Week One

Welcome to Skinny School Online. How thrilling these next 16-weeks are going to be—taking something that has been ridiculously painful in your life, and finding an escape hatch out of that dungeon. No matter how long you’ve struggled, you can re-program your thinking and thereby, be able to develop habits that make you thin (and healthy!)

This week, we are going to focus on getting your mind in the right place. Many women have already read ahead in the book, Skinny School, and are racing down the track. If you want to jump ahead in the book and get moving on the game plan, that is great. But some of you need to move at a slower speed of one-new-concept-per week. This is the speed we will use over the next 16 weeks, but again, feel free to get ahead. Everything you need is in the book. These lessons will be your personal weight loss coach.

This first concept is mega-important because you must get your mind situated. Motivation drives behavior. Lesson 1 will ease you into Skinny School Online. The boot camp portion of the program begins next week. Get ready for some intensity! Boom!

This lesson is divided into 5 days but feel free to read it however you like. Download the pdf version (Lesson 1), print the lesson and highlight the portions that speak to you so you can discuss them with your group. Also, write down any sentences/thoughts you want to remember in your Ruby Journal.

If you have not already done so, please read Chapter 1 and all the pages before that. Text your group and make plans to meet.

Week One, Day One
Champions Expect to Work Hard for Their Goals

What I have repeatedly found with the women I have coached is that if being thin/healthy is not in their current Top Four Life Goals, then this program to re-program their thought patterns about food and health is too much work. Because unless you really WANT this, you will not be motivated to spend the time and energy needed to make it happen. You have to be clear on whether or not you really care about being thin.  

If you do care and are willing to do 16 weeks of lessons, meet with your group, and write in your Ruby Journal, you can have permanent freedom from being overweight without years of therapy.

Do you have your Ruby Journal going? If not, stop and do that now.

On page 14 of Skinny School, the Genie gives Jackie the assignment of writing out her current Top Four Life Goals. Productivity experts repeatedly say that you have to get focused to accomplish goals. These experts disagree over how many goals you can accomplish at one time, but for this program, we are choosing four (you can have up to six if you insist). Reread p.14-17 in Skinny School if you need help figuring out your current Top Four Life Goals.

The Genie says on page 20, “Champions take the time to figure out what is needed, carve the time to do it, set margins so they will have energy to accomplish their top goals, and then give up lesser goals–playing pool, watching romcoms, painting, learning French, etcetera–for that which they want most, whether it is attending medical school, being an Olympic athlete, running an extraordinary business, or learning the lessons of Skinny School.”

If you are full of reasons why you cannot give this program the energy of a Champion as described in the paragraph above, perhaps you should consider completing this course another time. (And that’s okay if this is not a good season for you.) I am assuming you are going to give this program the time and energy it needs. You cannot change your weight permanently without changing your brain’s thought patterns and this is difficult work. The thought patterns you have now are in direct opposition to the ones we are going to build. Now, you eat for self-soothing and entertainment, but we are going to learn to eat for nutrition and hunger. But, high-five-here, we can change our brain’s thought patterns and thus, change our habits!

Simple, but not easy.

Honestly, women want weight loss to be easy and that’s ridiculous. How do you expect to change a deeply ingrained mode of thinking without a lot of effort? Knowing this is definitely work will give you the motivation to go hard after this current Top Four Life Goal. You can conquer your weight issues forever, but you will need to stick it out through the 16 lessons in Skinny School Online, do the work in your Ruby Journal, and meet regularly with your group.

I realize you have some unpleasant situations in your life; we all do. And that is not going to change because you are human and part of every human’s experience is to encounter difficult, trying circumstances. Being chubby, though, is not an additional sorrow you have to bear. But you have to want to change. The downhill stream is to eat for self-soothing and entertainment, so obviously, reversing that is going to take some effort. Are you up for that? Wanting something to be easy without paying the price is a constant mantra for humans. But at some point, we realize, if we want something, there’s a price to pay. Are you there mentally? Going after what you really want means giving up other things you want.

The women who have lost weight in Skinny School LOVE being thin. They adore being thin. They enjoy the freedom of getting up in the morning and putting on clothes, not even thinking about feeling fat. They have to go here and there and they just put on clothes and feel good in them. Over and over, they tell me, what a joy it is to be free from the daily battle of finding “something to wear”. Repeatedly they tell me, this freedom and self-confidence is worth so much more than the old “eating for self-soothing and entertainment”.

Think about all the energy and time you’ve wasted thinking about your weight. It’s time to conquer this, once and for all, and then, to use that fabulous re-gained time and energy to repair a broken world…as well as…simply ENJOY life!! 

Life is ridiculously short and joy is one of the best gifts God ever gave us. We cannot experience joy and well-being, though, while we are caught in the web of self-destructive habits.

No whining. No self-pity. You want this. Decide you are going to carve out the time and energy to learn it.

Week One, Day Two
Your Goal A Weight

Write down your Goal A, Goal B, and your Scream Zone weight in your Ruby Journal. Do you have a scale? If not, buy one today. Share these goals with your group. (If specific numbers make you uncomfortable, you do not have to tell your current weight. In my chubby days, I even used to hide my weight from my husband. It IS personal!) Later, if your goals need to be adjusted, you can do so. But start. Set goals. And get weighed daily.
Women tell me they have a fight within themselves to weigh in the morning. They tell themselves, “Oh, I’m holding a lot of water and if I weigh, it will just depress me.” Stop it. Stop it right now. Your weight will fluctuate but only a couple pounds. Do NOT trick yourself like this. Weigh in. Face the scale. When that number appears and you gasp, it’s okay. You are learning the secrets to overcome this painful situation in your life. But you have to face it. And weighing every day makes you face it.

If you have a “slip-up” later on in the program, it is vitally important that you weigh the day after. Do not be afraid of the scale; it is your friend. You will especially want to resist weighing yourself if you slip up, but that is simply your lower-self trying not to face uncomfortable failure (we will get to this in Chapter 6). Weigh. Weigh every day. Every single day. I know many experts say to throw out the scales and just look in the mirror. But that’s not good advice for us. We’re foodsters. We trick ourselves, therefore we have to build a fence around ourselves. So, no arguing. Weigh.

Week One, Day Three
Realistic Expectations

Do not think this mental “flip or click” in your thinking will happen overnight. Nowhere do I say this is easy or fast. In fact, this is very difficult. That’s why I hound you to get a group. This course will take time to read through each lesson, to fill out your Ruby Journal, and to meet with your group. It will take energy. And when we get into Lesson 2 next week, you will see that it also takes time/energy to plan your food, to shop, to prep your meals, and to cook. So right here, right now, let me say, that if you’re looking for an easy fix, this is not it. You’ve been looking for one for years, I know, but there is NO yellow brick road to thinness.

However, there is a ladder out of the Food Dungeon and it is training your mind to eat for nutrition and hunger instead of self-soothing and entertainment. This is the ladder we will climb! Booyah!
Week One, Day Four
Reviewing Your Top Four Life Goals Every Day

Some Life Coaches recommend writing out your top goals every morning. That doesn’t mean just reading them, it means writing them out. Why? The natural inclination of humans is to be scattered and when one is scattered, nothing gets done. But, if you write out your top goals every morning, and then write down action steps toward reaching those goals, you will be shocked beyond belief at how you begin to move toward accomplishing your goals. The brain seems to work best when it has this morning reminder.

For example, one of my current Top Four Life Goals is to grow my relationships with my six adult children and their spouses. So every morning, when I pray for each of them, I jot down any ideas of how I could love or give to them. It could be something like making my son-in-law meatballs to eat while my daughter is out-of-town. Maybe it is ordering a book on Amazon about growing successful relationships with adult children. If you don’t work hard to remind yourself what your current Top Four Life Goals are, and if you don’t devise action steps to accomplish them, you will continue to wander in the desert. Most of the time, our important life goals are not urgent and they get put on the back burner. Be different. Be proactive. Write down your goals daily and devise daily action steps.

This has changed the productivity of my life. Before I ever wrote my first book, I had a goal of writing a book. But it seemed overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. So my action step was merely “write at least one hour every day”. Many days, I thought I couldn’t write, but I would sit down at the computer and write for an hour. Often, that one hour would turn into a productive three hour episode. And after fourteen months, I had written a book! Friend, not only is writing down your Top Four Life Goals every morning an incredibly productive way to live, it helps you choose to spend your time on what matters to you! Also, getting clear on your current Top Four Life Goals enables you to say “no” to the zillion requests that come your way. I want to be led by the Lord, just like you, so I am extremely prayerful about my current Top Four Life Goals.

Many of you have little children and you are just trying to get through each day. Actually, many women “go to sleep” for twenty-five years while they raise their children. I promise I understand. We had six kids in 10 years and homeschooled for nine years, so I know. But if your antennas are up, and you are in touch with your current Top Four Life Goals, you will find pockets of twenty to thirty minutes where you can take action steps toward your goals. Prayerfully, get in touch with what is important to you.

Week One, Day Four
Excuses

Excuses. I have heard them all. “You see, my children/grandchildren keep me so busy that there’s no time to focus on my weight.” “Work is so stressful, I don’t have time to plan and cook.” “My mother-in-law drives me crazy and food soothes me.” “I don’t have anything else in my life from which to get enjoyment except food.” “My family is Italian, and food is how we bond.” “The children are all grown and I’m so sad.” “My family is all overweight and I think my issues are genetic.”

I have heard them all. You can have excuses or you can have results. Be sure to “listen in” on your thoughts and excuses and write them in your Ruby Journal. If you are comfortable, please share them in your group time. How freeing and healing it is to share with others! We realize we are not some mental case, but actually, we all feel the same.

Friends, we ALL love self-soothing. We ALL love entertainment. And self-soothing and entertainment are necessary and God-given blessings in your life. But we have to learn to find self-soothing and entertainment in areas besides food. Yes, you will still LOVE food, but it will not control you. You will learn to zip up your lower nature and learn to eat for nutrition and hunger. Your food will be fabulous, but so will your jean size! 

I heard that a famous football team had a banner right outside the locker room which said, “You are now entering the NO EXCUSE zone.” I like that. We are all full of excuses. But you are going to listen in on your thoughts, and realize what is going on, right? Write down your excuses! When you write them down and share them, it takes their power away.

I just saw an online article called, “Lose Weight When You Have No Time”. I couldn’t resist and I clicked on it. It had the usual, “take the stairs”, “eat smaller portions”, etc. Friends, you have tried to find a gimmick for years. There isn’t one. Use these 16 weeks to learn how to re-think about food and eating and then, you can waltz through life at your Goal A weight.

Sure, we’d all like to have more ease, more time, more money, better health, better relationships, and more stimulation. But as you know, you can’t control many of those items (try having six kids and controlling them, ha ha). You can, however, control one thing: yourself. Well, let’s re-phrase that. You can learn to control yourself. And that’s what we’re going to do in Skinny School. You will always have problems in life and things you can’t control, but girlfriend, you can learn to control your eating. And I am PUMPED about teaching you how.

Read ahead in Skinny School if you are ready to roar. But feel free to take this week to think about your current Top Four Life Goals. Try to have your first group meeting.

Week One, Day Five
Learning Not to Be Offended

As humans, we all want high attention, high respect, and high treatment from others. Therefore when we do not often receive this (ha ha, to say the least), we are offended. All of us crave to be treated as “special”. And as you know, when you are offended, you experience emotional pain (anger, hurt, annoyance, etc.). Emotional pain often wants to be medicated. There are two strategies to learn to reduce this emotional pain. One, learn not to be easily offended. And two, learn how to choose to think about something else when you are offended and upset.

As we learn NOT to be offended, some of the storm in us will die down. There is a great song by Casting Crowns that says, “Who am I, that the Voice that calmed the sea would call out through the rain and calm the storm in me?” Learning not to be offended is one of the great ways God calms the storm in us.

Think about who offends you. A friend? A husband? A parent? A child? A church member? A boss? A co-worker? A mother-in-law? A store clerk?

After I had written the above paragraph, I went to an event. There was someone there who, in my opinion, was important to me and I went up to talk to them. They were adequately polite, but I could tell, they did not really want to talk to me and wanted to move on. In fact, when someone else walked up, they quickly turned to them and ignored me. I walked away, feeling the kick in the stomach. Realizing they were not interested in me was painful. But I’ve gotten a little smarter these days. In the past, when someone offended me, I was a brick wall and the offense went SLAM against my brick wall. Now, I know to be steam,and let the offense pass through. Proverbs 19:11 says, “It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense”. I am in the process of learning the skill of overlooking. Years ago, I heard a preacher call it OLAT, from another translation that reads, OverLook A Transgression.

Humans are ridiculously offended all the time. We never receive the “high treatment” we want. Humility is not being offended. Humility is how Jesus described Himself: humble in heart. As we progress in SSO, I will beat this drum because we all must work on not being offended. Your husband, kids, parents, siblings, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, friends, boss, co-workers, employees, church members, and strangers will all offend you. It is a truth about life. If this is your first time to be introduced to the concept of “overlooking”, realize it is a difficult concept to embrace.

After I was slightly snubbed, I thought about the event maybe five to six times (ha ha, you are seeing that the teacher is still a work in progress). Every time the thought of how I was unwanted came to me, I had to push it out with the higher thought of “Don’t be offended, overlook that transgression, be humble.”

This is tricky stuff. We can be secretly offended because our children, or our opinions, or our work don’t get high enough treatment. Again, when you feel you are not getting treated right, learn not to be offended, to forgive, and to overlook. It is a hallmark of emotional health.

In Good to Great, the excellent business book by Jim Collins, he describes something unique about Level 5 (the top) business leaders. Collins says they “take the blame and give the credit”. Think about that. Do you “take the blame and give the credit”? Again, this requires incredible humility and superb emotional health. Being easily offended is low emotional health.

Maybe you are not easily offended. Wow, congrats. That is, as I said, superior mental health. But many of you struggle with this. I know how difficult it is. Even this morning, I thought once again about the person who was not interested in me. I finally heard myself say to myself, “Would you pleeeeezze get over it?!? Let it go. Quit being offended. Do NOT think about it again.” A fabulous thing about the human mind is that we can listen in on our own thoughts and can choose to think about something else, thereby getting rid of the first thought. This is one of the most life-changing pieces of information I have ever heard. The parade of thoughts that cross my brain can be “listened in on” and then, I can choose NOT to think about that parade by thinking about something else. We’ll discuss this some more, but friend, there is so much healing in learning how not to be offended.

Nothing is new under the sun. Humans have always struggled with being offended. In 2 Kings 5:10-12, Naaman the leper was offended because he did not get the high treatment he wanted from Elisha. Naaman was offended that Elisha didn’t personally come out to see him but instead, sent a messenger.

When we hurt or are angry, we want to medicate. Learning to think in a humble manner reduces the storm in you. Overlook. Forgive. Don’t be easily offended.

Closing Comments

To some of you, this lesson was a little slow. Ha ha…just wait for the next three weeks. Get ready for some cold water in the face when we discuss the Miraculous Threesome: Ditch, Plan, and Wait (chapters 2-4). This will be the mantra that will get you thin. OOOOHHHHH! I’m so excited!

Fondly,

Julie

“…he who rules his spirit (is) better than he who captures a city”. Proverbs 16:32

Assignments Before Group Time:
  1. Write out Lists 1 and 2 in your Ruby Journal (all lists are in Appendix A in the back of Skinny School).
  2. Highlight what spoke to you in Chapter 1 of Skinny School. Copy these important sentences/phrases into your Ruby Journal.
  3. Listen in on your thoughts and when you hear self-pity or excuses, write them in your Ruby Journal.
Discussion Questions for Group Time:

Read Appendix F in Skinny School for information on how to have a successful group. Groups do not do well if there is a “know-it-all” or “advice-giver” in the group. Be humble and give each woman time to discover the truths herself. Be a good listener when others are sharing. Express compassion and understanding repeatedly.

Just a note: If you’re a big talker, try to not talk more than your share. Other people want to share as much as you do. Do the math and count the minutes. As you might guess, I’m a big talker and often talk too much. Before I’m in a group, I often have a little talk with myself and remind myself to zip it up. Listening well to others is one of the best gifts you can give anyone. And hogging the group time will ruin it for everyone. Use the timer on your phone, if necessary.

Also, women have a tendency to get “off topic”. Save any other topics for before or after the meeting.

Here are questions to discuss while you’re in your meeting:

  1. At your first group meeting, discuss your current Top Four Life Goals with the group. Also, discuss what goals you might have to lay aside right now so you can spend the necessary time learning these lessons.
  2. Share the “excuses” you have had with your group. (Try to be very compassionate and understanding when others share their excuses. As I said, a “self-righteous, know-it-all” person will ruin the whole group. Make others feel accepted.)
  3. Share what you highlighted in Skinny School. What thoughts stuck out to you? What thoughts challenged you?
  4. Share if you are ready to work like a Champion in Skinny School. Why or why not?

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