Starting Fresh – Morgan’s Thin Within Experience


My experience with Thin Within

By Morgan Trotter

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.

Me April 2012 ~ 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. 🙂

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10 Responses to Starting Fresh – Morgan’s Thin Within Experience

  1. Cher'sThinWithin December 9, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Thank you for sharing your journey , Morgan. Prayers as you press “restart”.

  2. Cher'sThinWithin December 9, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    PS prayerfully considering Jan. study here. Thanks for publicizing .

  3. Karen December 9, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    Looking forward to the class

  4. Karen K. December 9, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Morgan — Thank you so much for sharing your story. You did a perfect job in describing how Thin Within works. I especially like your comments on how the study helped you to re-focus and slow down in many other areas in life. I have remained at my weight-loss goal for quite a while now — only fluctuating a few pounds here and there. But — this is SO much more that weight-loss! If I see myself not keeping my relationship with Christ and others in the proper perspective — that’s when I tend to fall into temptation and put on a few pounds. Encouragement through God’s Word and with other believers is essential in this journey. Welcome! I look forward to sharing this walk with you on-line and will keep us all in my prayers every day. (By the way, I love that song on the screen behind you in your picture. One of my favorite worship songs!) God bless! KK

  5. Jamie December 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Thank you for sharing with us your story. God bless you on your weight loss journey. I really like thin within way of eating. God has made our body’s to tell us when hungry and full. It’s getting back in tune with the way God made us and depending on His strength to deliver us from over eating. Running to God our Father for his help and grace. Focusing on God and his way, not the food. Making food obey never works! It is so freeing to live and eat this way. : )

  6. gapark December 10, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    What a great approach! To God, all things are spiritual, therefore it makes sense that caring for our physical bodies (which are temples) would have spiritual connotations and significance. I like a scripture about keeping the Sabbath Day holy that touches on food:
    “And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.”
    Interesting that God would equate fasting, or eating simply as contributing to our experience of Joy.

  7. Christina December 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Morgan, thank you for sharing this! I really like the break-down you give about what TW is about and how it works. I’m praying that this upcoming study will be such an encouragement to you and all!

  8. Karon February 28, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Morgan…so glad I got to read this today. Thanks for sharing from a male perspective. Thanks for sticking around with us ladies as we walk on this journey. Bless you, Karon


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