A Milkshake for Lunch?! – Guest Post

For Lunch? REALLY? Yes! You bet!

For Lunch? REALLY? Yes! You bet!

I must start by sharing this happy realization. A few months ago, Heidi recorded a long winded 40-45 minute conversation with me about breaking free from dieting. The Lord has delivered me so far from dieting now that I can barely remember the details of how I broke free! Now, that’s freedom. But, I will use my journal to help me remember my steps because I want to encourage any of you who are still stuck, or partially stuck, in diet land to break free and leave it behind.

I was prepped from an early age to diet. I watched my mother and her friends diet, jazzercise, jog and talk about what they should and shouldn’t eat. While I did not follow an official diet until I was 31 years old, I knew that I should never eat chicken skin, fried food, chips, candy, ice cream, cream sauces, etc, etc. I knew the “rules” without following a particular plan. But, eventually I was tired of my extra 30 pounds, post-baby weight included, and I joined a popular dieting program. My type- A self jumped in with both feet and thus began my obsession with my weight, food, exercise and clothing size.

My mind became full of rules – about exercise and food – and I became obsessed. When I look back, I can’t believe the time that I wasted planning meals and workouts – and all of the attention I put on my body and not on the people who really mattered. I am the saddest when I remember hanging out with my kids and, while I looked like I was paying attention to them, my mind was really in food and workout planning mode. I thought I was happy when I was skinny, but I am now so thankful that I had health issues that caused me to gain weight and then forced me to stop exercising. God met me in that fearful place and revealed to me that I could live a life in freedom with Him. I am not exaggerating when I say that the first Thin Within workbook truly brought me to Christ and helped me to really understand who Christ is and what he did and continues to do for believers. I started to sense that freedom from dieting and exercising was possible, but the lies of the world kept pulling me back. It took almost 2 years for me to really see the Truth and to really commit to this way of life. And I am not looking back!

The breaking of my diet chains was multifaceted, but the most important part was prayer. I prayed every day, starting last January, to be set free from the bondage of dieting, over-exercising and body image issues. Then, in February, when I realized that had some heart issues that were contrary to godliness, I prayed Psalm 51:10: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Let me stress, I prayed this every day, multiple times a day.

And then I found the “God is doing a new thing bible study” in March and began focusing on the renewing of my mind. I took notes and studied the scripture and made scripture cards. With daily study and prayer, the Truths of God’s word and character and love moved from my mind to my heart. And within a few months, I knew that I would never, could never, diet again. I wanted my mind and heart set on my Creator and Lord, my Abba, my Savior, my Healer, and not on the size of my clothes.

Do I backslide? Sure. Sometimes I try on an old dress and hope it fits. Sometimes I eat too much at dinner. Sometimes I think about carbs vs. proteins. Sometimes I think I should run a few more miles. But then quickly, and it happens faster and faster these days, I remember the Truths in the Bible and the freedom, peace and joy that I feel when I live in God’s boundaries and on His path. I can then leave the worldliness behind and focus on Him. I put on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) and let Him fight my spiritual battles.

Friends, if you have put trust and faith in diets or workout plans, you are not alone. It is what our culture asks of its people, especially women. But you can break the mold, you can live in freedom. I, who used to be obsessed with counting every morsel that I ate and evaluating its nutritional value, drank a milkshake for lunch last week! A full fat butter pecan ice cream milkshake! But, since I have the freedom to drink milkshakes any day of the year (although this was my first in over a decade), I only drank 2/3 of it. I was satiated. It was enough. God’s love and grace is more than enough for each of us – they are sweeter and more satisfying than any dessert imaginable.

~ Carrie (Not South Africa) 🙂

What About You?

Do the chains of dieting still hold you fast? Do you believe that God can call you to freedom without the use of a diet or restrictive eating plan and rigorous exercise that is harder on your body than you know you should do? Will you consider possibly renewing your mind with truth? God never intended for food to torment us or for our avoidance of it to become an obsession. Let us know how we can pray for you.

Week 2 – Boundaries & Making the Plan – Thin Within Support

Daisy and the Buck

Daisy and the Buck

Without the boundary of this fence, Daisy, my golden retriever, would (no doubt) get even CLOSER to this buck than you see in this image. From her perspective, I have little doubt that the fence “stands in the way” of much fun! The truth is, the fence–a boundary–keeps harm out (deer can be deadly) and keeps what is worth protecting safe within–safe from straying.

This week, you will develop your plan including having a good look at your own boundaries relative to your Thin Within journey. We will use a lot of Barb’s material to help with this. Before you go on over to her site, though, I want to lay some ground work.

Please watch this short (4 minute) video first:

To register for this week’s class Wednesday at 3:00pm Pacific Time (OR the digital recording), please visit this link: http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=E956D880834D3A NOTE: When you select a password, please do NOT forget it! It will be necessary for you to access the class AND the digital recording after the class is over!

Take a moment to jot down in your journal (or think about) what you think is true about boundaries. Do you believe that they are there to protect you? To keep OUT influences that could damage you? To keep you IN, from wandering off on a path that would be destructive for you?

Or are you more likely to consider boundaries with resentment–as something that denies you something as if “God is holding out” on you?

Ask God to show you the truth about boundaries. Jot down what he impresses upon you. You might want to put them in your index cards if you are using them: “What is true about boundaries in my life.”

IMPORTANT: When I reference you to a page at Barb’s site, please know that there is a TON of incredible material there. For the purposes of our study, though,  I will include the links here each week for any of the pages that are “vital” to our study this summer. The other links, you are welcome, of course, to explore. But please know that with so much wonderful material at her site, you can spend HOURS on it! ALL of it is good. Do what you feel God leading you to do of course, but any page that I think is foundational to our study here this summer, I will include as you will see below. For this week’s assignment, please be sure to do any of the linked pages that I include.

The foundational part of our study this week uses this post from Barb’s website.

This has several parts to it, so please spread it out over the week:

1.) In her post under THE PLAN, Barb links you to her post about boundaries. You can read that or not, but most of the information that you need is likely to be in the video above. So if you are short on time, you don’t need to read it.

2.) She also includes a link to a post on secondary boundaries. Unless what I have shared in the video is “murky,” you probably don’t need to read that post either. If you are short on time, I think you will be ok without reading that, though it is definitely helpful! For our purposes, if you are uncertain about what might help you to maintain your primary boundary of 0 to 5 eating, you can use the Keys to Conscious Eating. Keys 1 and 8 are the primary boundary. Keys 2 – 7 are ideas for secondary boundaries. If you are using a set of spiral bound index cards or using a binder ring with index cards (whatever your method), then you might want to write down on a card “MY PRIMARY BOUNDARY: _________________.” And on another card “MY SECONDARY BOUNDARIES: ____________________” I don’t recommend more than 2 or 3 secondary boundaries and you can add new ones or change them as you go.

3.) Barb also has a link to Renewing the Mind Goal. THIS ONE, IS IMPORTANT TO OUR STUDY this summer. In fact, it is foundational to our summer study. So please DO read it and do the activities. (Yes, I just included the link to the same page THREE times. I don’t want you to miss it, that this is important.) There are lots of great links even in the post on the renewing of the mind goal. Again, the links to other posts are helpful, but not vital, so if you are short on time, don’t do them. If you are using a set of index cards that are hole-punched or spiral bound, then write your Renewing of the Mind Goal down on your cards. If you aren’t using the cards, that is ok. But I suggest you jot it down somewhere. NOTE: In our online class last week, we had the pleasure of having Barb Raveling in attendance (you can still get the recording of the class if you want). I realized as she shared that my way of thinking about the renewing of the mind goal was different than what she speaks of in her blog. Maybe *both* can work. My way of thinking of it has been to pick something that you know you need to think differently about, like, for instance, “I need to think differently about having sweet foods after lunch and dinner.” What I want to think instead about desserts is that “I can live without desserts.” Another one might be, “It takes less food than I think to satisfy me.” So my goal is to change my thinking about dessert or about portions. Barb’s use of it is helpful in being quantifiable…”I will renew my mind twice each day about dessert/portion size.” You can use a combination of both ways of thinking if you like or just use Barb’s mentioned in her post!

4.) Under her heading THE CHALLENGE, you can have a look at her post about 8 Questions to Ask When You Don’t Want to Renew Your Mind. This isn’t required, but it can be EXTREMELY helpful. (I have not included the link because I will include the link to the pages directly only if they are foundational to our study.) I have written these 8 questions down in my card set as I think they are so good.

5.) Do her ASSIGNMENT in her Day One post, including her #2 item: Working With God on Your Goal. This was originally intended, I think, for New Years, but it is helpful to our summer study. All of this work right now is to lay the foundation for our summer study. Doing this work will be very helpful. Future assignments (starting next week) won’t be as lengthy (I think!).

6.) Continuing on her Day One study, you will want to complete the Following Your Boundaries Questions questions. PLEASE don’t skip this set of questions as, again, this is foundational to the rest of the summer. In fact, you might want to keep these questions handy. Any time you find yourself not wanting to adhere to your 0 to 5 boundaries and your secondary boundaries, pulling out these questions can help you get focused again, willing again!

7.) I would love to hear from you in the COMMENTS below about any of the following:

  • What is your Renewing of the Mind Goal? 
  • What secondary boundaries have you selected that will support your primary boundary of eating 0 to 5?
  • Which of her renewing of the mind tools will be helpful to you?

8.) If you would like, attend the class this Wednesday at 3pm-4pm Pacific time to discuss this material. The class costs $5. If you can’t attend, but want the digital recording of the class, the cost is the same. Both those who want to attend the class live and those who want the recording only, will need to register at http://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=E956D880834D3A

Week 1 – Renewing of the Mind – Thin Within Support

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

Welcome to WEEK ONE of our summer study on Renewing of the Mind! If you are on the Thin Within journey, this study will support and strengthen you. I am so excited because this summer will be the summer you realize your godly goals. If you do the work in the assignments shared here –many of which will refer you to Barb Raveling’s blog, you will experience the transformation by the renewing of your mind that God speaks of in Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,

to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, 

holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—

his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Our transformation doesn’t happen merely by changing the outside of our bodies…how we appear. We all have done diets before and know how to lose weight. What we want, though, is permanent change, that isn’t dependent on an approach that causes us to be so obsessed! You know what I am talking about, I bet…where the scale, food, eating, clothing sizes has your mind in a flurry–ALL THE TIME!  Don’t you just want food and size to be a *non*-issue? We are called to freedom! It’s possible! Let’s experience it. To do that, though, we have to be willing to train our minds. That’s all there is to it. Dieting is easier, to be honest. Training ourselves to think differently is tough work.

In this video, I give you my reasons for making this summer a time to study, learn and do this Renewing of the Mind. I mean, we just DID this study here at the blog, right? So why on *earth* am I revisiting it? Why should someone who hasn’t done this study do this one instead of something else? Why should Thin Within participants do this “non-Thin Within” study? (Barb Raveling’s material is awesome, but she is not a Thin Within participant and prefers another approach for maintaining her healthy size–in spite of my bantering with her about it! LOL!)

Have a look at this video:

We will begin to evaluate what our focus on thin is doing to us. (You can take a moment to journal about this, if you like.) Is it  serving our godly goals? Is hopping on the scale so many times in a day something that draws us closer to God? Are we growing in trust and dependence on God when we have a death grip on food and scrutinize every single nutrition label? Are we condemning ourselves more than we are walking in the wonderful freedom that Christ paid for with his precious blood?  Can we be free from our emotions and thoughts causing us to eat? What if we release our grip on the food? Will that just send us into clothes that are 4 sizes larger than what we are currently wearing? What do you believe? Journal about this.

This summer, we will evaluate  thoughts we have that control our actions. What we think about (especially again and again) affects what we believe. What we believe affects our actions. What actions will result in the transformation we hope for? What actions are needed to experience the transformation GOD hopes for in our lives?

This is the heart of this study, but it will have some VERY practical applications. You will experience great breakthroughs!

In all my years of supporting people in the Thin Within program, I have never seen the large numbers of people having breakthroughs as I have since using Barb’s Renewing of the Mind material to supplement other Thin Within material. I hope you will give this the next three months and really give it a try and see.

To understand a bit about what this summer’s study will be about, please stop here and read this post at Barb’s blog. It is an easy read and explains what we are up to this summer.

In her post, Barb encourages us to look at Ephesians 4:17-24. I have linked it here for you. I would suggest you study this passage, answering a few questions, perhaps. You can do this in your new “Renewing of the Mind” journal if you like. Here is a bible study from this passage that you can use if you like:

1.) From your experience, what describes the way the “Gentiles” (unbelievers, world) live?

2.) What is “futile” about the way the world thinks?

3.) Have you struggled at all with thinking the way the world does–in futility? What examples can you think of relative to your journey with food, eating, size?

4.) As Christians, we don’t have to be concerned about being separated from the life of God since Christ paid the price for us to have access to God, but we can nevertheless remain in darkness in the way we think. We can do this habitually and harden our hearts to God’s voice. Have you struggled with this in your life at all? How so?

5.) In what ways have you experienced less sensitivity to the Lord and given yourself over at times to indulge in impurity with a constant lust for more? The obvious answer may have to do with overeating, but can a quest to be thin also be thought of in a similar light? How so?

6.) What are some practical things that you can do to “put off the former way of life” and the “old self?” (see verses 22)

7.) Do you see any ways that your former way of life was corrupted by deceitful desires? How so?

8.) Spend some time journaling about the promise of verses 23 and 24. How does it sound to you to experience the following:

  • to be made new in the attitude of your mind?
  • to put on your new self created to be like God in TRUE righteousness and holiness?

9.) Journal a prayer to God about your desire to no longer think like you have in the past, but to think differently during the course of our study this summer…to be trained for the rest of your life!

10.) Sit with your journal open for a few minutes. Ask God to impress HIS thoughts upon you…what is HE speaking over you right now? Jot it down. (Share it with us here if you like!)

Here is the recorded version of our online class that we held during the week this class originally ran:

These posts have been edited for those of you going through later than our 2013 class. So, you can go at your own pace. The way this was originally intended was for a posting each Monday. Then, the participants (you!) could spread doing the assignment out over the week or do it all in one sitting. Even if you are later in doing the study, you can still comment here at the blog. Some have subscribed to the comments and may respond if you have a question or need support.


1.) Write down what you believe about food, about yourself, about emotions, about your ability to be your natural, God-given size, and anything else that you might want to deal with. Skipping lines as you write in your journal will give you room for the rest of the activity.

2.) Interrogate what you wrote down with truth…use the Philippians 4:8 test… Is the thought TRUE, noble, good, pure, excellent, praiseworthy, etc?

3.) Prayerfully ask God to help you to recognize lies in what you have written down. Reject them. Simply, cross them out. Replace those lies with God’s view of the situation by writing the TRUTH down next to the crossed-out lies.

An example would be I will never be able to get this weight off.


I have to be thin in order to ever be happy.

The truth is, these are lies. I hope that thin will be put in it’s place–that we will begin to think God’s thoughts about thin and size and weight. What are GOD’s thoughts about these beliefs? We can do all things through Christ!

4.) Recognize little “t” truths that you magnify or give a lot of time and attention to. An example of a “little t” truth might be I have such a hard time losing weight and keeping it off. This may, in fact, be true. How much mental energy do you give this thought? Is it owning you? Are you condemning yourself for this? Is it a truth that has any right affecting your mood, your thoughts, your actions? How much are you “magnifying” it? Are you making it bigger than God? Would magnifying the Lord make a difference?

5.) Write down Truth – Big “T” Truth – from God’s Word to replace any of the lies that you are now choosing to reject or that trumps any of the little “t” truths. An example of a Big T truth that trumps the little t truth of I have a hard time keeping weight off might be:

God is doing a new thing

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me 

God has begun a good work in me and he will complete it.

Even better if we begin to realize: Being thin isn’t as important to God as I have made it out to be. Really…what are God’s thoughts about this?

For this summer’s study, you will want to have a journal, a translation of the bible you like, and a spiral bound set of index cards. You can purchase the cards this way. More on that during this week’s online class.

6.) If you can either join us for the class on Wednesday by registering here, or watch the recorded version of it–you need to sign up for that, too.

7.) If you don’t have an accountability partner yet, prayerfully consider getting one.

I hope you are taking captive any thoughts that say “I can’t do this much work!” or “This won’t work for me!” or “I don’t get it!” and submit these thoughts to Christ in obedience. Instead, ask God what HIS thoughts are about this study, this work, this hope for you for this summer. Replace the lies or “little ‘t’ truths” with HIS thoughts–his “BIG ‘T ‘Truths!”

Todays the DAY!!!! Week 1 of HEAL Study 2013


Photo Courtesy of iStockPhoto

Welcome to our launch day for our study of the Healthy Eating and Abundant Living book by Allie Marie Smith and Judy Halliday (the founder of Thin Within).

If you haven’t yet gotten the book, check it out here.

First, a video to talk about where we are going (email subscribers may want to visit the blog site so that you can see the video if it doesn’t show up in your email):

Three things that I hope you will allow God to really bring home to your life through your study:

  1. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (See Psalm 139:14) You might want to renew your mind about this. Use this passage to think differently about YOU!
  2. For six weeks, consider committing to this path. Just a month and a half. That means you won’t quit. You won’t give up–even if you don’t do it “perfectly.” Just hang in there and keep on doing your lessons and showing up and sharing your thoughts here at the blog. Post here to encourage others. For six weeks…will you? 🙂 Pretty please? (Yes, I am shamelessly pleading!)
  3. Step into the light…no longer hiding anything from the Lord. To learn the truth about yourself. He is gentle, kind and loving. We don’t need to run from truth (which we sometimes tend to do). Invite him to shine his light on your heart and life.

Assignment this week:

  • Can you get an accountability partner? 🙂 Prayerfully consider it.
  • Look over the HEAL principles on pages 9 and 10 (and if you haven’t read the introductory material yet in the book, you might want to do that).
  • Consider starting a GOD List (more details to come). You can find an explanation here.
  • Adopt the primary boundary of eating 0 to 5 — waiting for physical hunger (in Thin Within we call that “0”) and selecting any food you desire (no dieting rules, good food/bad food lists). Stop eating when you approach “5” — physical satisfaction. If you aren’t sure about when that is, serve yourself about half as much food and eat twice as slow as you typically do. 🙂 It will feel like you are eating just as much.
  • Complete the personal study and group study for Lesson 1–this is through page 29 of my version of the book (second edition) or up to the place where it says TWO: The HEAL Basics.
  • Complete the WHERE I AM evaluation included in those pages.
  • Renew your mind. Replace lies with truth in a practical way…with scripture memory cards, with Barb’s app, with a list you prepare ahead of time. We will be talking more about that in the next 6 weeks.

How this will work – Each Monday, I will post the new assignment and also a video to preview what we have ahead. On Fridays, I will post about the material we have studied…even though some of you may not have finished the week’s material…that’s ok. Please don’t feel like you have to quit because you aren’t at the same place. TRULY, it is NOT a problem. I know some don’t check the blog on Saturday and so want to have it available for those who do on Friday. If you don’t get to it until Saturday, that’s fine. Remember to go at whatever pace God leads YOU.

Even if you aren’t going through the study with us, it is my intention to make the content here at the blog relevant to both those who are doing the study AND those who aren’t. So please keep on visiting!

So, how do you feel about this new leg of the journey? What is God impressing upon your heart even now? How can we be praying for you?

10 Ways to Renew Your Mind and Why You Want To!


Image Courtesy of Image Stock Exchange

Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—
his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

We all have beliefs that subtly erode our values, boundaries, and godly goals. Sometimes these beliefs are about ourselves. Sometimes they are about God and his care about us. Whatever it is that you need to renew your mind about, it is totally worth the time and effort it will take to do it. If we don’t, we might find that something we value, rely upon, that is foundational in our life, slips off and out of our lives. We don’t want to experience the depth of this sort of loss. We want to guard against it! Wisdom would require that we be proactive. Romans 12:2 says we don’t want to do as the world does and just let whatever happens happen. We want to allow God to transform us and he will do this by renewing our minds.

Relative to our Thin Within journeys, the sorts of thoughts we may have might be:

  • I won’t ever get this weight off…and even if I do, I won’t keep it off.
  • I am such a failure. I never can string together two good days of 0 to 5 eating.
  • I simply MUST have ice cream each day! If not ice cream, then cookies or brownies or…something to “treat” myself!
  • I MUST be a size 6. If I can’t get down to a 6, then I am a failure.
  • God doesn’t care about my weight/size. If he did, he would remove this struggle from my life.
  • I keep letting God down. He is so disappointed with me.

NONE of these are truths! NONE of these reflect the way GOD thinks!

Here are 10 ways you can renew your mind so that He can transform you from the inside out!

1. Using Barb’s I Deserve a Donut App

2. Using Barb’s Weight Loss Bible Study

3. Truth Journaling

4. Go through a favorite book of the bible–for me it is Ephesians–and pull out all the truths that are there that can refute the lies you tend to tell yourself. Make index cards, type up a document, make a graphic image, write out post-it notes…so that the verses and the thoughts that go with the notes are EVERYWHERE that you may struggle. If you struggle in the kitchen, post them there. If the dining table, post them there. If with the scale, tape them on the scale. If the mirror, tape them on the mirror. If in the car, tape them on the mirror. You get the idea!

5. Create a God List. That is explained here and in this video:

6. Use the God List to have a praise-fest or Praise FEAST! That is explained here.

7. Memorize Scripture. You can use this iPod, iPad, or iPhone app to do that–or just the good old fashioned way of index cards and practicing going through them!

8. Start and update a gratitude blog. Mine is here if you want to have a look (it needs updating).

9. Create a “Renewing My Mind” play list on your mp3 player or iPod. I have suggestions at my other blog here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

10. Ask a friend to hold you accountable for your thinking. I recently asked Barb, who is my accountability partner, to hold me accountable for something I clearly need to renew my mind about. It doesn’t have to do with eating so I won’t bog you down with the whole story here, but I will be posting about it at my other blog sooner or later.

The point is, we don’t want to let whatever happens happen to our thinking. When our thoughts and feelings are given free rein, they take us into crazy places! Places where lies seem like truth!

Instead, we want to allow GOD’s thoughts to be our own thoughts. In His Word, he tells us what he thinks. The more we bathe our minds with Scripture and truth from Scripture, the more we will think like he does. That is what we WANT! 😀

Which of these will you try…today? If you are already routinely renewing your mind is there a new approach you can take to doing so? Is there a new thought that God might perhaps want you to renew your mind about?