My experience with Thin Within
I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my life. When I was about 9 or 10 I began to put on extra pounds, and became overweight for my age and size. Eventually my pediatrician put me on a low calorie diet, which my mother helped me follow to the letter. I didn’t enjoy it, but I lost the weight, and got down to my ideal weight.
As long as I was eating my mother’s cooking, I maintained a healthy weight, all the way up through the end of high school. But when I went away to college I began to gain weight again—everyone’s heard of the “freshman fifteen,” and that’s how it was for me. Throughout college my weight fluctuated depending on my activity level. But I had a growing waist line. My extra weight has always tended to gather around my middle, so that in college some of my friends “lovingly” began to call me the “Pillsbury dough boy” because of my growing belly.
After college I went away to graduate school, and continued to put on the pounds. My ideal weight for my height, frame, and age at that time was 180, but I was already getting up over 200.
I tend to eat as a response to stress. After my second year of grad school I went away for a year to do an internship in my field. That was a very stressful year for me, and by the end of it I was up around 230.
My weight stayed around 230 for the next few years. During that time I tried a couple different popular diets (a diabetic style diet using food exchanges—though I am not diabetic—and later Weight Watchers), but the changes I had to make in my eating habits seemed unnatural, and were hard to sustain over a long period of time. Those diets felt like torture in some ways because I had to give up eating many of the things I enjoyed in exchange for foods I didn’t enjoy. Those kinds of changes are almost impossible to maintain over a long period of time, and eventually I always seemed to gain back the weight I lost, and then some.
In the years following that I put on more weight, till I was finally up to about 255. Some friends in my church began expressing concern over my health and even kindly offered to pay to enroll me in one of those paid weight-loss programs. I looked into one of these, but about this same time, some other friends from my church, a husband and wife, told me about Thin Within. They had used Thin Within before with good results, and offered to start a Thin Within group. Really neither of them needed to lose much weight, maybe just 10 or 15 pounds. I think they were offering to create the group for my benefit, which I thought was very kind of them.
I took them up on it. They provided me with a copy of the Thin Within paperback book. We began going through the daily exercises and agreed to meet weekly to compare notes. Because the exercises for each day are very thorough, rather than doing a full 7 exercises each week, we decided to just cover about 3 per week.
Working through Thin Within with a group proved to be very effective. It gave me a feeling of support and accountability. They say “misery loves company” (lol), so knowing I was with others on the same journey helped me not to feel so alone.
I found the Thin Within materials very easy to use. I appreciated the biblical, spiritual approach to what authors Judy and Arthur Halliday call “releasing weight.” I was amazed to learn how many scriptures deal with food, and how eating is sometimes used in the Bible as a symbol of spiritual sustenance, too. I appreciated the book’s grace-filled approach, not using guilt as a motivator, but instead encouraging us to be gracious toward ourselves on the Thin Within journey.
I found Thin Within to be the easiest, most enjoyable approach to weight loss I’ve ever tried—and I’ve tried several. This is because Thin Within is built around the way God has created our bodies. Thin Within points out that thin people stay thin by paying attention to the body’s God-given hunger and fullness signals. Many of us have lost touch with these signals and so no longer respond to food in the ways God intended.
Thin Within retrains a person to get back in touch with the body’s natural hunger and satisfaction indicators. The program teaches you how to pay attention to your body and its hunger-fullness signals so you don’t eat more than you need to.
Because Thin Within is oriented in this way, you don’t have to count calories or avoid certain foods. Thin Within teaches that God gave foods their delicious taste for our pleasure and that these foods can all be enjoyed as we follow our body’s signals. Over time, Thin Within also teaches us how to listen for our body’s natural cravings for the most beneficial foods our bodies need.
With my two friends I followed the Thin Within methods for about 9 months. During that time I managed to release about 35 pounds. This weight loss seemed almost effortless because it was so natural.
As I followed the Thin Within methods, it became a lesson in listening. Thin Within teaches you to eat slowly and purposefully, to pay attention to your eating without focusing on anything else, so your brain can recognize when your body is satisfied. In essence, Thin Within teaches you to listen to your body.
I found, though, that learning to listen to my body caused me to pay more attention in other areas as well. I became aware of how little we really listen in our society. We stay busy and keep our minds pre-occupied with so many stimuli and rarely slow down long enough to listen to our bodies or anything else. The need to attend to my body’s signals forced me to slow down. It made me more aware of my need to listen to God as well. The questions in the Thin Within book ask you to consider what God is saying.
So Thin Within taught me a lot about listening—to my body, to God, to Scripture, and to others.
Unfortunately the time came when our group had to stop meeting, and I was on my own. From then on it was up to me to continue following Thin Within. On my own I didn’t do as well. I fell back into old habits like doing other things while I ate, such as reading or watching TV (which is very tempting when you live alone). About that time I also got into a dating relationship with a woman who didn’t have good eating habits either.
Eventually I gained back the weight I had lost. I didn’t stick with Thin Within long enough for it to become a habit. In recent years I’ve gained even more weight and am sadly the heaviest I’ve ever been. However, I’ve had a desire to go through Thin Within again and see if I can do a better job of incorporating its approach into my life on a permanent basis.
This is why I was excited to hear about a new online class Thin Within is sponsoring beginning in January 2014. The idea of being a part of a Thin Within group again gives me hope of being able to create a new healthier lifestyle in the new year. I look forward to the new class with anticipation.
~ Morgan is an aspiring singer-songwriter and writer, a worship leader, and a former pastor with a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. Morgan lives in Alabama with his father, a polio survivor.
What About You?
Have you, like Morgan, experienced victory with the Thin Within approach in the past? Do those days seem like an ancient memory? What can you do right now to start fresh like Morgan? Would it be helpful to link up with our Thin Within class, too? We would love to have you! You can also post here at the blog any day of the week and often others will respond in a helpful-community sort of way. 🙂