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Helping people experience peace with food, eating, and their bodies since 1975!
Based on the
Keys to Conscious Eating
1.) Eat when my body is hungry.
2.) Reduce the number of distractions in order to eat in a calm environment.
3.) Eat when sitting down.
4.) Eat when my body and mind are relaxed.
5.) Eat and drink the food and beverages my body enjoys.
6.) Pay attention to my food while eating.
7.) Eat slowly and savor each bite.
8.) Stop before my body is “full.”
These are Christina's results with Thin Within!
During our 5 sessions together
Discover that you are able to give up extra food, while being physically satisfied, and draw nearer to God.
Experience the difference -- Thin Within is NOT a diet with a Christian face painted on it!
Participate in the original hunger/satisfied eating plan,
Delight in eating "normal" food! No "special food" needed!
Navigate through the holiday season in victory!
Journey to a place of peace with food, eating and your body.
Does it sound too good to be true? Here are some common objections that some have to giving Thin Within a try. WITH ANSWERS!
If your concern or objection isn't listed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Response: Jesus came down from heaven and took on the limitations of a human body--in effect, setting much of His freedom aside, so that we could be free from the hold of anything that would keep us from the life He intends for us. He never intended for food to torment us. He intended only that it bless us.
In Thin Within, we learn that freedom means freedom not just to eat whatever tasty morsel we want when hungry. It means freedom NOT to have to eat a certain food, but being able (and willing) to say no!
What this inspires is a deep dependence on God to strengthen us by the power of His Spirit inside of us. This impacts not just our food and eating and our bodies, but it affects us emotionally, physically, and spiritually, too.
Those who push through this objection to reach for what God has for them will find that their hearts begin to change....food doesn't have the overwhelming power it once did. It does take time for most of us. And that time is never wasted in God's economy as He uses every slip, stumble, fall, or failure, to teach us something new!
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again
by a yoke of slavery.
Typically, when a participant has said "...it doesn't work," they mean Thin Within hasn't worked for weight loss as fast as they want. And, to be honest with you, it means that they may or may not have been honest with themselves about eating less food. And less fancy coffees, and less wine on the weekends (or each night after dinner), etc.
But, we want to think God's thoughts about the goal...don't we? He doesn't want us thin nearly so much as He wants us His. And while we don't have to pick between the two, often we sell ourselves just to get thin, even while the diet we use shreds our souls.
What if God's goal is something else first? What if you have gotten on the scale after being so confident that you have eaten so much less food and you are sorely disappointed to see the numbers not only not going down, but actually up a smidge? Could God be placing a divine toe on the scale so that your gaze, rather than being on the man-made scale, you look at Him, instead? Does the "idol of thin" have it's claws in your heart? For many of us, it does.
That, too, is a stronghold.
Our God will not share our hearts with any other.
What if it is possible that Thin Within is "working" for the very thing that is a priority for you in His mind? Would you be ok about missing out on valuable lessons God has for you if you can just get on with it and trim down via a diet instead? Thin Within is definitely not the easy way to manage your weight. It is the simplest, yes. No doubt about that. But easy? No way. Not when it causes us to look at our hearts which are petty, insecure, selfish, fixated on temporary things. Who wants to deal with that? 😳 This is HARD!
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power
to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:4
I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Response: Many of our participants haven't heard that Thin Within began in 1975. They began their own Christian mindful eating journey with another program (that didn't get started until 1986) that encourages eating between hunger and "full"...Many of these participants had great success, too.
Then, heartache came as the teaching they loved diverged from the pure Truth of the scriptures. The motivation offered by the leadership was condemning at best, and possibly dangerous.
Thin Within reminds us:
We can never hate ourselves into positive change.
A quick glance through the new testament shows us how God...Jesus...(John 1:1, 12, 14) treats His people who slip, stumble, fall and fail. The Samaritan woman, the woman caught in adultery, Peter, even the Apostle Paul! All were colossal failures by most anyone's standards, yet Jesus met each one in the midst of their failure...and loved them, redeemed their mess-ups. And, even, invited Peter and Paul to be pivotal figures in His plan for bringing salvation to the world!
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8,9
Response: Yep, we do, too. All of us in Thin Within. It is, in fact, the human condition! Perfectionism is a lie rooted in pride! OUCH! Since we WILL fail, we might as well have a plan for failure. We have found that the best approach is the one thatinvites God in. Again. And again. And again.
In fact, this is a game changer!
When we invite Him IN to our failures, we can learn things like "What was going on that caused me to slip?" and "What can I do differently so I want to be on your page the next time, Lord?"
This is true observation and correction. What many people call observation and correction is really my own opinion looking at my mess up and wagging my own finger in my face and saying "Just stop it! Eat less next time!"
Those aren't the words that our God uses with us.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
If Jesus had just 5 minutes to speak in person with you....about the most important thing on his heart...I don't think he would say to you, "Now then, Emily, about your eating." Or..."about your weight."
He is loving.
You are right, Lisa. Renewing your mind is vital. We strongly recommend that people use a tool that will target the truth from God to the targeted lies that we believe about food and our bodies. So yes, please DO renew your mind and stay close to the Lord! 👍🏻
There are a number of reasons that you might be at a standstill in your weight loss efforts, Lisa. Here are some possibilities:
1. Maybe you are at your natural God-given size. With Thin Within, we don’t necessarily need a bathroom scale to evaluate how we are doing. We eat 0 to 5 on the hunger scale. When our size stops changing while eating 0 to 5, we may already be where God intends for us to be!
2. Consider refining your 0 and your 5 (check out my PS at the bottom of this email). If each of the hunger numbers are on a number line, we typically think of the numbers spaced equally apart. So, as much food as it takes to go from a 0 to a 1, it will take to go from a 4 to a 5 (theoretically).
But when it comes to our actual eating, there may be a big space between 5 and 6! The “lighter side of 5” is that place where we know we don’t need any more food. The “farther end of 5” is that place where we nudge up as close as we can to a 6 without going too far.
When we look closely at this, we see that our number line has become skewed. The amount of food it takes for us to move from the early 5 to the farther end of 5 where we think we should stop eating, may actually be almost twice as much food!
This first struck me years ago when I was out for pizza with my family. I planned for a very clear 0. When the pizza came out, I slowly savored one piece. After my one piece, I knew I was no longer hungry. One piece brought me to that “just enough” point, BUT, I reasoned, I wasn’t yet at a 6....so that means I could have another piece, right? Well....no!
There is a big difference between “How remarkably efficient has God made my body that it needs so little food?” vs “How much can I get away with eating before I have to stop?” One is a heart that is submissive and the other scheming.
How are you doing with the “margin of 5”...are you stopping at the “lighter side of 5?” Or are you going as far as you can with your eating and still call it a 5? Chances are you are pushing it. 5 isn't "full," but is "just enough." My body needs no more fuel.
3. Look at your intake of things like glasses of wine, sodas, special coffee beverages, mints, gum, etc. Also, there is always the BLTs we have to watch out for. BLT in Thin Within is “bites, licks and tastes.” Walking through the kitchen and popping something in your mouth. An extra taste while cooking or cleaning up.
These inconspicuous sources of energy coming into your body often account for a standstill in weight loss. And if you are one who sips on sweet tea all day long, just know that this will definitely undermine your attempts to release extra weight!
4. Probably the most significant of all and most common of all the reasons that our weight loss is at a standstill (and the reason many people don't care to hear) is that God may have a different lesson for you...It may require you ditch the scale for a short season. See what happens. If just the thought of that causes you panic, you can bet that there is something here that God wants to address. Sometimes our hearts are all about thin and we miss that thin is our priority, not necessarily His priority for us.
The Lord will often do something to capture our attention...like letting the scale stay at the same number...Imagine Jesus cupping your face in His hands and saying “Child, I want your focus to be riveted as much (more) on me as it has been on the number on that scale. Let ME be your victory and very great reward!” This doesn’t mean that God may not want us to be a healthy size, but more...He wants to be what our hearts long for more than anything.
5. Consider the number you want to be on the scale...ask God to show you, when was the last time I was that number? Is that your number for me? What season of life was I in when I was that number? Sometimes, taking time to invite Him in as we ask these questions can be very revealing and helpful!
Response: You are exactly right, Lisa. We DO have spiritually fallen bodies. They aren’t perfect. But thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit of God at work in us and not only that, but the fundamental signals that God gave us for all kinds of things, are reliable. Including hunger and satisfied, as we lean into the Holy Spirit to show us!
My body, though fallen, tells me reliably when I need to go to the bathroom, when I need more rest, when I have my hand on something too hot, when I am sick. I don’t question the reliability of these signals due to the fall of my flesh! If I did, there might be some consequences! 😜
The problem with my hunger/satisfied signals isn’t so much in the physical aspect of my fallen body. It is in the deceitfulness of my heart! Time and time again, we justify eating outside of our 0 to 5 boundaries. We act entitled to eat when we have had a hard day, when we celebrate, etc. etc!
When we invite God in to our eating, the Holy Spirit of God is present to guide us and show us our hunger signal and stopping place. Most of us have ignored those signals for a long while, so it may take time to get in touch with them again.
It is our hearts that are not on board...and that is why we need to renew our minds throughout the day with the Truth God gives us to target lies we believe.
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing,
he deceives himself.
But let each one test his own work...
Examine me, O Lord, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart
Response: Thin Within encourages each person to invite the Lord to help them to know what their body needs. Typically, God will show us through the signals that He has placed in our bodies...hunger and satisfaction. If your body needs more fuel, you will know it by the signal of hunger.
Since the foods we often eat are not as nutrition dense as we might think or hope due to many modern practices in food manufacturing, we encourage all to consider the use of supplements by consulting with their medical practitioner.
(Additionally, when I did a Google search on "Intuitive Eating Research," a whole bunch of studies came up. You might have a look and see what you think!)
Response: I am so sorry for the overwhelm and condemnation you have felt! It is our desire to speak the message of grace again and again in Thin Within.
John 3:17 says that God sent Jesus into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Another passage is similar: Romans 8:1 says “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”
Romans 5:8, reassures us that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners…(before we even had a godward thought), Christ died for us. Talk about boundless love! If He has done all of that for us even before we loved Him at all, we know that when we slip, stumble, fall, or fail that He is still waiting to show us compassion (Isaiah 30:18).
Ephesians 1: 4,5 says He chose you and me before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight…in love He predestined us to be adopted as His children because it pleases Him! Wow!
In Thin Within we go to God about our slips, stumbles, falls or failures. He welcomes us with open arms! He redeems each and every mess up. (The only true failure is the failure we fail to learn from.) If we invite Him in, He shows us through observation what caused us to eat outside of our God-honoring boundaries. He does this with love saturating every bit of it. He might show us that we were tired, triggered emotionally due to a bungee to our past, or maybe an eating buddy or food pusher was affecting us. He can show us--whatever it is! Usually, if it seems like “I was just being rebellious” there is something we can learn by sitting at His feet that will help us be equipped for victory going forward. He can show us what it takes to live with a softened heart.
Far from condemning, our God is restorative. He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
Our God loves to be invited in to the mess up so He can equip us for victory going forward. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). His view of failure is vastly different from our own. Perfectionism is a lie.
In Thin Within we fail well by learning from each and every failure. We submit to Him instead of run from Him. He longs for us to turn TO us. He has only love and kindness to express to us.
If He doesn't condemn us, why should we condemn ourselves? We can't hate ourselves into a positive change!
Thin Within does not teach that one bite or two past 5 is a sin. In fact, it isn’t about food at all. It is about our hearts. God doesn’t want us thin as much as He wants us HIS. He wants our hearts.
The kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17
Response: First, a correction: We LOVE exercise!
There is another program out there that teaches eating between hunger and “full,” but teaches that we are “back in Egypt” if we read food labels, select nutritious foods, use supplements, or exercise. That is NOT Thin Within. We encourage people to apply the 0 to 5 principle we teach for our eating (moderation) to exercise and activity. Moderation is good in all things! If my body needs activity, I move it. And kind of like with the foods that I select when I need fuel, I use discernment to select activities I enjoy and that work for my body when I need movement. Once I have had enough, or am at a “5” activity wise, I stop. (Sound familiar? These are three of the Keys to Conscious eating modified for exercise!)
Far from teaching against exercise and activity, we absolutely think it is vital to a person’s emotional, physical, and spiritual health!
Response: Free resources are great, aren’t they? I definitely think so.
Here is what we try to do at Thin Within:
Twice a year (sometimes more often), we pull out the stops and offer something that is free to thank you for your faithfulness and to help more people who might need what we offer to hear about us!
For instance, “Back to Basics” Study of Thin Within Workbook #1, “December Surrender,” a new PDF e-book called “The Simplified Build a Thin Within Life Handbook” and a corresponding 4-part webinar series training on that ebook.
Our “30-Day Thin Within Jumpstart Training” option, continues to be going strong with it's daily email sequence and membership site filled with 30 videos to encourage participants as they get acquainted with Thin Within.
The resources that we have created over the years and released for free are still out there: Thin Within audios on Sound Cloud, Thin Within videos on YouTube, and 100s of posts at our blog going back to 2006!
More Thin Within Resources On a Budget:
For the person on a budget, you can still purchase Thin Within: A Grace-Oriented Approach to Lasting Weight Loss,” “Hunger Within: A Biblical Approach to Weight Management,” or 4 different 12-week workbooks to support you on the journey. (Of course there is also the devotional, God Speaks to Me and the workbook, Fresh Wind Fresh Desire--additional resources for TW sojourners. All of these are $40 or less.
We also offer a choice of e-courses, each for $47:
And, of course our “Pièce de Résistance, Thin Within Inner Circle for $27 each month. I love this group so much that I lay awake sometimes thinking of new ways to bring blessing to them all!
Our goal is to make Thin Within accessible to anyone.
In the opening lesson of Thin Within: Fresh Wind, Fresh Desire workbook on pages 6-8, we dive into the scriptures to address this very topic:
Thin Within does not assert that a person is ungodly, sinning or even less spiritual if they choose another means for managing their relationship with food.
God leads each of us uniquely. The last thing we want to do is provide yet another topic to divide the Church of God!
…One person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. ~ Romans 14:2-4 (NLT)
So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. ~ Romans 14:10 (NLT)
Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall. ~ Romans 14:12, 13 (NLT)
I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. ~ Romans 14: 14 (NLT)
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 14:17 (NLT)
No matter what we think about other eating plans, diets, and exercise programs, it is not something to criticize or judge others about.
That all said, there are many of us who are in effect, “the weaker sister”—but not in the way you might think. I don’t call the dieters the “weaker sister.” Not at all! *I* am the weaker sister! Many may be able to diet without it causing issues, but this doesn’t mean others of us can. I was a great dieter, with graphs and charts and weight loss. I obsessed and if I consumed too many points, I would workout even more. It was never ending for me!
Thin Within ministers to those who want out of dieting for any reason. They often have struggled with self-loathing and condemnation, performance and a constant sense of failure. They, like me, may be a "weaker sister" when it comes to dieting. They just aren't sure how to do it without the diet and "thin" being idols. They can’t diet in freedom. We are well aware that this doesn’t describe everyone, but it may describe 90% of the people who come to Thin Within—or more!
Response: In Thin Within we love that we can plan our hunger to land on a certain time of day. In fact, this is one of the fun aspects of Thin Within! If the family will gather for dinner at 6pm, and I am hungry at 4pm, I don’t need to eat a complete meal or snack to satisfaction (what we call 0 to 5). I can have a few nuts, a piece of cheese, some fruit, or jerky, yogurt. Just enough to take the edge off my hunger and then I will land on a wonderful hunger signal at the time the family is gathering! Extend grace to yourself as you practice being intentional to land on 0 when you hope to. In time, this will be a part of your natural Thin Within rhythm.
One other thing to consider...Thin Within welcomes eating the same food as the rest of the family. No more having to prepare something just for you. No more worrying about what you will eat at an event or having to pack your own diet food. Rather than causing one to be selfish, we find that this frees us up to love others and God well!
Response: As with other objections on this journey, we encourage you to invite the Lord in and ask Him to give you the help you need to know how to approach this challenge. He cares. You can experiment a bit--at first, on your days off-- with various foods to see which pack a powerful kick in terms of sustaining you. For many of us that might come in the form of jerky, nutrition bars (with protein and healthy fats), yogurt, hard boiled eggs, or cheese, and the like. The goal will be to experience satisfaction with just a few peaceful bites.
If there is any way you can have nuts for a quick pick-me-up if you get to a 0 when you can't eat yet (or something else accessible even as you head to the restroom), this can help a lot as well.
Response: We couldn’t agree more!
A big distinction between Thin Within and the “Christian hunger/fullness eating program” that many have tried previously is that we teach that it is vital that we move out of the “Freedom Phase” and begin to mature...using discernment to evaluate and select foods that our body responds best to.
Thin Within has three phases. These are fluid, however, and the progression through them is neither linear nor permanent!
Phase 1 – Freedom Phase. This is the phase most people are familiar with—the “Eat whatever you want as long as you are at a 0 (hunger) and stop at satisfied (5). In this phase we see that we need no restrictions on what we choose to eat and we can nevertheless release extra weight. We stop vilifying the food and learn that our hearts are in need of guidance. The problem has not been the food, but within us.
Colossians 3:20-23 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Emphasis added.)
Phase 2 – Discernment Phase. We continue not just to notice how various foods and beverages make us feel, but we willingly begin to choose foods that delight not just our tastebuds, but our whole body. The foods that we enjoy the most and that nourish and energize our body are called Whole Body Pleasers. We take responsibility for our body, the temple of God, and begin to treat our body as the high-performance machine that it is.
We enjoy experimenting with trying out new ways of preparing meals, new seasonings, and perhaps foods that we thought we didn’t even like! This is quite the adventure and is filled with lots of fun and discovery!
In Phase 2 we also realize that the freedom of phase 1 is not merely freedom TO eat, but freedom from HAVING to eat those foods that owned us previously.
Phase 3 – Mastery Phase. The person currently in the Mastery Phase is not owned by any food. She can be hungry for a few minutes if food isn’t nearby. She is ok with that. She is able to plan for a 0 so she can join her family for a meal. It doesn’t require endless time figuring out how to “do” Thin Within. It is now a rhythm and she can love others and God well, without it threatening her handle on 0 and 5. Her eating is truly Spirit-led.
To the person who is concerned that Thin Within teaches against eating wholesome foods, nothing could be further from the truth. Phase 1 demonstrates that by eating less and focusing on our God, we can release weight. As this wonderful truth comes home, we mature and press on. We are no longer taken captive to a dieting mentality and can freely look at food labels (if we need to) to make the most beneficial choices. We recognize that what works for another person, may not be best for me.
Response: Our greatest concern regarding the method that a person uses in her journey is “What are God’s thoughts about that?” Many of us have experienced fear about weight gain and that motivated our reading of labels in our dieting days. Our God invites us to walk free from fear! His perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). As we come to Thin Within, we may need a short season where we set all of our tools, tips, trackers, and charts from dieting aside. In fact, at first even the Thin Within tools may trigger us into the dieting mentality.
During Phase 1—the Freedom Phase—we ask people to try to set all of their former tools aside to get to know their body's hunger and satisfied signals and to listen to the Lord’s leadership.
But Phase 2 follows! As we continue to walk in freedom, we see that the tools may not have been our problem. Our hearts may have been. Instead of reading labels motivated by fear, if we choose to read a food label, it will be only with the intention of making the most informed choice possible. (Certainly if we have any food allergies or sensitivities, this is something we do even in phase 1!) We will see foods not as “junk” or “healthy” but as beneficial or not so beneficial. Our relationship with food will be revolutionized. We will be free to eat what we choose (without concern for being “back in Egypt”) based on the needs of our body and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We will select Whole Body Pleasers more frequently and do so with joy!
We will become... peaceful, grateful eaters.