In the wide world of losing weight, despite all the tricks, tips, programs and techniques, there is only ONE way for weight to actually be "lost" or "released." Are you ready? Here it is:
To lose weight,
the body must be
allowed to utilized its
own fat stores.
In other words, our previously-eaten fuel reserves ~ also known as fat ~ must be accessed and used up.
If, on any given day, I consume the same number of calories as my body uses, (not that I count calories, cuz I don't,) my weight will stay the same because my food intake matched and took care of my body's fuel needs.
And if you eat more food than your body uses, you will gain weight.
So, this means that... even if you eat only healthy foods; even if you exercise, work out, use the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest parking spot, and choose the menu item with a little heart beside it...
...if you do not eat less than your body actually needs to function, thus putting your metabolism into a state of being required to access its own previously-eaten fat stores to obtain energy, you will not lose your excess weight. It will stay exactly where it's at, decorating your body.
But this is not pleasant, and is where many of us lose it ~ as in cease losing our excess weight. I have a simple tool, but first I need to give you a....
QUICK INTRO TO
THE THIN WITHIN
To understand where I'll be going next, you need a basic understanding of what Thin Within is about. So here it is, straight from Thin Within's "About" page:
"Thin Within is based on three principles: physical, emotional and spiritual. The physical principle emphasizes that we eat only when truly hungry and stop eating before we are full.
At Thin Within, we use what we call a “Hunger Scale” to track eating patterns. We encourage people to eat when they are at a “0”, or truly hungry, and stop eating when they are at a “5”, which is before they are full.
We don’t use labels such as “good” foods or “bad” foods. However, as people learn to respond to their God-given signals of hunger and fullness, and forego worldly legalistic food rules, they will begin to enjoy the freedom of making healthy well-balanced food and eating choices."
One who typically diets might be thinking: "NO WAY! I can't lose weight without being on a DIET!!!" Ooooh yeah, you actually can! And much more enjoyably so. Many people have done so ~ read a few of the testimonies at the Thin Within website!
In addition to following these eating principles, emotional and spiritual aspects are also addressed:
"The emotional principle of Thin Within addresses the fact that we often eat in response to being upset, excited, anxious, nervous, depressed, lonely bored, etc.
At such times we turn to food to fill an emotional or spiritual emptiness, rather than for its intended purpose, which is physical nourishment. If this substitution becomes a habit, food can become an idol rather than a God-given gift.
The spiritual principles of Thin Within come in to play because it is often hard for us to eat from “0” to “5” in our own strength. We need supernatural strength and power to overcome fleshy habits and indulgence.
While food may provide some pleasure, physical nourishment it is not intended to provide spiritual fulfillment, which can only be met through a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father..."
There's lots more, but that's a good intro! Now let's pull all this together.
No matter what my plan, my body needs to use up its own fat reserves, which is going to mean some discomfort for me, which may be physical, emotional, spiritual, or any two, or ALL of those. And that is where the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone enters the picture! (It may not be uncomfortable for all, but at my age, with my slower metabolism, it gets uncomfortable for me when I'm at a 0. Not pain; just discomfort.)
The P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone
The capitalized letters in this acronym spell "PERFUME" which stands for: Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization & Metabolism Enhancement Zone:
P = Previously
E = Eaten
R = Reserve
F = Fuel
U = Utilization &
M = Metabolism
E = Enhancement
This is not a product; there's nothing to buy. It's a way of regarding and dealing with hunger. (I made it up, so you won't find it on the Web.)
The "Previously-Eaten Fuel Utilization" aspect is simply allowing my body to utilize the "fuel" that I have previously eaten in excess, which I'm now storing as fat on my body.
So now I must allow ~ more like push ~ my body into that mode of accessing my stored fuel by eating less fuel than I use.
Very simply, this means I need to allow myself to get hungry to that my fat reserves are used. There have been times in my life when I have not felt true hunger for months. No wonder I am overweight!
And that is precisely where the problem is for me!!! Because, very simply...
I DO NOT LIKE
TO ALLOW MYSELF
TO GET HUNGRY!!!
It is NOT fun, I DON'T enjoy it, and my "flesh man" wants to avoid it at all costs, cuz it just wants to EAT all the time!
But, if I'm going to lose my excess weight, I must stop that, and think and live O-5 eating...
Yes, there are other options, like surgery, but I don't want to go there. (My sister did, and it was a good choice for her.) I want to get the heart stuff (junk) that's been lurking in the dark corners of my heart for years brought into the light and dealt with so that I can live in freedom for the rest of my life.
Which, by the way, will be much shorter ~ or at least less comfortable and active ~ if I don't tend to this weighty matter. (Pun intended.)
So I must allow my body to utilize its fat stores. That doesn't mean for a long extended time! I have a feeling that when we are getting down to a 2 and a 1, we are actually starting then to access our fat stores. (If anyone knows, please let us know in the comments!)
And that is where the "P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone" comes in. It's that zone between "starting to empty" and "true hunger." However, for it to be the "P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone," I must make a heart connection that I'll explain in a moment. But first...
WHAT TRUE HUNGER IS
First, a couple things hunger isn't...
It's not just wanting food. If you are not physiologically hungry, but you want or even crave food, that's "heart hunger" or "head hunger." It's just as real as "true physiological hunger," and it's very very strong, but it's not true physiological hunger.
True hunger is where your stomach feels that gnawing, slightly burning sensation – aka a "hunger pang." To be hungry can be (is for me) a bit uncomfortable, which is actually its purpose – to motivate us enough to get nourishment and thus enable ourselves to live.
WHERE IT GETS HARD
But this is where it gets hard! Emotionally ~ because, as I believe I have mentioned, I LIKE to eat! I LIKE food!!!
A little while after we eat, (and how long depends on how much we just ate,) we start to feel our stomach "emptying." This feels a little like being hungry, but it's not yet true hunger.
In the book God's Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis said that, when we stop eating, the walls of our stomach start to shrink, and that is what we are actually feeling at this point. So we shouldn't confuse that with hunger. And that does make total sense.
But, no matter how much sense it makes, if my heart is not dealt with, and my flesh is still in control of my eating, head hunger kicks in at this point and beckons me to the kitchen... or to my purse where there's a packet of trail mix... or to Burger King where something yummy can be ordered real quick-like! But I'm actually only at a 3 or a 2 or a 1 at this "stomach-emptying-and-shrinking" point. I don't get ~ or need ~ to eat until I'm all the way down to a zero.
So, instead of gleefully rushing to get food, I need to allow my body to shift into utilizing its own fat stores. If I take in food at this point ~ when I'm only at a 3, 2 or 1 ~ I will actually stop up the process of allowing my body to make this shift over to utilizing my fat- I mean FUEL reserve.
Because my flesh is strong, and it wants what it wants ~ food, in this case (in fact, food by the case sounds great!) ~ and, as I may have mentioned, it wants it now. so this is hard!
And this is exactly when I am in a prime position to enter the "P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone"!Meaning... I choose to sacrifice my desire to eat right now, and I offer up that desire to God as a living sacrifice. A fragrance to Him.
But I need His grace working in me to even be able to do this.
SHED MORE LIGHT
There are several Bible verses that shed more light onto the concepts of fragrance, perfume, and sacrifice.
"Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:2)
Christ's sacrificial act of giving Himself up was a fragrance to God. Likewise, I want my giving up my right to eat what, when, and how much I want to be a fragrance to God as well!
Giving up my right to eat (now and a lot) is actually part of "walk(ing) in the way of love," as I am loving myself, which we are told to do in Matthew 22:39: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
By shedding my excess weight, I'm loving my family, too, because I'll be better able to serve them, and hopefully for a longer time.
This sacrifice is "expensive" for me. It's costing me full rights to myself. But our Lord, whose sacrifice on the cross was more "expensive" than I could ever imagine, is worth it, isn't He?
"BE HANGRY, BUT SIN NOT"
"Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume." (John 12:3)
This last part of the passage ~ "the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume" ~ brings me to the subject of my mood when I'm getting hungry. I've heard it called getting "hangry" ~ which is "hungry and angry" at the same time. Perfect term for it.
Would you agree that such grumpiness fills the house with the stinky odor of said hangry person's crankiness? It truly ruins the peaceful feel of "home," and results in people retreating to their own rooms, to the TV or games to escape. Those things are all fine; just not as a regular way of life to escape their fellow house-dwellers.
So the other part of my sacrifice, besides not eating when I want (even if I'm not yet hungry), is laying down my right to act out my "hanger" while in this grumpy-feeling state. (Grumpy cuz I'm not getting to stuff my face and delight my tastebuds every moment of the day.) Sure, I can feel grumpy; there is NO sin in that! But don't need or get to act grumpy. What's that scripture?
"Be (h)angry, but sin not." (Eph. 4:26)
If my house (or office, or car) is to be "filled with the fragrance of the perfume," then I don't get to give in to acting hangry.
Since this doesn't come naturally to most of us, the heart 'n' soul of getting and staying in the "P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone" is choosing to allow God to help me crucify my flesh to the cross, and to be pleasant, despite how I feel or what I desire.
I want my sacrifice to bring joy to God's heart. And I want that to be on the forefront of my mind when my emptying stomach is calling (yelling) out to me to fill it with more food prematurely.
"When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial." (Matthew 26:12)
Pouring my rights, my desires and my emotional and/or physical discomfort before the Lord is really part of dying to myself. But He will joyfully receive my imperfect gift, and view it as a fragrant offering from my imperfect heart to Him.
So what does the "metabolism enhancement" aspect mean?
We will increase our metabolism by increasing both activity and (thus, eventually) muscle in the body.
Exercise is about more than just "using up calories" or "moving" and staying flexible. When we exercise, we are actually building muscle, and it's the muscle tissue in our bodies that increases our metabolism by using calories even when we are just sitting. How cool is that?!? So "Use it, or lose it" really applies here!
Drinking ample water also helps increase our metabolism. I think of it as lubricating the weight-loss process – which it does, literally and figuratively.
So when I first start sensing that emptying-but-not-hungry feeling, I like to get a glass of water, (also a sacrifice because I'm not crazy about water), and then do some moving. When I most feel like just sitting and doing nothing, and waiting for it to be time to eat, that is actually the best time to go for a walk and get myself moving.
If waiting for true hunger is a challenge to you, and/or you tend to be cranky when [you don't get what you want, especially when it comes to FOOD], and you want to view it differently and get more out of the process, I hope you'll apply these ideas about "the P.E.R.F.U.M.E. Zone" and get more spiritual mileage out of it!
Let me know in the comments how it goes for you, and any other insights you want to add!
A note to you who are
"not as young anymore"
When I was younger, losing weight was much easier. It was never "fun," but it wasn't nearly as hard as it is now at age 65.
As we age, our bodies tend to slow down, so our metabolisms naturally slow down, too. Partly just because of aging, but also partly because of not being as active as I used to be, which is partly because of aging. It's a vicious circle that I have not done the best job of being on top of.
For me, there were the additional hindrances to being active that resulted from several injuries, plantar faciitis, and a knee surgery, each one slowing me down or altogether stopping me physically for weeks at a time. These also messed up my efforts and desire to have a regular exercise routine ~ which was already a challenge for me ~ and basically took the wind out of my sails. Or I let it.
Plus life just changes once children are grown up and out of the house. Less movement is required to maintain your normal day-to-day living, unless you have an otherwise active lifestyle or job, or unless you have a naturally active lifestyle and/or have applied yourself to physical exercise.
This is all a natural part of life, but we have to be UNnatural and very intentional to combat it.
So, at my age, I now have to allow myself to stay at a 0 for a little longer period of time if I want to release weight. The way I'd put it is that I have adjusted my "0" a bit. Since how we define a zero is quite subjective (who knows how and what we really feel), there's room for adjustment anyway, so we have the freedom to define it in a way that works for us.
For example, I know of older gals who have said Thin Within doesn't work for them. They did 0-5 eating for a long period of time, but didn't lose weight. I wonder if they had adjusted their numbers a bit, redefining their "5" to be more what they had been thinking of as a "4," and their "0" as a little more hungry.
As Heidi puts it, we need to allow ourselves to get "good and hungry." If I only allow myself to get "barely hungry" for just a minute and then go ahead and eat, especially at my older age with my lower metabolism, I will likely not release weight.
So we just need to invite the Lord into this process and ask Him for wisdom and discernment in how to apply all this to our own unique situations, and also surrender our flesh and wills to His lordship!