Friends, some of you want to get going on Exercise (Chapter 9). Fine, go for it. But, keep in mind, eating is 80% of your weight management and exercise is only 20% of it. This is why we have to get your mind in the right place regarding food before we tackle exercise. We will hit exercise hard and then hit it again. Every day is a battle for me to exercise but the benefits are so outstanding that I do it regularly—and you can train your mind to exercise regularly, too. The topic is coming, but not yet.

SSO lessons are designed to take around 5-6 minutes a day. There are many short sections in this lesson, but the combined reading time is still not very long.

I want to remind you that the key to learning is…repetition! That’s why I keep harping on the same themes, because I want these principles to be your new neural pathways, replacing your old ones in which you ate for comfort and self-soothing. When these NEW thoughts are your “Go To” thoughts, then the click and the flip have happened. But it takes a lot to retrain your brain to replace thought patterns. That’s why this course is 16 weeks long. That’s why you have to have a group so you can dialog with them about these principles (dialoging burns grooves!). You want to create new neural pathways, so don’t begrudge the work it takes to do so. You can’t change deeply ingrained thought patterns with a little bit of effort. Do the work to get this monster out of your life forever.

Highlight what is meaningful to you in the SS book and the SSO lessons. Record these thoughts in your Ruby Journal so you can turn to your journal and get the emotional/mental help you need when you need it. The Ruby Journal will be your personal Genie for a lifetime, a collection of all the ways Demanding Child (Chapter 5) has deceived you and how Sane Adult is now in charge (next week’s lesson).

Reread the Genie portion in Chapter 4.

Week Four, Day One

Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, said that young people have to figure out three foundational anchors: Master, Mate, and Mission. I love this list! These are definitely three huge anchor decisions we all have to figure out.

I would add a few more M’s to that list of important topics to learn: Money (Dave Ramsey rocks), Meals (eating healthy), Mind (I will write about this in Happy School: Where Women Learn How to Think Correctly About What is Missing and Disappointing), and aMigos (okay, I cheated on the M but this is about friends/community/relationship skills). Life is about loving the Lord and about loving your neighbor as yourself. I want you to know that I understand what’s important in life and I don’t think life is merely about being thin and that everything will be peachy when you get to your Goal A weight. That’s a joke because you will always have problems.

But being overweight is a ball-and-chain that robs you of energy that you could deposit toward these other important areas in life. And on top of that, being overweight just stinks. I’ve been chubby and I’ve been thin, and being fat is a huge bummer. Just get this off your plate. Figure this out and then, use allllllllll of that extra energy on these other important life topics.

What is Zapping Your Time and Energy?

Yesterday, a friend of mine who is struggling to lose 20 pounds (and has NOT read Skinny School, although I gave her a copy, ha ha) called to tell me that she had just met with a life coach to help her figure out some issues in her life.

My friend was overjoyed with the counselor’s advice and direction. What the counselor/life coach did first was to get my friend to write down all her goals and then to decide which ones were the most important. (Does this sound familiar? Top Four Life Goals!) And then, the counselor asked her what she was doing that took up so much of her time and energy and maybe, was not in her top goals. (Again, sound familiar? What goals/activities do you need to lay aside for a season while you go after your top goals?)

My friend said to me in a very enthusiastic voice, “I am quitting my part-time job so I can focus on my weight and exercise!” I commended her. She does not need to work and her part-time job is a constant source of frustration to her. In addition, she has repeatedly been upset over her weight but was too exhausted to deal with it.

So, don’t forget to think about what is zapping your energy and time but is not a God-given responsibility and is not a current Top Four Life Goal. Freeing yourself from this activity may be just the thing you need to have the time and energy to go after getting thin and healthy, one of your current Top Four Life Goals.

Answer this sentence in your Ruby Journal: Some things that are zapping my time and energy that are not in my current Top Four Life Goals and are NOT a God-given responsibility are…

Friend, sometimes we just have to stop, pray, and think. 🙂 Let your Ruby Journal assist you in thinking!

The Last of the Three Hard Lessons

All Skinny School students majorly struggle with these three first lessons, the Miraculous Threesome: Ditch—Plan—Wait. (After this lesson, you can relax a little bit. Lessons 2-4 are the killers. It is somewhat coasting downhill after this week.)

Most of my Skinny School students have struggled with ditching sugar and excess carbs (Chapter 2). Also, they have struggled with the amount of time and energy it takes to Plan and Prep in Chapter 3. But there is something unique and extremely difficult (at first) about Lesson 4, waiting until you’re physically hungry to eat (a 3 on the hunger scale)…and then stopping at a 5. But honestly, if you did nothing but wait until you were a 3 to eat, and then only ate until you were a 5, you would soon be thin. This tenet alone is triumphant and magnificent.

Remember, you are not expected to be a Champion yet. You are in training. So of course, you don’t completely have this yet. This is a 180 for you. Just give it time. However, the Miraculous Threesome is your secret passcode to lifelong thinness.

Keep meeting with your group. Keep doing the work in your Ruby Journal. When you lose your way, immediately get back on the bus ASAP with the Miraculous Threesome and do not beat yourself up. Instead, write about your failure in your Ruby Journal so you can use it to learn, not to berate yourself. Zig Ziglar said, “Make failure your teacher…not your undertaker.” This is the path of Champions, using failure to learn.

Each of The Miraculous Threesome are huge changes in your life. Gigantic. But they are the road to freedom. Going through the uncomfortableness to learn these new habits gets you what you want: thinness. If there was another way, I would tell you. Yes, in the past, I used to wish it were easier, but not anymore. All of my SS students are thrilled with their new body size and you will be, too. Also, don’t forget the emotional freedom you will gain when you are feeding your body in the best way possible. The sacrifice will soon seem small in light of the benefits. This must be your mindset, NOT self-pity. Your perspective is (again) that OF COURSE you have to make sacrifices to get what you want most! Thinking like this is the secret to thinness. If you can look at brownies and tell yourself that they will mess you up emotionally, physically, and chubbily (I just made that word up), and in addition, they will keep you from what you really want, then you can sidestep those liars. (The untrained mind is unknowledgeable about their negative side effects and how they and their sugary cohorts are responsible for your years of suffering.) Keep drenching your brain with this thought.

Week Four, Day Two
Be Ready for Some Strong Emotional Tidal Waves This Week

When you quit medicating your sadness, disappointment, anger, boredom, and regret with food, and try to wait on hunger, expect to feel a huge emotional surge. Learning how to deal with these strong emotions is another huge course (Happy School). For now, we will discuss a few thoughts that will begin to dial down the storm in you. If you need to use Quart Bags and soup, then by all means, do it. I use them all the time!

Honestly, I am sad this morning. The “What’s-Missing-and-Disappointing-Thing” in my life has showed up again. Your WMDT will show up, too, and the urge to medicate it will arise.

Trash Food won’t solve your problem. You’ve tried that, remember?

When your WMDT presses its ugly head against the window and wants in, there are several things you can do:

  1. “There is the presence of the Lord or there are lifeless ashes.” (I wish I could remember who said that…it wasn’t me). Many Christians start their day with the Psalms, praying them back to God. I was in Psalm 119 this morning and I felt my soul restored. In addition, there are wonderful Bible studies everywhere. Be sure to feed your spirit every morning. Currently (and I switch this up all the time), I am using the Online Commentary at This commentator brings in the quotes of Spurgeon and other wise saints.This is just an idea if you’re searching for something to do in your quiet time.
  2. There are these fabulous things in the world and they are called friends. Text a friend and ask her if she can talk about something that is upsetting you for a few minutes (and then hang up after a few minutes!). It is not asking too much if it is on her schedule. Or ask her to go for a walk and tell her you want her advice. This is healing stuff! People who like us and listen well are healing. To gain a friend like this, be sure you listen well to her. Aim for you to listen 70% of the time and for her to listen 30%. If that is your expectation, you’ll never feel offended.
  3. Make a page in your  Ruby Journal that says, “WMDT”. Write your issue on the left side of the page and then write down encouraging thoughts across from your issue. I have phrases like Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you” and “find the opportunity in the obstacle” and “God hears me, He loves me, He is able, He cares, He is working on my behalf” and “Lower your expectations” and “It’s only upsetting if you construe it to be” and “Accept ‘what is’ while working on it and praying over it” and ogles more…
  4. Say no to stuff that the Lord does not put on your plate. The school, charity, church, neighborhood, extended family, etc. all want a huge piece of you. And that will leave you exhausted like a wet noodle. Be prayerfully intentional about how God wants you to spend your very limited time and energy. Saying no is ridiculously hard to do because we want others to be impressed with us. Take responsibility for finding the time to restore yourself and enjoy life. When our six children were young, we drove old cars, never went out to eat (unless the parents were paying), and had no furniture in our living room for years. But I had a housekeeper and a weekly babysitter. We used to say we paid the housekeeper and then the electrical bill. 🙂 Find out what you need and take responsibility for getting it. No blaming others (especially the hubby)!
  5. Take a deep breathe then go do something that restores your soul. You don’t have to work or be productive all the time! Do you like to shop? Go to a movie? Wander around in a bookstore with a good cup of coffee? Sit in the sun and read a book? Save a little money for babysitters and take responsibility for enjoying life. No one is coming on a white horse to rescue you from the hard things in life (Jesus is coming on a white horse to rescue you in your next life but you need to figure out the present time). Learn how to have joy in this life. No blaming anyone for your sadness. No self-pity. Pray then leave your heartache on a shelf in heaven. To be sad and disappointed sometimes is a part of being human. There is nothing wrong with you.
  6. If you are sad a lot of the time, a Christian counselor can be a life-saver. How healing it is to process your personal issues with someone who is trained to help! There is no stigma with this. All the healthy people I know get counseling when they have an issue. Asking for help is a sign of maturity. Many churches offer free counseling. Or maybe there is a wise, godly Christian woman in your church who is trained in counseling and you could ask her to meet for coffee and get her advice on something. Reach out. If she says no, ask someone else. Many older godly women love listening and helping other women if only they are asked. Find someone with whom you have chemistry and ask her to meet with you. Take responsibility for finding help with your problems. (However, if you are struggling with depression, you do need to get the help of someone who is trained.) Having other people help you process your issues is indispensable. Don’t live alone. That’s why I beg you to get a group (in person, meeting online doesn’t count.)
  7. Start a page in your Ruby Journal to keep a list of “Nice Things that Happened or Were Said to Me That Gave Me Joy”. My list is HUGE. And when I need a dose of happiness, I read one of my lists. Add to your list often, no matter how small, if something gave you joy. Recently, one of my sons, who lives in another city, had a birthday. I called him and we had a long chat. This conversation poured a dose of happiness all over my brain. I wrote that down: “Had a great talk with Stephen on his 28th birthday. Felt connected and included.” When our daughter, 29, who had already seen the movie Cinderella heard I wanted to see it, she said, “I will see it with you again, Mom”. I wrote that down also. These are BIG deals to me. THESE are the things in life that make me happy. They make me feel loved and connected. How we need to remind ourselves of these moments because the Accuser is always right there in the nearby alley, whispering what a wretch you are! Right?

Dial down the storm in you…and you will have less urge and need to medicate.

In my life, the Lord often uses a good listener to help me dial down the storm in me. My husband is my best friend and a great listener, so I ask his opinion on all my issues all the time. Relationships are the best thing in life, so be sure you are growing yours.

I feel a little better about my WMDT, after writing all that down (hey, journaling is awesome, too). Now it’s time to get this cranky body to the gym (Lesson 9 on Exercise is coming, ha ha). Love those endorphins. 🙂

P.S. Three hours later: My joy is back!

Are You Afraid of Physically Being Hungry?

Learning to physically be hungry is a little scary. Food has become such a pacifier for us. Because I am still afraid to get hungry and not have food around, I often carry a snack-sized bag of mixed nuts in my purse (or an apple or celery sticks).This gives me the courage to not just eat when it’s available and wait until I am truly hungry. Many women become woozy and weak when they get hungry. Keeping a healthy snack with you helps to avoid this. If I am leaving the house for any length of time, I take a little lunchbox cooler with a few snacks. Planning and prepping, the hallmark of Champions.

How to Take A Break With Yummy Drinks

One thing my Skinny School students repeatedly tell me is how much more time they have in their day when they begin to only eat when they are truly physically hungry. However, these women still need a “break” during the day. In the past, many women have had the ritual/habit to eat when they needed a break. But now, you will need to find other ways to take a break. Check out all the delicious teas at your local grocer. Green tea is full of antioxidants. And the Berry teas taste like punch. Have you checked out all the coffee flavors? Also, I LOVE squeezing fresh lemons and adding a little stevia to make homemade lemonade. If it’s summer, I put ice in the blender and make this a slushy drink. Delish! Be sure and use non-GMO Stevia (like SweetLeaf) to sweeten it. Most of the other artificial sweeteners are bad for your health.

Yummy drinks are part of every thin, wise woman’s regiment. Don’t forget water with lemon or lime. You aren’t hungry, but you need a break. Take it. Enjoy.

Week Four, Day Three
The Shockingly Small Amount of Food It Takes to Get to A Five

Women are repeatedly shocked at how little food it takes to get to a five in fullness. You are probably used to eating large amounts of food. But when you only eat until you are a five, you will be flabbergasted. If you can “feel” the food in your stomach, you ate too much. Skinny School students don’t even like feeling full anymore. They like to feel light. If you eat to a 6 or a 7, don’t beat yourself up (I know how you do!). Just get back on the bus and wait until you are a three to eat again.

A cute young (skinny) woman who understands this was in my kitchen recently. She said, “A few bites and then you’re done.” This cute chick never goes hungry. However, when you eat for hunger, you realize it doesn’t take that much food to NO LONGER feel hungry and to be satisfied. This alone is a huge switch for your brain because the large portions you have been eating are going to make it seem like you are barely eating at all. And since you won’t be eating that much, make sure you’re eating nutrient-dense food. Veggies are the best!

You might experience some grief during this transition. That’s right, grief. You’re saying goodbye to something that you used to think was a friend (the veil has been torn, and you now know that “food as a friend” is a lie, right? It is merely nice-tasting nutrition.). You will need to replace that friend. Again, I beg you to form groups because relationships heal. We are starved for real friendship where we can be honest about this huge struggle in our lives. A group is soothing, comforting, fun, and inspiring. Your knots will untie somewhat when you form community. The phone and computer are not substitutes. Face to face!

What if My Hunger Doesn’t Coincide With My Family’s Mealtimes?

This situation repeatedly happens to Skinny School students and you have to learn to tweak it. One girl told me she came home at 4 pm and was a definite 3, maybe a 2.5. That is a zone where she was going to eat! She had some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge, so she started there. And there was a salad already made. She grabbed that. After she ate the chicken and the salad, she was still hungry. She ate a tablespoon of nuts. The roar had been calmed.

At 6:30, she fixed meatballs and spinach along with a salad (she had added pasta and sauce for her kids’ meal). After that earlier 4 pm feeding, she was only a 4 in hunger at dinnertime. She could have eaten dinner, of course. But instead, she got a salad and played with it and fixed herself a yummy drink to sip on (I love Celestial Herbal teas!). This woman then cleaned up dinner and put the delicious leftovers in her fridge saving them for a spectacular lunch tomorrow. The family had chatted about their day (not a life-changing dinner discussion, but a normal, nice conversation) and no one noticed or cared that she barely ate. What a great way to live! You do NOT have to eat if you’re not hungry. You can still enjoy family time.

Some women who are ravenous at 4 pm can learn to just eat a tad to turn down the thunder of hunger, but many women do as the paragraph above suggests. You will have to decide. But what you can’t do is eat at 4 pm and then eat again at 6:30 if you are NOT hungry. You will have to play with this.

Hunger waxes and wanes. You’ll feel hunger strike then it will go away and come back a little stronger. You don’t have to obey hunger immediately, although you will want to. You can wait until the hunger comes back the second or third time. How amazing your food is going to taste when you eat. I don’t know who said this first, but it’s true: The best sauce is hunger.

Again, I don’t like to feel hungry or empty so when I get hungry, I eat. I like a little food in my stomach. Soup and Quart Bags rescue me repeatedly.

Getting Caught at Dinnertime With No Dinner

It ‘s 5 pm and you are tired. You have been pulled on all day and you are spent. Now, it’s time to perform again, and think about what to fix for dinner. WAIT. Did you read that sentence? Think about what to fix for dinner? Your alarms should have gone off. If you are thinking about what to fix for dinner at this explosive time, you are asking for failure! I hope you caught that trick I inserted. You are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t PLAN and PREP. You are walking into a mud slide. Be smarter than that, Ms. Champion! Do what Champions do: Plan and Prep. Plan and Prep. Over and over and over again, because this is a (say it with me) current Top Four Life Goal!!

FYI, Instead of defaulting to junky, expensive, preservative-laden take-out, I make big batches of Genie Chicken Vegetable Soup (click here for recipe) and then freeze individual portions. I also like to keep chili in individual portions in the freezer for times such as these. Also, we all love omelets for dinner. There are many tricks you will learn, once you get your mind in the right place. You have entered a No Excuse Zone, and planning and prepping will prevent stepping in potholes.

I still love a crock pot! Coming home to an almost-prepared dinner is awesome. Google “Paleo crock-pot recipes”.

Week Four, Day Four
Don’t Engage in Preventative Eating

Recently, I was in an airport and I was tempted to engage in “preventative eating.” I almost bought some food for the plane so I wouldn’t “get hungry”. Again, by carrying mixed nuts and an apple in my purse, I was able to say no to “preventative eating.” So many little habits add up to multiple pounds. Go the extra mile! Plan and prep and wait until you’re hungry to eat.

When You Absolutely Must Eat to Dial Down Emotions

Review: (You can never have too much review). After you wean yourself from sugars and excess starches, you will notice a huge decrease in the need to medicate your feelings with food. But nevertheless, they still appear! That’s when you reach for the majesty and beauty of the Quart Bags and soup! Preparation is the Secret of Champions.

Stopping at A Five in A Restaurant When You’ve Paid for the Food


This section is for you great girls who are careful with your money. Bravo. I love that quality about you. But sometimes, we have to think carefully and think outside the box. If you are in a restaurant, you can always take the leftovers home. Many of my skinny-minny friends always leave a restaurant with a take-out box. Think of it as regal, that this is what princesses do, they eat until they are a five and then they take the rest home. It’s a habit, my Friend. That’s all it is. A habit. I am asking you to do so many new habits, but they are the money! They are your answer. You are salivating for thinness…and this is how to get it. Stop at a 5 in a restaurant, order some decaf, and ask for a “to go” box.

Buffets and Stopping at A Five

Recently, I ate with my mother at the Blakeford Retirement home in Nashville. It was a Sunday buffet and I ate a lovely omelet with a great salad. Actually, the buffet had many awesome Skinny School choices: deviled eggs, prime rib, veggies, and other foods that were low carb-low sugar. After the omelet and salad, I was at a five. However, I wanted more. The others were still eating and the food was right there, prepared, and free. I WANTED more!!

Here is where you have to say to yourself, “Enough is as good as a feast”. Here is where you say, “I want more food but I want skinniness more”. And then, learn to stop with a ritual, such as a cup of decaf coffee. Whatever your method, you have to get a new habit—a new pattern so that when you hear yourself say, “I want more”, you then hear yourself say, “You’ve had enough, get a cup of tea.”

Sometimes when I see chubby little kids, I think, “Why don’t the parents limit his food? Why do the parents let their child eat like that?” It’s the same thing you have to say to your Demanding Child Personality (next lesson), and that’s, “You’ve had enough!”

I don’t care if it is free. Better to be in the garbage than on your tush. Write down in your Ruby Journal the sentence you are going to say to yourself and then, have a ritual to turn to, like a hot beverage. Hot water with lemon is a good ritual after a meal. Maybe you could even brew your decaf coffee while eating dinner, and voila, it’s ready at the moment you hit a 5. These little efforts on your part are huge! Maybe it’s just a prayer, telling God thank you for alerting you that you are a five. Whatever you use, you need something that reminds you, “This is where you quit.” Sometimes, I put a plate of celery on the table and I gnaw on a couple sticks, while I slide into the “Enough Zone” emotionally and mentally. This is a skill, a habit to figure out.

Maybe your ritual could be that you put your hands together and squeeze six times, spelling out E-N-O-U-G-H. “Enough is as good as a feast.” Actually, enough is better than a feast because a feast makes you fat and depressed.

Another thing I tell myself that which helps me to stop is, “Yes, this tastes divine and yes, I want more, but in my sane moments, I really like the emotional and physical freedom of lightness. STOP!” I almost yell (in my mind). “Just STOP!” I yell to myself. What you really want, when you are sane, is to STOP.

You can learn this. But you will need to come up with a ritual that signifies you’re finished. Don’t read on until you write something in your Ruby Journal about how you are going to do this. This is how Champions conquer problems…they problem-solve. They get specific. These small nuances are vitally important. 

Stopping at a five is not easy to do, but you can do it. I have learned to, you can learn too. 

When You’re Traveling With Others

Of course, you can’t fuss and make the group wait on your hunger. But instead of saying, “Well, dang. I can’t wait until I’m physically hungry so I might as well pull out the plugs,” say to yourself, “Maybe I could get a small salad with grilled chicken since we will not stop and eat again for a few hours.” That’s sane. That’s being a problem solver. Sometimes, the best you can do is the best you can do. But throwing everything to the wind is idiotic. Right?

It Is Good for the Body to Go Without Food for A While

New research is coming out that says we eat too frequently and it is healthy for the stomach to empty before we eat again. Here is a quote from Dr. Joseph Mercola:

“Part of what appears to be driving bodily disease processes is the fact that we eat too frequently. When you’re in constant “feast mode,” your body actually forgoes much of its natural “repair and rejuvenation programming.” Periodic fasting provides a number of health benefits that most people seek: from improved cardiovascular health and reduced cancer risk, to gene repair and longevity. I strongly recommend it if you have insulin/leptin resistance.”

Click here to read the entire article.

A Little Balance

Honestly, after you live with this principle of waiting until you are hungry to eat for a while, you will relax. If I am going to the gym and I am only a 4, I still eat a little something 30 minutes before I go because my stomach feels janky when I exercise on an empty stomach. 

Also, I try never to inconvenience others with my eating, but try to be accommodating. Just FYI, it is very annoying if someone is always talking about their hunger and their eating and yada yada. Don’t become obsessed. Just eat right and let it go. (That’s why I love a group, because you can talk about this to them and it’s not annoying. Your husband or BFF do not want to talk about this 24/7, be warned.) If your stomach feels a little weird and you want a little food, then drink a cup of vegetable soup. Don’t be ridiculous about this.

Probably the best teaching in all of Skinny School is Chapter 2 and this one, Chapter 4. Eat nutritious food (Chapter 2), then wait until you are hungry to eat and stop at a five. This is a skill to learn, just like riding a bike was. You will fall down, but get back on the bike. You will eat past a five and you will do it over and over again and then one day, you will see that just a little amount of food gets you to a five. It is shocking how little you really need to eat to get rid of hunger. 

Right now, food probably still has a lot of meaning to you that it shouldn’t. Food is still your zest, color, life, comfort, and stimulation. When you strip food of that power and realize it is merely nice-tasting nutrition, you are on your way to thinking like a Champion.

Tracking is Knowledge and Knowledge is Power

I’m wrestling with being honest here, but here goes…

I don’t track.

Before you get all huffy, remember, I’ve been living like this for years and I know the sugar/carb counts of everything. I rarely, rarely, rarely eat sugar, except fruit. I don’t eat bread, crackers, croutons, flour, pizza crust, etc. I wait until I’m a three and I eat until I’m a five. Each morning I know what I’m doing for dinner that night. Usually, there are leftovers for lunch and always, there are goodies in the freezer.

In fact, I don’t think about my food much at all. I plan our family’s meals, and then I live my life. When I go to a restaurant, I don’t have a battle, I simply look for what good fish/salad/chicken/soup/etc. choices are there. This is where you are going…freedom!

HOWEVER, until you know the sugar/carb grams of everything, until you consistently ditch sugar and starches, until you plan your weekly food, until you wait until you are a three and then eat only until a five, TRACK. Tracking is knowledge for now. Don’t resist this important learning step.

But friend, freedom is coming. Ha ha, me, the ex-binger, now has freedom. Woo Hoo! Freedom is coming for you!

You Survived A Big Temptation and Then…

One woman told me how she went to a la-de-da reception that had tempting and free Trash Food everywhere. She made it though and was quite proud of herself for this accomplishment.

But later that night, when she was making lunches for her kids for the next day, she messed up with crackers and pretzels.

Friend, after reading this, what would you tell her? You need to memorize this, because this is what you need to have ready in your brain to tell yourself. Here’s the answer:

Write about it in your Ruby Journal, analyze why this happened and what you could do to avoid it next time (for example, have celery to munch on while you fix kids’ lunches), and then, drum roll, draw a line in the sand, forget about it, and get back on the bus with the Miraculous Threesome of Ditch/Plan/Wait. This strategy for when you blow it should become a loud, clanging thought. You HAVE to have a strategy to immediately get back on the bus when you fail. Not tomorrow morning. Heavens, not Monday. Now. Whatever time it is, NOW. Again, how you handle failure will be the secret to your success. Slap your wrist. Shake your curls. Stomp your foot. Do a little dance. Do something and say to yourself, “Enough of that insanity. Back to acting like a Champion.”

Got that? The sooner you hear yourself say, “Whoa, Nellie” the better. Hear yourself say to yourself, “That’s not the new me. That doesn’t get me what I really want. Enough of that.” Throw that Trash Food away. Walk away. Get some soup or a Quart Bag or some healthy leftovers. But don’t let Trash Food have the rule. You are the ruler, not your Demanding Child personality (that’s next week’s lesson!).

BONUS 1: Being Realistic About Life

Friend, this morning I got weighed and it was a very low number for me. Okay, nice, right?

But as I had my Quiet Time, I was aware of a great sadness in my heart, one that repeatedly appears. I’m just telling you this because I don’t want you to think being thin will solve all your problems. Being thin is awesome, but it does not shield you from LIFE. The struggle to accept what is missing and what is disappointing will never leave you. Yes, being thin will take one backpack of bricks away, but you will never experience an easy, perfect life on this side of heaven. Work on letting go of “your attachments to specific outcomes and embrace uncertainty” (from Slow Medicine, by Michael Finelstein, M.D.). Become comfortable with accepting “what is” for now while you work as though everything depends on you and pray like everything depends on God. Believe that God has an opportunity in your obstacle and that He has plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

There has been a lot of debate over the book, Jesus Calling but honestly, I find it to be a very encouraging book for my heart. Maybe it could encourage you.

BONUS 2: Another Reason I Love Groups

There is a husband-wife team painting my bedroom this morning and I’m tickled by how much the wife talks. They are Spanish and she talks for a few paragraphs (or a few pages!) and then the husband says, “Si.” And then they repeat this scenario. Funny!

This twosome made me think about all the women in SSO and our huge, gigantic, enormous need as women to talk. Our husbands/boyfriends/fathers/brothers/sons simply don’t have the same need. Or desire.

There is a lot of new thinking in SSO, and you are going to want to talk about it. However, the men in your life will soon be sick of hearing about it. But, if you have a group you can text, email, and yak as much as you want about all the new ways your life is changing. So, again, kudos to groups!

Once I saw a promo in a church for people to come to “Celebrate Recovery”, a ministry for recovering addicts. One of the signs said, “Never alone, never again”. One of the hallmarks of addiction is being alone. Friend, get a group. If necessary, forward the women your past lessons so they can catch up.

I recently read a book called Slow Medicine by Michael Finkelstein, M.D. He writes, “There is nothing more important to our health than our relationships.” There are studies coming out now that show how depression and isolation contribute to heart attacks and cancer. Like many of you, I am an introvert and I have to push myself to get together with others. It’s easy to isolate but that is not good for us. Find some upbeat, faithful, godly women and pursue them! Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people.

Of course, there are some of you that are healthy extroverts and other people make you sing. Rejoice! Ha ha! That is something beautiful about you!

Concluding Remarks

Many of you have had the click and flip occur, where you say, “I now understand how to be thin the rest of my life and I can do this! I know how to eat for nutrition and hunger and no longer eat for self-soothing and entertainment.” But don’t be discouraged if the click and flip have not occurred. Sometimes, it takes months for a woman to be immersed in this material and then, one day, she wakes up, and says, “UREKA! I get it.” That is the moment she mentally quits fighting food. Food is merely a source of good-tasting nutrition; food is no longer her life. God, people, and the work she’s been given to do are LIFE. I don’t care if you have 100 pounds to lose. The click and flip will happen to you, if you continue to read the Genie’s teaching, work in your Ruby Journal, and meet with your group. You CAN be thin, no matter how long you’ve struggled, because the brain is plastic and that means IT CAN CHANGE. Woo hoo, I love this about life.

We do not have to be stuck in our ditches and dungeons. We can change.

You guys are the best! And I’m so proud of your courage to keep tackling this beast that has robbed you of joy long enough! Perseverance is magical.

Train your mind to serve you, not oppose you.