I’ve been doing Bright Line Eating (BLE) since January 21st of 2019. In 7 months, I was able to release 50 pounds, and I’m now in maintenance. I’d like to share some lessons I learned along the way, in case it can help someone through this journey. Here they are!
Write your food down the night before (even though you think you don’t have to). I didn’t do this at first and my lines were bright, but when I hit a plateau or broke my lines, writing my food brought me back on track.
Weight loss is not a straight line down, but quite all over the place! Be ok with that. Don’t let the scale dictate your emotions or your next behavior. Just stick to the plan!
We’re all conditioned to emotionally eat (think pacifier, bottle to soothe, etc) ~ learn new tricks and new ways to cope with: boredom, stress, sadness, etc. This is the hard part, as we’re re-wiring the way we cope and work with food. It takes time, be patient.
Drinking water or tea really helps with hunger, to get you to the next meal. I drink a full glass of water when I feel a bit hungry, but it’s not dinner time yet.
On the subject of hunger: it’s going to be ok. I had to remind myself that since I ate about 2 or 3 hours ago, I won’t die if I just wait another 2 hours. I can make it! And reminder to self: hunger is not an emergency. Drink your water, and you’ll be ok.
If you’ve a “volume eater” like me (meaning, I like more food that’s light vs. less food that’s heavy): include greens with most meals. Arugula is a favorite, romaine, butter lettuce, etc. You fill up on the good fiber and greens and that helps you get to the next meal without being as hungry. What’s helped me is also choosing lentils (6 oz) over cheese (2 oz), avocado (2 oz) over oil (1 tb). You get the idea.
If you’re the opposite and get full quickly (especially if you find it’s too much food in the beginning), opt for heavier choices. A stir fry of broccoli and mushrooms will be much smaller than a raw salad, both weighing the same. You do you.
Try to secure your bright lines as soon as you can, create that habit and stick to it - don’t deviate, as it’s much harder to get back on track after slipping than it is to just stay on track. Trust me, that extra bite isn’t worth it.
Opt for clean choices whenever possible ~ whole foods over processed is always a better choice. Opt for whole grains, whole beans (you can make these yourself in a pressure cooker and freeze extras for later), raw or steamed veggies, roasted veggies to sprinkle over salads, etc. Your taste buds will change to absolutely love these foods, and if weight loss is about reaching your highest potential for health, then it makes sense to upgrade our food choices to cleaner options.
My favorite way to dress a salad: 2 oz avocado, cubed, drizzle of apple cider vinegar, pinch of salt. Use tongs to toss everything together and the avocado and ACV make sort of a dressing which is just delicious.
Brush your teeth after dinner. Remind yourself the “kitchen is closed”
Realize that the challenge of weight loss is temporary - you’re just doing it until you reach your goal weight. The add-ins for me at maintenance were life changing - I honestly can do this for life, knowing I can add a little grain at lunch, an extra protein at breakfast, etc. Just make it through the weight loss phase, create the habits, keep going, and then it will be automatic.
Find people in your area that are also doing BLE, join a support group (hey, we have one!), create a mastermind group, or simply get a buddy. There is power in teams. Create what you need if you can’t find one.
Make foods delicious and pleasing to the eye ~ include more colors (think pink sauerkraut, orange peppers, purple potatoes, etc) and really enjoy it. This isn’t drudgery, it’s a beautiful journey! Eat with your eyes first and you'll find that you don’t want to overeat.
Whenever I say “well, I’d like a little of this….” or “everyone else is having it”, I like to remind myself ~ I’ve had 41 years of trying that food out. I know what it tastes like. Seriously, I don’t need need to taste it again to remind myself. With that in mind, I’ll keep my plan. Keep to the plan.
Stop chewing gum. For the first two months, I still had cravings for sugar, and couldn’t figure out why. I then stopped chewing gum (with xylitol) and my cravings for sugar went away.
Your body may not be perfect at any point of the journey, even at goal weight. It’s ok ~ our body is our body and we can learn to love it with all its imperfections. Have gratitude for your journey and the work you’ve put in, and give your body the respect and pride it deserves for doing all that work!
In the middle of my journey, I started to lose my bright lines….I would eat extra hazelnuts, or some fruit with dinner, and I would feel guilty and negative about it, judging myself, berating myself. Loose lines, strict heart. The opposite would be: stick to your bright lines, and show your body compassion. You can’t force your body into weight loss. You can’t judge yourself into submission. Get back on track, but soften up with yourself emotionally. Strict lines, soft heart.
At the end of the day, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Remind yourself that now is the time, not later. Remind yourself that you’re worth it. Remind yourself that when you fall, just get back up. Even if it’s 17 times down, 18 times up.
One night I had a dream with Susan Pierce Thompson. I told her “what do you do when….” and she said “just stick to the plan”. I said “but you know how hard it is when….” and she said “just stick to the plan”. Your mind will wander, your desires will change, your cravings will come and go, but keep your plan cemented. Just because you feel it or think it, doesn’t warrant a reaction. Just observe, acknowledge, and stick to the plan.