Week Three, Day One

These early chapters (Chapters 2-4) are an absolute must for you to master. Over and over again, when you lose your way, return immediately to the Miraculous Three: Ditch, Plan, and Wait. (Next week we will thoroughly discuss the tenet of Wait.) As I repeatedly say, you must be easy on yourself during this period. NO ONE gets it immediately so NO BEATING YOURSELF UP. Failure is a part of every Champion’s path (chapter 6). How you handle failure will largely determine your ultimate success. Keep meeting with your group. Keep writing in your Ruby Journal. Keep reading the teachings of the Genie. The click and flip happens around Lesson 7. Stay with it. The magic is in persevering. I cannot tell you how many women in my groups took weeks before the click happened. Stay with it. It will happen to you.

Are you meeting with your group yet? We benefit from being in each other’s presence, not just over the phone or online. Many of you have resisted getting a group together (I’m an introvert, I understand) but you are hindering your own success. At a minimum, find one friend and meet her for coffee. This is especially difficult for those of you with little ones. When our children were little, I met friends at 6 a.m. for coffee and was home by 7:30 a.m. so my husband could go to work. Another time, I met with a group on Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. and when I got home at 8:30 a.m., everyone was just getting up. Work hard to figure this out. You are the one who will benefit. Wrestling with the SS principles with another person carves neural grooves in your brain. That is what we’re ultimately trying to do: carve new neural pathways in your brain!

How to Increase Willpower Points

If you read any life coaching or success material, you will see “setting up your environment so you can more easily make positive choices” as a reoccurring and imperative theme. You are already familiar with how to increase Willpower Points in your life, even if the term is new. For example, setting a morning appointment to walk with a friend increases the likelihood of you getting out of bed to exercise. If you are trying to save money, you know that going window shopping or shopping online decreases your Willpower Points. This morning, I noticed I often use paper towels for napkins because I am too lazy to walk twelve steps to the pantry to get a napkin. If I moved the napkins to the cupboard, I would start using napkins instead of paper towels. Moving the napkins would increase the likelihood (Willpower Points) of using them. Think about this. It’s true in so many areas of your life. We are talking about only twelve steps changing a behavior!

You know the chances of doing laundry (and heaven forbid, exercise) when you are exhausted. You also realize the likelihood of getting up to have your morning Quiet Time is increased if you have already packed your lunch the night before and picked out your outfit. We set ourselves up for failure or success all the time by choosing whether or not we will plan and prep, which increases Willpower Points.

This huge principle of Preparation is not surprising at all. Olympic athletes plan and prep for their competition. Pre-med students plan and prep for the MCAT. A wise bride plans and preps the day of her ceremony. Intuitively, we all know that Preparation is the Secret of Champions.

So, now, I ask you the same question that I asked myself a few years ago: If preparation is so huge to success, and if I care so much about getting thin, why am I not preparing and prepping my food in advance so it will be easier to make good choices?

SLAM. SLAP. This repeated theme of “I want weight loss/fitness to be easy” surfaces time and time again. Women who have managed their weight successfully for years would never be caught with a fridge without deli turkey, eggs, romaine lettuce, nuts, tomatoes, Duke’s mayonnaise, chicken breasts, onions, and broccoli. When their supplies run low, an internal siren rings, telling them to go to the grocery store. You can’t choose to eat well when it is 8 p.m. and there’s nothing in the house to eat.

Just FYI, in the future, there will be a time when you get caught and there is no proper food in your house to eat. Learn from it. No shame, no beating yourself up. Kindly say to yourself, “Well, I see this lesson now in caps and italic. I will be more careful in the future to shop and load up my fridge. I will see this as learning, not failure.”

Week Three, Day Two
Making A Master Options List

On page 53 of Skinny School, the Genie gives Jackie a sampling of recipes to be on her Master Options List. Many of these recipes can be found under the Skinny School Online tab above. Working out your Master Options List is a huge step and if you skip this step, you will come to a moment with no good food choices, throw up your hands, and say, “What the heck!” and then you will eat Trash Food. Mark my word, this will be your pattern if you fail to implement this lesson.

In chapter 3 in Skinny School, the Genie carefully explains the Master Options List, the Weekly Plan, and the Daily Plan. Be a Champion and go the extra mile for something that is in your current Top Four Life Goals!

Devising the Weekly Plan

Designing a weekly menu for the family is something smart women have done for decades, if not centuries. When David and I were dating, we went to visit a working farm and the  monthly Food Plan was posted on the fridge. Not only is it annoying to come home at five and begin thinking about dinner, it severely reduces your Willpower Points and your chances to eat unhealthy skyrocket.

You already know this. So why don’t you do it?

When our six kids were young, I planned weekly menus for years, but often they were full of carbs and sugar. Now, on Sunday afternoons, I plan for the week ahead, but with Genie and Paleo recipes. (A couple of our younger sons are trying to gain weight and eat more carbs, but David and I strictly limit ours.)

Often, after dinner, I will glance at what’s on the menu for tomorrow so I can take something out of the freezer to begin thawing. This is a habit to learn. You’ll figure this out when you begin to work the entire Skinny School program. Obviously, it is not rocket science.

One word to you girls who eat out a lot: Be careful…veeerrrryy careful. Eating out and eating healthy (and following the Genie’s instructions) is difficult unless you are financially well-to-do. The food in most average restaurants have preservatives, sugars, and carbs. Even many of the restaurants that claim to be “fresh” are lying and use cheap cuts of processed meat. Check it out. Do your research.

One very important premise in the Genie’s Skinny School is the concept of packing food when you leave the house–instead of stopping to buy something while you’re out. Sure, I love to eat out too, but it is extremely difficult to get the same nutrition out as you get when you buy grass-fed beef, free range chicken, cage-free eggs, etc. When we do eat out, we try to choose restaurants where we can eat fish, chicken, salads, and vegetables.

But mostly, I cook. Making time to chop and prep is a discipline you have to insert in your life.

Week Three, Day Three
Someone Has to Cook and Cook A Lot

Every night I pack three lunches for the next day (I used to pack seven, ha ha). And in the morning, I make a healthy breakfast (often omelets with sautéed vegetables). We eat a lot of leftovers for lunch (see Day Five in this lesson). We also pack a lot of turkey-roll ups and nuts. There is a big cooking job every couple of nights in my kitchen. I cook very large amounts intentionally, so I’ll have bunches of leftovers. In addition, there has to be time to cut up ingredients for Quart Bags, great salads, and healthy soups (click here for recipes).

So, now we’re back to Lesson One: Get in Touch with your current Top Four Life Goals.  If this is too much trouble for you, then you may need to re-consider if this is truly a Top Four Life Goal, because someone, someone, someone has to plan, shop, prep, cook and clean up. Someone. In my house, that someone is me. If you have a husband that likes to cook, then kudos to you.

I know pre-med students studying for the MCAT wish someone else could study for them, but they can’t. Someone training for the Olympics probably wishes someone else would train for them. And you probably wish someone else would plan, shop, prep, cook, make Quart Bags, and clean up for you. Again, a few of you are rich enough to hire personal chefs and if you are, wow, go for it. Fitness expert Tony Horton of P90x has his own cook, but he’s a millionaire.

Again, you need to wrestle with this in your mind. You badly want to be skinny but you don’t want to do all this work: plan, shop, prep, cook, pack, and clean up. We don’t have Jackie’s Genie so I’m pretty sure you’re like me and the responsibility is going to land on your shoulders.

In my 30’s and 40’s, I cooked a lot for my family of eight. But I didn’t enjoy it. I saw it as drudgery. But now, I cook even more than before and I DO enjoy it. The switch for me was seeing that cooking gives me a lot of control over my weight and much control over my family’s health. So now, since I have a different perspective, I enjoy the activity. Actually, I’m even thankful for being able to shop at Kroger and get Almond milk, Alaskan salmon, and free-range chicken. This is all about your mind and what you believe is important in life. To me, my walk with the Lord, my family, and our health are at the top of my “important-things-in-life-list”. I expect to work hard in all those areas so that I can succeed in doing them well.

That was a lot of ranting and raving, but I have found that my students get hung up on Chapters 2-4. After these initial chapters, it’s all downhill coasting, so don’t get too bent out of shape that these three are very intense. I admit, they are. But I don’t apologize for that, because I am helping you obtain one of your current Top Four Life Goals and there should be a price for that. We are not children. Only children and immature adults think you should get something without working for it.

You can conquer this. You can learn the Miraculous Three. And then in no time, you will be at the mall and hear yourself say to the sales girl, “Do you have this in a size small?”

Week Three, Day Four
Quart Bags Are Indispensable

The value of the Quart Bag is inestimable. One of my star students, Jeanne, used to send me pictures of her Quart Bags, like they were works of art. Often when others are watching TV at night, or when folks are hanging out in the kitchen, I will get busy and make Quart Bags. Another trick I use is to talk on the phone and make Quart Bags. You will have to find your own groove on how and when to do this.


So much of life is forming great habits. Once habits are formed, they do not take much thought or energy. On most any day, you will find romaine leaves already washed and in a Ziploc bag in my fridge (I have a great salad spinner that I bought at Target). The deli meats, cheese, mayo, mustard, tomato (sometimes a slice of bacon) are all conveniently right there, and making a sandwich (using romaine leaves as the bread) is very quick. When I make lunches for my family, I often make a turkey sandwich for myself. We make “sandwiches” with leftover steak, horseradish sauce, and cheese or we use leftover chicken and Durkees (a sauce that you can buy at Kroger), bacon, tomato, and cheese inside the romaine. These pre-made sandwiches are superb for “grabbing” when you walk out the door.

Skinny School students usually have a bag of mixed nuts in their purses. And when they travel, they take nuts, peanut butter, coolers in the back seat filled with Quart Bags, apples, turkey roll-ups, and hard boiled eggs. Don’t be afraid to be a little over-the-top at first and go all out.

I never leave home on road trips without a full cooler.

Week Three, Day Five
The Beauty and Power of Leftovers

The topic of the beauty of leftovers should not be surprising, but many women do not cook extra. I absolutely LOVE microwaving a plate of food that I cooked at another time. Leftovers are a huge part of our food plan. When we cook hamburgers, I always cook twice as many as we will eat for dinner because everyone in our house loves a cheeseburger for lunch (again, wrapped in romaine leaves, with grilled onions, mustard, mayo, tomato, maybe a slice of bacon, etc.). Tupperware and Ziploc bags are abundant in the house of a Skinny School student, as she is always packing leftovers to eat later.

For example, consider the Genie Taco Salad recipe. Make lots of Taco salad and then take it to work and reconstruct it at work. What a delight to have something so yummy to eat for lunch at work. Leftovers are the best. The yummy best. Never cook without making extras for leftovers.

The Importance of Getting Your Daily Veggies In

You can hardly listen to a TV show on health or read an article in any magazine on health without hearing the miraculous powers of vegetables. Yet all of us still struggle to get them in. Here are some ideas that the women in Skinny School who have mastered the “veggie tenet” have used:

Some women have a veggie omelet most mornings. They keep a bin of the omelet ingredients so they are easy to find. They often use a small food processor to chop up the veggies. Favorite fillings include onions, mushrooms, peppers (red, green, yellow, orange), spinach, and tomatoes. Also, many women use a salad spinner to wash the veggies in (I use mine several times every day). You can add some bacon and cheese to the omelet, if you are allowed cheese (I’m not). If you spray the pan with Pam, use a little butter in the bottom, and cook on medium heat, then these omelets are beautiful. Use a spatula to “pick up the sides” while the omelet is cooking and let the runny part flow into the skillet. This omelet is a smorgasbord of antioxidants and phytonutrients!

Another trick that wise Skinny School women often utilize is making a large salad in the morning. Many use romaine lettuce, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions (green onions), and then add a protein, such as grilled chicken, boiled eggs, turkey, leftover salmon (click here for recipe), cheese, etc. I like Marie’s Caesar salad dressing because the sugar/carb grams are low.

Of course, Skinny School pros have Quart Bags made and many smart women make vegetable soups to have on hand. You can find my favorite veggie soup recipe at my website (click here) or you can Google “vegetable soups” for a plethora of recipes (just leave out the potatoes, noodles, rice, etc.).

A good rule is a bite of veggie for every bite of protein. Many women eat too much protein and not enough veggies.

Of course, we would ALL rather eat yummy, soothing carbs instead of veggies. But we wise Skinny School women eat for nutrition and hunger, not entertainment and self-soothing. The mantra of Champions is to use discipline to acquire that which they want most. A taste experience or narrow hips?

Concluding Remarks

Business owners sometimes hire a “business coach” to meet with them and sometimes pay them as much as $1000 an hour to simply show them if you “fail to plan, you should plan to fail”. The business coaches of the world cry out, “Show me your plan!”

I, too, cry out to you, “Show me your plan!”

Next week is the last of the Miraculous Three: Ditch–Plan–Wait. DO NOT worry if you are not getting this yet and have had some severe failure. PLEASE do not get discouraged. That’s why this is a 16-week program, because it takes time to learn these new habits. Just analyze your failure in your Ruby Journal (Lesson 6 is coming) and get back on the bus (Ditch-Plan-Wait). The click and flip will come. Do not give up. Again, as I’ve said, perseverance is magical. No one reads this material once and says, “Oh, gee, this is easy. Sure. I’ve got it.” NO ONE. So, do not berate yourself again. STAY WITH IT.  KEEP GETTING BACK ON THE BUS!! You will get this.

If I did, anyone can.

The worst enemy you can encounter is discouragement. When you mess up, you will hear Someone, in your own voice, say, “What a loser you are! You are pathetic that you can’t get this.” That is the Accuser, my friend, and He is a liar. What is true is that this is something huge and new and will take a while to master. That’s why I plead with you to write about failure in your Ruby Journal, draw a line in the sand, and then, press on.

Do not begrudge failure. As I said, it’s a part of every Champion’s path. Stay the course. Start over with the Miraculous Threesome. I don’t care if you fail a 1000 times. Because at time 1001, the click and flip will occur. And you will say, “AW! I don’t want Trash Food. I don’t want to eat for entertainment or self-soothing. I want to eat for hunger and nutrition.” And then, dear SSO friend, wisdom has entered your soul in this area and you will soon be thin.

After the click and flip occurs, you will have extra time and energy, so you can use ALL YOUR PRECIOUS God-given gifts to do His will to heal a very broken world. So awesome! So wonderful!!!

With much affection,

Julie Gordon

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

Discussion Questions for Group Time:
Pick the questions below that you like the best and discuss them during your sharing time. 
  1. Do you understand the concept of Willpower Points? How could you create more Willpower Points in your life?
  2. What are your thoughts about making a Master Options List and a Weekly Plan?
  3. Do you eat out a lot? How are you going to handle this? Explain.
  4. Who is going to do the cooking in your house? Is this a problem? Explain.
  5. What are your thoughts about the Quart Bags? Explain.
  6. Talk about packing. How are you going to pack?
  7. Are you already aware of the beauty of leftovers? Discuss.
  8. If preparation is so huge to success, and if you care so much about getting thin, why are you not preparing and prepping your food in advance so it will be easier to make good choices?
  9. Are you still struggling with the idea that you want weight loss to be easy? What new thoughts do you have with which you are trying to replace that idea?