Someone asked about the book “Thin Again.” So this is a posting from the Thin Within Support Yahoo group that I sent there yesterday. I thought others might benefit…it is LOOOONG, though!
For the “uninitiated,” 🙂 the Hallidays wrote a book first published in 1994 as “Silent Hunger.” It was then re-released as “Thin Again” with the most recent publishing (I believe) coinciding with the release of the Thin Within book in 2002. NOTE: Since writing this blog entry, the book, Thin Again, has been re-released yet again with another title: Get Thin Stay Thin. During January and February (and likely into March) of 2009, I am going through the book and sharing my notes here at the blog. If you search for Get Thin Stay Thin here at the blog, you will find the posts.)
Here is my take on the book, THIN AGAIN:
I think this book can transform someone’s life–and definitely their Thin Within journey from empty or mechanical to victorious and powerful and effective and…and…and! 🙂
I believe in the message of Thin Again so much. I know without really facing the truths shared in the pages, I would NOT be able to experience the freedom God has given me today. Mind you, I worked (hard!) through the Thin Again book in 2001….so yes, it has taken me this much time to realize some of what God did back then….and to begin to FLY! Maybe it doesn’t take that for everyone, but for me…well, I know it used of God to lay the groundwork that he is now building on…to transform my life….
There are four people whose stories are followed throughout the book and, yes, they *are* dealing with issues in their past–AND present! However, the book starts with this quote (on page 18):
“When our eating is out of control or when food is used to insulate ourselves against emotional pain, we say that our eating is disordered, that it is out of God’s order. Disordered eating is characterized as follows:
Where we are preoccupied with concerns of food and eating.
Where food is used to insulate or numb ourselves from emotional pain.
Where food is used in an attempt to satisfy our unfulfilled yearnings to be loved, cherished, and adored.
Where food or eating is used to try to achieve some order in a disordered life.
Where the joy and pleasure of eating has been lost.
Where food or eating has become a compulsion, an obsession, or an idol.
Where food or eating causes a disruption in life.
Where food and eating control us rather than vice versa.
Where food has become an enemy rather than a friend.
Disordered eating becomes a counterfeit for genuine satisfaction and leaves us empty and longing.”
As the four people whose stories we follow through the book start off, it might look like we have nothing in common with them. Then a section titled “Can’t You Just Stop” brings it home…that this isn’t something “normal” people struggle with.
On page 24, we read “Causes of Disordered Eating.” Somewhere somehow we have warped what God intended for good. This section helps us to evaluate where things went awry. For some of us, we may readily identify things in our past…others of us note this more slowly….there are patterns in our present that we begin to see are rooted in other things.
The things mentioned in this chapter as being causes of disordered eating are:
Having been a very sensitive child
A controlling environment
Lack of validation of feelings.
For most of us with disordered eating, we can identify with at least one of these things….They are described in this chapter.
The book, Thin Again was originally released with the title “Silent Hunger.” Silent Hunger is defined on page 26… “Our silent hunger is our longing for intimacy where our deepest needs for security and significance can be substantially met. This longing is real. It is a sanctified hunger placed in us by God’s design, and it is his intention that it be satisfied in our families, with our friends, but most completely in our communion with Him.” (page 26)
Impediments to Intimacy list and describe:
The end of each chapter asks penetrating questions, has scripture to read, and includes a prayer.
In Chapter 2 things get really rolling when the authors begin to look at the Lazarus story as a metaphor for what a person truly studying this book and inviting God into the process will experience….the grave clothes and the needed “unwrapping process.” There is stuff on us that may stink to us….and God wants us to learn to let it go, as Lazarus after being in the tomb had developed an odor and had grave clothes that needed to be unwrapped to walk in freedom. This book is much denser than Thin Within and so it goes into what some of these layers may be. This isn’t for the timid! The Lord says knowing the truth will set us free….and I have found that to be true. Deception and denial are addressed in this chapter. A quote from this part of the book on page 41: “Where denial darkens our path and compulsions hide and confine us, the light of God’s love gently and compassionately penetrates the layers of our most ingrained defense mechanisms and coaxes us out of the tomb into the light…” Gosh…the quote continues….and refers to a quote from Brennan Manning…anyhow, the grace and love of God are throughout the pages of Thin Again, but it does take one very deep into all the WHY behind what is going on with us. If someone has felt at a standstill in Thin Within, it could be that being set free from deeper issues is the call of God….and to do that, we have to be very intentional about it. It is scary. I can’t pretend it isn’t….to face all our fears, pain, disappointments…HURTS…a LOT. But we face them hand in hand with God. Whether they happened 35 years ago or 3 hours ago….and then he walks us through this valley of the SHADOW of death (only a shadow) and helps us work through releasing these things…forgiving as Christ has forgiven us…trusting him that vengeance belongs to him and he will repay….and coming out the other side, transformed, truly resurrected in more ways than one.
Chapter three is called Grace Not Legalism. Sounds pretty good, huh? 🙂 “Grace is freedom that conforms us from within; legalism is bondage that constrains us from without.” (Page 52) powerful stuff! In this chapter, we go below the surface again, but also the Thin Within principles (keys to conscious eating) are discussed. The hunger scale is mentioned as well…and the Bodometer Process. The hunger graph is explained too. So this chapter helps a person see how the familiar TW principles apply in context. The chapter title fits because these are guidelines, not rigid rules. The Hallidays want us to see that clearly. 🙂
Chapter 4, “Conscious Eating Not Compulsive Eating” takes a deeper look at the flesh machinery (called “fat machinery”) and unworkable beliefs. As you can see, these are familiar to Thin Within, too, but again, the principles are discussed in a context of going much deeper, exposing the root. The Thin Within book couldn’t go into that detail…so where it gives a taste, Thin Again, goes down into it…finding the root of these things that cause us to struggle with being “normal” with regard to food and eating. This chapter, too, offers some of the familiar TW principles but with a deeper touch.
Chapter 5 is called Worth Not Shame. This is a HUGE HUGE HUGE chapter for me and I think for others. It exposes shame and ALL of the insidious ways that it hides and infiltrates our lives. This chapter helps us to plow into our shame head on with God as our comfort, guide, leader…and see through to the other side where we shake loose all of the shame we have embraced for so long. The Hallidays discuss the difference between biblical “shame” and the counterfeit. Here, the Hallidays do connect some of our current shame with our past. If we wear shame, there is a reason it feels so familiar to us. Often it is because it is all we knew as kids and teenagers. We emerge from our teen years so familiar with shame that we don’t even realize we gravitate toward people, situations that will continue to provide the impetus for further dwelling in shame. The Hallidays evaluate the affect of the media and other sources of our self-abasement. From pg. 87 there is a paragraph that begins with a quote from Dan Allendar, “‘shame often occurs when a failure in our performance, a dissatisfaction with our appearance, or some painful past experience is considered so important that it solidifies a negative self-concept.’ If we base our view of ourselves on these criteria long enough, we may eventually adopt them as the sole basis of our worth. Then we have (unconsciously) incorporated a lie into our belief system: that we have certain characteristics and flaws that can never be changed. When we take on an identity of shame, we are perpetuating an incorrect view of ourselves and denying God’s Word–that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ This chapter has a couple of diagrams and explanations that are helpful, the “Shame Belief Cycle” and “Renewed Belief Cycle.” Guilt is another topic addressed head on in this chapter.
Chapter 6 is Dependence Not Addiction. The sub-headings in this chapter include “Moving from Addiction to God’s Healing,” “Suffering and Character Building,” and “Freed to Depend on God.” A quote from this chapter (p. 107):
“In our wounded attempts to satisfy our legitimate cravings, we use food, people, money, objects, and experiences to gratify and serve us. We strive to hold on to these false gods, forgetting that nothing of this world can ultimately satisfy us. Being unable to trust, we will our way through life, denying our fundamental dependence on the true God of love, joy, and peace.
“Recognizing our wounded condition and our spiritually empty addictions, how do we open ourselves to God’s gracious healing? How do we stop grasping for the fruit that we hope will make us feel like gods and yield to a relationship that frees us and satisfies us?”
The rest of the chapter is spent answering these questions. Judy includes her testimony on this page. She identifies that what had been her *current* situation…had become her grave clothes. It helps a person to bring all of this stuff into the present, if it is tough to see it.
Chapter 7 is titled The Present Not the Past. This chapter opens with this (pp. 115-116): “Unwrapping our grave clothes involves resurrecting and resolving the past and being freed from the bondage of old memories, roles, and feelings. Then we can live unencumbered in the present. The weight we have struggled to release is only a symbol of the layers of wrappings we’ve been carrying–the compulsions, denial, shame, guilt and old unworkable beliefs and painful past experiences. As we become aware of our burdensome bindings, our patient Lord is always near, encouraging us to be unwrapped as quickly or as slowly as we are able to bear. Layer by Layer the loving hand of the Lord dismantles our crippling defense mechanisms and removes the self-protective devices we thought were necessary for survival.” The sub-headings are “Letting Go of the Past” and this is where the authors have lovingly, graciously made a way for us to work toward forgiving anyone who has wronged us. From page 117 “The process of letting go of the past involved grieving. Grief over any loss, or over an abusive or less-than-perfect past takes time.” For me, it took a full summer to manage it. Note the authors say “less than perfect past.” For those of us who think we don’t have any issues in our past to face into, the news is…if we have been in this world, we have been wronged…and those things often stick with us. My husband didn’t realize until he was 35 that he had a harbored a lot of resentment toward his pastor father. Before that time, he thought he had a great upbringing. The truth was that this wasn’t so. He found facing into these truths, while blowing the lid off of his “I had a great childhood” box, enabled him to break free of addictions that had captivated him since he was 14. Another sub-heading is “Release the Victim Role.” Many of us hang on to that role…we wear it like an old damp coat over God’s glory in us….it has been a part of us for so long (maybe it doesn’t seem like it to some)…and boy howdy… “Ain’t NO WAY TO LIVE!!!” When we step out of that old drab coat…we feel like we have lost 35904 pounds!!!! LOL! I have to tell you, for some…that is the start. “Forgiving and Forgetting” and “Feelings and Memories” are a couple more sub-headings. At this point, we get to see how some of the people whose stories we have followed practiced forgiveness and the changes it brought in their lives. Food for thought from page 134: “When we live an unexamined life, we cannot help but be only half alive. The place of shadows, the realm of forgotten feelings and memories, encroaches upon our daily lives until we make the conscious the unremembered. We have secreted away not only the memories but the accompanying intensity of emotions that, as children, we were not equipped to face. When the memory surfaces, the emotional intensity surfaces with it. It is important at these times, to know God is present and that he will give us the strength to deal with the situation.”
Chapter 8 is called “Holy Struggle.” This chapter focuses on the choices we make today, now. It exposes the struggle we have and helps us to evaluate how we can best MOVE FORWARD! 🙂 It puts all of this stuff in context, too…For instance, “When making your choice about what and when to eat:
“Consider your motivation
Notice the way you think
Evaluate your daily lifestyle
Be vigilant and pray
Continue to be filled with the Spirit
These are all explained and elaborated upon. Great stuff. This isn’t just about what we weigh or eat…it is about WHY. As we go into the why, we break free from things that we haven’t been able to figure out about ourselves. God wants us to be willing to go deep enough to offer those empty places, those wounded places to him…In this chapter, we also focus on different ways of handling things as we move forward…will we be reactive? Or what the authors call “reflexive?” “Replacing old hungers with new hungers” is another subheading, followed by “Keeping New Hungers Satisfied.”
Chapter 9 is called Holy Action. This broadens all of the things we have worked through from the rest of the book into other areas of our lives. This is something that Judy does so well. She shows us repeatedly that nothing about us occurs in isolation from the rest. ALL of it impacts everything else. The subheadings in this chapter are:
Establishing Holy Action
Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Gospel of Peace
Shield of Faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit
Present-Time Eating, Present-Time Living
Chapter 10 follows Holy Struggle (chapter 8) and Holy Action (chapter 9) with Holy Life. We again get a glimpse into one of the testimonies that have happened throughout the book. Some quotes from this chapter:
“Much about disordered eating is based on our inability to receive love, even more than our inability to give it. We often manipulate the people in our lives to give us what we didn’t get. As we are healed by God’s love, we are then able to accept love from others, freed from our expectations and demands that love come when we want it, in the exact form we want it, and from whom we want it.
“Maybe we feel ashamed or unworthy, or maybe we are still too bitter or too demanding. It is not always the case that love isn’t there; often it is. Those grave clothes block not only our ability to give love but to receive it.
“Because in the past we’ve missed the love we’ve wanted, we’re afraid of being vulnerable for fear of being hurt again. The fear of disappointment is so profound and the silent hunger is so acute that we will attempt to feed it with our addictions rather than risk exposing ourselves. By unwrapping our grave clothes, we reveal our true hunger, and the Holy Spirit moves in our lives and relationships so that we are fed.
“Our healing involves far more than just a resolution of our issues with food, eating, and weight. By allowing God to fulfill our inborn desire for intimacy and satisfy our need for security, significance, and self-worth, we can, in turn, glorify him in body, mind and soul. When we began this process, we committed ourselves to deal with attitudes, habits, and eating patterns that had accumulated as we tried unsuccessfully on our own to stifle the voice of our silent hunger. Little did we know how profoundly God wished to transform our character during our healing or how unsurpassed would be the delights he had in store for us.”
Some of you have emailed me privately about what was the difference this time in my life so that things have been changing inside and out for me…I have to say…this had to happen…working through this study had to happen before I could experience what I did this go….so when I refer to Thin Again in my testimony about “this time,” you will have a bit of a better idea of what that means….This process may not be for everyone, but if a person is on earth, then they have been the victim of sin…and often, we take on way more of that than God wants us to. He does want us to be set free from overeating, self-loathing, anger, and a bunch of other things too! He intends that we live life abundantly….not just “make it through.” For me, processing the material in Thin Again, was a vital part of that.