How I’m losing Weight and Repairing My Relationship with Food
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When you’re done reading this post, head on over HERE to read my 1 year update (with progress pics)!
I’ll start off by saying that this post may not be for everyone. It may not make any sense to you when I say I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food. You may not think that “food addiction” is a real thing.
But, this post may be exactly what you need. You may see yourself in me and see that there is hope to escape the daily internal and external struggle with food and weight and body image.
I’ve been doing this thing since August. And this thing is called Bright Line Eating.
What is Bright Line Eating?
Bright Line Eating in it’s simplest form is a food plan; specifically, a food plan meant to help break one’s mind free from addictive foods and compulsive eating behaviors.
Beyond being a food plan, however, Bright Line Eating is a support community, a neuroscience exploration, a journey to self-love, where the ultimate goals are to be happy, thin, and free.
Bright Line Eating was developed by brain and cognitive neuroscientist Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD, a self-proclaimed food addict who has developed a one-of-a-kind program consisting of a food plan that helps you modify many of the typical behaviors we have around food. The premise is that by following four main rules, a.k.a. the four Bright Lines, one can free themselves from food addiction and lose the excess weight and keep it off.
Who is Bright Line Eating For?
Those who will gain the most from Bright Line Eating are those who are high on the Susceptibility Scale. This is a tool created by SPT to gauge an individual’s likelihood to succumb to unhealthy and addicting relationships with food. The scale goes from 0-10; Susan herself is a 10+++, and I am a 9/10.
I’m here to provide a review of the program, break down the basics, answer some questions, and most importantly share this one thing that has made a profound difference in my life.
I’ve had a food problem all my life
I’d like to give you a little background about my personal history with food. (Feel free to jump ahead to more info about the Bright Line Eating program if you’d like!)
Since a young age, I have been overweight. I’m not sure when my unhealthy habits began, but I always felt it took a lot of food for me to be satiated. Beyond that, I craved food and eating certain things lit me up in a way I did not get from other things. I snuck food as a kid; snacking when parents were out of the house or in other rooms. I ate out of boredom, happiness, celebration, sadness, anything. Many, if not all of my routine behaviors were somehow associated with a reflex for food.
Teens & Twenties
My first diet was at age 15 when the pediatrician referred me to a nutritionist. I learned about feeling satisfied versus full and successfully lost 20 lbs. By age 17 I gained that weight back and by my sophomore year of college, I had gained the freshman 30 and then some. I lost 30lbs during one summer in college doing the South Beach diet and managed to keep it off through graduation. During my master’s program, I gained those 30lbs back. Through a diet variety of Weight Watchers, gluten-free/paleo, and then veganism, I lost about 55 lbs. I gained and lost the same 15lbs over the next few years, and by my wedding day, I weighed 182lbs (the lowest I had been since I graduated high school!). A few years later I got pregnant with twins (!), and I weighed in at 250lbs the day they were born.
Top: pre-pregnancy (200lbs), 6 weeks post-partum (230 lbs), 4 months post-partum (210 lbs)
Bottom: 1 year post-partum (190 lbs), 18 months post-partum (175 lbs), 19 months post-partum (170 lbs)
When the baby weight didn’t come off right away and I was still 230lbs three months postpartum, I decided that something had to change. This could become my new comfortable weight and I could go on to continue to gain for years to come, or I could get serious about slimming down. My husband and I started a medical weight loss program in July of 2016. We paid cash for a program supervised by a physician, and we had to drink shakes and bars throughout the day and prepare one lean meal for dinner. Six months and thousands of dollars later, I went from 230 to 190lbs. Not too bad! Over the next few months, I came off the shakes and began to reintroduce food. But…I hadn’t really learned how to eat differently. It was easy to lose the weight when I wasn’t allowed to eat.
Trial & Error
Once I was back on regular food, I couldn’t figure out how to continue my weight loss. I tried to go back to the whole foods plant-based diet, but it gave me so much freedom with quantities that I was overeating and not losing. I found myself giving myself permission to make poor choices (bread dipped in oil for a snack, bagels with vegan cream cheese for breakfast) and I was not in a good place.
Over the next few months, I came off the shakes and began to reintroduce food. But…I hadn’t really learned how to eat differently. I was easy to lose the weight when I wasn’t allowed to eat. But once I was back on regular food, I couldn’t figure out how to continue my weight loss. I tried to go back to the whole foods plant-based diet, but it gave me so much freedom with quantities that I was overeating and not losing. I found myself giving myself permission to make poor choices (bread dipped in oil for a snack, bagels with vegan cream cheese for breakfast) and I was not in a good place.
In August of 2017 I stumbled upon an Instagram user who mentioned something about Bright Line Eating. What is that? I’ve never heard of that! Down the rabbit hole I went, reading about this new eating program. Everything I read and watched about this program was speaking directly to me. I immediately got the book on Audible and started listening.
The Four Bright Lines
-No sugar (or sweeteners)
-No flour (of any kind)
–Three meals daily, no snacking
–Quantities: all food portions are weighed and measured using a kitchen food scale
The four bright lines are the guiding pillars of Bright Line Eating. They may seem strict or extreme, but sometimes to seriously change your outcome you have to seriously change your process!
What You Won’t Find in Bright Line Eating
-No pills or supplements
-Absolutely no shakes, bars, mixes, or special food
-No counting calories or points
The Food Plan
The Bright Line Eating food plan is adaptable to almost all food restrictions and sensitivities. It works great with a plant-based diet, gluten-free diet, and a paleo/keto diet.
Breakfast: grain + protein + fruit
Lunch: protein + veggie + fat + fruit
Dinner: protein + veggie + fat
You can find the complete weight loss food plan, including gender-specific quantities and food measurements in the book, 14-day challenge, or Boot Camp. Depending on your needs and learning style, there’s a way for you to become a Bright Line Eater.
The Book ($9.99 Kindle; $17 hardcover)
Everything you need to know to be successful can be found in Susan’s book, Bright Line Eating. If nothing else, check out the reviews! Personally, I loved listening to the audiobook on my commute to and from work. There were multiple instances in which I responded out loud by myself in the car because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The science behind how certain foods hijack our brains is absolutely fascinating. I often felt like Susan was speaking directly to me. You can find the hard copy and kindle version here. Here is a link to the audiobook. I highly recommend reading for free by signing up for a 30-day Audible Free Trial-you get two free books! And, if you are lower on the susceptibility scale and tend to be diligent, the book may be all you need!
For $29, you can participate in the online 14 Day Challenge. This consists of a two-week guided taste of the BLE program. Furthermore, you get full access to the detailed food plan and also a series of video modules that explain major aspects of the program. After I listened to the audiobook, I signed right up for the 14-day challenge and lost 10 lbs! I also joined an unofficial support group on Facebook and soaked up everything I could from those who had gone before me (and those who were beside me).
You can do the boot camp right away or jump into it from the 14 Day Challenge. The Boot Camp is an 8-week intensive program full of detailed information and community support. Every week, a new module unlocks, which includes about 2 hours of videos on specific topics. There are weekly live group coaching calls and daily guided meditations. You are assigned to a Facebook “house,” which is your own cohort of people going through the boot camp with you.
If you are higher on the susceptibility scale and thrive among the support of others, the Boot Camp is the way to go. I just finished my boot camp and I’m proud to report that since I started the 14 Day Challenge 4 months ago, I have lost around 25 lbs (and I’m a slow loser!). My latest weight (this morning!) was 166 lbs and my official starting weight for Bright Line Eating was 190 lbs.
Note! If you decide that Bright Line Eating might be for you, e-mail me before signing up for the challenge or the Boot Camp! I want to answer any questions you have to help figure out if this program might be a good fit for you 🙂 There is also a benefit of being referred by a friend 😉 !
On My Way To Goal Weight
While I’m not yet at my goal weight, I am farther on my way than I have ever been. In fact, I have not been this weight since high school! Every day I am getting comments about how great I look, how my skin is glowing, and how I look happy and well rested. I have to laugh at this last one, because I am a full-time working mother of 20-month-old twins…and I work straight overnights. HA!
This feels amazing. I wouldn’t call myself the energizer bunny (see above paragraph), but I’m just overall happier. I can’t explain how great it is to know if I eat X, Y, and Z according to my food plan, I will lose weight. Part of the program is writing down your food the night before, which separates the decision of what to eat from the actual act of eating. I’ve become hyper-aware of my cravings (or lack thereof now) and what actions or behaviors trigger me with food thoughts. I’m starting to feel a true peace surrounding food, which leads to pure enjoyment as opposed to the unfortunately familiar food-guilt.
For the first time in a long time, losing weight isn’t my #1 New Year’s Resolution. Yes, reaching goal weight is on my to-do list this year. However, this year I am trusting it will happen rather than making it an obsession. And speaking of New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided to do something different this year and choose one word to be my word of the year. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you soon!