I feel like I broke off a huge chunk of a taproot today!
This bondage to food is like a huge tree with very long and thick taproots burrowing deep into the ground. The taproots become larger, longer, and thicker every time we eat when we aren’t hungry. The stronghold (tree and taproots) just get bigger and bigger in our lives.
What is it going to take to remove this huge tree and those very large taproots? It’s going to take spiritual weapons to remove it all!
The length of time it will take to remove the tree and taproots depends on how large the tree and taproots have become in your life.
For me, I became morbidly obese (I hate that term!), so my tree is gigantic, as are the taproots. It is not impossible to conquer this, but will take huge amounts of spiritual weapons to bring down the tree and dry up the taproots.
The spiritual tools I will need to use are: daily affirmations, mind renewal spoken aloud at least once or twice a day, prayer, Bible study especially concerning food issues, self control, faithfulness and discipline.
These will all work together to begin to loosen and dry up those taproots.
Last night I got the strongest urge to eat. I wasn’t even sure if I was hungry. It felt like I was getting a hunger pang, or maybe it was in my mind. I decided this would be a good time to practice saying no to my flesh, so I spoke out loud: “I’m saying no to my flesh.”
Saying no to my flesh is saying yes to honoring God in my eating, yes to walking again, (literally for me!), and yes to getting my life back. Getting my life back is getting my own independence back and doing things for myself again.
I had just heard a statement: “If my flesh is screaming, it’s not dead yet.” My flesh is like a little child wanting its way, having a temper tantrum. When this happens it’s a prime time to offer my body to and honor God. At that moment it becomes good seed to give to God.
So I felt like a huge chunk of the taproot was released last night when I didn’t eat. I offered my choice to not eat to God and honored him. I offered my body as a living sacrifice to God. I gave up food I wanted to eat and offered that to God as a gift.
Not eating is a seed, and when you give God a “not eating seed,” He multiplies that seed to you. He multiplies the seed sown and increases the fruits of righteousness in you. (2 Corinthians 9:10…)
It’s like a farmer planting seeds in the ground. Whatever you plant is what you get! If I plant tomato seeds, I will get tomatoes, not corn. If I plant cucumber seeds, I get cucumbers, not watermelons.
So if I want to not eat as much, then I will have to plant periods of not eating in my life. As I offer that to God, it becomes good seed for him to grow in me. Does that make sense? It is a spiritual law.
Here is the scripture in its entirety (KJV):
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food and multiply your seed sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”
The same thing happens when we tithe. We give, and he gives back more! It’s a beautiful law that works. I understand this principle financially and have seen God multiply my finances over and over again.
But trying it out with God in the weight-releasing realm was another story. However, God used a “Big D Episode” (being disobedient and paying for it with digestive issues and the like,) to turn my attention to this realm. So I’m beginning to put this scripture into practice in my life more and more, which is key.
It is amazing how God can take small amounts of obedience and turn them into huge victories. Only our God can do that!
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10)
(See her bio below.)
Imagine a pile of gifts under the Christmas tree. Actually, no need to imagine; here’s the exact scenario I’m talking about…
Now imagine that one of the gifts has this message on the tag: “Do not open until December 25!” (See further down.)
Of course, even if that message is not stated right on the tag, the expectation is still there that it is not to be opened until “the appointed time,” be that Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or whenever your family chooses to open gifts.
So let’s say it’s a week before Christmas and I spot a gift with a tag that says “To Barb from Dave.” I grab it, shake it a little, say “THANK YOU, Dave!” and start tearing off the wrapping paper.
Dave says “What are you DOING?!?!?!? You can’t open that!”
I say “What do you mean?? It says right here that it’s from you to ME!”
Dave answers “But it’s only December 18th! It’s not time to open presents yet!”
Reluctantly I put it back… to wait for December 25 to get here.
So let’s take a closer look at what I was really doing…
Was I thankful? Indeed I was! Wasn’t that enough? Nope! I was thanking Dave for a gift that, while it had been bought and even wrapped for me, and was going to be mine eventually, it was not yet the appointed time for me to receive and open it. I was starting to open something that had not actually been given to me yet.
The Lord showed me that this is what’s actually taking place when I give thanks for food I want – and even start – to eat, but I am not yet at a zero.
Yes, the food was chosen for me (perhaps by me) and it’s intended for me, but the Giver is not yet giving it to me because it is not yet time.
So I really don’t have any business thanking God for it until it is actually “the appointed time” for me to eat. Which is when I’m actually hungry!
If I sit down at the table and start to say “Thank You Lord for this meal,” no matter how appreciative I am, it’s not going to change the fact that I should not actually be thanking God for it when he has not actually given it to me – YET.
“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy desires of every living thing.“ (Psalm 145:15–16)
He gives us our food “at the proper time.” I looked up proper, and one of the meanings is “appropriate to the purpose.”
Okay, so what is the purpose of food? … To nourish our bodies and keep us alive and healthy.
So “proper time” doesn’t mean we have to have meals at a certain (or proper) set time, like breakfast at 8am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6pm. It means that when our bodies are actually getting hungry, then is when it’s “the proper time” to refuel them.
So what we want to aim for is eating in the right timing – as in when we actually need the food. And I do not actually need it physiologically until I am physiologically hungry.
Head hunger cannot be satisfied with physical food. God alone, as it says in verse 16, satisfies our desires – our head hunger – with Himself.
He opens His hand to me, but my part is to take from His hand. At the proper time – when I’m actually hungry.
And it is at that point I can – and, of course, should – express my gratitude to Him, because He is actually giving it to me then. That is the right time to be thankful for my food!
Lord, I have a lot going on today; many things on my plate. You said You’ll be with us always, which includes TODAY! So would You help me prepare for these things ahead instead of being a sitting duck and waiting until I’m in the middle of them – sinking down, getting overwhelmed, confused, or discouraged?
Christina (Motley) often talks about asking God, at the beginning of the day, to help her process things she knows will be coming up that day. This is the first I had ever heard of doing this, and I love the concept!
I invite you to join me as I walk through asking the Lord to help me process five things I deal with on a regular basis.
You’ll recognize many of the truths herein as being things we have heard from Heidi and Christina in the Thin Within groups and materials!
Okay, Lord, let’s DO this!
My past failures tend to creep up on me and suck me down into the miry pit of discouragement. I easily start feeling I’LL NEVER CHANGE! Why even try? I’ll just fail again!
TRUTH: Yesterday’s failures do not define or confine me. God has forgiven me, (assuming I have asked), so despite what I couldn’t do yesterday (or simply chose not to do), the truth for this moment is that I can begin afresh right now because today is a brand new day!
PLAN: When failures come at me like a fastball, and the enemy tries to use them to strike me down, hit him back with these verses:
SCRIPTURE: “Remember not the former things, [the things of the past] nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19) | “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning (and it’s always morning somewhere on the planet!); great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22–24) | “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
PRAY: Lord, I’m so grateful that You don’t hold my past against me, and that You don’t want me to keep regurgitating my failures and sins. Thank You that You are doing a new thing in me! Help me be aware of it springing forth in me rather than continually focusing on my sins, failures and weaknesses. I want to walk with You as You make a way in the wilderness of my undisciplined thought life and rivers in the dry desert of my gluttonous nature..
I have many things to do today and am feeling overwhelmed trying to decide what to do and not do, and how to get everything done that I need to get done.
TRUTH: The Lord knows what He wants me to do today and He is able to show me this and to UNoverwhelm me.
PLAN: Make a list of all the things that need to be done so that they aren’t just floating around and hitting me in the head all day. Pray, wait, and allow God to show me what to do next, and then next… and what to let go of, at least for today. And even though I don’t think I know how to hear the Lord, see John 10:27 below.
SCRIPTURE: “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) | “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34) | “Let all things [that the Lord wants me to do] be done decently [kindly, dutifully, suitably, and generously; not minimally or begrudgingly] and in order.” (I Cor. 14:40)
PRAY: Lord, You know everything before me today, and what all You want me to do. So show me what I do and don’t need to do today, and how to accomplish all that You want me to!
STUFF I DON’T WANT TO DO
Lord, there’s a task that I don’t want to do today, something I’ve been procrastinating doing just because it’s distasteful and I simply do NOT want to do it!
TRUTH: Whether or not I want to do this is not my bottom line, but whether or not God wants me to do it. I’m thankful that I’m physically capable of doing it.
PLAN: Pray the prayer below, and then get in and JUST DO IT!
SCRIPTURE: “For the moment, all discipline [hard work that I don’t particularly want to do] seems painful [distasteful] rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [including having something done that I didn’t want to do] for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
PRAY: Lord, would You help me not only do this, but also make me extra aware of Your presence while I do it? I’d love it if you put something on my mind and heart to think about and process with You while I (we) do it.
Lord, there are all sorts of yummy foods in the fridge and my pantry, and they’re calling my name!! I just SO want to eat them ALL – or at least as much as I can cram in!
TRUTH: Yes, there are lots of good things to eat, but that doesn’t mean I need to eat them all today, or ever! The truth is that it’s more wasteful to eat it all than to toss what we don’t eat; the excess fuel in my body will weigh me down, rob me of energy, and steal my joy and my “food-peace.” The truth is that “one more bite” will not bless me or help me; it will take me in the opposite direction from where God wants to take me, which is into freedom, peace, and joy.
PLAN: Each time I get down to zero, I can eat a small amount of whatever I want – up to “satisfied.” Focus more on abiding in Jesus today so that “there I’ll be” when troubles come.
SCRIPTURE: “For God has not given me a spirit of fear [of the yummy leftovers in the fridge], but of power [to not eat everything in one sitting], of love [of myself, enough to tend to my actual needs and not lusts], and a sound mind” [which, as God renews it, is capable of regarding food as merely “tasty, enjoyable fuel” and not as entertainment!] (2 Timothy 1:7)
PRAY: Lord, thank you so much for Your provision, which is so abundant that I have enough food to actually have this problem! Help me to enjoy food as tasty fuel, and not as something to scarf down until I’m stuffed! You know which foods my body actually needs and what will be “whole body pleasers,” so would You give me a desire for those foods, and help me eat “just enough” to satisfy my hunger. And remind me if I get preoccupied and forget to come to You as often as I need/want to!
Lord, I know I’m going to hear more bad news today, and each time I do, I get anxious and/or angry. All the yuckiness going on in the news and politics: the twisted perceptions, perverse ungodliness, defiance and mockery of God, injustices, despising and hatred of Christians – it all just grieves me so much, Lord, and I don’t know what to do with it.
TRUTH: These things are happening because people have rejected God and set themselves up as their own authority. They call what’s good evil, and what’s evil good. I need to expect to see these things; not be surprised.
SCRIPTURE: “For, although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools … [T]hey did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. … [And] they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them.” (excerpts from Romans 1: 21–31)
TRUTH: I can’t fix these situations or the people involved. It’s not even my job; these people and situations are the Holy Spirit’s work; mine only to the extent that He brings me into His work. But it is my job to pray for them and to love the people.
SCRIPTURE: “He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14:17)
TRUTH: In the midst of all the sad, horrible, and depressing things going on in the world, God still wants me to be loving, gracious, patient, and kind. There may be a time to speak the truth in love, but I need to let God lead me into those situations, and not strive to change/fix everyone as “the way it is” was prophesied. And, in the meantime, get His heart for others, even those with whom I disagree (vehemently).
SCRIPTURE: “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Psalms 145:8) | “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
TRUTH: God doesn’t want me to live in a state of continually being troubled, weighed down, vexed, and dominated by all the evil going on in the world.
SCRIPTURE: “Cast all your anxiety (cares, burdens) on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) | “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6-7) | “Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10: 5)
A) Make it a practice to “take every thought captive.”
B) Print out four copies of the above truths + verses and put them: in my Bible, on the inside of a kitchen cupboard, in my bathroom cupboard, and by my bed. Also copy and paste it into the Notes on my phone. So that…
C) Whenever one of these thoughts hits, process it with Jesus. Ultimately leave the matter – and its heaviness – with Him.
PRAY: Lord, there is soooo much happening today that is just so sad and depressing. It can easily suck the wind right out from my sails. Please give me Your heart and mind on all this! Help me carry Your hope-giving light to those who walk in darkness!
I’d love to hear what’s been weighing on your heart/mind and how you are processing it with the Lord!
“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6)
In Fresh Wind, Fresh Desire, Heidi wrote regarding boundaries: “The wooden fence protects a family dog from wandering off into a forest where predators lurk.”
It was interesting that I read this just a few hours after hearing some nearby animal predators doing more than just “lurk” in the woods we live in. I knew they were causing all the howling, screeching, and yelping going on not too far from our house! I didn’t see them, but the predators had to be a pack of hungry coyotes attacking a dog. The frantic, pathetic howling of the prey went on for several awful, horrible minutes.
It was agonizing for the animal, but it was also agonizing for us who were listening. By no choice of ours! Inside with the front door and windows shut, we still heard it loud and clear! And we could do nothing about it. The screeching and yelping eventually got quieter and quieter until, finally, the tormented prey was “quieted.” 😞
Living in the woods, there are no fences around here that would actually keep a dog safe, if we had one. We have fences that keep cows in and people out…
…and fences that keep horses in…
(I took both of the above photos out on my walk recently.)
…but neither of these fences would keep a predator out. And neither fence would have helped that poor dog, as both the coyotes and the dog were quite capable of slipping through them. Maybe not unscathed going through the barbed wire fence, but they could still make it through.
But I’m certain that if we did have a “thorough” fence around our property ~ like maybe a concrete wall or an electrical fence ~ and if the dog had been on the inside of the fence, and the coyotes on the outside of it, unable to get to the dog, that dog would have felt that “the boundaries had definitely fallen for it in pleasant places.”
The point, of course, is that, without any boundaries, those coyotes were free to attack whatever animal they wanted, and that dog lost any and all freedom it thought it had living out in the country.
BOUNDARIES ABOUND, ALL AROUND!
Boundaries are everywhere and come in a variety of ways. Let’s take a quick look at a few…
Marriage boundaries: We state our marital boundaries in our vows, which include loving, honoring, and cherishing this person, and no others ~ in the same way.
Road boundaries: The lanes, lines between lanes, shoulder, the concrete divider between freeway lanes all provide boundaries that, unheeded, have very unhappy consequences.
Getting more specific, if a vehicle goes outside of these road boundaries, they will literally land in the water ~ and most likely, their demise.
Clothing boundaries: It covers parts of the body that need to be kept warm and/or private; exposes (at least) the hands that work and face that needs to see, smell, and eat.
Organizing boundaries: Shelves, boxes and bins keep items separate and able to be quickly and easily accessed.
Time boundaries: Many aspects of our day ~ like getting up, going to work, meetings, naps, eating, shows on TV, and bedtime ~ have time boundaries that keep our day regulated and in order.
Relational boundaries: There are certain things we do and talk about with people depending on their relationship to us. Like I talk with my husband and closest friends about deep and personal matters, but not to mere acquaintances, bank tellers, or grocery clerks.
Geographical boundaries: Borders between states and countries keep citizenship ~ and the responsibilities and privileges thereof ~ clear; residency defined.
Property boundaries: Fences, lawns, landscaping define yards and boundaries between properties. (Clearly this fence would not keep the ocean out! But it would delineate property lines.)
Store sections: Certain things can be found on Aisle 8 and others on Aisle 3; certain things in the bakery, and certain things in the produce section ~ all of which have boundaries within those boundaries!
Train boundaries: The tracks are very clear boundaries, and a train going off of them results in a literal “train wreck” and “derailing.” Tracks might seem very limiting, but a train has complete freedom to go anywhere the tracks can go only when it stays on the tracks! When it derails, all freedom is instantly lost!
Building boundaries: A home consists of boundaries in the form of rooms, which are made of walls, ceilings, and floors. And the outer walls are a boundary, too: I live in this house, and not in the yard, sidewalk, road, or next door.
SO WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS?
I’m sad to say that I have not seen my food boundaries as “falling for me in pleasant places.” So, knowing the Lord wanted to teach me some things about them, I started pondering the above pictorial boundaries, and their various roles and advantages. Some pretty amazing truths surfaced. Boundaries…
:: close the gap on wondering if this or that is beneficial to me ~ like getting down to a zero is beneficial; getting to a 7 is not.
:: help me love and honor my body; overeating is not cherishing myself.
:: make me stay aware that there’s a heavy (pardon the pun) price to pay for a few moments of out-of-my-boundaries eating.
:: keep the eating dynamics of my life regulated and in order.
:: help me to not become discouraged, ready to throw in the towel, and thus “derail.”
:: keep me aware of the limits of food’s capabilities: it can feed and nourish my body, but it can’t satisfy my innermost needs and desires.
:: make it clear where I’m to be in my eating any given moment. (Eat when I’m at a zero; stop when satisfied, not stuffed.)
:: keep eating from becoming something it isn’t: a pastime or hobby. (I’m already there, so my boundaries are retraining me.)
:: not allow the enemy to devour me ~ along with my peace, hopes, desires, and goals.
:: give me freedom! I am free to go where the Lord wants to take me only as I stay on track and heed the wisdom-based boundaries He has given me!
Do “all the above” seem like they might be a lot more pleasant than I have been thinking? Living boundary-less – as my flesh would like to – leaves me wide open to be preyed upon by the enemy and every temptation he brings my way with the intent of basically devouring me. He wants to destroy my success, my peace of mind, my goals, my vitality and health, along with any possibility of a long and productive life.
Let me ask you: Are inheritances pleasant? How about prizes? How about joy? Guess what… These are all contained in this verse:
“The Lord Himself is my inheritance, my prize, He is my food and drink, my highest joy!” (Psalm 16:5)
When we have the Lord, and when we seek Him, and allow Him (as opposed to our flesh) to determine our boundaries ~ in anything, including but not limited to food ~ we have the Ultimate in pleasant! And, as such, I need to partake of Him more frequently. When I don’t, I am lacking in pleasantness in my heart, and I am prone to look for false, fleeting, momentary, or imitation pleasures ~ including but not limited to food, or at least eating it outside my boundaries.
But it could be anything ~ for some it might be alcohol, for others drugs, or excessive shopping, or porn, or… doesn’t matter ~ nothing satisfies our deepest needs other than the One who made us.
“Be delighted with the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4)
That verse is easy to misunderstand, turn around and get mixed up, even disappointed about. Why? Because we are actually delighted with our own earthly pleasures, not really with the Lord. When we are truly delighted with Him, we will get ~ from Him ~ the desires of our heart because our heart is in alignment with how He created it to be delighted. Not with things that destroy us, mess us up, or steal our joy.
This actually goes right along with:
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)
And one of those “things that shall be added unto us” is a fresh new view of godly boundaries regarding food! What we have seen as UNpleasant, God will turn to being a “pleasant place” that’s filled with delight, as (and only as) we surrender our will to His. For me, that means surrendering my (supposed) right to eat all the food I want when I want it, even if I’m not hungry! I have thought that eating without boundaries was the essence of pleasant and delightful. But nope! This is the essence of pleasant and delightful:
“The one thing I want from God, the thing I seek most of all, is the privilege of meditating in his Temple, living in his presence every day of my life, delighting in his incomparable perfections and glory.” (Psalms 27:4)
Those are the boundaries I want to live within and enjoy! The rest of the verse actually sums up what happens when I do:
“There I’ll be (in His presence, delighting in Him ~ the ultimate in pleasure) when troubles come.”
What kind of trouble? … Trouble overcoming temptation to overeat… Trouble with getting peace in a difficult situation. (Food will only take my peace; not give it!) … Trouble with feeling overwhelmed. (Food does NOT help me get UNoverwhelmed!) … Trouble making a decision or knowing what to do next. (Food has no power to help me make a decision; it only subdues the anxiety ~ for as long as it takes to eat it.)
If I enjoy peace, God’s presence, joy, not derailing or being destroyed, then yes, God’s boundaries definitely fall in the most pleasant of places. Not flesh-pleasing places, but truly, deeply pleasant places!
In the wide world of losing weight, despite all the tricks, tips, programs and techniques, there is only one way for weight to actually be “lost” or “released.” Are you ready? Here it is…
To lose weight, the body must be allowed to utilize its own fat stores.
In other words, our previously-eaten fuel reserves ~ also known as fat ~ must be accessed and used.
If, on any given day, I consume the same number of calories as my body uses, (not that I count calories, cuz I don’t,) my weight will stay the same because my food intake matched and took care of my body’s fuel needs.
And if you eat more food than your body uses, you will gain weight.
So, this means that… even if you eat only healthy foods; even if you exercise, work out, use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest parking spot, and choose the menu item with a little heart beside it…
…if you do not eat less than your body actually needs to function, thus putting your metabolism into a state of being required to access its own previously-eaten fat stores to obtain energy, you will not lose your excess weight. It will stay exactly where it’s at, decorating your body.
But this is not an enjoyable experience, and is where many of us lose it ~ as in fail to lose our excess weight.
I have a simple tool, but first I need to give you a…
QUICK INTRO TO THE THIN WITHIN APPROACH
To understand where I’m going next with this, you need a basic understanding of what Thin Within is about. So here it is, straight from Thin Within’s “About” page:
“Thin Within is based on three principles: physical, emotional and spiritual. The physical principle emphasizes that we eat only when truly hungry and stop eating before we are full.
At Thin Within, we use what we call a “Hunger Scale” to track eating patterns. We encourage people to eat when they are at a “0”, or truly hungry, and stop eating when they are at a “5”, which is before they are full.
We don’t use labels such as “good” foods or “bad” foods. However, as people learn to respond to their God-given signals of hunger and fullness, and forego worldly legalistic food rules, they will begin to enjoy the freedom of making healthy well-balanced food and eating choices.”
One who typically diets might be thinking: “NO WAY! I can’t lose weight without being on a DIET!!!” Ooooh yeah, you actually can! And much more enjoyably so. Many people have done so ~ just read a few of the testimonies at the Thin Within website! (Christine’s story, Deanna Lewis’ story, Kelly McGarry’s story), Marilyn Osborn’s story)
In addition to following these eating principles, emotional and spiritual aspects are also addressed:
“The emotional principle of Thin Within addresses the fact that we often eat in response to being upset, excited, anxious, nervous, depressed, lonely bored, etc.
At such times we turn to food to fill an emotional or spiritual emptiness, rather than for its intended purpose, which is physical nourishment. If this substitution becomes a habit, food can become an idol rather than a God-given gift.
The spiritual principles of Thin Within come in to play because it is often hard for us to eat from “0” to “5” in our own strength. We need supernatural strength and power to overcome fleshy habits and indulgence.
While food may provide some pleasure, physical nourishment it is not intended to provide spiritual fulfillment, which can only be met through a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father…”
There’s lots more, but that’s a good intro! Now let’s pull all this together.
No matter what my approach or plan, my body needs to use up its own fat reserves, which is going to mean some discomfort for me. It may be physical, emotional, spiritual, or any or ALL of those. And that is where the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone enters the picture! (It may not be uncomfortable for all, but at my age, with my slower metabolism, it gets uncomfortable for me when I’m at a 0. Not pain; just discomfort.)
The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone
The capitalized letters in this acronym spell “PERFUME” which stands for: Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization & Metabolism Enhancement Zone:
P = Previously
E = Eaten
R = Reserve
F = Fuel
U = Utilization &
M = Metabolism
E = Enhancement
This not a product; there’s nothing to buy. It’s simply a way of regarding and dealing with hunger. (I made it up, so you won’t find it on the Web.)
The “Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization” aspect is simply allowing my body to utilize the “fuel” that I have previously eaten in excess, which I’m now storing as fat on my person.
So now I must allow ~ more like push ~ my body into that mode of accessing my stored fuel by eating less fuel than I use.
Very simply, this means I need to allow myself to get hungry so that my fat reserves are accessed for fuel. There have been times in my life when I have not felt true hunger for months. No wonder I am overweight! And that is precisely where the problem is for me!!! Because, very simply…
I DO NOT LIKE TO ALLOW MYSELF TO GET HUNGRY!!!
It is NOT fun, I DON’T enjoy it, and my “flesh man” wants to avoid it at all costs, cuz it just wants to EAT all the time!
But, if I’m going to lose my excess weight, I must stop that, and think and live O-5 eating.
Yes, there are other options, like surgery, but I don’t want to go there. (My sister did, and it was a good choice for her.) I want to bring the heart stuff (junk) that’s been lurking in the dark corners of my heart for years out into the light and dealt with so that I can live in freedom for the rest of my life.
Which, by the way, will be much shorter ~ or at least less comfortable and active ~ if I don’t tend to this weighty matter. (Pun intended.)
So I must allow my body to utilize its fat stores.
I have a feeling that when we are getting down to a 2 and a 1, we are actually starting then to access our fat stores. (If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments!)
And that is where the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” comes in. It’s that zone between “starting to empty” and “true hunger.” However, for it to be the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone,” I must make a heart connection that I’ll explain in a moment. But first…
WHAT IS TRUE HUNGER?
First, a couple things hunger isn’t…
- It’s not just wanting food. If you are not physiologically hungry, but you want or even crave food, that’s “heart hunger” or “head hunger.” Heart hunger is just as real as “true physiological hunger,” and it’s very very strong, but it’s not true physiological hunger.
- Neither growling nor rumbling constitute true hunger, either. One or the other ~ or both ~ might accompany true hunger, but they aren’t reliable indicators that you’re truly hungry.
True hunger is where your stomach feels that gnawing, slightly burning sensation – aka a “hunger pang.” To be hungry can be (is for me) a bit uncomfortable, which is actually its purpose – to motivate us enough to get nourishment and thus enable ourselves to live.
WHERE IT GETS HARD
But this is where it gets hard! Emotionally ~ because, as I believe I have mentioned, I LIKE to eat! I LIKE food!!!
A little while after we eat, (and how long depends on how much we just ate,) we start to feel our stomach “emptying.” This feels a little like being hungry, but it’s not yet true hunger. In the book God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis said that, when we stop eating, the walls of our stomach start to shrink, and that is what we are actually feeling at this point. So we shouldn’t confuse that with hunger. And that does make total sense.
But, no matter how much sense it makes, if my heart is not dealt with, and my flesh is still in control of my eating, head hunger kicks in at this point and beckons me to the kitchen… or to my purse where there’s a packet of trail mix… or to Burger King where something yummy can be ordered real quick-like! But I’m actually only at a 3 or a 2 or a 1 at this “stomach-emptying-and-shrinking” point. I don’t get ~ or need ~ to eat until I’m all the way down to a zero.
So, instead of gleefully rushing to get food, I need to allow my body to shift into utilizing its own fat stores. If I take in food at this point ~ when I’m only at a 3, 2 or 1 ~ I will actually stop up the process of allowing my body to make this shift over to utilizing my fat- I mean FUEL reserve.
Because my flesh is strong, and it wants what it wants ~ food, in this case (in fact, food by the case sounds great!) ~ and, as I may have mentioned, it wants it now. so this is hard!
And this is exactly when I am in a prime position to enter the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone”!
Meaning… I choose to sacrifice my desire to eat right now, and I offer up that desire to God as a living sacrifice. A fragrance to Him.
But I need His grace working in me to even be able to do this.
SCRIPTURES THAT SHED MORE LIGHT
There are several Bible verses that shed more light onto the concepts of fragrance, perfume, and sacrifice.
“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)
Christ’s sacrificial act of giving Himself up was a fragrance to God. Likewise, I want my giving up my right to eat what, when, and how much I want to be a pleasing fragrance to God as well!
Giving up my right to eat (now and a lot) is actually part of “walk(ing) in the way of love,” as I am loving myself, which we are told to do in Matthew 22:39:
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
By shedding my excess weight, I’m loving my family, too, because I’ll be better able to serve them, and hopefully for a longer time.
This sacrifice is “expensive” for me. It’s costing me full rights to myself. But our Lord, whose sacrifice on the cross was more “expensive” than I could ever imagine, is worth it, isn’t He?
“BE HANGRY, BUT SIN NOT”
Then there’s the matter of our mood when we’re getting hungry. “Hangry,” which is “hungry and angry” at the same time, is the perfect term for it. Is your grumpiness evident to all when you’re in a bad mood? Over anything, not just not getting all the food you want, when you want it?
If so, the other part of my sacrifice, is laying down my right to act out my “hanger” while in this grumpy-feeling state. Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don’t need or get to act grumpy. What’s that scripture?
“Be (h)angry, but sin not.” (Eph. 4:26)
Since this doesn’t come naturally to most of us, the heart ‘n’ soul of getting and staying in the “P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” is choosing to allow God to help me crucify my flesh to the cross, and to be pleasant, despite how I feel or what I desire.
(I delve into this more in my article “Be Hangry, But Sin Not.”)
So what does the “metabolism enhancement” aspect mean?
First, we don’t want to slow it down by eating too little or being hungry for an extended time! Like starving myself.
I read this at WebMD.com:
“You slash your daily calories to fewer than 1,000, and sure enough, the pounds melt away. But when you eat so few calories, you train your metabolism to slow down. Once the diet is over, you have a body that burns calories more slowly, and you usually regain the weight.”
And once your metabolism has slowed down, weight is harder to release because the body, thinking it’s not going to get more food, slows down to conserve!
We want to increase our metabolism. We do this by increasing both activity and (thus, eventually) muscle.
Exercise is about more than just “using up calories” or “moving” and staying flexible. When we exercise, we are actually building muscle, and, what’s cool is that it’s the muscle tissue in our bodies that increases our metabolism by using calories even when we are just sitting! How cool is that?!? So “Use it, or lose it” really applies here!
Drinking ample water also helps increase our metabolism. I think of it as lubricating the weight-loss process – which it does, literally and figuratively.
So when I first start sensing that emptying-but-not-yet-hungry feeling, I like to get a glass of water, (also a “sacrifice” because I’m not crazy about water), and then do some moving. When I most feel like just sitting and waiting for it to be time to eat, that is actually the best time to go for a walk and get myself moving, and also to renew my mind so that my heart gets pried off of food, and transformed into a heart that longs for the Lord more than it longs for food!
If waiting for true hunger is a challenge to you; if you tend to be cranky when you don’t get what you want, especially when it comes to food, and you want to view this differently and get more out of the process, apply these ideas about “the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone” and get more spiritual mileage out of it!
Let me know in the comments how it goes for you, and any other insights you want to add!
A note to you who are
“not as young anymore”
When I was younger, losing weight was much easier. It was never “fun,” but it wasn’t nearly as hard as it is now at age 65.
As we age, our bodies tend to slow down, so our metabolisms naturally slow down, too. Partly just because of aging, but also partly because of not being as active as I used to be, which is partly because of aging. It’s a vicious circle that I have not done the best job of being on top of.
For me, there were the additional hindrances to being active that resulted from several injuries, plantar faciitis, and a knee surgery, each one slowing me down or altogether stopping me physically for weeks at a time. These also messed up my efforts and desire to have a regular exercise routine ~ which was already a challenge for me ~ and basically took the wind out of my sails. Or I let it.
Plus life just changes once children are grown up and out of the house. Less movement is required to maintain your normal day-to-day living, unless you have an otherwise active lifestyle or job, or unless you have a naturally active lifestyle and/or have applied yourself to physical exercise.
This is all a natural part of life, but we have to be UNnatural and very intentional to combat it.
So, at my age, I now have to allow myself to stay at a 0 for a little longer period of time if I want to release weight. The way I’d put it is that I have adjusted my “0” a bit. Since how we define a zero is quite subjective (who knows how and what we really feel), there’s room for adjustment anyway, so we have the freedom to define it in a way that works for us.
For example, I know of older gals who have said Thin Within doesn’t work for them. They did 0-5 eating for a long period of time, but didn’t lose weight. I wonder if they had adjusted their numbers a bit, redefining their “5” to be more what they had been thinking of as a “4,” and their “0” as a little more hungry.
As Heidi puts it, we need to allow ourselves to get “good and hungry.” If I only allow myself to get “barely hungry” for just a minute and then go ahead and eat, especially at my older age with my lower metabolism, I will likely not release weight.
So we just need to invite the Lord into this process and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in how to apply all this to our own unique situations, and also surrender our flesh and wills to His lordship!