Day two was about “my relationship with myself and my relationship with God”. We begin the day by answering another questionnaire about our relationship with God. Of course, I won’t be posting my answers, but I will say that a couple of the questions made me uncomfortable. It wasn’t because they were bizarre, but because I didn’t like my authentic answer. There were a couple of questions that I know my answers are different now (in a good way) than they would have been last year.
I enjoyed the “God is love” portion. It was a great reminder of how He feels toward us. I also liked how the author listed some of the less than perfect people God worked through in the Bible. I figure if He can use them for His kingdom, He can use me too. This section definitely had the goal of building trust in our Creator. I think sometimes we say we trust Him, but our actions say otherwise. I mean, I would say that I was “wonderfully made” but I wouldn’t trust that the body He made could tell me when, what, and how much to eat… instead I would rely on diet gurus and food labels and apps.
Discovering My Own Hunger Level
This section was where the spiritual application joins with the physical application of trusting God.
Since your body is one of God’s masterpieces, it can be trusted. ~ Thin Within (p. 20)
The author introduces what she calls the “Bodometer Process”. Kind of a funny name, but she tells the reader to invite God into this process to help you know the clear answers. She then goes on to describe a process which helps you identify true physical hunger. I was actually thrilled to realize that I am on track for detecting physical hunger, but I loved the in depth descriptions about what is and what isn’t stomach hunger. I did use the full process twice during day two, I used a shortened version at other times (kind of like a “quick check”).
The Hunger Scale Tool
Ok, this was probably my favorite part of this day. Something about “you’re either at a zero or you’re not”, was comforting. I did feel like it reduced my anxiety over questioning whether I was hungry or not. So, I started trying to wait until there was no doubt I was hungry. Plus, it seemed to help resolve any lingering issues I had over the “your body needs less food than you think” concept from day one.
The really interesting thing about waiting until there is no doubt I’m hungry is that it seems to make it so much easier to recognize when I’ve had enough. I am finding that already… only two days into this thing… I’m pushing my plate away at shocking points in my meal.
I almost got a bit “bent out of shape” when the author made a recommendation that we choose “God’s provision of water” over “man-made” beverages, but then I reread it and focused on the “we recommend“. It isn’t like they are saying you’re going to Hell if you drink coffee or soda. And they aren’t setting a diet rule of “only drink water to be on plan”.
Healing is reaching a point where we can recognize that some things truly do benefit our bodies more than others without making those observations into “rules to live by”.
The Hunger Scale, that showed where you are if you’re holding on to extra weight or even gaining weight, kind of blew my mind. I think I stared at it for a while…. and then stared at it some more. Then they moved on to demonstrating that our empty stomachs are about the size of our closed fist. I am almost certain I’ve heard this before, but when I held up my fist and pictured some of those meals at the local, yummy, Mexican joint… um, yeah, I’ve definitely eaten past full. So I stared at my closed fist and said, “this is the size of your empty stomach”. Then I kept that visual in mind each time I fixed myself a plate of food. That doesn’t mean I only put that amount on my plate, it just means I kept it in mind. I would definitely agree with what the author said about our stomach size:
… however, it is a reality, and when reckoned with can be quite freeing. ~ Thin Within (p. 23)
You see, I think so often, those of us who grapple with binge eating think our stomachs are bottomless pits that will never be “full”. This visual shows us that they are not that way at all. We can honor our stomachs by not putting more food in there than what would be comfortable. We know what “stuffed” feels like. It’s miserable and doesn’t feel “honoring” at all.
Again, I got my back up at yet another quote from the book… seriously, I’m super sensitive when it comes to this stuff:
To honor God, who walks with us, and who leads and directs us, we need to honor the unique and amazing body he has made especially for each of us. ~ Thin Within (p. 24)
I could see how someone might take this as a form of condemnation if we don’t only do what appears beneficial all the time. So I read it again and asked God if this is what He means for me to take from this sentence. He told me to look up the word “honor”. That little word put the entire sentence into the proper perspective:
Honor: high respect; esteem
I absolutely want to show God the utmost respect and esteem Him above all else. I will never do this perfectly though, and God knows this. He knows I’m human. The goal is to live as Christ, but we must also understand that we need God’s mercy to live at all. The other day my 17 year old was asked “what’s the difference between mercy and grace” to which he replied:
It’s by God’s mercy that we’re still living on this earth, and it’s by His grace that we are saved. ~ my kid
Sometimes honoring our body is eating pie. I know that may sound strange, but sometimes your body might need pie. It might be the psychological part, but that’s still part of you. Eating pie is not a sin. Eating past “comfortable” won’t condemn you either. It may not be honoring, but it’s not condemning.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, ~ Romans 8:1 (NIV)
Should we try to honor our hunger cues? Absolutely. Are we condemned when we don’t? No. The author later reiterates that The Hunger Scale is a tool and should be treated as such. Ha ha… “It’s a tool, not a rule!” I just made that up. Yeah, I know I’m cool (rolls eyes).
Anyway, those are the major points I took away. There was much more than this, but I’m trying not to make these posts soooo long.
That’s my Day 2 🙂
Hey lady! I’ve been off FB for a year but still get your blog emails. Just wanted to let you know I ordered the book you’re doing right now. I’ll be a few days behind but that’s ok. Looking forward to reading it along with your posts. I’m so over this food bondage! xo
Oh Tiffany! I’m so glad you’re getting the book! I would love for you to keep in touch with me about how it’s going. ((hugs)) I’ll look forward to breaking free with you!!
Really good post! The visual of my stomach being the size of my fist is interesting. When I look at my fist, it looks small…and it just reminds me that I’m meant to be a small person (I’m 5’3″), not a “wide as she is tall” person. I’m so glad I found your blog – I’m really getting a lot out of reading your posts. 🙂
LOL – I know what you mean, Jill. I felt the same way about the stomach size. Kind of puts those restaurant portions into perspective. I was at an Indian restaurant the other day and saw a man load up a large plate at the buffet and I thought, “where on earth is he going to put all that food?” I’m glad you’re getting something out of these posts 🙂 Thanks so much for hanging out with me.
Hi, I just started reading the book a few days ago. I was wondering what you thought of the different recommendations about the hunger scale between Thin Within and Intuitive Eating. In IE, they recommend that you eat at a 2 or 3 and not get so ravenously hungry that you overeat, and then stop when you get to about a 7- satisfied, but not stuffed. TW says to eat only when you’re at a 0- so, ravenously hungry. Or do they have a different definition of 0? they also say to stop at 5, when you’re “comfortably satisfied” but before you’re full. I’m having a little trouble with determining what exactly that point is and if I should go with IE or TW.
Also, I’ve noticed that I’ll get hungry, but for one reason or another can’t eat right then, and then my hunger goes away. When do I eat after that? Do I have to wait to get hungry again? I’ve been operating under the assumption that if I get hungry, anytime after that is appropriate to eat, whether I still feel it or not. But I’d like to hear what you have to say as you have been through the whole book now and I’m just starting.
Hi Crystal! I’m so glad you’ve decided to go through this book. I love the focus of the journey being on Christ and listening to Him. Let’s see, my thoughts on the difference in hunger scale. Well, I guess I don’t view a zero as having to be ravenous. I view it as reaching a point where I am certain I am physically hungry. I see it as being sure that I’m not wanting to eat for reasons other than physical hunger. As with any hunger scale (and I’ve read about several), determining those numbers is very subjective and individual. I would spend some time in prayer over what scale the Lord would have you use (if any). I don’t focus so much on a number anymore. Now I ask myself, “am I physically hungry?” If so, I eat something. I don’t worry about what my “ending number” is anymore. I eat enough to take the hunger away then I wait for my body to tell me it’s hungry again. I was getting so wrapped up in “Is this the right number?” (with both the TW & IE scales) If I thought I missed the number, I would feel like a failure and beat myself up. Or, if I felt like I was eating too little to stay within a number, it would trigger diet mentality. I found that it was easier to accept God’s grace when I wasn’t attaching a number to the end of the meal. I would simply go for “satisfied” (which might look different at every meal). Thin Within also says to only use the tools that help you. Any tool you use should serve you and not the other way around. If you’re becoming a slave to the tool, you need to reevaluate its usefulness to you. I’ve found that it is far more important for me to work on renewing my mind than to worry about hunger scale numbers. God made my body and I’m asking Him to help me trust His plan.
As for not being able to eat when you get that signal, well, I think that’s up to you. I would probably wait till I got the prompting again, but that’s only because I’m trying not to think about food unless my body signals physical hunger. I’m trying to break the habit of eating when I’m not physically hungry, so, for me, waiting for that physical indicator helps me associate eating with my internal signals instead of my brain (or experts) telling me I should be hungry. In that situation, at the next opportunity for food, I might remember that I had felt hungry an hour ago and ask myself if that is still the case. If it’s not, I wait for the signal. Sometimes, just checking in will allow me to see that the signal is still there, it’s just quieter. I hope this makes sense.
My point is, these are not hard and fast rules. If you aren’t sure if you should eat or not, ask God. Tell Him you’re confused about what your body is telling you and ask Him for clarity. (((hugs))) I hope you’ll continue to share your journey through the book with me and I hope this has helped at least a little. Praying for you!