Week Six, Day One
Hello, SSO Friend. Just thinking about all the great weight loss and recovered emotional equilibrium you guys have found makes me gloriously happy! So many of you are in the Skinny School 10 Pound Club! Amazing!! And we just got started!
I love the concept of this lesson: Don’t Waste Failure. I let Failure kick me and beat me up for years. No longer! Isn’t it great to tell the Accuser to vamoose and that you ARE going to get this? Fall down 1000x, get up 1001x. It’s how all the great Champions learn and accomplish difficult goals. And that’s us—Champions! No fussing about missing carbs or sugar. Champions don’t complain. They do what it takes to accomplish their goals. They take daily massive action on their goals!
Battling the Demanding Child
The hard part of weight loss is not finding recipes. You can google Paleo recipes and find millions, as well as purchase hundreds of Paleo cookbooks (or low-sugar/low-carb recipes).
The hard part of weight loss is not in understanding the science behind it. I have frequently quoted Dr. Mercola of Mercola.com who recommends 15 grams of sugar a day and Mark Sisson of MarksDailyApple.com who recommends 50 grams of carbs a day for weight loss.
The hard part of weight loss is the mental training, getting your mind in the right place—willing to sacrifice temporary pleasure for a higher goal, health and thinness.
The trick to giving up a pleasure (that is not good for you) is to bathe your mind with the harmful and negative side-effects, find replacements for entertainment and self-soothing, and repeatedly focus on what you want, health and skinniness. Read your lists in your Ruby Journal every morning. Add to the lists as you learn new negative side-effects, replacements for self-soothing and entertainment, and motivating sentences. Everyone can reprogram their mind. Everyone.
The Bible tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12). To grow in your walk with the Lord, you must read and meditate on Scripture (Ps. 1:2), read books and be in relationship with other mature Christians. Of course, the Holy Spirit gives power in prayer, also, to help us grow in our Christian walk.
But the principle of overcoming negative habit patterns is much the same as growing in our Christian walk, and that’s to reprogram our minds. When you see the harmful effects of sugar and excess carbs, you will not desire them, but almost loathe them. That’s why you keep adding to your Ruby Journal, and why you daily read your lists. You are making new neural pathways in your brain. You reprogram your brain with the truth, “Trash Food is not desirable; God’s beautiful healthy food is.”
“He who ignores discipline despises himself.” Prov. 15:32
What this verse says to those of us in SSO is that if you don’t choose discipline, you will beat yourself up and lose your joy. You can’t make undisciplined choices and still enjoy being you. As I’ve said many times, joy is one of God’s best gifts. “The cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Prov. 15: 15b). But, women without discipline, instead, despise themselves. You and I know we can’t be joyful if we’re making bad choices. It’s just the way we humans are wired.
You can use this thought to help you make good choices. Say to yourself, “If I make that choice—the choice that ignores discipline—then I will beat myself up. I will lose my joy. I won’t be happy and instead, I’ll despise myself.” You don’t want that. You want the freedom and joy that come when you live in a disciplined way.
We won’t ever enjoy life until we decide we will make disciplined choices. You’ve tried the other way and you “despised yourself”. Why would you keep choosing that?
When you mess up—and you will—immediately, immediately, write in your Ruby Journal about what happened so you can LEARN from the failure, draw a line in the sand, and then “forget what lies behind” and get back to the Miraculous Threesome ASAP: Ditch, Plan, and Wait.
You have a wrong habit and it is eating for comfort and entertainment. To turn that ocean liner around and learn to eat for nutrition and hunger, you are going to have to plan and prep. Otherwise, you will fall right back into your previous neural pathways of eating for comfort and entertainment.
The worse your habits (eating fast food, packaged food, Trash food, etc.), the harder they are to break and therefore, even MORE planning and prepping is needed. Also, the worse your habits, the more GRACE you should give yourself when you fail. Give yourself a year of failing but getting right back on the bus. The click and flip will happen if you stay with it.
If you follow the Skinny School program and keep bathing your mind with the Genie’s teaching, the light will come on. How you handle failure will largely determine your success in this program. (Answer to handling failure: As soon as you realize you’ve lost your way, that second, not Monday, not tomorrow, you get back to the Miraculous Threesome: Ditch, Plan, Wait.)
And remember, the way to get rid of Trash Food in your life is to have GOOD food planned and prepped. And this takes work. If this is not really super important to you, you will simply come up with an excuse like, “It’s too much work. I don’t have time to do that.”
And that’s fine. But be honest with yourself. Tell yourself you aren’t willing to work very hard on this goal. Tell yourself you have to somehow get comfortable with being chubby during your very short time here on earth. Admit to yourself that you must continue to struggle with hating your size…because you’re not willing to pay the price. It’s okay, but be honest with yourself. Only you decide if you are going to pay the price to learn to think and act like a Champion.
If you can feel food in your stomach, you ate too much. So here’s the deal. We must reckon with what a SMALL amount of food that is! We don’t even want to feel it. Dang. That’s crazy, you say. No, that’s the way skinny people eat…they get RID of hunger. That’s it. This is one of the most supercalifragilistic thoughts of the whole program: Wow, I don’t eat much.
But this is mega-stupendously important: You don’t eat much, so make it count. You have to eat nutrient-dense food to nourish your body. Plant food, especially vegetables (applause), are the rock stars. We have to find a way to eat lots of vegetables. Morning omelets, Quart Bags, salads, and soups help get your veggies in. Keeping leftover veggies in the fridge, ready to microwave for a warm snack is a good idea, too. Real butter is a good fat and is okay on this program. Butter makes veggies yummy.
So you’re making dinner and you are tasting the spaghetti sauce. Then as you’re making a salad, you stick some lettuce in your mouth. You are also making Paleo fried chicken and you want to see if it’s done so you taste half of one piece. Okay. I’m a mom and a cook so I get this. But now, you’re really not hungry anymore. This is where Champions really separate. You take a salad, some celery sticks, a nice cup of something wonderful to drink and sit down at the dinner table with your family and just talk. You kind of move your food around and play with it but you don’t eat much. No one cares if you eat. No one cares. In fact, your kids and husband will be so proud of you and your new slim size.
Enjoy watching your family eat their healthy food. And then, when dinner is over, you just package it all up in Tupperware and put it away for tomorrow. Tomorrow at lunch you will royally enjoy it.
P.S. Just to be extremely clear, I want to say that I feel it is best to eat a tiny snack in the afternoon so you are actually hungry at dinnertime. You are setting a lifelong example to your children and I believe it is best to eat mainly at mealtimes. This example is when you get “caught”, have previously eaten too much, and are not hungry.
Trash Food is treacherous. Treacherous means, “tending to betray”. It looks like it’s a friend, but it’s going to betray you. I feel like some of the food companies are treacherous. They produce and sell food that is horrible for our bodies. We have been dense and have not paid attention to what we were served and sold. But those days are over. You now know that sugar and the wrong carbs jank you up. Trash Food is presented as beautiful and alluring, but what it really gives you is depression, disease, and chubbiness. You are smarter than this. Don’t long for that Betrayer. No more do you let your mind wish for that Scoundrel that says “I love you” but then is cheating behind your back. Instead, when the temptation of Trash Food comes, have some good sentences written in your Ruby Journal. Read those. And then think about something else. For example, maybe planning some fabulous, healthy, nourishing, tasty meals, made with God’s natural ingredients!
Pleasure must be found in other areas. Good healthy food must be prepared. You must bathe your mind with why you want to be thin and healthy and how much you hate being fat.
And then, with an iron will, and with huge preparation and no self-pity, you live the life God has asked you to live, not obsessing over Trash Food, but jerking your mind from the garbage and thinking about something else.
Trash Food’s gig in your life is over!
What you eat influences your body’s energy and vitality. It is just common sense that you would eat healthy…so you feel well! We think we can cheat, eat Trash Food, and somehow be exempt from the sowing and reaping law.
The truth is, if you eat Trash Food, you will experience a decrease in health, well-being, and metabolism. You have tried to out-do the law of sowing and reaping for a long time, but isn’t it time you realized you can’t beat this law?
You can’t tell the sun when to rise. You can’t take the stripes off a tiger. And you can’t live outside the laws of sowing and reaping. Go ahead and eat Trash Food but you are choosing to be depressed, fat, and unhealthy. Or eat God’s amazing nutrient-packed food (but not until your God-given-alarm, Hunger, goes off, and stop when your God-given-alarm, Hunger, quits buzzing, when you are a five.).
There will be a time when you hear yourself say, “I am in charge of what I put in my mouth. If I choose Trash Food, I also choose the consequences of feeling depressed, of being chubby, and of moving toward disease.” And then, you hear yourself say, “NO THANK YOU!”
I get hit with this thought often but it was there again this morning. There is not enough time in life to do everything. This morning, in church, some good opportunities were presented. There is a ministry in the inner-city that needs help. There are groups of young people that need older people to lead them. And then after that, the sermon was on prayer and how we need to give ourselves to prayer. Then we have to take care of our families, we have to take care of our homes. We have to take care of our food and our bodies by exercising, we have to take care of our extended family, and someone has to work and make a living. There is so much to do.
Therefore, we have to be very intentional. I’m hoping intentionality is one thing you will learn in Skinny School. I want you to get clear on the life God wants you to live (of course I’m not sure what that is except I know you are to live the Titus 2 passage for women) and then, there’s time to sleep, and time to take a bath, and so many more important things. But there is not time for everything. And if you are not intentional, you will be tossed by the wind. I do think being prayerful will help you. Not only will you get your marching orders, but you will get the power to carry it out. You will have to figure this out. There is no yellow brick road.
The answers are usually the same. Be sure I spend time in the Word and in prayer so I can hear His still small voice. Number two, love my family as though it’s my last opportunity to do so. And three, take care of our family’s health. That’s an especially important goal since my husband almost died two years ago from an autoimmune disease. One way we keep him healthy (and alive!) is through having a very anti-inflammatory diet, which means no sugars and very low carbs.
So those are my top three things and I have to remember that those are my top three things. It is easy to ignore all three of those, to be honest. It’s easy to skip prayer, it’s easy to put my children’s requests off, and it’s easy not to exercise and not to plan healthy meals. It’s easy to ignore my top three life goals. My fourth life goal is to help women with their problems. Now this is funny because this is the easy, fun thing for me to do. Counseling and sitting down and writing are fun for me, not work. But sometimes I do that instead of the top three things. Get clear on what God wants you to do and do the important things.
It’s 6 AM right now and my son just texted me and said he could meet me for breakfast at eight. So this is the end of the post today because it’s time to do one of my top three important things, love my precious family.
I hope you are doing the top important things God wants you to do, too.
It’s difficult when all of our favorite people are eating Trash Food and encouraging us to eat it. But I want to encourage you with what’s coming in a few months after Skinny School. When I am out with my family and birthday cake is served, someone will inevitably say, “Mom won’t eat any.” Or if I am out to lunch with friends, and the dessert tray is passed, one of them will say, “Oh, Julie won’t eat any.” And no one is offended. No one presses me anymore.
I am hardly tempted by sugar and starches anymore. Since I know how DANGEROUS they are to my health, and because I know they make me blow up like a balloon fish, and they take away my joie de vivre, I’m not interested. But the point is, the peer pressure WILL DIE DOWN. Eventually, others will know you are going to live your one short life and be as healthy as you can, which means, eating God’s beautiful food, not man’s Trash Food.
My body hates sugar and starches. It’s cranky and as it ages, it is getting crankier and less tolerant. “Cheating” is not something I want to do. I know the trade-offs, the way my body has to fight to digest and de-toxify junk, the way I immediately gain weight, and the sluggishness I feel.
While you are learning this mindset, bath and re-bathe your mind with why you don’t like Trash Food and why you love God’s healthy food. Remember how much you care that you live your one, short life in a slim, healthy body. And do the work that all Champions do to accomplish their goals: plan and prep!
For Those of You Who Don’t Like to Cook
If you don’t like to cook, this program will be difficult for you because it is hard to eat right if you aren’t cooking or someone else isn’t cooking for you. To you, I say, stay with it. Keep a notebook with more and more recipes and food choices that you can do. The learning curve for you is carving out the time to plan, shop, and prep. I would love to have a real Genie come and cook for me, but that’s not going to happen. The best advice I can give you is to get organized for the week. Plan the week, get the ingredients in, cook extra so you will have leftovers, and figure out when you will chop and prep. Every morning, you should have an idea of what you’re going to cook and eat that day.
Skinny School adds a couple hours to your week, no doubt. And nothing is more important to me than my time. But I am trading time for health and thinness, and that’s worth it to me. You will have to think hard about this. There is not another way to choose health and thinness, unless you have someone else cooking for you. Eating out all the time will not work for most people.
Over and over, it goes back to what you really want and what you are willing to do to get it. It’s mental training.
We are all weak humans and we all repeatedly fail in some area. Remember, being human and trying to grow and improve means failure, and getting back on the bus. I hate to fail, too, just like you. But dust yourself off, learn from your failure, and get back on the bus. Get back on. This is your ticket out of the Food Dungeon: get back on the bus of the Miraculous Threesome—right this moment.
Our Expectations of Food prep and Cooking are Wrong
Warning: rough water ahead.
In my opinion, Proverbs 31 is still the greatest essay ever written on women. For over thirty years, I have sat at its feet and tried to soak up the wisdom that God penned into those few verses. This passage remains a North Star for women. There is not one aspect of life that this brilliant discourse does not cover regarding a woman’s top goals and priorities. The culture changes, but these short verses still describe a woman’s relationship to her husband, her care of her family and home, her thoughts about the needy, her positive attitude and convictions, her influence, and her devotional spirit.
Let’s see what verse 14 says about your food preparation: She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
Having meditated on this passage and verse for years, I would like to offer what I think it says. I heard a talk by John McArthur on this passage twenty years ago that greatly influenced me. Of course, this is paraphrasing, but what I remember McArthur saying was something like this: “She doesn’t just throw anything on the table for her family to eat, the easiest and most convenient. No, instead, she takes care and goes to extra trouble to get nice and special food.”
We laugh at that, going to extra trouble to get nice and special food, but that’s what I think the Proverbs 31 woman did. Good food preparation is one of the most important aspects to nourishing and nurturing your family, and this woman does it well.
Now, the expectation is that food prep should be easy and simple. I’m not trying to keep you in the kitchen all day. Believe me, I have other things I’m doing, too. But there’s a false belief that food prep should be quick and easy. And what that means is, unless you have a cook, it’s a lot of work for you. I know this upsets you, as many of you work outside the home and you are crunched for time. But what I want to point out again and again, is that health is hugely affected by what you eat, and you cannot eat fast junky food and be healthy. You can’t. You need healthy food and your family needs healthy food, and I just don’t know how else to get it besides you putting forth a lot of effort.
Did you know that one of the top words advertisers like to use is “easy”? Easy money. Easy weight loss. Easy relationships. That mentality is killing us. It’s a sowing and reaping world and very few things are easy. But we expect easy and we all complain, whine, and have great self-pity when life is not easy. Friend, it’s time to change that mindset. Figure out what you know is the right way to live, throw your whining and self-pity to the wind, and go after those things you know are right. Sometimes the best word in the English language is “no”. You know your current Top Four Life Goals, and to do them, you often have to say no to other good things.
One more thought. It is great if your husband likes to cook. But bottom line, it is still probably you who is going to do most of the planning and shopping. Verse 15 says, She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household. I’m not suggesting that you do this, but do you see the principle? She is responsible for the food for her household. If she has help, then great! But often, we expect “easy” when we should just get to work. Quit sabotaging yourself. Figure out what is good, and go after it.
I want to say one more thing about the Proverbs 31 woman. Every time I read that passage, I still cringe at how much I have failed. I mean, this woman is a super star in every way. This passage pushes me to the Lord, and to thank Him that I am forgiven for all of my failure, and that today is a new day, to live for Him, to love and work as He wants me to. I can’t be a Super Hero and neither can you. But know the standard, and start over, accepting yourself as well as your efforts. You will never get it all right. We will all die in the midst of never getting it all right. But that’s the way life is. I saw the new movie, The Avengers (I would give it a 5.5 out of 10) but there was a great line that one of the robots said about humans, “It is a privilege to live among them”. We humans are messy, fallen, we disappoint others, and we disappoint ourselves. Honestly, many of us are ashamed of our failure and mistakes (me!). But we’re forgiven and it’s a privilege to be alive. We are made in the image of God, and that’s very cool. Live in that. You’re forgiven in Jesus Christ.
Week Six, Day Five
How Your Negative Eating Habits Affect Your Ability to Love Others
In 1 Tim 1:5, Paul explains to Timothy that the goal he is talking about in this passage is that we might “love”, and then Paul lists three things that must be in place so we can love others. The three things are a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Today, let’s just look at that second anchor, “a good conscience” and how it relates to your eating.
I want to remind you that when this was written, there was no Trash Food. Sugar was only found in two places: honey and fruit. There was a warning attached to honey (“If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit.” Proverbs 25:16). And fruit was only available seasonally as there was no mass transportation or refrigeration. Eating Trash Food was not much of an option in Biblical times.
But one could always eat too much good food. However, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6: 19) and we were given a cue on when to eat and when to stop to rightly nourish our temples. The cue is called Hunger. When we’re hungry, we eat, and when we are no longer hungry, we stop.
So when you violate those principles, eating Trash Food your body was never created to handle, or you eat outside the thermostat of Hunger, you are violating your temple. And that causes your conscience to be alerted that something is wrong. In SSO, we call it “The Crud Descends”. We know something is wrong when we violate our temples.
And as you well know, this makes you self-focused, doesn’t it? You aren’t thinking about others; you are obsessed with yourself. How can we love others when we are obsessed about how we are mistreating our own temples?
Once you get your eating aligned with eating God’s food, the way He perfectly designed it to perfectly nourish your temple, and you eat according to your God-given thermostat, Hunger, you will not experience “The Crud Descending” as far as your eating. And you will have new energy to love others.
Because after all, the goal is love.
If You are Dad-Gum Gonna Cheat
You have decided you are going to cheat. You are. You are going to taste that pizza, that chocolate cake, or whatever the Trash Food is. I don’t want you to do this, and you don’t want yourself to do this, but heck, you are. So let’s talk about that.
You gave in. You tasted it. Now, the downhill mudslide begins. What do you do?
Install the 3 Bite Rule. No more. Not one bite more. After 3 bites, you have thoroughly tasted it. You have chewed it and felt it in your mouth. There is no reason to have more. Stop. Okay, just stop. Scream in your head, “STOP! This doesn’t get me what I want!!” 3 Bites. It’s not ideal, but it beats a binge, right?
Quit being a crazy. Quit sabotaging yourself. EATING TRASH FOOD does not get you what you want. IT’s time to wake up and think like a grown up!
Massive Action is Needed Daily
The idea that you can re-program your mind is not new. We know we are to “renew our minds” by reading Scripture because our natural tendencies are to drift from God. In the same way, your natural inclinations are to eat for comfort and self-soothing but you are to TRAIN your mind to think about eating for nutrition and hunger. It is a big project, but definitely, doable.
If you won’t do the work of writing good sentences that motivate you in your Ruby Journal, then expect to fail. This is where you re-program your mind about the dangers of sugar, about how crummy you feel when you eat Trash Food, and about how great you feel when you take care of the car that drives around your soul.
If you won’t do the work, though, don’t blame anyone else. Only children and immature adults blame others. Mature adults, Champions, take FULL responsibility for their lives and DO THE WORK needed to reach their goals. Not piddly-squat work, but massive daily action.
Champions don’t have self-pity! They don’t sit around and mope. They go HARD after their goals, what God has called them to do with their very short lives on earth. Don’t waste today. Listen and hear His still small Voice, what work He has called you to do, who He has asked you to love, and GO HARD after that. Don’t sit around and whine that you can’t have Trash Food. Why would you ever wish for something that is bad for you? Don’t let your mind even think about junk.
May God speak to you about what it is that He would have you do with your one-of-a-kind skill set! And may you love those in your close circle as though it is your last opportunity to do so.
Enjoy life today. Your days are numbered, so enjoy your life to the max!
“One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.” Proverbs 27:7
Think about that verse. If you are full, you don’t even want sugar! But if you are hungry, vegetables taste splendid. This is how you get off Trash Food: you wait to eat until you’re hungry, then you eat healthy, God-made, beautiful food…and it will taste exquisite. No deprivation when you live God’s way. Do not let yourself complain about missing Trash Food. Look at the junk and be GLAD you are not putting that poison in your precious body. Why would you miss or want poison?
“Blessed are you, O land…whose princes eat at a proper time, for strength and not for drunkenness.” Eccl. 10: 17
May God richly bless you!
Julie N. Gordon
“…he who rules his spirit (is) better than he who captures a city”. Proverbs 16:32
Discussion Questions for Group Time:
- How do you handle failure? How quickly do you get back on the bus? What could help you even more in this area?
- Have you experienced the “ignore discipline, despise yourself” principle? Explain.
- Are you noticing different thoughts about food and eating? What are you noticing?
- Have you come to grips with the idea that there is a price to pay for being healthy and thin? Explain.
- Have you discovered what a small amount of food it takes to “no longer be hungry?” Explain.
- Are you starting to see Trash Food as treacherous? As a betrayer? Explain.
- Have you accepted that it’s a sowing and reaping world, or are you still trying to live outside those rules?
- What do you say to yourself if everyone around you is eating Trash Food?
- Do you expect cooking and prepping to be easy? Explain.