Wow, it’s been a long time since I checked in with y’all! I hope this finds each and every one of you doing magnificently, moving into 2017 with health, joy, and love. I’m here to share a somewhat lengthy introduction to Bright Line Eating, a program that’s helped me move into 2017 with those qualities reawakened.
Health has been a significant focus in my life, as you will know if you’ve followed my work. But you may not know that one of my biggest personal challenges has been a tendency to eat compulsively and at times, in secret, with the resultant health issues that behavior often leads to. Worst of all has been the incessant mind chatter, especially about sugar and flour, which I’ve been unable to eat in moderation. But the story started a long while ago…
I remember sneaking food when I was a kid and gaining a reputation for being able to put away massive quantities of food (and later, beer), though for years it never showed on my body. Like so many of us, I first started gaining weight back in college, but things really got out of hand when I moved to Hawaii and found a job in a health food store bakery, with access to all the pastries I could eat. I had very little money to buy food but could eat whatever was at hand—cheese danishes or anything else that caught my fancy. It was the first time I developed a “pear” shape, which I realized when I saw a photo someone took of me.
Hawaii is where I made my first attempt to lose weight on the then-popular Cambridge Diet, consisting of daily powdered shakes instead of food as recommended by a chiropractor who was pushing the product. That was a disaster because I got really sick and had all sorts of blood sugar issues, so I had to stop. I eventually turned to a more sane macrobiotic lifestyle and got myself into good physical shape. But I couldn’t sustain it and went back to eating whatever I wanted…and what I wanted was sugar and flour and for a while, beer. Fortunately, my desire to drink myself silly played itself out while I was still in my 20’s.
My history with yo-yo weight loss and gain is like any other chronic dieter’s, trying one “sure-fire” program after the next. I can’t even remember everything I attempted over the years but here’s a bit of a rundown: Cabbage Soup Diet, Master Cleanse, mono-food cleanses, raw foods, then to the other extreme, Atkins, Protein Power, The Zone, Carbohydrate Addicts, South Beach, Weight Watchers (again and again), My Fitness Pal, and lastly, HCG shots while eating only 550 calories a day. This doesn’t even take into account the other things I tried like colonics, multiple rounds of fiber-based cleanses, mega-supplementation, etc. After completing that monitored HCG program and getting down to 140 (a 35-pound loss), I controlled my weight fairly well by eating mostly healthy meals and snacks, though I still made unhealthier choices when I was stressed.
So Much Food
A couple of years ago I moved in with my father and stepmother and my eating got out of hand again. My stepmother, Judy, loves to bake for my father and they eat quite differently than I do, and before long those temptations proved too tough stay away from. Jars of cookies, cakes, breads, pretzels, crackers, and cashews are always on the counter, plus I developed a regular habit of having a large bowl of popcorn after dinner (made with “healthy” organic corn, sea salt and nutritional yeast), eaten mindlessly as I watched TV. And don’t get me started on the nearby specialty ice cream shops I frequented.
It also became tougher to stay away from the break room at work, with all its delectable, free, ongoing choices, including all the bagels and breakfast tacos (to name just a few) I could want, which I kept sneaking back for more of. I developed an insidious pattern of using food to combat the constant stress of my HR job, so my weight ballooned. And though just 5’3″ tall, I shot up to 183 pounds, the heaviest I’ve ever been.
I was out of control and felt awful. Desperate for help, I finally went to Overeaters Anonymous where I learned some helpful things. But despite not being able to get the monkey off my back (like any drug addict), I took issue with the shame-based approach in the particular 12-step program for compulsive eaters I was attending, and stopped going to meetings and communicating with other people with the problems I had. Hadn’t I left the Catholic Church for the same shameful, sinful feelings it instilled?
A Life Line
I felt defeated and afraid that I’d never get on top of my food issues, though I sure prayed for relief and made one broken commitment after the other. Then last year a friend of mine (bless you, Barbara) sent me a link to a program called Bright Line Eating…and something clicked. Instead of seeing myself as weak-willed and undisciplined (though perplexingly successful in other areas of my life), I heard what Susan Peirce Thompson had to say about what happens in the brain of a person who uses food like a drug. She’s a PhD professor who taught courses on the psychology of overeating, is a recovered drug and food addict, and founded this program based on her own personal experience.
I actually found the elusive answers to my befuddling behavior. I enrolled in a “boot camp” on July 1st, changed a number of unproductive habits, and over time, developed some new ones. And though not yet at goal weight, I lost 40 pounds in about six and a half months, going from 183 to 143 today. More importantly, the incessant mind chatter and resultant sneaking of food has calmed considerably, and I’m well on the way to living in a right-sized body that actually stands a chance of being happy, thin, and free.
Help Is At Hand
If any of this speaks to you and you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to check out Bright Line Eating. Start by taking the short “Susceptibility Quiz” (I’m a 10) and then watch the free introductory videos (yes, you’ll need to enter your email address, but you can always opt out later if you want). And if, after doing your own research, you’d like to move forward, I hope you’ll let me know. You won’t starve on this plan because you’ll eat three healthy meals a day with fruit, vegetables, protein and complex carbs. And sticking to that gets much easier once your body releases the effects of your former unhealthy food habits, but know that patience and fortitude are called for.
I value this program so much that I’ve become an affiliate and if you’ve followed my blog over the years, you know that’s rare. I encourage you to explore Bright Line Eating if you’re plagued by obsessive thoughts of food and eating (whether overweight or not), because there is hope. And while I’m embarrassed to share my “before” pictures (to put it mildly), I’m pretty pleased by the “during” shots. When I arrive (and hold) at maintenance, I’ll post those photos as well.
A picture really is worth a thousand words…