How I’m losing Weight and Repairing My Relationship with Food
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. This post is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Bright Line Eating, and opinions are my own.
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!
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
14 Day Challenge ($29)
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!
What an inspiring story! I’m on my own BLE journey and looking to share my story and ideas too. Would you consider checking out my blog? I’m at http://thiswellseasonedlife.com.
Looking forward to seeing more of your journey!
I am new to this knowledge the Bright Line way if eating. I want to tame the 14 day challenge. I’m both excited to find a fellowship of people that understand how a relationship with food beyond normal can exist as well as scared that I once again won’t successes with my break up of old habits. I would love to speak with you more 🙂
hi Chandra! i’m excited for you to take the 14 day challenge! Bright Line eating truly has the power to heal your relationship with food. I understand that you’re scared. But no risk, no reward, right?? Please e-mail me with any questions! hi @ amandasgreatidea.com xoxo, Amanda
I am thinking of joining the bootcamp after reading your story.
Hi Diane! Please email me at hi @ amandasgreatidea.com (no spaces) so that I can send you a $100 off discount and answer any of your questions
I just listened to the book and would like to sign up for the 14 day trail. How do I do that
Hi Jennifer! Here is the link to the 14 day challenge: https://brightlineeating.com/start-losing-weight/
I joined the BLE 14 day challenge but don’t know where to start to find the food measurements on their website.
Hi! There should have been a section where you download the files with the food plan. It has all the measurements in there!
I know there is no time like the present, and as I consider doing the 14 day challenge, does it matter if I start on a Monday morning at 7am (totally unprepared), or is it better to start on a weekend, or a day when you actually have time to grocery shop and meal plan? I won’t be able to do that for a few days!
hi Karen! when you sign up for the challenge, it has you go through a few steps (like shopping, printing out the meal plan, etc) before you hit “start” on your Day#1! So I say, go ahead and sign up and get your pre-work out of the way!
I’m curious about the boot camp and your experience. Also curious if you’re still able to provide a discount.
Hi Joelle I will send you an email so that I can answer your questions 🙂
Hi aAmanda, I just finished the 14 day challenge with BLE. Please tell me about your referral discount for the BLE Boot Camp. I am interested in doing that. How does it work to pay thru your referral?
Hi Debora! Please send me an e-mail hi @ amandasgreatidea . com (no spaces) and I will submit a refer-a-friend discount for you! Once I submit it, you’ll get a special email from BLE with instructions on how to enroll using the discount.
Hi Amanda! Your article was so helpful. I’m about to start the 14 day challenge but am almost certain I am going to need to go right into the bootcamp. If you still have a referral code, I would so appreciate it!
Hi Melody I am sending you an email right now! 🙂
Hi! Thanks for sharing your story and review. I’m just starting the 14 day challenge today and planning to move into the boot camp after. Can you email me the discount code please?
Hi Iris! I’ve sent you an email with all the information!
I am half way done with the 14 day challenge and loving it. I want to do the boot camp (I am also a 9/10) but I would like to know more about the support groups and would like the discount code, please.
Hi Tracy! I’ve send you an email with more info 🙂
Hi Amanda, Honestly I have tried almost every diet there is and am intrigued by this but wondering how sustainable it is. Can you go out to eat with friends, have a glass of wine, travel. I am a 10/10 and just feeling nervous and embarrassed about the thought of starting another program only to fail. Any chance you might have some wisdom to share. Thanks
Hi Abbi! I know how you’re feeling, trust me. I know what it’s like to be scared to start something new, desperately hoping that it’s the answer and dreading that it’s not (and having to answer to friends and family who watch you fail yet again). I find it sustainable, but with some caveats. For the first few months, I very rarely went out to eat and drank no alcohol. This helped me stay in the right frame of mind to be successful. I occasionally drink alcohol, and what I’ve learned is that when I drink, it tends to lead to blurry lines. I am able to eat out without too much issue; I order foods that are on plan and eyeball my portions. Some people bring their food scales with them to restaurants, which they say gives them extra freedom and less guilt. The program gives you tools to get back on track when you have slip ups and really helps create a lot of self awareness around habits. A big one for me was/is the amount of times I just pop something in my mouth without thinking about it. Bottom line is, if you think you have an unhealthy relationship with food (which if you’re a 10/10 the answer is likely yes!), this program will help you approach your eating from all angles and potentially have what many other programs have lacked. Start with the 14 day challenge or take the book out of your library…try it on to see if it’s right for you 🙂
Hi Amanda, I just completed the 14 day challenge and love the program. I am afraid to continue on my on right now. I am looking to start the boot camp and wondering if you still have th discount available ? I would truly appreciate it.
Hi Wanda! I will send you an email with more information 🙂
I just read your review about Bright Line Eating. I have done the 14 day challenge and read the book. I am total agreement and love the whole approach. I come from a background of yo yo dieting, emotional eater, binge/restrictor and of late have been losing and gaining same last ten pounds. One of my goals in addition to losing and keeping off my weight is to free my self from my food obsession that is constantly taking up space in my mind and life.
The only food issue I have with plan is that I need to use my protein powder with no sugar for breakfast as I don’t eat grains and cannot tolerate eggs. I emailed someone from Bright line and they said we could work it out. I don’t want this to keep me from doing the bootcamp.
So my question is would the bootcamp in your opinion be the way for me to go.
Hi Robbin! It sounds like BLE is a great option for you. I’ve sent a reply to your email with more of my thoughts and info on the discount 🙂
Good evening Amanda.
I am a person that always has food on his mind, concerned with the number on the scale and if my clothes fit without being tight.
I am not obese and can afford to lose maybe 10-15 pounds the most. I am an 8 on the scale and can’t afford to do the Boot Camp or 14 day challenge.
If and when I begin to follow BLE it will be after reading the book.
I already have my mind set for failure and I honestly don’t think it is sustainable.
I love sweets and can’t see not eating a snack in between meals if you are hungry.
I know my leptin is off kilter and this would help it.
Can you please provide me with any words of encouragement or any suggestions or guidance?
I like WW because you can eat anything you want in moderation but Susan is against it.
Thank you so much.
I understand the thoughts that you may be having, especially if wondering if BLE is sustainable. It is certainly a shift from what most people are used to. But what I’ve learned is that “moderation” doesn’t work for me (or most people who are triggered by sweets). Having a “treat” every once and a while will lead me to a downward spiral. This is why WW wasn’t for me…I could find a way to justify a huge bowl of ice cream for dinner because it fit in my points. I don’t make any decisions for the rest of my life, but on a daily basis I decide that I’m going to stay on my plan for that day because it’s worth it to me.
In terms of snacks in between meals…I’ve learned that hunger is not an emergency. And also, I’m not hungry in between meals any more! Turns out that a lot of in between hunger is false-hunger…more cravings due to fluctuations in our blood sugar.
If you are curious about this way of eating I would say to read the book and try it for 2 weeks (or a month would be even better!). See how you feel. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions!
I am very interested in the 14 day challenge and wondered if you still had a referral code. I’m at my wit’s end with trying on my own to lose weight and failing miserably. I bought the book for my kindle and just started reading it.
Thanks so much!
I have a referral discount for the boot camp only. I will send you the info via email 🙂
That would be great, thank you!
Melissa, I sent you an email a few days ago, please check your spam folder! I will send it again 🙂
I have purchased the boot camp
I am stuck as to the meditation. Will I be successful?
I have adhd. I am a Christian… I do not wAnt to get hung up on the Buddhist part of meditation… I know the Bible verse “ be still and know that I am God”
Should I add on the meditation course ? Would it benefit me?
Hi Becky! I can’t speak much to the meditation course…it’s a new addition since I completed the boot camp last year.
I will say that “meditation” can be defined according to many different spiritual settings. I know many of Christians who sit in silent prayer or intention. I also think any sort of reflection or self awareness practice can be helpful for working through life’s challenges. That said, you have to do what feels right to you. Best of luck!
I am that person who really has tried ever diet and I’ve had varying degrees of success. I am currently the heaviest I’ve ever had in my life and I know I need to make a change. Like you, I have had an unhealthy relationship with food my entire life. I saw a review about bright lines this morning and I’ve been researching all day. I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m going to download the book as a first step and I think I might actually be ready to make a change. Thank you!
Hi Lesley! Thanks for your comment. My advice is to dive into the information and surrender. I wish you great success!
Thanks in advance for the referral discount code, this will make the boot camp easier to convince my hubs I should purchase 🙂
Thanks, Belinda! Send me an email whenever you’re ready and I’ll get you all set up 🙂
hi I am thinking of doing the Boot Camp and wondered what the “discount” is all about?
Hi Patti, I will send you info via email about the refer-a-friend discount!
Hi, Amanda! Thanks so much for your review! I would also like to do the boot camp and would love any help I can get in terms of a discount. Congrats on your successful journey — I hope my journey story can as successful as yours:)
Great post! I’m interested in the boot camp. Do you have a referral code? I think your post pushed me to finally do it!!
Hi Mary! I will send you the info via email (I have to submit your name and email address in order to activate the referral).
I have the book and know about the four lines and the food plans for breakfast lunch and dinner. But I’m trying to figure out what the difference is between the 14 day challenge and the 8 week boot camp. I’ve looked online for about an hour and can’t seem to find anything detailing what they are or the difference between them. Is the eating meal plan the same for both? How do I know what to sign up for if I don’t know what either of them are? Thanks for your help! Sophia
Hi, Amanda. Thanks for your post. I would like to start the boot camp before the end of the year. Would you please make a referral for me?
Hi Melyssa!! I’ve submitted a refer-a-friend discount for you! (I will get a small commission at no cost to you.) Please reach out to me via email if there’s anything I can do to support you 🙂
Thanks so much, Amanda! I signed up for the boot camp today using your referral 🙂
Thank you so much for your words of wisdom! I have struggled for years and think I finally may have found a program that will free me. I Iook forward to following your story!
I sent you an email asking about the BLE discount code but it came back undeliverable. Do you still have a code?
Hi Brandy, I replied to your email ! 🙂
Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for writing this review about BLE! I’m really considering signing up for the boot camp soon. Are you still offering referral codes? Thank you so much, and happy new year! 😊
Hi Jessica! I’ve submitted a refer-a-friend discount for you! (I will get a small commission at no cost to you.) Please reach out to me via email if there’s anything I can do to support you 🙂
Hi Amanda! I got your email. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart! Your generosity helped our family so much. I’m all registered and ready to start. I hope you and your family have a very happy, healthy, and bright new year! 💕
Hi Amanda! I just signed up for the 14 day challenge and am considering the Boot Camp. I am inspired by your success and hope to lose this weight once and for all. Are you still offering a discount for the Boot Camp? Thank you!
Hi Carol — thank you so much for your comment! I have submitted a refer-a-friend discount for you so please look out for an email from BLE with more information!
I was inspired by your story and I have been watching videos about the boot camp. I was thinking of doing it. could you refer me for the discount please
Hi Melinda! Thanks so much for your kind comment 🙂 I submitted a refer-a-friend discount request for you…check your email for further instruction!
Hi Amanda –
When you register for the boot camp, do you have to begin immediately after you register or can you hit “start” like the 14-day challenge and begin when you’ve got everything ready to go?
Congratulations on your success!! Your story and progress are very inspiring!
Hi Darlene! It’s just like the 14 day challenge…the pre-boot camp tasks and then you click Start when you’re ready!! 🙂
I have listened to the book on Audible twice now and I have paid for the 14-day challenge; I have not started yet but I am ready and yet nervous. How hard was it really to just give in? I really am at the point that I am ready but also think of how good the bad stuff tastes, how did you get through that?
Would love some words of wisdom and insight on the worth of the boot camp, was it a game changer in regard to your weight loss?
Hi Heather! It is totally normal to feel nervous…I think fear is a big feeling that limits us, especially when it comes to weight loss and eating habits. When I started, I was just ready. Ready to surrender to something else because whatever I was doing was not working. I remember being afraid to say I was never going to eat XYZ again, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t about making decisions for the rest of my life, it was about deciding what I was going to do (or what I was going to eat) that DAY. One day at a time is what I would tell myself. The boot camp was invaluable to me…it gave me the support and time I needed to create these good, automatic habits. Feel free to email me with any more questions!
Hi I’ve listened to the audiobook and done the 14 day challenge, but fell off the wagon and need a restart. I went 1.5 years one program but fell hard…
Money is tight and the bootcamp is so pricey. Do you think it’s worth the cost? For some reason even though I know what to do, I can’t stick with it this time. FYI I didn’t enjoy the 14 day challenge. it seemed like a total rehash if free online videos and no new support or info.
I personally thought the boot camp was worth the cost. I was someone who really benefitted from the extra info, time, and accountability offered in the boot camp as opposed to the book or 14 day challenge. I also used a refer a friend discount, which I can now offer to others. You are correct that the 14 day challenge is essentially a consolidation of “the basics” as well as the detailed food plan. It’s all that some people need, but if you’re higher on the susceptibility scale (like me), it’s not always enough. Please feel free to email me if you’d like a discount referral 🙂 hi at amandasgreatidea dot com