Week Fifteen, Day One
Discipline Rocks

I spoke with a woman today who was telling me about her size. She said, “I took after my father’s side of the family and they are obese. I think I got that gene.”

When I was young and chubby, my thin relatives used to say that I took after the other side of the family, the chubby relatives, insinuating, it was genetic. And I’m not saying that there isn’t a genetic predisposition in some cases, but there wasn’t in mine.

I will also admit that body type, muscle mass ratio, etc. plays a large role in your size. Petite, muscular gymnasts will never be tall super models.

BUT WITH THAT SAID, when people say it’s their genes that make them fat, I want to say, “No, it’s cookies.” (I do want to add that anti-depressants and some other meds make you gain ogles of weight. Check out your meds online or talk to your doctor. Did you know that exercise worked as well as anti-depressants in many studies to reduce depression?)

Another woman today told me that some people are just naturally fat. I told her that my SSO students used to say that, but when they Ditch/Plan/Wait (and wowie-ca-zowie, if they WORK-OUT!), they get thin. I want to remind you once again that people are chubby or thin because of (1) what they eat, (2) how much they eat, and (3) how much they move.

For some of you older chicks, you might need to have your hormones checked as they contribute to weight gain. But still! Eating right and exercising covers a multitude of chubbiness. Don’t blame meds or hormones unless you’re ditching, planning, waiting, and exercising.

You will have to decide how much you care about using food for self-soothing and entertainment. Yes, decide. Be honest with yourself. How important is it to you to eat yummy junky sugar and carbs at parties? On vacation? At night? And then, contrast that desire with how much you care about being thin (and healthy!). And then make some decisions. Either decide to get incredibly tough on yourself about NOT eating to self-soothe and entertain, or quit being upset that you’re fat, and just enjoy life.

Excuses are everywhere.

But after you try this fail-try-fail-try-fail thing a while, and realize that you really would rather be thin, are sick of the fight, sick of finding something to wear every day, sick of wallowing through life as a chub and being envious of the skinnies, then tell yourself the cheating is over. OVER. Keep the promise to yourself and Ditch/Plan/Wait and you’ll be thin in no time. It’s all about your mind and what you tell yourself.

You and only you are in charge of what you put in your mouth. Quit making excuses and blaming other people and other situations.

Get tough on yourself (but easy on everybody else). It gets you what you really want. Discipline rocks.

Discouragement After Failure

A lovely woman in the April 2015 class wrote me this morning and said she was “regrouping, refocusing, recommitting”. Do you know what that tells me? It tells me that she has had some failure. It tells me that she’s experienced some discouragement.

But the awesome, cool, supercalifragilistic thing it tells me is that she’s not giving up. She realizes she can re-train her brain and even though she’s had some rough spots, she can get this. She realizes that something as difficult as replacing previous brain habits will take some effort and includes failure. (Re-read the chapter on failure in Skinny School, if necessary.)

So if you’ve failed 1000x, you’ll get it on time 1001. The only people who don’t get the click and the flip are the people who give up. So, are you ready to regroup, refocus, and recommit? Are you ready to get a group, re-read the lessons, re-read the Genie teaching, write in your Ruby Journal, and do the work? Because re-training your brain on how to think about food and eating is your ticket to getting thin.

There is so much beauty to enjoy in the world, and at the same time, there is so much brokenness that needs to be repaired. Get this idiot weight thing off your plate so you can do more of both of those two things! Ditch/Plan/Wait!

Week Fifteen, Day Two
The Importance of Planning, A Clean Environment, and Some More Ranting

Planning is something that some people naturally do because that’s the type of person they are, and it makes them feel good. Other people don’t like to plan. It is actually a stress and hassle because they like to leave their options open. There is not a right or a wrong kind of person here, but if you like to leave your options open, you will have difficulty with the Planning tenet in Skinny School. Planning is such an important part of Skinny School that it’s one of the Miraculous Threesome. If you are not planning, there is no way you can override your previous brain grooves that still want you to eat Trash Food. If there delicious, abundant food is not already prepared, overcoming your previous habits will be almost impossible to do. Do not begrudge the time and energy it takes you to plan.

There is a diet program on the market where you order food and they send it to your house. Actually, this is a short term fix because you don’t have to think about food or plan it; you just eat it. However, it doesn’t work long term because once you go back to having to plan your food, you still don’t know how. So now is the time to learn to plan and prep. This is a big new goal for many of you.

A friend of mine went on a cruise and lost 2 pounds because at all times great food was prepared in abundance. She was always able to choose good proteins, vegetables and salads, then have a little fruit for dessert. She ditched the whole time and loved the fact that she didn’t have to plan or prep. But life is not a cruise. Someone in your house has to do the work of planning, shopping, and prepping.

I want to talk to you about the topic of a Clean Environment. Can you imagine if your husband worked in an office all day long where all the young women wore short skirts, low-cut blouses, and looked like Victoria Secret supermodels? You would hate that because you would know that your husband was putting himself in the way of temptation all day long. Or, what if a recovering alcoholic daily put themselves in social situations where everyone else is drinking all the time, yet they are to abstain? We all know both examples are tomfoolery. But we do the same thing with Trash Food and our homes. We try to Ditch, but don’t have great food prepared, and then we have our hidden stash of Trash Food. Insane!

You must explain to the people you live with that you cannot have Trash Food in your environment. I’ve even heard of someone putting a lock on one cabinet so that other family members can have their treats yet she doesn’t have access to it. Hey, whatever you need to do, do it. But don’t use your children for an excuse to keep Trash Food around. Children are happy with healthy food as long as there is a lot of delicious food prepared. The problem comes when children get hungry, you don’t have anything prepared, so you then pull out the junk.

You can make excuses all day long, all day long, all day long. Or you can get serious about getting out of the Food Dungeon forever. The ladder out is Ditch/PLAN/Wait.

In the last fifty or sixty years, people have believed the lie that they should not spend time in the kitchen or on food preparation. This is the first century that it has even been possible to buy junky food already prepared. For centuries families have had to work hard to get their food and to prepare it. Only the very rich have had the luxury of having cooks to do all the work.

But in this century, a lot of companies have found they can make a lot of money if they offer convenient Trash Food. It tastes terrific with all those chemicals and sugar. Big companies don’t care if you are messing up your health or if you’re fat. They love the money they’re making. It is so ridiculous that we’ve allowed ourselves as a society to except the food supply. It is not OK to feed yourself junkie Trash Food and it is not OK to feed your children junkie Trash Food. We have to get back to how God created us and that is to eat His gorgeous, abundant food in the state that He prepared, without the added chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, and sugar. We have bought into the lie that society has put forth.

However, you’re too smart for that, right? You know you’ve got to let something else go in your life so that you can take charge of preparing healthy food for your family. This is a spiritual issue too because our spiritual/mental/emotional/physical self is all one creature. Each of those four areas affect the other ones. Some of your children’s behavior problems may be related to the food they eat. I can promise you some of your emotional turmoil is due to the janky food you eat. You’ve got to overhaul the food you serve your family. Eating fast junky food is ludicrous. Write it in your Ruby Journal–it is ludicrous for you to put that garbage in your body or in your children.

Please don’t get me wrong and hear me making an idol out of food. I’m only trying to get you back to the way you were originally created. You were created to live to please God, to do the work you were given to do, to love the people you were given to love, but also to take care of your temple in the way it was originally designed. I’m not trying to get you off-balance. I’m trying to get you to return to how you were created to live.

Of course, it’s a new mindset and it’s a lot of work to change habits. But once you form new, correct ways of thinking and acting about your food and eating, it will not be so much work, I promise. I know changing habits is stressful and hard, and I’m sorry. But there’s no pill you can take. And no one else can do this for you. You’ve got to do this yourself.

No one ever said life was going to be easy. But it is certainly easier to live with a healthy body than with one that is unhealthy from Trash Food.

Stop Stuffing Uncomfortable Thoughts and Emotions

Many of us have pushed down unpleasant feelings and thoughts with food for years. When we begin to Ditch/Plan/Wait, those unpleasant thoughts and feelings surface because we are no longer covering or medicating them. Our previous strategy of stuffing uncomfortableness with food is over, so the raw thoughts and emotions often lay exposed, and we feel like we’ve lost our coping mechanism.

Yes, emotions will clang and uncomfortableness will arise. But again, tell yourself that mature adults ENDURE uncomfortableness and then use that energy for problem-solving and prayer. I don’t want you to be surprised by your strong emotions. That’s why the Quart Bags, soup, and yummy drinks are so important.

In my journals, I have pages and pages with “Issues that upset me” on the left column, and on the right, “God’s solutions” and “Ideas to try to fix this”. You have issues that upset you and so do I. But praying, getting counsel, and problem-solving are the answers, not stuffing the problems. If you stuff the problem by eating it down, you now have two problems: being fat and the initial issue.

Do not run from uncomfortableness. Actually, when it shows up, say, “I will confront this issue and begin to take daily massive action on it, as well as pray carefully through it, and seek godly counsel. I will not be afraid of my negative emotions anymore. I will embrace them, accept them, and seek answers.”

Maybe you do need some Christian counseling. For sure, you need community and connection. Quit living alone with your secret problems. You were not created to handle your problems. God wants to bear your burdens and He wants your community to help you bear your burdens. Again, close friends are fabulous.

We are to be burden-bearers to each other in the Lord. You are to do this for others and you are to allow others to help you carry your burdens. You are embarrassed by your failure, your regret, your past, so you hide it. I’m not talking about telling the world. I’m talking about finding a person (maybe a counselor, maybe a godly older woman, maybe a trustworthy friend) and taking the shield off your heart. When we have connection, we heal.

For sure, I don’t advise using a megaphone and start announcing your emotional issues to a group. I am only advocating that you form some deep relationships and talk about things.

There is a lot of healing that needs to happen in your life (and in mine). We have stifled it by stuffing it. Be ready to endure the negative emotions (or at least, stuff them with Quart Bags while you begin this journey). With prayer, connection, problem-solving, along with taking daily massive action, you will begin to get some traction on your problems.

But just remember, in this world, you will have tribulation and problems. There will be things you cannot fix. You must accept them and quit fighting “what is”. God often has a very different view of your problems. We know that He is working for your good (Romans 8:28) even though you can’t see it.

Week Fifteen, Day Three
The Hassle of Finding Something to Wear

The summer after I turned 23, I went back to college to get the pre-med prerequisites to apply to medical school. Both of my brothers were doctors and I decided since I was so unlucky in love, I would find status and money by becoming a doctor (pathetic, I know, but I did not become a Christian until I was 25 and then my whole world view was turned upside down). Actually, at the time, I wanted to be a psychiatrist.

That summer I signed up for organic chemistry, microbiology, and a host of other scientific subjects. My first class was at 7 AM every morning. I was extremely motivated.

What I remember about that summer, besides the long hours of studying, was the hassle of finding something to wear to class every day.

I am almost 5’9” and at that time, I weighed 175 pounds. (Gulp! I’m 128 pounds now.) Being 23, and hanging out with all the other young premed students, I felt like a tank every day. I actually remember thinking about how cool it would be if I could just put on some jeans and a tee shirt and not worry about how I looked. But instead, every single day, I had to worry about trying to find something to cover me. It was such a huge hassle. And no matter what I put on, I felt fat. 

What a burden to always be thinking about what to wear to cover up your fat!

I’m a lot older now (and God redirected my career to Counseling, not psychiatry) and instead of hiding fat, I’m now worried about hiding wrinkles, ha ha. But! I can throw on a pair of jeans, any old top, and just go. I don’t have to worry about covering up my body. I’m not always thinking about how fat I am. What a freedom to just throw on some clothes and not THINK about your size at all.

Trash Food can’t compete with that freedom. 

Addictions, Food, Relationships, Community, and Connection

We all know that alcohol, drug, sex, and gambling addictions are harmful. But new studies everywhere say that Food Addiction hijacks the brain, just like those other addictions (sugar and chemicals are villians!). With new technology, scientists can now see the brain and have found that Food Addiction lights up the brain in the same way that the other addictions do.

Much has been learned about recovery from addictions. At the center of recovery however, the absolute center, is community and connection. Few people recover without deep connection with others.

This is another reason I beg you to form groups to discuss the Skinny School principles. Not only does the SS thinking get cemented in, but the healing from community is colossal. I also hope you are in a small group at your church where there is transparency and genuine concern. All psychologists agree that the “sense of belonging and being accepted in a group” is necessary for mental health, regardless of the religious persuasion. We all agree we need people…and not just surface relationships either. We need deep, sharing relationships.

People with addictions tend to isolate, because of their shame. This is so unhealthy, my friend. Our busyness and pride keep us from what is most enjoyable and needed on earth: deep relationships!

Recovery from any addiction is complex, but at the center of recovery, is connection with others. Don’t neglect this important concept in your recovery from Food Addiction. I have mentioned before one of the slogans of Celebrate Recovery, a Christian group: “Never Alone, Never Again”. That says it all, doesn’t it?

Take responsibility for finding intimacy and connection in a group. No one else can pray for you, exercise for you, or find connection for you. You are no longer a child and must act like an adult, being proactive in finding what you need.

Once I read that a couple didn’t have friends and felt “lonely”. This smart couple started inviting people from their church to eat at their house on Sundays. In one year, this couple had so many new friends, that they had trouble balancing time with all of them.

I also often read that you have to initiate and “try many people” to find just a few “that fit”. So, if you try 20 people and they don’t “work”, then try person 21. This is kind of a numbers game. Many people pursue a couple people, feel rejected, and then quit. GEESH!!!! Heavens, that’s dumb. We are so unique and it takes a while to find “friends that match”. But initiate! Don’t be lonely. That’s a prescription for depression and addiction! 

When I feel blue, I know it is often because I am isolating and trying to live by myself. My husband and I are joining a new community group at our church this fall, and I’m so excited, because I now know how healing, God-honoring, and important community is! Think about this for you, as new programs, classes, and groups begin every fall in churches. Maybe there’s a group for you.

And maybe you’ll make time for a SS group, too!

Week Fifteen, Day Four
A Quick Thought About Not Wanting to Exercise

For most of you, there will never be a time when you say to yourself, “Oh Goody! I get to go exert my stiff body and push it. I get to make myself uncomfortable and exercise! YAY!!”

Instead, you will hear yourself say, “Dang. I don’t feel so great. I wonder if I should skip my exercise today?”

Now if you have an injury or a real sickness, then please see a doctor. BUT, if you are only battling your Demanding Child, then tell her to shut up and don’t listen to her. Just get on your exercise clothes and get the workout over with. EVERYONE loves to finish a workout. The mental, physical, and emotional benefits are outstanding. But you have to press through the whining of your Demanding Child. She is a CHILD and does not get to make decisions, okay?

So, don’t expect to love exercise (I know, some of you lucky ones do). LOVE the benefits. LOVE the results. LOVE the endorphins at the end. Just put on your clothes and do it.

Maybe you can write that in your Ruby Journal under the Exercise pages, that instead of thinking about “how much you don’t want to exercise”, you think about “the benefits, the results, the endorphins”. (Re-read p. 134 in Skinny School for a long list of benefits.)

I’m headed for the gym…and this stiff, cranky body is thinking about how happy I’ll be when I’m finished!

After You Get to Your Goal A Weight

So many people mistakenly think that after they get to their Goal A weight, they can go back to some easier “More-Trash-Food” eating strategies. Friend, get rid of that nonsense right now. To stay slim, you have to continue the habits that got you thin. 

But the great thing is how easy it all becomes because it will be HABIT.

This morning I had to take a family member to some out-patient surgery and be there at 6 a.m. Before I left at 5:30 a.m., I had packed two turkey roll-ups on romaine with mustard and put them in my purse (Ditch and Plan). Since I wasn’t hungry at 5:30 a.m., I didn’t eat breakfast at home (Wait).

Now I’m in the waiting room while the procedure is being done. The sweet woman on my left is about 100 pounds overweight (she has the loveliest countenance and spirit) and is eating from a Ziploc bag of chocolate chip cookies in her purse. I am sure her heart and soul are much lovelier than mine, but I wanted to hand her a copy of Skinny School, as I pulled out my Ziploc bag full of turkey roll-ups. God looks at the heart, and I imagine He is pleased looking at hers, but I know she hates being 100 pounds overweight. Most of us hate being 8 pounds overweight. (Of the six women in the waiting room, five are overweight. It is sad how sugar and excess carbs have done this to women everywhere. I’m so glad YOU now know and can escape!!!)

Even when you get to your Goal A weight, you must still Ditch/Plan/Wait. But your new habits will carry you. I don’t think about food unless I am “Planning/Cooking for my family” or unless I’m hungry and the Buzzer goes off. I have other things I think about, instead of what to wear, how fat I feel, yada, yada.

This is freedom, friend, freedom from the Food Dungeon that you know and hate.

But Ditch/Plan/Wait never goes away. It just becomes easy. And then you can focus on other things in life.

Week Fifteen, Day Five
Giving Up Sugar and Trash Food

I have written posts before about giving up sugar, and there are basically two ways to do it: (1) go cold turkey and get through a few uncomfortable days of detox or (2) a gradual decrease in sugar and carb grams (track how many you are eating per day now and decrease by 10 grams every two days until you are in the recommended zone 15g of sugar and 50g of carbs).

During the time when you reduce sugar and carbs, it is crucial that you eat plenty of healthy food. I would not recommend the tenet of “Wait” until you get to the recommended level of sugar and carbs. And drink lots of water and rest. I always love for you to be in touch with a health practitioner, who can monitor your blood work, etc. (I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, only a weight loss coach, so please get medical attention if weird things happen!) Also, if you have any special kind of medical situation, you MUST be under the supervision of a doctor or health professional.

During this phase when you are reducing your sugar/carb grams, your brain will send you messages. It will NOT like this. It will send you messages that say, “I don’t like this. This isn’t comfortable.” And, “Let’s have some sugar so I can feel better right now.” Often, a half of an apple can shut up your brain. I have written a lot about Food Addiction and how similar it is to Alcohol and Drug Addiction. Your brain will not easily let this go so be prepared for a mental battle.

When I was in this battle and my brain started to “suggest” that I go back to my old ways, I was ready with “Sentences and Reasons” (A.K.A, the Ruby Journal). It was really like a two-person conversation. My brain that was addicted (Demanding Child) said, “This is the time of day when you like to participate in some yummy sugar.” I was ready. My Sane Adult fought back, “Yes, but I want to be the type of person who is healthy, has self-control, and is mature. Do not talk to me.” And then I PURPOSELY thought about something else, and made a cup of Stevia-sweet herbal tea.

Again, my addicted brain/Demanding Child would suggest, “Just a little bit, please.” Sane Adult fought back with, “I know it is uncomfortable changing habits, but once I get rid of the sugar/excess carbs in my life, it will not be uncomfortable. Only this detox is uncomfortable.” And again I would command my mind to get out a Quart Bag and command my mind to think about something else.

A third try by my addicted brain/Demanding Child came again, and said, “It sure would ease some tension to indulge”. But I continued to command my addicted brain to get through the uncomfortableness until I could detox. I told my addicted brain that I was an adult and adults endure uncomfortableness to obtain goals. Finally, the addicted brain shut up for that day. It was great getting up the next morning and thinking, “Another day behind me! Woo hoo!”

And woohoo for you, getting through the initial uncomfortableness, while you train your brain to eat for nutrition and hunger, and NO LONGER self-soothing and entertainment! Champions endure uncomfortableness to obtain goals. And that’s you, right?

The Will to Prepare

You have often heard that many people have the “will to win”, but few have the “will to prepare”. Champions know that preparation is a huge key to success.

There are several aspects to the will to prepare in Skinny School. Number one, of course, is the will to plan and prepare your meals. You should know what you are going to eat each day early in the day. Number two is the will to Pack. If you don’t take your food with you, you will be caught without good choices. (I’m grateful for many new restaurants that are serving healthy nutrition, but healthy food is not always available and accessible at your location so you will often need to Pack.)

Number three is the will to plan and make an appointment to exercise. I like to plan my workouts, knowing what specific exercises I’m going to do, etc. (nerds like these sorts of things). Number four is the will to prepare mentally. This is done by reading and re-reading your Ruby Journal, your lessons, the Genie teaching, etc. And number five is the will to prepare emotionally. This is done by getting together with others in your group to give and receive support.

Yes, preparation is often boring. But it’s the part of a Champion’s life that others don’t see. If you ask any Champion their secrets, “planning and preparation” are always in their formula for success.

Don’t whine that this is a lot of trouble. Instead, tell yourself it’s a privilege to be able to plan and prep and that it’s one of your main secret tickets to good health and slimness. Why, planning and prepping is one of the secrets that enable you to live the rest of your life in a skinny body. You’re grateful that you get to plan and prep, not annoyed.

Right? Because that’s how Champions think, and you are a…….Champion!

I hope you have flipped the switch and had the click! If so, the best way to cement in any subject is to teach it. Have you considered hosting your own group?

Questions for Group Discussion

  1. How do you handle failure? Do you hate it and ignore it, or do you use it for learning? Explain.
  2. How are you making your home a Clean Environment? Explain.
  3. How much trouble do you have finding something to wear?
  4. It is easy to isolate when you are involved in an addiction. What kind of groups are you involved in?
  5. Are you making an appointment to exercise? Do you keep it? If not, why not?
  6. What are your thoughts about eating after you get to your Goal A weight?
  7. Are you still struggling with sugar addiction? If so, what do you plan to do about it?
  8. Do you have the will to prepare? Explain.