My “Dirty Little Secret”

I am hesitant to disclose my dirty little secret about what I am doing with my 0 to 5. To many, it might not seem like a big deal. To me, it feels like treason! Almost as extreme as heresy, though not quite, of course. But, honestly, I am breaking my one cardinal rule!

The boundary lines have fallen for me

in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:6

Why I believe I am an exception to my own rule:

  1. I haven’t dieted for 20 years. What a joy to move my body for the fun of it, to worship the Lord with the body He has given me. How wonderful it has been to be at peace with food. He didn’t put food on this earth to torment me (or you)! I can eat anything I choose within the boundaries that have fallen for me in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6)!
  2. I lost 100 pounds and stayed a healthy size for eight years by eating 0 to 5. That’s right! All without counting any points, calories, fat grams, or eating diet foods. I literally ate real food. Because of my compulsive exercising history, I didn’t work out in any way that leant itself to being tracked or counted. I just enjoyed sports and activities as I had in my pre-diet days. (I have always been an athlete.)
  3. I have a track record with 0 to 5. I trust the process implicitly:
    • God made my body with signals for hunger, satisfaction, the need to expel fluid and solids (go to the bathroom), thirst, pain, sickness, need for sleep, etc. All of these are reliable signals if I am prayerful and get (what the Bible refers to as) my fleshly impulses out of the way.
    • If my signals are broken in some way, they can be restored or recovered.
  4. While I don’t believe that Thin Within is the only way for everyone to be at peace with food, eating, and their body, it is the only way for me. I have tenaciously clung to this assertion and I continue to today.
  5. I don‘t absorb nutrients in my food properly. This may be due to taking antibiotics daily for the past six years. A number of lab tests indicate I struggle with malabsorption. I have wondered if this has messed with my hunger/satisfied mechanism ( #3 above). Does my body think it is starving and hold onto fat no matter what? How can I fix this, if so?
  6. I am OBESE again!

My rule is simply…

don’t do anything else…

just eat between hunger and satisfaction

and go to God for everything else

and you will release weight.

Heidi Bylsma-Epperson

So, if you have all 6 of the above characteristics in your life, then perhaps you are an exception to my rule, too. But how many people really are?

Many come to Thin Within and don’t believe that it will work for them. They believe they, too, are a special case. They love the “eat whatever you want” part, but try to combine this with counting points or calories or something. (Trust me when I say that this ends up with a person doing neither well!)

Part of the Thin Within freedom experience is dependent on cutting loose from the dieting mentality altogether. Thin Within is not an alternative to dieting. It is a non-diet. It is for those who want to break free from counting, weighing, measuring anything at all! You don’t even need a bathroom scale! For those who “get” that this is a stronghold issue so much more than a weight issue!

Instead, as you continue to eat between true physical hunger and true physical satisfaction, the extra weight you carry will come off. One hundred pounds did off of me! You may not end up being the size you were in high school or in your 20s or 30s. But you will land on a healthy size for you. If you stay off a bathroom scale and don’t know a “number” to describe that size, you can continue to maintain that healthy size by continuing to eat the same way. As you release weight, your body may request less food to sustain a smaller size. It is remarkably simple! Easy…NO. Simple? Yes.

So, here goes…my rule is simply…don’t do anything else…just eat between hunger and satisfaction and go to God for everything else and you will release weight. Don’t try to combine Thin Within with dieting. Let God speak, move and wow you!

I am breaking my rule.

But, isn’t the way it appears. I am NOT dieting. I am scrutinizing my 0 and my 5 carefully…my signal for physical hunger and my signal for physical satisfaction. But, what I AM doing is tracking how many calories I ingest by eating 0 to 5 each day. AND, I am weighing myself daily.

Please, before you follow my example (don’t!) go back to the beginning of this article and read those 6 things that characterize my situation. If you have those 6 characteristics (ok, even 5 of them!), then, maybe you can qualify as an exception, too.

I have spent a lot of time seeking God about this. I have been in denial quite a bit, too.

So there you have it…my “dirty little secret” and why I am an exception to my only “rule.”

What do you think? Have I caused you to stumble? I hope not. 😬


  1. Dear Heidi, you have absolutely NOT caused me to stumble. I appreciate your implicit honesty regarding your “tracking” and weighing. PLEASE just take care of yourself and PLEASE continue to write and share and encourage us! We love hearing from you; the more the better!

    Molly Ellis


  2. I don’t think it’s a ‘dirty little secret’ if it’s a controlled experiment.
    It’s science.
    And God created science too.
    This is not the way you will live forever and it may well lead to more in-depth teaching that you can share with all of us.
    I am so intrigued.


  3. No stumbling here! Only gratefulness for your extreme transparency.
    BTW, I posted a rather LONG comment on your last blog, “What if I can’t change?” It had A LOT to do with the scale! After I posted it, I read this “Dirty Little Secret” blog. I thought, oh my goodness, she’s going to think I read this one and THEN posted! I went back, thinking maybe i should delete my comment…and it wasn’t there. Was God trying to tell me to keep it to myself??? Then as I continued to think on it, I decided, we all need to be transparent. I learn a lot from everybody’s transparency. So, I reposted my WORDY comment…they all tend to be wordy!! Love and appreciate you Heidi, as always!


    • Dear Heidi,
      I respect your honesty. In, my spirit I thought this was related in part due to your medical issues. Still do. You have been such an inspiration. God is a God of restoration. We, ladies are being transformed.
      Speaking to the mountain.

      Love you Heidi
      Ladies we are victorious.


  4. My dear Heidi.
    NO STUMBLING,from this FORMER anorexic lifelong dieter.
    I applaud you and your heartfelt efforts. I know you are on your face before God crying out for help and mercy. He hears your cry. And He will NEVER fail you. And your family in TW is cheering you on. Run this race with your eyes set on Jesus. You are STILL an athlete! Running, running the race He has set before you. Victorious and free. Love you!!! Teresa


  5. This is wonderful, thank you!! Like others, I love your freedom to experiment. This is probably like someone said, a testing period, to see how much you are actually taking in by sticking with 0 to 5. If I try this, it might help me come out of denial of how big my 0 to 5 has grown since I began this way of eating in 2013… yikes! So maybe I will or at least pray about doing so.


  6. Heidi: So encouraging to read your blog and the responses ! I concur with each one. Your honesty and “realness” truly inspires me. I feel like there is nothing that can keep me from continuing this 0-5 TW journey in part due to your willingness to share your journey with all of us! It is so beneficial to have you leading the charge … God has put you in this role in the likeness of Moses. Just as Moses learned and grew as a fallible man of God … He continued to use him to lead and to call the people to an even deeper dependance on the great I Am. I was reading in the Hunger Within book today and came across this verse:
    2 Cor 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
    Much Love,
    Tracey 🦋🕊♥️🔥


  7. Heidi I am so thankful for you and the ministry that you have. You are so inspiring. I love that you are so honest and transparent. It shows us that this is not a perfect process and it is okay that is not. We will have our ups and downs. We have to make adjustments if need be. I am not stumbling at all from what you said. As a person that struggled with both Anorexia and Bulimia I know I can’t count calories and I also know that I can’t be weighing myself everyday. It becomes an obsession for me. I do wonder if I messed up my metabolism for abusing my body this way for decades! I also know that I have lost weight the past couple months so that thought is probably not true. So I will continue what I am doing. I am not tempted to do anything different. You have valid reasons to try something different and investigate this. Thank you so much for being so inspiring!


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