are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

– Galatians 3:3 (NIV)

So, hopefully, I have shared enough disclaimers. Buyer beware! Please don’t go into this super-dee-duper-structured approach unless you are certain the Lord is calling you to do so. Then, if you do, I suggest that it be temporary with a plan to re-evaluate if you are experiencing the freedom Christ purchased for you. Sometimes, some of us discover that tools like these can be tools of grace.

So what am I talking about? Here it is: —>

If you visit this link, you will see a Google Doc that you can copy and save and make your own to use.

You can copy it to your own Google account, edit it to reflect the things that you want to keep track of and then, if you have an accountability partner (which I highly recommend), you can share it with her so that she can visit your Google doc online record any time.

What is the value of this? Well, I have been doing this for just over a week now. During that time, I have seen patterns and tendencies in my behaviors. I have been able to learn about myself a bit. For instance,  if I don’t eat to satisfaction at lunch, I have difficulty with figuring things out for the rest of the day. Crazy, huh? I tweaked my log to include a column of  renewing my mind and I jot there what I have done during the day to think differently. This helps a lot, too! VERY much, in fact.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

– Galatians 5:1

Whatever you do, I urge you to be sure to pray about whether God would have you do this!  If this would be a return to slavery for you, don’t even go near it! It may not be right for you! 🙂

Tomorrow, we will look at the polar opposite end!

What About You?

Before you make a choice about if you will use this extremely structured approach, be sure to replace lies with truth beginning with the lie that is operational for most of us when we eat outside of our God-given boundaries (see yesterday’s post about this). Daily, repeat the truth and reject the lie! Write it on a sticky note and place it in a strategic place or on an index card that you can carry with you. Find scriptures that support your efforts. Write them down. Create a deck of truth cards.

Will you take a moment and prayerfully consider whether God would have you give this structure a shot for a week? Will you connect with your accountability partner again (or get one using the Accountability page)?

We can do this, but we are stronger together!

The #1 Reason We Keep Failing

Image Source: Stock Exchange

Image Source: Stock Exchange

…for we have made a lie our refuge
    and falsehood our hiding place.

Isaiah 28:15b

At the heart of almost all of our eating “failures” — our choices to eat outside of our God-given boundaries of physical hunger and satisfaction — is belief in a lie. In fact, this lie is likely the #1 reason we keep “failing” at releasing weight or at sustaining 0 to 5 eating.

The belief we hold is this:

Obeying God is not as rewarding as eating will be.

“OUCH!,” right?

Is this a lie that is operative in your life? It is in mine (I hate to admit). In the moment, when the ice cream calls your name from the ice box or the GF muffin (when you aren’t hungry) insists that you peel back the paper and sink your teeth into it, what are you believing? This is going to taste soooOOooo good…and be more rewarding than heeding the Lord and living within the boundary that He has graciously given me.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t what you are intentionally thinking, but somehow, this thought is there, influencing your actions. It may have happened by accident.

How can we break this cycle? How can we stop the lies from affecting us accidentally? We can dismantle and, even, destroy this stronghold by being proactive. Each day when we wake up we can read, speak, listen to TRUTH. Even saying a true statement out loud can help set the tone for our day:

Lord, I know that obeying you is an honor and privilege

No food will taste so good that it will be worth disobeying you.

This is what it means to renew our minds with truth. I can use my truth cards to help me with this, taking just moments each morning before my feet hit the floor to practice what I want to think for the rest of the day!

We want to take a lie that has been causing us to act in ways that run counter to our godly goals (like eating within 0 to 5 eating boundaries) and reject it outright. We then replace that belief (rooted in a lie) with TRUTH–God’s thoughts after him.

As we do this more and more, we will experience transformation.

Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. We want to expose the lies where they exist and welcome the truth into our lives. As we do this consistently, we will find that we actually like the freedom from the tyranny of the lie! We will find that we like the freedom from having to eat outside of our boundaries!

What About You?

1. What are some examples of truths that you can tell yourself each morning (and maybe throughout the day) so that when you are faced with an opportunity to eat outside of your boundaries, you have a truth at the ready…right there at the front of your mind…to refute the lie?

2. What is one practical way you will do this…today?


(Week 10 Summer 2013 Renewing of the Mind Bible Study)

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Since January 11th, I have been going through a tough trial. It is taking me deeper and making me more desperate for God than ever. This has affected my eating. I feel like I am FIGHTING to do the right thing so often. And sometimes I just stop fighting…until I start fighting again…until I stop fighting again…until I…well, you get the gist, I bet.

I know that God peels back layer upon layer of stuff in my life…like the layers of an onion. Like Eustace in CS Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Aslan had to tear off the reptilian skin from Dragon-Eustace, ripping him clean of his scales…the pain of it all was necessary for him to be free of what bound him. Having gone through the transformation, though there may have been a grieving, there was also relief.

I feel a bit like Eustace. Will I welcome God’s new thing that he is doing, even in this? Or will I tenaciously cling to food as if by going through a hardship, being so sad, beaten up emotionally, etc., I deserve “this one vice?”

So, this week’s topic of emotional eating, coupled with hopeless eating, is something that is near and dear to my heart. Please don’t for one minute assume that what I share with you here is theoretical in my life. Far from it. Chances are, I have been in or AM in the trenches along with you. Or BOTH. Like with this week’s study topics, it is both. I have seen the truth of living these principles, but I need to be reminded.


Do you ever feel driven to eat? You give in and you are still driven to eat? And does it go on until you are just too miserable to keep going or all the food is gone? What causes this? For many of us, it is overwhelming emotions. I think sometimes we are trying to literally make ourselves so miserable physically so that we can’t FEEL our emotions any more. Or maybe we are trying to punish ourselves for something…like for “being so weak” that we feel hurt, or sadness, or pain, or anguish or guilt. Using food for these reasons won’t solve the problems. We know that with our heads, but we keep eating anyhow.

  1. Visit Barb Raveling’s Emotional Eating Bible Study page. What does Barb say is true in her blurb before the “Journal” section?
  2. Can you add to your truth cards anything from this preliminary section?
  3. Can you journal about the situation that is causing you to want to eat? Right now, take a few minutes to think back to the last time you ate out of emotion. What was going on? How did you feel? What did you do in response to the situation? If you ate, what did you eat? How did you feel as you ate? How did you feel after you ate? Did eating help?
  4. Consider using some of Barb’s renewing of the mind tools if you aren’t already.
  5. Read the “Journal About the Situation — Not the Food” and add any truths to your truth cards. NOTE: I love Barb’s material, including her Freedom From Emotional Eating workbook, but it *does* have dieting vocabulary in it. Please be aware of that if you decide to purchase it!
  6. If you didn’t already, visit Barb’s other site at this link and go ahead and do the activities on that page. It is very helpful in moving through emotions that might lead you to eat outside of 0 and 5 boundaries.
  7. If appropriate, add more truths to your truth cards.


  1. Visit Barb’s Emotional Eating page again.
  2. Complete the Bible Study questions.


  1. Visit Barb’s Emotional Eating page again.
  2. Complete her emotional eating questions at the bottom of the page with an experience you had recently with emotional eating in mind.
  3. Add anything to your truth cards that you glean.


I love what Barb says. This is NOT hopeless as long as we keep fighting lies with truth. That is KEY! We have to be willing to do the hard work!

  1. Visit Barb’s hopeless eating bible study page. Consider that Barb would write in her journal even after she had broken her boundaries. She shared with us in our first class that even doing this afterwards, she found it transformed her! Are you willing?
  2. Complete her Hopeless Bible Study eating questions.
  3. Can you add any truth cards to your deck?


  1. Visit Barb’s hopeless eating bible study page again.
  2. Complete her Hopeless Eating questions for your journal at the bottom of that page.
  3. Can you add any truth cards to your deck?
  4. Recap this week: What are you learning about emotions and how to take command over them instead of allowing them to lead you to food?

How To Keep At It

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

When will this not be so hard any more? When will it not be such a struggle?

To be honest, the only truthful answer to this question is… maybe never.

We have lived many years of our lives without boundaries for ourselves with our food or, if we have had boundaries, they were too broad or too stringent.

Now that we are doing something about this, we want there to be hope on the horizon that the hard work will end. That we will arrive at a size or shape that we are happy with, godly character established, shining like the sun! “Ta DAH!” Finis! Perfectamundo!

Keeping at it is hard. We wonder how we can keep on being consistent!

So, you probably don’t want to hear that this may not ever get easier. At least not until we leave this earth and are in the presence of Jesus.

I can say for certain that it gets less hard (notice I didn’t say “easier”). Our goal is to fall off our horses less frequently and stay on the ground less long. That’s the way it is with any type of sanctification. Growth in godliness, becoming more like Jesus… progressively.

Here is an assignment for you and this is one that I have been encouraging many of my coaching clients to do because I think it is invaluable for all of us if we want to stay the course. Sometimes, “losing weight” just isn’t important enough to us. Well, that makes sense, when you think about it. So how about this:

1. ) Generate a list of all the blessings, joys, benefits to living according to your boundaries, to renewing your mind, to working so hard at this. Whatever it is that you have to do that is a part of your “plan” to help you be faithful to 0 to 5 eating. Like if you listen to Sound Cloud files, watching YouTube videos, if you listen to praise music, if you have special bible study time, create Truth Cards, review truth cards, meet with an accountability partner, or even hire a coach to help you…whatever it is that are the components of your plan and the hard work you are doing to experience success and victory. Sit with the Lord a bit and ask him to show you:

  • How are these practices benefiting me and blessing me and others (through me) emotionally?
  • How are these practices benefiting me and blessing me and others (through me) spiritually?
  • How are these practices benefiting me physically?
  • How are these practices benefiting me and others (through me) socially?
  • What changes are there in my life that have come about as a result of working this plan?
  • Have any of these practices nurtured a servant’s heart, an evangelist’s heart, a heart passionate for people?
  • Am I loving people well in any way as a result of these practices?
  • Am I less focused on myself and more available to others and to God?

My hope is that you will see that the list is quite long and truly wonderful! It isn’t just about fitting into a smaller pants size, but you are seeing changes in your character that are helping you with life generally!

2. ) Once you get your list created (and feel free to add to it over time), I strongly encourage the people I coach to read this list at least once each day and, perhaps, to turn it into a prayer:

God, thank you so much for the way you have given me new awareness of the tendency I have to hide from my emotions. You are leading me to live a life of integrity, to have my emotional needs met by you. As hard as it is, I am finding myself less needy and able to focus on the needs of others and to encourage them. Thank you that you are using my renewing of the mind and truth cards to change the way I think about my job and the challenging relationship I have with my boss. I am living a life of deeper meaning because of what you have done in my life to help me stay focused to live within my boundaries. I have begun to see how I can apply the same principles of praising you, giving gratitude for your gifts to overcome other bad habits in my life…

Etc. As you do this each day (or something like it), you are, again, renewing your mind with truth, reminding yourself of the many ways God is using the hard work you are doing to affect your life on a much grander scale than merely your size! Your body and size and shape are temporary, but he is forming and shaping your character and it is changing you for eternity! As you review these reasons daily, it will help you naturally realize there are a million reasons you want to continue to be consistent! To keep on pressing on, even though it is hard.

If you don’t feel like you are working in some way to participate with God in your own transformation, you may want to ask yourself if you really want to experience victory. Many of us who struggle with over-indulging in food, also overindulge in other things, such as feeling sorry for ourselves. If we aren’t careful, this “self indulgence” can keep us stuck and actually get us stuck more deeply. Not so deep that Jesus can’t haul us out, though!

There are so many strategies we have shared here at this website that can really help a person experience victory. You have to let go of insisting on perfection and, instead, embrace the mystery and wonder of the process! One step at a time!

How About You?

Would you feel comfortable sharing with us here? What are some of the benefits that you have been experiencing in your life because of the renewing of the mind you are doing, the studying, the staying in your boundaries, the working with an accountability partner? None of us are doing this perfectly!

Realizing the many benefits (other than merely weight loss) might be just what you need to hang in there! Review your list each day. 🙂

Week 9 ~ “Why Should I Care?”and “YIKES! I Don’t Like My BODY! HELP!”

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

This is a stream of consciousness video…but maybe there is something here that can encourage you. Obviously, I have my work cut out for me this week! Do you? LOL!

Carelessly grazing as we walk through the kitchen, dipping into the candy dish on the office-mate’s desk, or sucking on mints just because they are there…these are little examples of Careless Eating. Careless eating is what often leads to that sudden panic… OH MY GOODNESS! I have been eating TOO much and I must GET SKINNY NOW!

All those moments when we said, “It’s just one bite” haunt us when we reach for a pair of pants hanging in our closet that we haven’t tried on in a couple of months. As we go to slip into them we wonder if our “just one bite(s)” will have cost us anything.

How does God feel about “just one bite?”

Is it possible that “Just one bite” is how we got in trouble in the first place? Either God has called us to the boundary of 0 and 5 or he hasn’t. If he has, does “just one bite” have a place?

How might those “just one bite” moments affect your appearance? Will this matter to you?


1. I haven’t asked you to do this in a while, so it is time. Are you committed to 0 to 5 eating? Do you believe it is from God for you? Why do you feel convinced in your heart that this is so? Write in your journal your thoughts about this and the statement “I know 0 to 5 eating is a boundary from God for my life” (or something similar). Date it and sign it if it will help. We want to recommit to this!

2. Visit Barb Raveling’s Careless Eating Study at her blog. Can you relate to her illustration about the alcoholic at all? Barb says: We can learn a lot from the life of an alcoholic. Although we can’t say not even one bite, we can say, not even one bite outside our boundaries. What do you think about that? Journal your feeling about that. What do you think of her statement, “The minute we think it’s just one bite, we are in danger.”

3. Do all the Bible Study questions that Barb has for us on that page, including looking up the bible verses. Journal what you discover.

4. Add any truths you have come up with to your Truth Cards.

5 Are you willing to take the challenge? TELL US! 🙂 Get an Accountability Partner. It isn’t too late!


1. Return to Barb’s Careless Eating Study at her blog for part 2.

2. Barb challenges us to incorporate the “Careless Eating Questions” into our lives so that when we are tempted to eat outside of our 0 and 5 boundaries we evaluate by using those questions. You can do these now, even if you aren’t experiencing temptation. I recommend going through these questions today and journaling your response.

3. Jot down any truths you have come up with for your Truth Cards.

4. Share with us here in the comments any thoughts that God has laid on your heart, truths you have added to your cards, or new insights (or old ones) that you got from the questions or the bible study.


1. Visit Barb Ravelings Appearance Eating Bible Study”. How important is it to you to lose weight? Ask God to show you just how fixed your heart is on the physical results you want. What if you could have God in all his fullness and beauty, but not be the size/shape you want? What then? Would he be enough?

2. Can you relate at all to my confession in the video? How so?

3. To what source are you looking for your happiness?

4. Is there any living you are waiting to do until you look a certain way? What would God have you do…today?


1. Visit Barb Raveling’s Appearance Eating Bible Study again.  Complete Questions for your Journal numbers 1 through 5 and journal your answers.

2. Share here anything that God impresses upon your heart. What you share may encourage another person who visits and reads the comments–even if they don’t post. Consider it a ministry to others that you do in faith! (It ministers to ME! LOL!)

3. As you consider a person in your life that you feel requires you to be a different size or shape, it might be helpful to do some forgiveness work. When I do forgiveness work, it includes “telling on them to God.” Think of being a colossal tattle tale…you are God’s precious little child running to him to tattle on whoever it is. Pour it all out. What did they do to you? How do you feel about it? Tell your Heavenly Abba (Daddy) and then leave it with him. Ask him to help you to forgive…to choose to trust it all to His care.


1. Visit Barb Raveling’s Appearance Eating Bible Study yet one more time. 🙂 Complete questions 6 through 10 and journal your responses as time allows.

2. What truths can you add to your truth cards…or, if you aren’t yet creating a deck of truth cards, what truths is God speaking over you?

3. Share with us here how you feel God leading you to approach your desire for weight loss (Barb’s question 10).

4. If you haven’t done so as a part of any of the other questions in today’s assignment, you may want to reaffirm your confidence that God is calling you to 0 to 5 as your primary boundary. What are the secondary boundaries he is calling you to? Write these down to affirm them and date it.

5. How are you doing with your summer study?

6. How are YOU? 🙂 I care!