Week Two, Day One


Hello, dear Skinny School friends! The boot camp of SSO begins today. Chapters 2-4, along with the Miraculous Threesome: Chapter 2 – Ditch, Chapter 3 – Plan, Chapter 4 – Wait, are the foundational principles of Skinny School. In my past Skinny School groups, I have noticed that each individual woman struggles more with one of those three tenets than the other two. You will soon find where your own struggle is. HOWEVER, just because you have a struggle doesn’t mean you aren’t going to conquer this. Humans change and conquer weaknesses all the time. It’s glorious to be a human.

This is all about your mind. It’s all about wanting something and deciding to do what it takes to get it. If you are content being chubby, then I can’t help you. But if you truly want to be thin, and it’s in your current Top Four Life Goals, then the principles in Skinny School are the ladder you can use to climb out of the Food Dungeon forever. Remember, your mind has a set of deep grooves that now instruct you to eat for self-soothing and entertainment. We are going to replace those grooves with thought patterns that instruct you to eat for nutrition and hunger. I will repeatedly pester and remind you that if you don’t give this program the time and energy it requires, you will fail. Bathe your mind with the Genie’s teachings. Write down the most meaningful and helpful thoughts in your Ruby Journal. You want this. Now go after it. Champions don’t use excuses! Their mindset is to do whatever is needed to accomplish a goal. Booyah!

Be sure and highlight what speaks to you in the book as well as in the lesson. Write down those thoughts in your Ruby Journal and then use your group time to discuss the concepts meaningful to you. 

I. Trying to Do This Program Without Ditching Sugar and Starches

I cannot tell you how many women try and try and try to lose weight without applying the principle of ditching sweets and starches. One reason these women refuse to ditch sugar and starch is because “they know someone who is skinny and who eats sugar and starches”. One of my best friends is built like an athletic teenager and eats a dessert most days. But when you closely watch her eating patterns, you see she seldom eats the whole thing. Often when we go out to dinner, she takes half of her meal home. And here’s the kicker: she works out intensely for seven hours a week (not light walking but huff and puff circuit training). She does two exercise classes many days. Last week at dinner, she ordered dessert and then I noticed she ate about one third of it, although, of course, she would have loved the whole thing. If you are willing to work out like she does (an intense hour EVERY day) and eat half of your dinner, then maybe you can cheat a little more. Also, I must add, that she is an extremely disciplined person who has never struggled with more than a couple pounds. She told me she never eats after dinner. She’s not normal, wouldn’t you agree? So, whatever friend you have that eats dessert, you can usually dissect the situation and then “understand why she can and you can’t”. I can’t.

Honestly, when I was overweight, I thought about my weight 80% of the time. Shallow, yes. Stupid, yes. But I’m being honest because I bet you think about your weight all the time, too. You hate it. You despise it. It’s time to ditch sugars and starches and get your life back. It’s past time.

II. “Eating Low Sugar or Carb Grams in Order to Lose Weight” is NOT New Information

Any well-respected fitness trainer teaches his clients to “eat clean”. That varies from trainer to trainer and nutritionist to nutritionist. I have a friend whose trainer won’t let her eat squash and carrots (too many carbs). I know of another trainer who allows brown rice and sweet potatoes. Not being an expert on nutrition myself, I research and research these guys. I have chosen to follow Dr. Joseph Mercola’s recommendation on sugar (15 grams) and Mark Sisson’s recommendation on carbs (50 grams) because, as I have discovered in my groups, this works! (See Appendix D in the back of Skinny School for my recommendations of health gurus.)

Eating clean has been around for a long time. All fitness experts get this. And now, it’s YOUR turn. 🙂

Day Two
III. Eliminating Cravings

I’m not sure if I’m dense or what, but I have been studying weight lost, on and off, for over 40 years. I found ways to lose weight with consistent exercise, calorie counting, and a huge dose of desire. But honestly, until a few years ago, I could not get as thin as I wanted. The main reason was two-fold. First, I did not understand that sugar and starches produce hormones in the body which physically tell your body to store fat whereas proteins, good fats, vegetables, nuts, and seeds produce hormones which tell your body to burn fat. This was the first huge slam of the hammer.

The second killer thought was that for some reason, I did not understand that sugar and starches create cravings!! I did not understand that eating sugar and starches kept me addicted and every night, every night, every night, at 9 pm, they would appear and command me to eat. NOT until I got off sugar and starches was I free from cravings at night. Now at bedtime, if I experience a little hunger, (hunger, not cravings, very different) I eat a little handful of nuts or grab a few bites of leftovers from the fridge (I never go hungry). But I never ever have cravings. If there is too much junk around the house, like after a Christmas party, it does call my name. Even this past Christmas, I fell for the first time in months and ate a couple pieces of Key Lime Pie. But because I know how to quickly confront failure, I got right back on the bus the next morning. (You will too after you read Lesson 6 on Failure).

Interestingly, four members of my family have contracted serious diseases since I started writing Skinny School two years ago. Our city has a world-class doctor who is treating us and the first thing he does with all patients is to put them on an eating program which eliminates sugar, is very low in starches, and usually, does not include dairy (although one of the four of us gets cheese). This brilliant guy insists that sugar and starches cause inflammation in the body, something your body is trying to fight when ill. Our genius doctor thinks everyone would benefit in their long-term health by staying away from sugar and excess starches.

Dr. Joseph Mercola is one of the gurus that I list in Appendix D in the back of Skinny School. He has an article on the danger of sugar here.

When you get thin, you will still need to ditch sugar and simple starches. If you have kids, you will want to wean them from sugar and simple starches. Sugar is NOT good for you. But now that you’re reading labels, you realize all junk food is loaded with sugar. Why do companies do that?” you ask. Because it sells. Once your antennas are up in regards to sugar, you will constantly run into the truth about its danger.

Eliminating sugar is a choice Skinny School students make because they like to diminish their chances of disease. And also, because they like buying clothing in little sizes. 🙂

IV. Your Food Choices Primarily Drive Your Metabolism

The first step of the Miraculous Threesome, Ditch, turns your metabolism around. If you are eating sugar and crummy carbs, then your body is producing hormones that tell your body to hold on to weight. But if you eat protein, veggies, good fats, and nuts, your body produces hormones that tell your body to burn fat. That’s a gigantic paradigm shift from calories in, calories out. Of course, calories count, so go easy on the nuts, but your metabolism is slowed down with those pesky sugar and carb grams.

In my 30’s and 40’s, I lived on bread, potatoes, crackers, pasta, bagels, etc. I exercised like crazy and watched calories. But the cravings were there and it seemed like I was in a daily battle with them. What a joy to no longer have cravings. Also, I believe a lot of emotional turmoil that I experienced at this time in my life was a result of the large amount of sugar and janky carbs.

Chapter 2 is the one most women struggle with because they do not want to give up the pleasure of sugar and flour. Years ago I had to admit to myself that I expected an immense amount of the pleasure in my life to come from sugar and refined carbs. Those two hoodlums were a predictable source of comfort and entertainment. This realization was cold water in the face. I had to find other predictable sources of comfort and entertainment besides food. Finding those other sources will be a definite journey for you. Don’t expect to do this overnight but begin to think about it (FYI, this is List 6 in the Ruby Journal, Pleasures and Comforts in Life Besides Food). Lesson 7 will talk about this subject in detail.
Exercise hugely affects your metabolism too, but that hammer won’t be pounded until chapter 9.

If you love research and massive amounts of information, there is an excellent book by Jonathan Bailor called The Smarter Science of Slim: What the Actual Experts Have Proven About Weight Loss, Dieting, & Exercise.

This was one of the many books that flipped my switch about how sugar and excess carbs affect metabolism and thus, weight loss. And of course by now, you probably know I love to read Dr. Joseph Mercola’s daily blogs at Mercola.com.

Day Three
V. Motivation Drives Behavior

If you are going to do this program, there must be motivation from within. You are definitely giving up something that now gives predictable comfort and pleasure. Behind all of Skinny School, there must be a large desire to be healthy and thin (current Top Four Life Goal, right?). If you are comfortable with your excess weight, then fine. But you won’t have the motivation to Ditch (or Plan, Chapter 3, or Wait, Chapter 4). You’ve got to want this to do the work because it is work.

In your Ruby Journal, keep a separate list of the reasons WHY you want to be thin and healthy. Currently, I don’t have motivation issues in my desire to be thin and healthy. I DO have motivation issues in other areas of my life, so I write down my WHY reasons for those areas in order to bathe my mind. Motivation drives behavior! Keep your reasons front and center.

VI. What You Get to Eat in Skinny School

Finally, a topic you will like! If you go to JulieNGordon.com, and hover over the Skinny School Online tab, you can click on Recipes and see all of the Genie recipes (or click here). Also, you can google “Paleo recipes” and get thousands of other recipes.

My Skinny School students try to live off protein, salads, eggs, good fats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, soups and some eat a little cheese. Frankly, our food is delicious. And healthy. And soon, you will buy jeans in an itsy size. Over and over again I find the trade for a temporary taste experience is NOT as good as being a little size and knowing that I am treating my body well. A temporary taste experience can never be as good as not worrying about how fat I look. Sure, I still want regular pizza when my teenage son eats it. (I now make Paleo pizza with cauliflower crust.) But wanting something and then reasoning with myself if I should have it are two different things. Skinny School will teach you to recognize you want something, such as regular pizza, then remind you of the choice you have to eat a Caesar Salad without croutons and with Grilled Chicken instead…to get you what you really want.

Day Four
VII. How Do I Break Free From Sugar and Starches?

How do you break free from sugar and starches? The Genie explains it perfectly when Jackie asks him that exact question: “You start eating  good food, that is how,” the Genie says. “Many Skinny School students say they experience almost flu-like symptoms for a few days as their body begins to detoxify. But these same women then say they regain their sanity and their emotional equilibrium after they wean themselves from sugar and refined carbs.”

Have you ever eaten junk and then fallen into a funk? Have you ever awakened and felt crummy, just because you had been on a downward eating spiral the night before? We all know this daze. It’s pathetic to waste our short lives in that ditch. Getting rid of sugar and starches allows you to feel better than you ever have before. It’s a glorious way to eat! My students repeatedly tell me they love the new emotional equilibrium as much as they love the skinniness!

VIII. Fruit, Though Delicious, Has Sugar

Fruit is a beautiful food, but it does have a lot of sugar. When you get to your Goal A weight, fruit can become your dessert–but you still must count your sugar and carb grams. (You are weighing every day, right? If you eat too much fruit, you cut back. Not tricky.)

In comparison to sugary Trash Food, fruits seem innocent, I agree. But we are trying to get your body free from cravings and fruit does have sugar. You are not saying goodbye to fruit forever. But during this march to your Goal A weight, get your antioxidants and phytonutrients mainly from vegetables.

Since fruit is loaded with sugar, for now, just pack it in your kids’ lunches and keep yourself to 15 grams of sugar a day.

The following is a quote from Your Diet Determines Your Metabolic Function by Dr. Joseph Mercola: “The problem for most Westerners, whose diets are typically heavy in sugar and carbs, is that…your fat-burning engine has essentially been switched off. The sad fact is, if you eat the standard American diet, chances are you’ve lost your ability to burn body fat, despite carrying around an enormous supply of it! Eliminating excess sugar and grains from your diet will help you “retrain” your body how to burn fat for fuel.”

Click here to read the whole article.

IX. The Term “Trash Food” Is Offensive to Many

Yes, I know the fond memories you have of cookies and cakes, pies and sweets, pasta and bread, French fries and donuts, and on and on. Holidays especially scream sugar and starch. But at some point, we have to face the fact that sugar and white-flour starches are NOT good for us. They cultivate disease in us and make us fat.

At some point, you are going to say, “Wow, the food I have used in the past for entertainment and self-soothing is not good for my health and is not good for my skinniness. I can find some tasty healthy food.” And voila, wisdom has entered your heart and you will soon be thin!

FYI, “Planned Cheating” is the topic for Lesson 22. It is a favorite.

Day Five
X. Tracking Your Carb and Sugar Grams

In the past, I have used the MyFitnessPal app (myfitnesspal.com) to track my carbs and sugar grams but there are several good apps you can use. Try to stick to 15 or less grams of sugar a day and 50 grams of carbs (see Appendix D in the back of Skinny School for the nutrition experts and their websites). You must record your intake at first. Your devious lower nature LOVES pleasure and wants you to not write it down because then you are not accountable to anyone. Don’t listen to that voice. Write down every bite.

XI. Tracking Your Carb and Sugar Grams

After eating healthy for a few years, eating sweets and starches is not as much of a daily temptation for me. But sometimes, all of us get in slippery places. One of our adult sons had an event out-of-town and I accompanied him as he needed a helper at the event (I’m free). We had eaten in the hotel restaurant twice and the food was not good. So at dinner, he ordered take-out pizza and a large pizza was delivered to the hotel room. I had packed nuts and herbal tea for the trip, and had eaten well for two days, but I “got caught” being out-of-my-element, being in a hotel room with leftover, hot fresh pizza staring at me. The logic I told myself was, “You’re good 99.9% of the time and it’s just a couple slices of pizza, so what’s the big deal? Eat a little.”

So, you think, what is the big deal?

It is not a big deal, except that I don’t feel well when I eat junk. Even three small pieces of pizza made me feel janky. I’m not sure if it’s only physical or if it is psychological as well, but “the Crud” descends. The normal zest for life is quelled and a feeling of regret descends. Is this a big deal in the scheme of life? Of course, it’s not. I was merely out-of-town and sometimes the best you can do is the best you can do. But I felt “the Crud” begin to descend and I wanted to get “back on the bus” asap. I looked forward to the morning when I could start over with good food.

I like living my life feeling healthy and light. Just like I don’t like to have unconfessed sin in my walk with the Lord, I don’t like to have the downer of eating junk. It zaps my mood, it zaps my happiness. I like healthy food that nourishes my body and my mind. It’s great to get addicted to enjoying feeling healthy.

The take-away from this? If you can write down thoughts like the ones above in your Ruby Journal, it will help you “not choose junk” in the future. Choosing junk is choosing “the Crud” to descend. Eventually, you can train your mind to make the right choices. Not every time. You don’t have to be perfect, but aim for that.

Closing Comments

Skinny School friend, there is no use going on in Skinny School until you are ready to confront the sugar grams and carb grams in your life. Seriously. Get this lesson right before you go on. The secret to giving up Trash Food is to have good food ready to eat…and that’s next week’s lesson! Woohoo!

Again, feel free to read ahead in Skinny School. You can go at any pace you like.

My goal is freedom for you,

Julie Gordon

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

Discussion Questions for Group Time:

Count how many women are in your group and be sure to divide the time evenly by that number. You will probably not get to all of these questions. Pick the ones you like best when it is your turn to share.

  1. What are your thoughts about ditching sugar and starches (well, you know what I mean, 15 grams of sugar and 50 grams of carbs)? Is this going to be easy or difficult for you? Why or why not?
  2. Are you someone that experiences cravings? Explain.
  3. Were you aware of the danger of sugar before you read this lesson? Explain.
  4. What are your thoughts about limiting fruit (15 grams of sugar) for a season? Explain.
  5. How do you feel about tracking what you eat? What are you going to use to track?
  6. Have you experienced the emotional Crud when you have eaten junk in the past? Will knowing that “the Crude will descend if you eat junk” help you stay on your program?