Chapter 3 Get Thin Stay Thin – Grace Not Legalism Part 5

Today I want to focus a bit on the mechanics introduced in Chapter 3 of Get Thin Stay Thin. We have been looking at a new Key to Conscious Eating each day. Let’s review them so far and press on with applying ourselves to doing them today…

–> Practical Challenge Today:

  • Continue with Key to Conscious Eating #1 – eat only when my body is physically hungry.
  • Continue Key to Conscious Eating #2 – Reduce the number of distractions in order to eat in a calm environment.
  • Continue Key to Conscious Eating #3 – Eat only when sitting down.
  • Continue Key to Conscious Eating #4 – Eat only when your mind and body are relaxed.

So far, the keys haven’t sprained our brains particularly. Sure, we may think there has to be more to it, but none of these keys fly in the face of all the “diet wisdom” that is out there, per say. For some folks reading this blog, the key we add today may. (More on this in a minute!)

  • Practice Key to Conscious Eating #5 – Eat and drink only the food and beverages that I enjoy.

It is important not to toss out Keys 1-4 when doing this! Key #5 is meant to be practiced with all the other keys in place. Otherwise, the result will be a foodfest! NOT what we are after! ๐Ÿ™‚

In fact, let’s get ahead of ourselves for just a moment and introduce Key #8 as well…I highly recommend practicing this key when practicing key #5. There HAS to be a stopping place! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Practice Key to Conscious Eating #8 – Stop before my body is full.

You can wait until you are hungry. You can have a calm, peaceful environment, sit down and have everything right with the world, enjoy foods you love, but if you don’t have an appropriate stopping place, you will still gain weight.

Backing up to Key #5 – eating what you enjoy – this means anything. If you love salad, go ahead and eat it if you are hungry. If you hate it, don’t! If you enjoy full-fat ice cream, eat it when you are hungry! If you don’t love it, don’t eat it. Just be sure you check in with your body FIRST. Are you hungry? Physically empty? At a true “0?” Then that is the green light to eat, but you want to be sure to do so calmly and quietly, sitting down, inviting the Lord with you into the meal/snack. As you eat, check in with your body and be sure to stop eating when you are no longer hungry.

This is where some people raise the red flags and say “Hold on! If I eat anything I want, I will be eating hot fudge sundaes, cheese enchiladas and the list is endless! I will gain weight, not lose it!” If you ignore your body’s signal that it is satisfied, then that will be true. By being calm, sitting down, focusing on your food and inviting God into the meal, though, you will know when you are approaching satisfied and be able to stop. Being willing may be another story.

We have to realize that it isn’t a particular food that makes us over-weight.

What makes us over-weight is eating too much of any food! (Even diet foods!)

If diets and diet foods worked for losing weight, then since the advent of diet drinks, non-fat dressings, and low-calorie cookies and so forth, we should have become people with fewer weight problems! The exact opposite is true, however. We continue to have more obesity, obesity related health problems and yet diet foods are in abundance! We may be eating our “reduced fat” Oreos, but in increased quantities. Half the fat so twice as many!

Instead of focusing on the food, let’s allow God to transform our hearts. That is why I have been studying the Get Thin Stay Thin book. This book speaks to my need to allow God to change me from within, inviting me to intimacy with the Creator of the Universe and intimacy with other people. God wants to heal the wounds of my past and present while inviting me into vital, rich relationships now that are grounded in and by Him.

As I prevail myself upon God’s grace, I can enjoy any food that my body desires withing godly boundaries of physical hunger and satisfaction. This is, in fact, how I lost 100 pounds. I never ate a single salad, rice cake, or a single YoPlait yogurt! I continued to eat foods I loved, but in moderation–according to my body’s signals.

Practically, what I have found is that foods with more fat in them tend to sustain me longer…I am not hungry again as soon. Foods that are lower in fat content (like salsa!) don’t sustain me as long. My body knows how often it needs fuel. My body processes the food I eat and as long as I respect the signals of hunger and satisfaction, I will continue to release extra weight until I am at my God-intended size no matter what food I eat. The key isn’t what I eat. It is why–and how much. The why should always be connected to my body’s need for fuel. The how much is, too!

As a person progresses in this process, we begin to want to exercise more discretion…but that is a discussion for another time. Right now, allow yourself to experience the flavors of all the wonderful foods that are available to enjoy. Just do so with an appropriate boundary: physical need–as indicated by the body’s signals of hunger and satisfaction.

The principles are not fixed formulas or rigid rules. They are guidelines that involve choices. To be under grace is freedom–we have the privilege of seeing God’s design for ordered eating and then choosing. God honors us with the freedom to fail and succeed as we risk living a life of faith. As we begin to practice the principles, we will see that God is calling us to surrender to a growing up, a maturing process. This is a challenge that calls us to have the courage to step out of our grave clothes of legalism and allow God to conform us from within. GTST, p. 70

Day 56 TLT – Worship Wins the War!

If there were a way to summarize the most vital truth that I have seen in The Lord’s Table and all that I have learned on this rather long, cumbersome (at times) journey I have been on through Thin Within, Thin Again (now known as Get Thin Stay Thin) and the rest…for the past 10 years or so…I would say it was definitely in today’s TLT workbook lesson.

The key…again and again…I have found true in my life…from one weary wanderer to another…it is Worship.

What do you sigh for? What do you long for? What do you focus on? What do *I* sigh for, long for, focus on?

Is it “0?” “I can’t wait to be hungry so I can have _____. Oh when will I be hungry???”
Reminds me of Psalm 63: 1 which reads:

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I think many times, I have the heart that this depicts for worship, but it is directed not at the Lord, but at “godly” hunger…NOT. Look at what I mean:

O hunger, you are my god…
earnestly I seek you.
I can’t wait to find you.
To BE hungry so I can EAT!
My soul thirsts for you…
my taste buds long to be hungry…
just so I can eat what I want…
and call it “godliness.”

God forgive me for this. The godly boundaries of eating between hunger and satisfaction were never designed to be worshiped to that I could lust for that instead of the Lord! If you are like me and can relate to my warped psalm, let us all repent! He alone will satisfy us!

So, what AM I focusing my attention on? Am I focusing on being “ripped off?” All I am giving up? My misery? How I can’t have my way? How I am “suffering for the Lord?”

All of this is a misaligned focus. It just is a ruse of the enemy to get me to focus on ME, MY way, MY will…and as long as I give in to this…it is so self-indulgent, really…I will always feel like this journey isn’t going anywhere, but is like a perpetual treadmill out in the desert of life.

The key to moving forward in life, to growing in the Lord, to a vibrant, “successful,” victorious experience of the ABUNDANT life…to finding your freedom inside and out…to landing at and staying at and being at peace at our “natural God-given size,” is…WORSHIP THE LORD GOD!

This is true. Honest. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know it to the depths of my heart.

Mike Cleveland summarizes it beautifully in this lesson:

True worship is made up of at least four different elements:
FOCUS – True worship requires that we focus on the object of our worship.
BOW – This is a position of respect and humility.
OFFER – God desires that we offer ourselves in worship
ENJOY – Our supreme delight should be in the enjoyment of God
(TLT, p. 181)

We worship whatever it is that has our focus, our hearts, our submission…that which we enjoy.

Food has had this place in my life for far too long! So now (again? still?) I earnestly pursue a love relationship with the Lord for all I am worth as I want food or hunger to no longer have my focus, my adoration, my offering, my enjoyment. Yes, I can enjoy food…but as a gift from the Lord of the Universe! Life isn’t about food! It is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14 about verse 17 I think it is. LOL!).

Though we will never hear this from the world, becoming free from overeating is a matter of learning how to enjoy the Lord. Freedom comes from learning how to drink Him in, how to quench our thirst in Him, how to feast our souls on Him. It is impossible to enjoy sin and enjoy the Lord at the same time, and those who are learning to nourish their souls and quench their thirst in Jesus are done with overeating. (TLT, p. 182)

I press on now. I see more than ever…worship is the “magic bullet” that will cure our overeating and overweight. Worship of the One True Lord and King. He is most worthy.

If the next time I am putting a fork (or fist) to my mouth with food ready to go in I would stop and prayerfully ask first:

  1. Does the Lord have my focus in this moment? Or does this food?
  2. In this moment, before whom/what am I bowing? Is it the cheese enchilada? Or is it the Lord Almighty?
  3. Does taking this bite reflect a life that is offered to the Lord in humble sacrifice? Am I eating to be nourished? Or is there another factor at work motivating me? How can I, in this moment be a living sacrifice, offering the parts of my body to God as instruments of righteousness?
  4. Does taking this bite reflect one who enjoys GOD as the supreme delight in life?

I can’t help but think that these questions, honestly answered will revolutionize my life even further.

God wants my worship. He has given me so many gifts and I so often make them the focus of my life. So often I BOW before his gifts, giving them say over my life. I offer myself to the gifts the Lord has given to me. I enjoy the gifts, failing to praise the Giver of every GOOD and perfect gift.

Lord, in this day, I seek to worship ONLY you. Make it so, dear Lord.

Day 52 TLT Take Every Thought Captive

Rather than give a detailed summary of what is in the TLT workbook today, I am going to flesh it out.

Three things in this lesson:
1.) Take captive every thought and let Christ be the judge of whether or not the thought should be allowed entrance into the mind and heart. If Christ says no, reject the thought…but this must be done to see if CHRIST wants the thought in there. I can either take the thought captive or be taken captive by the thought. The passage is 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

2.) It isn’t enough to just reject negative thoughts. We must also embrace thoughts that are godly. This principle is found in Philippians 4:8. Do my thoughts (or what I am reading, watching, etc…) pass the “Philippians 4:8 Test?” The idea being I will only dwell on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy. When it comes to rejecting negative thoughts, we have to also have something positive to think about…God’s Word provides that.

3.) Philippians 4:9 takes it a step further. Whatever we know to do, we are to DO it. This connects with the previous lessons.

This three step process will enable us to not be taken captive by lustful or greedy thoughts about food when we aren’t hungry. Or to allow ourselves be beaten up by the enemy when he accuses us.

And this is what I want to hash out here today…

This is very hard for me. Only a week ago (it feels like forever…) I obeyed what I felt the Lord wanted me to do and put the scale away “forever.” But this came at the tail end of a fasting of sweets which was in response to my reaction to having given up diet soda drinking (which I drank verrrry excessively).

But rather than throwing other “must dos” at myself in response to removing aspartame from my life, I should have *processed* what was going on in me when I removed the diet coke. That would have been a grace-filled thing to do.

While the caffeine withdrawals likely took only a few short days to weather through, the psychological and spiritual withdrawals from diet soda were much more severe and intense. I found myself gravitating toward sweet foods again.

So I fasted sweet foods. While I fasted sweets for about 10 days, I was at such peace…but when I allowed them in my life again, I found that a “dieting mentality” had crept back into my mind and heart. Subtly, my thinking had shifted from “all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial…I will not be mastered by anything…” to THESE ARE NOT permissible! THIS IS NAUGHTY! I am BAD! Followed by desperately rebelling against that rigidity…

At the same time, I knew there was one more stronghold in my life…that of depending on the bathroom scale. So I decided to remove it from my life. Do you see the desperation? I was throwing band-aids everywhere. Likely what I needed to do was *process* the removal of a significant thing from my life…diet soda. I missed that.

All of this was taking on a lot emotionally at one time. (This sounds so whiny and ridiculous to me…) I am not sure all of this at the same time was from the Lord. Certainly, I think he would have wanted me to process what was going on in my reaction as I came off of nutrasweet. I deflected really doing that. Instead I treated symptoms…fasted sugar. Adding more angst and emotional baggage, perhaps, to things that needed to be brought before the throne of God.

Ok, so where does that leave me today?

Today I pulled out the scale. (The voice says “Another failure…”) It reflected what I knew to be true. My eating is off kilter. I didn’t need the scale to tell me that, but I began to feel like NOT having a man-made number to attach to it at this stage of my journey was to be in denial.

I share this with such struggle…the accusations of the enemy have come to fruition. He laughs with glee. The scale actually says SIX POUNDS up. I need to confess this here…by way of keeping a lid on pride and by way of accountability. Given my accountability reports to my accountability partner, there must also have been a LOT of deception going on too!

This is where today’s lesson really comes home, though.

My response to this man-made arbitrary number (and the rest that goes with it) is deep sadness. Truthfully, it isn’t the number alone that makes me sad. It is the truth that my greed and DECEPTION has put me in the place that it shows up so quickly on the scale.

The thoughts that are now bombarding me for entrance into my life are all the same voices that the enemy has thrown at me for a couple of years now… “See? You ARE a fraud!” “You may think you have everyone fooled, but WE know the truth! The scale is finally proving it!” “You *are* a glutton! You ARE forever going to be a fat person trying to pretend she is someone else!” “Admit it! Give it up! You are a fake!”

These are the thoughts that are demanding entrance this morning.

The bottom line is this…the TRUTHS in my life are:
1.) I have been eating more than my body needs to be sustained
2.) Most of my eating outside of my godly boundaries has been sweet foods
3.) My physical body is beginning to carry the excess energy (By the way…before I got on the scale I knew this from the way my jeans were fitting…just a bit more snug…I didn’t really need the number to tell me anything!)

These are the TRUTHS.

In addition the following are truths as well:

4.) God is still God.
5.) I am still the Lord’s
6.) He is STILL doing a NEW thing in me right now!
7.) That which He has begun he WILL complete — His Word promises!

Going back to the steps outlined in today’s lesson in The Lord’s Table, then, step one is to surrender my thoughts to obedience to Christ. In this case, I must recognize that all the things that the enemy is whispering in my ear…they are LIES. So I will take captive each thought and bring it to God. He says “No…REJECT IT.” I will reject the enemy’s lies.

Step 2 then is to submit my thoughts to the Philippians 4:8 test. What is TRUE is vital here…so the list above is what I will rehearse in my mind today. Especially items 4-7 and related thoughts.

However, the truth is also that I have work to do relative to this whole nutrasweet dependency. Just because it is out of my life doesn’t mean I don’t have issues to deal with. It reminds me of addiction…often when you take the substance that is being abused out of a person’s life, they maintain the same behaviors, but with a different substance. Thus, the true issues aren’t dealt with.

God wants to deal with the underlying issues that motivate me to grab a hold of whatever it may be. He wants me to grab a hold of him no matter what! The only “substance” that I am to lean on is HIM.

Then thirdly, if I follow the lesson in TLT, I will DO what I know is best and right. For me, this has to include some ways of fighting negative thoughts today. So here is my battle plan:
1.) Gratitude blog today…I will write in it later today, but practice gratitude throughout the day
2.) I will get out my spiral cards and keep them with me today…bible verses are on them. I will work on memorizing a new one and review old ones I have memorized. I will pray the scriptures on them
3.) I will continue to pray every 60 minutes to reconnect with God (Soul Revolution the 60-60 experiment)
4.) I will keep praise music playing
5.) I will spend some time prayer journaling today…

I do plan on attacking the deeper issues as soon as TLT study is completed. My accountability partner and I will be going through the Hallidays’ Get Thin Stay Thin book together. (This book used to be called Thin Again and before that it was called Silent Hunger. It is a challenging book that looks at the underlying causes of our overeating (and other things)…it is what I need right now, even though I went through it some years ago…).

If I have a thought of “You weigh _____! You are a FRAUD!” I will combat that with, “I am more than a conqueror in Christ. God IS doing a new thing in me! I perceive it! I will fix my eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of my faith…” and so on.

So…how about you? Do you have a battle of the mind going on today too? What can you do to apply these three things:
1.) Take captive thoughts to obedience to Christ?
2.) Submit your thinking, your doing, reading, watching to the Philippians 4:8 test?
3.) DO something that will be a response to what you KNOW? (Phil 4:9)?

Join me, ok? I am praying for you and for me…

Day 46 TLT – ‘Fess UP!

The thing about blabbing to the world via a blog or Facebook or the Thin Within forums, is that the “world” may be watching to see what happens next. I have this very real sense…arrogant and erroneous as it may be…that the peanut gallery awaits, wondering how I did with my self-required fasting of sweets through Christmas Eve and…well…now what?

So here is my “report.” (Sound of the “tooting of own horn” may be heard in the background…)

Through Christmas Eve, I did “well.” Not perfectly, but almost completely without sweets. I did feel like I lived up to my promise to the Lord pretty well. (More tooting of own horn…)


Pride comes before a fall. So the sound you just heard (following the “tooting of own horn”) is that of a face plant…yes, my own…firmly…

Had you seen me yesterday, you would have thought that I was a raving lunatic…anything and everything that had any sugar content in it at all was eagerly “inhaled” outside of appropriate boundaries. I was a crazed person. I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t feel insane…but my actions betray my mental capacity at the time…Scratch that. I can’t blame it on being “insane” or a deficient mental capacity. I knew exactly what I was doing. And I had an “in your face” prideful attitude about it toward God and anyone who would dare to cast a “knowing” look my way at all!

No, I don’t feel like it was a “deprivation” reaction at all. I felt no deprivation through the 10 days (or so) that I fasted sweets. I felt peace and joy.

I think it was, simply, PRIDE.

Today’s lesson in The Lord’s Table workbook is called “Key to Victory–Ongoing Humility.”

This is one of the things that I have found to be VERY true, in fact, on this journey to release weight, to release attitudes that don’t honor the Lord, and to continue to grow in Him in a way that enables me to honor him with my eating, drinking…and, well, LIFE! If I don’t obtain and maintain and attitude of humility, all is lost for that moment, that hour, that day…

That is what happened to me yesterday.

I share this by way of confession.

Pride causes my guard to be down. I end up “trusting myself” that I can “handle it.” Combine that with an attitude of “God you are so blessed that I would honor you with my life! I have just really impressed you, haven’t I!”

Then, I minimize eating anything at all outside of 0 and 5…and in my case, God has shown me clearly that this is an attitude of pride. (Well, duh…one doesn’t need to be brilliant to see that!)

Once pride is allowed to grow unhindered in any moment at all, it goes nuts like the blackberry brambles I wrote about last summer…it takes over. Like it did for me yesterday until I was literally inhaling all the sugar that was in the house…and that at my relatives’, too. Homemade chocolate truffles, apple pie, peanut butter cup ice cream, lemon bars, homemade cinnamon rolls, Sees candy…and on and on it seems to go. Can you believe it?

So this lesson this morning in TLT workbook, really came home to me. I know this is truth. I have experienced it over the last 2 years and I saw it up close and personal yesterday.

Now we understand what we did wrong, and we get back on our knees (the Christian’s fighting position), humble ourselves before the Lord and ask Him once again for forgiveness and grace. We see how bankrupt we are in ourselves, how needy we are of the Lord, and how dependent we are on Him to win this battle…

Right here, in this position, is where we will win this battle. Right here, in the presence of Almighty God, with our hearts bowed in submission to Him, with the stark realization that we can do nothing apart from Him, is where the flesh loses all its power and where we gain true spiritual strength to mortify the members of our body which are on the earth (Romans 8:13). This attitude of “Help me God lest I perish” and “Give me Jesus or I’ll spin out of control” is the attitude that will win this battle for a lifetime.

(TLT, p. 146-147)

The lesson goes on to describe how one can foster an attitude of humility. This is a great lesson–one of the best in the workbook.

What are ways I will proceed to foster an attitude of humility?

1.) Be sure to begin the day with focused time with the Lord, recommitting myself to His Lordship, taking in His Word, inviting the conviction of the Spirit, time of prayer.

2.) Practicing gratitude through my gratitude blog – It is impossible for pride to continue when I praise God for what He has done and is doing in my life.

3.) For a while, I will choose to add an additional focused time with the Lord in my life…even if it is just 10 minutes…in the mid-afternoon. I begin the day with a posture of humility and then by mid-day I operate as a practical atheist ๐Ÿ™ acting independently of the Lord and His will.

4.) I will continue to use the 60-60 experiment from Soul Revolution to reconnect with God each hour. I will choose to stop whatever I am doing and intentionally recommit to the Lord’s authority in my life, stating affirmations such as, “Lord, I acknowledge you are the potter and I am the clay. I choose YOUR will in this moment.”

5.) I may need to build a weekly fasting day into my life…or every so often anyhow. I know that a single day fasting of food altogether is something God has used powerfully in my life in the past…not for the purpose of weight loss…or maintenance, but for prayer, to help me be dependent on him. When I am hungry, I sense better than ever that I am at his mercy and have such great need of him. The spiritual fruit from a day spent that way seems to go on.

Lord, I confess that my pride got me into trouble yesterday. I thank you for your forgiveness. In my arrogance, I strutted around, patting myself on the back for having “fasted sweets” for a period of time…Lord, I know that even wanting to do that was your doing in my life. Your strength and power enabled me to do so…it had nothing to do with anything in myself. Yet I allowed myself to consider defective, faulty thoughts of self-glorification. It got me into trouble and my heart was revealed for what it was. I am so thankful for grace, Lord. I resolve to live differently today. I affirm that you are the potter, I am the clay. Have your way with me, Lord. Not my will, but thine be done.

Day 30 of The Lord’s Table – The Discontented Heart

This lesson touches on one of the few things that I feel has TRANSFORMED (and continues to transform) my journey down this road. That of contentment or lack thereof.

The discontented heart is always craving; it is never satisfied. (TLT, p. 95)

Discontentment breeds craving. Discontentment breeds addiction and bondage. (TLT, p. 96)

God led me some time ago to begin a gratitude blog specifically to combat a spirit of discontentment and pride. I don’t keep it updated, but I do feel that gratitude is becoming more and more a habit of my life.

This lesson in TLT focuses on verses from Numbers 11. Mike Cleveland exposes the fact that a spirit of discontentment can result in craving that which the Lord has not provided. If we give in to this, it will lead potentially to death as it did with the Israelites.

I can definitely identify with this. When I want something outside of godly boundaries, I have a choice. I can think about what I want and what I don’t get to have or shouldn’t have or all the sacrifices I have to make (can you hear the whine in my voice?), or I can choose to foster a spirit of contentment and gratitude. When I intentionally choose to combat a spirit of discontent with a spirit of gratitude, I render pride inoperative. It is a death blow to Satan in that moment. He can’t have his way with me. I am humbled as I praise God for His provision and care. I esteem HIM as Lord instead of insisting “not THY will, but MINE be done.”

For years I allowed discontentment to live unhindered. It resulted in greed and cravings that I indulged. My health deteriorated. Death was imminent.

But then God intervened…

The teaching about contentment and gratitude is HUGE in making our way down this path and being rid of ungodly eating habits and, ultimately, the physical weight as well. Not only that, but it permeates every aspect of my life. When I am intentional about fostering gratitude, I am transformed!

What a great time of year to practice this! We have opportunities for a crash course in gratitude and contentment right now! Christmas will be different for our family this year…and with awareness of that, we have all felt frustrated and grumbled a lot. NO MORE. I will choose to be thankful for healthy family members. No one is in the hospital! No one is ill. My kids are a delight to me. My husband comes home to ME and is faithful. He has a job (so many people are out of work right now). I have a wonderful home and more than I ever could have dreamed. My walk with God is vibrant. The King of the Universe is constantly aware of me! I have His Word and a bible-teaching church to attend. I have the pleasure and privilege of participating on the worship team and leading a bible study for women in my home. So many blessings!

I will choose to be content with God’s portion in my life. This applies to material things *and* to food. He is my portion.

Therefore, let us set out not so much to overcome our cravings but rather to learn how to be content with God and His provision for us. (TLT, p. 96)