Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin

I often talk about the fact that exercise doesn’t help you lose weight, and I recently received an email from someone who said my claim could use some more clarification. Watch this week’s vlog to learn more.

 

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Comments

  1. Janis Wishet

    Hi,
    I am having difficulty contacting the team. I paid for the 14 day challenge and have not received my copy of Susan’s book.
    Please advise.
    Many thanks,
    Janis

    Reply ·
    1. Debbie

      HI, I also never got my 14 day challenge until I contacted them and they said there was an issue with Hotmail or outlook as an email. I had to open a gmail account and contact them through that address and then my challenge came the next day. Hope this helps. Good luck, good program.
      Debbie

      Reply ·
    2. Susan Peirce Thompson

      Janis, are you in the USA or outside of the USA?
      If you’re in the USA you definitely should have gotten your book. Go to our support center:
      http://Support.BrightLineEating.com
      Go to the bottom where you can click for more support and let my team know you haven’t gotten your book.

      If you’re outside the USA, just be patient. I’m afraid the international shipping takes extra weeks.
      xoxo
      Susan

      Reply ·
      1. Terrie v d Berg

        HEello there can you tell me how many more weeks?
        Terrie

        Reply ·
        1. Bright Line Eating

          We’re told now that international book orders will arrive (hopefully) by May 15.

          Reply ·
  2. Garry Montgomery

    Certain forms of exercise CAN create weight loss, but without addressing an unhealthy diet most exercise is of no benefit other than to tone some muscles and help relieve constipation and create a feel-good mood.

    Reply ·
  3. Laura Streichert

    So going to the gym is about it makes you more hungry?

    What about the effect of physical activity on fitness level, cardiovascular fitness, and metabolism?

    BTW-
    Every time you feel you have to mention you are a size 4, I click close…….

    Reply ·
    1. Joseph

      Dr. Thompson explained, and cited the research that bears her out, that the advantages of exercise on metabolism (burning calories) is exceeded, by a lot, the calories that are gained through food consumption. Anyone who has exercised knows that eating more happens after exercise.
      Joseph in Missoula

      Reply ·
      1. Hazel

        I do take that point, but I’ve previously lost a great deal of weight (5 stone) simply by running every day. The regular exercise boosted my mood and made me naturally eat less. I wasn’t eating more because I was exercising I was eating less because I was feeling better. I do have a mood disorder, so perhaps it’s different for me, but I have to say I’m not at all sold on this aspect of it – although the rest of what I’ve watched so far makes perfect sense.

        Surely this should be ‘Exercise won’t make you thin if you eat lots after exercising.’ What if you don’t? What if you eat no more than you would have without exercising or (as in my case) actually eat less? I won’t argue the merits of the supposed metabolism-boosting benefits of exercise, I don’t know enough, but from a purely mood-related perspective, the benefits of exercise are great, and mood (I have found at least) plays a huge role in staying motivated and successfully sticking to a diet. My problem with weight gain started again when I became too ill to run. I’ve not been able to run for several years now, and I’d quite convinced if I could get back to it my weight would at least start to go down again naturally, I’d feel better, and be far more able to tackle my diet.

        I guess my question is…if exercising is going to have such a positive affect on my dieting efforts, why should I hold off?

        Reply ·
        1. Katherine

          In the boot camp, Susan does mention that those w/ mood disorders who are benefited by exercise can continue doing so. And to food is being controlled by following the boot camp plan so you’re not eating more. Although you may be hungrier.

          Reply ·
          1. Hazel

            Thanks Katherine, that’s really helpful!

        2. Lauren

          If you are already in an exercise HABIT, where it is routine and normal for you, then I know Susan would say, by all means, continue! You can then create healthy habits around food if you have not already done so. Her program is aimed at people who have long term weight issues and most especially sugar and flour addictions. If that is your issue then believe me, and I speak from personal experience on this, turning around ANY addiction is a difficult process and throwing in the added stress of starting an arduous exercise program at the same time is a sure-fire way to fail. I had tried every diet under the sun and finally, at age 61, following the Bright Line Eating program, I have gone from obese to my ideal body size and kept it off for over a year. The best thing is that I KNOW I will never revisit those pounds again. I am now incorporating a daily, gentle exercise and stretch program into my routine and feel great.

          Reply ·
        3. Julie

          I’m with you Hazel… exercise makes me feel amazing, strong and fit – even though I’m fat. The exercise makes me feel like I’m doing something really good for myself. I have just started following the BLE but am going to continue to exercise because to stop would feel like I was not honouring myself.

          Reply ·
      2. Jane

        Not true. I find that a regular workout routine supports my clean healthy diet and visa-versa . Beyond that weight loss is a misnomer. A healthy slim and toned body should be the objective… not a number on the bathroom scales.

        Reply ·
      3. Karen

        The research cited is a study of 400 some odd people. That is not a large study. I would need more information.

        Reply ·
      4. Gabe

        That’s true if you waste most of your time at the gym not exercising.

        Reply ·
    2. Ingrid Taylor

      Excellent talk today, Susan. I think we’re all used watching The Biggest Loser and Jillian Michael’s words running through our thoughts,, so your method flies in the face of conventional “wisdom” (quotes intended). There’s a British show called You Are What You Eat” that’s food-focused rather than exercise focused. I feel like I have super powers…
      Along with feeling fabulous and having energy to spare. I can now look at what’s in a shopping cart and match it to the shopper it belongs to!!! LOL

      Reply ·
  4. Peggy

    Video #3 still says “coming soon”. I’ve tried to email you to tell you this, but the email keeps bouncing back.

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson

      I do believe it gets released tomorrow (Thursday)!

      Reply ·
    2. Susan Peirce Thompson

      And…just like the email auto-responder says, if you ever want to submit feedback or contact me or my team, you can’t send email, you have to go to our Support Center:
      http://Support.BrightLineEating.com
      xo
      S

      Reply ·
  5. Jack Olsen

    First what is spinning class? Second I started to tell you how disapointed I was about the amount of weight I’m loosing. ( about 1 pound every other week.) Then I remembered the real reason I started following you , which was because I was needing to take TUMS every day or every oyher day for heartburn. now I only take them once every other month foe ocasional heartburn plus I know that 2 pounds a month is sustainable.and healthier than rappid loss I haven’t actualy joined your program but I did buy your book for my wife. when she finishes it then I’ll read it.
    So what is a realistic weight loss expectancy for a #265 male ? (now down to #250) I’ve been with you since well before Christmas.

    Reply ·
    1. Joseph

      Hang in there Jack! This may be the result of yo-yo, starvation dieting of the past. If so, your body may have learned that it lives in a food-starved world and your metabolism may have responded by clicking into under-drive. This is common in our world of dieters — 108 million on any given day. In time your body will adjust. Try to be patient with it.
      Joseph in Missoula

      Reply ·
    2. George

      If you quit eating all sugar and wheat, and you are eating organic foods, you should lose faster than that. I went from 200 to 170 in about 3 months last summer just eating right. This year I am going to push harder for 20 more pounds. I should note that I also used intermittent fasting – skipping breakfast and lunch and eating all my ‘real’ food in a short 4-6 hour window between 2pm – 8pm

      Reply ·
    3. Nat Denkin

      Although my high had been 235, when I started Bright Line Eating I was at 195. During the next 5 1/2 months I lost another 40 pounds. Men in Bright Line Eating boot camps typically lose about 8% of their starting body weight during the Boot Camp–but there are wide variations. Peer level support and the availability of coaching can make a big difference.

      Reply ·
  6. Melanie

    Brilliant! As someone who is also a size 4, has been for more than 10 years, and comes from a family of morbid obesity, this vlog explains what I’ve experienced but didn’t know why. Thank you!

    Reply ·
  7. Joseph

    One of your finest vlogs Dr. Thompson!
    Joseph in Missoula

    Reply ·
  8. Andy Shaffer

    Susan, what you’re saying is true I’m sure. Loosing weight requires caloric deficits and systemic change. However, have you investigated intermittent fasting? I’ve found that restricting my feeding window to about 6 – 8 hours per day, in conjunction with weight training has been very effective. The first day or two I was hungry all the time, then, hunger went away – pretty much 24 hours a day.

    Reply ·
    1. George

      Intermittent fasting worked well for me, but now I have leveled off and may have to trying fasting a couple days at a time

      Reply ·
  9. Gina

    This VLOG was DA BOMB!!!! I am often in the same situation as the woman who sent in that question! Even a medical professional thought i was nuts. “Well ……..look who’s lost 30lbs ” i wanted to say! This explanation was so so thorough and important for all the ney-sayers. Thank you a thousand times, Susan!!! I am saving this one!!!?

    Reply ·
  10. Stefi

    GREAT video Susan!!!! I’ve been at various weights , I think the key is what Susan explained about having the river grooves deep , especially the higher your suseptability score is! Hence the exercise at the gym takes a back seat til goal weight.

    Reply ·
  11. Jutta

    So true ! Tried to start an exercise program & have been starving ! I’ve lost 53 lbs with 0 exercise & suddenly my food is not enough . I have another 25 lbs left to lose so thanks for the explanation & boost back into squeeky clean bright lines & bunny slippers .?

    Reply ·
  12. Karen McGovern

    I also did the 14 day challenge and have not received the bright line eating book

    Thanks
    Karen

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson

      I’m so sorry, Karen! How frustrating!
      Question: are you in the USA or outside of the USA?
      If you’re in the USA you definitely should have gotten your book. Go to our support center:
      http://Support.BrightLineEating.com
      Go to the bottom where you can click for more support and let my team know you haven’t gotten your book.
      If you’re outside the USA, just be patient. I’m afraid the international shipping takes extra weeks.
      xoxo
      Susan

      Reply ·
  13. Randi Urbansky

    I also paid for the 14 day challenge and have not received my copy of the book. When will I get it? Randi

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson

      Depends whether you’re in the USA or outside of the USA.
      If you’re in the USA you definitely should have gotten your book. Go to our support center:
      http://Support.BrightLineEating.com
      Go to the bottom where you can click for more support and let my team know you haven’t gotten your book.
      If you’re outside the USA, it could take another couple of weeks.
      xoxo
      Susan

      Reply ·
  14. Caroline Altimani

    Hi Susan, I’m a bright lifer since January 2017. I have also started to see a functional medicine doctor since february. The protocol of doing different things like coffee enemas, chi machine, tai chi and near infrared saunas is throwing off my BLE plan I was doing so well on. When I hear your VLOG of this week, although all this already, it makes me feel that maybe the protocol is putting the same stress on my body: giving me an excuse to eat more because I am sort of purging, to deviate because doing the protocol is taking so much time per day that I am not taking as much time to watch what I’m eating… I always resume and I do well when I do, but I’m off the plan way too much. it hasn’t effected my weight: I haven’t put on any, but I’m not loosing any any more. and I have to go back to BLE because it is a matter of health for me too along with the very expensive functional medicine doctor I’m seeing. can you contact me on FAcebook in bright lifers? I really need your help. Lynn Coulston is great on accountability calls, but I think I need to hear from you… my name on facebook is Caroline Marianne
    Thanks

    Reply ·
  15. Kari Margrethe

    Thank you I know and experience that this is true. I long for our book but I live in Norway. Hope it will arrive soon. Take care you are presious.

    Reply ·
  16. Randi Urbansky

    This session was excellent for me. I started off needing to loose 50# so started going to the gym (for 3 years+) with a personal trainer who literally worked me to the point of weariness and have occasionally lost 20# (which I put back on/took back off/put back on), hurt my back so was forced to stop training. I have been off training for 3 months, stated binge eating and now have 100# to loose. Found Bright Line Eating through a friend on Facebook, took the 14 day challenge. Today is my 10th day.

    Reply ·
  17. Christina

    That is so true. Once we start to eat fresh organic food will do yur body good and give you energy to move naturally without extreme exercising. Your body will love you so much.

    Reply ·
  18. Claudia Jennings Lima

    I’m glad you confirmed that! I have excercised through all of my weight lose plans except for when my son was in the hospital. I stuck to my food plan but I could not excercise for weeks at a time and I continued to loose weight. On my last weight lose plan I excercised like crazy …hiked miles everyday…..maintained my weight but never lost anything…..it was definitely the energy and compensation thing….

    Reply ·
  19. Karen

    Susan
    You gained 9 lbs in a few days. How can you tell us BLE works ?
    Karen

    Reply ·
    1. George

      Umm she said she ate at restaurants for 9 days – she wasnt doing ble at the time. It works only WHEN you do it 🙂

      Reply ·
    2. Susan Peirce Thompson

      It works because I know exactly what to do when my weight fluctuates. 6 of those pounds are off now (just a couple of weeks later) and the final ones will be off shortly. I have a roadmap that works. George is right–I gave myself license with restaurant quantities in NYC, day after day, that weren’t true to the “quantities” Bright Line. I ate no sugar, no flour, and never a bite outside of meal times, but I’m a quantities girl, and without boundaries to my quantities, I’ll gain weight super fast. I also have a very extreme hypothyroid condition, which means that my body puts on weight ridiculously easily. Those 9 pounds are not what a normal person (without a thyroid disorder) would have gained. A normal body would have gained about 2-3 pounds. BLE is a miracle for me–it allows me to live in a right-sized body even under the most stressful conditions, and even with my thyroid disorder. It also allows me to be human. I don’t have to be perfect, just unstoppable. 🙂

      Reply ·
  20. Barbara Honigsberg

    I am a Prince fan!

    Reply ·
  21. Claire

    Great Vlog and clear explanation of the research, evidence and science. Very helpful. I also paid for the 14 day challenge more than a month ago, from memory (it may even have been 14th Feb I bought it). I have still not received the copy of the book (am in the UK), In the end, I was so desperate for more information, I bought a kindle version of the book, so that I could read it to support me. Would be great to know what has happened to the paper version of the book, as it looks as though there are a number of people who have experienced the same thing.

    Reply ·
  22. Doni

    Exercise reduces my appetite probably by relieving stress and making my body more comfortable. It actually helps me match my appetite to my physical need. The effect probably varies with the person: “calories in minus calories out” is too oversimplified to be a reliable prediction.

    Reply ·
  23. Sylvia

    Good explanation . I love the way that we understand the scientific base behind our brain at work . Thank you

    Reply ·
  24. debbie shea

    im going to try to not exercise while i try to loose weight hope it works

    Reply ·
  25. debbie shea

    what should i eat and not eat

    Reply ·
    1. George

      only eat real food, organic vegetables and grass fed beef, etc. Nothing out of a box or can, nothing processed

      Reply ·
  26. Agnes

    Hi Susan, thanks so much for addressing this topic today. Like Katie, I’ve had people ask me, “well are you exercising??” However, those who know me, know that I am very active, usually 5-6 times per week; walking, ballroom dancing, and training with a dragon boat team. Yet, the weight is stubbornly hanging on. Several years ago, I had saved up $10,000 to put in a new kitchen floor. However, I was so discouraged with my weight that I decided to spend it on a personal trainer and go to the gym 4-5 times per week. After 2 years, I was almost exactly the same weight. I was also eating healthy, (or so I thought!!), but NO weight loss. So I really understand that exercising will not help me lose weight. It makes me feel good, and I have more energy, but it doesn’t help with weight loss. I have since discovered that food sensitivities, hormones, medications, and all sorts of things impact your weight. Since I have dealt with allergies and various health issues all my life, I’ve had a lot of things complicating the weight loss efforts. I find it a challenge to sort it all out. I have to take certain medications, (although I’m trying to do more with controlling symptoms through diet), and I know that hampers my weight loss efforts. Also I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that some of my favourite foods, healthy or not, are adding to the problem, and I’m slowly learning to be okay with giving them up. But… it’s still a challenge, so I SO appreciate your videos and inspiration!

    Reply ·
  27. Wendy Solganik

    Outstanding vlog this week Susan! I’m going to be directing everyone here who questions my personal story of how I stopped exercising and lost weight!

    Reply ·
  28. Stephanie

    I’m wondering about a daily yoga practice? Would that be in the same category as exercising? Would I have to put my yoga practice on hold while I lose weight? I’m just getting ready to start the 14 day challenge so I would love some feedback on this/

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Hi Stephanie…

      I’d need to know more about you to be sure… like where you fall on Susceptibility Scale, how much weight you’d like to lose, how long you’ve been doing yoga and how you feel doing yoga.

      Here is my advice, given that I don’t have the full story: if your yoga practice is one that is already a part of your daily routine, and it is really easy for you to make the time and settle in to do it (like brushing your teeth), and it helps you feel good in your body… then ok, do it.

      If the eating plan is really a huge challenge for you though, or you’ve never been able to maintain a yoga practice for very long… then I’d invite you to wait until you have what we call “automaticity” with Bright Line Eating. There is a LOT to learn about in the 14-Day Challenge. Give yourself a chance to really try on this new program. You’ll have time for yoga and other exercise later. I hope this helps?

      Reply ·
      1. Stephanie

        Thank you very much, that does help, and that was my feeling. I fall very high on the susceptibility scale and have about 60 lbs to lose. The last two months I have been very consistent with my yoga practice, but I find it challenging maneuvering around my body at times. I will take a break from yoga for a month or two, while I give myself over to this program fully! Thank you 🙂

        Reply ·
  29. Guni

    I hate when she’s right, …and she always is!!!
    Thank you for the question and thank you Susan for the explanation. It is truly amazing how our bodies are hijacked by our brains.
    Becoming aware of it is one of the most important steps. Luv our stuff xx

    Reply ·
  30. Horatio Nelson

    Having heard this vlog (is “vlog” the correct spelling?), I feel it necessary to right two misconceptions under which BrightLine may be labouring. Firstly it was intimated here that physical activity (in the form of exercise and sport) does not contribute to weight loss. Let’s correct this ….. exercise and sport DO INDEED contribute to weight loss. Through calorie combustion, the metabolism is excited to react for a consequential period of up to one and a half days following exercise/sport. This has a braking / deceleration influence on weight gain and hence promotes the desired reduction effect if applied in combination with dietary measures. However, the statement would have been correct that exercise and sport ALONE bear little marked (but not NO) influence on weight loss. They do indeed play a significant rôle in assisting weight loss and are thus not to be underestimated and are MOST CERTAINLY NOT to be dismissed. A further point necessary to address in this respect is the fact that by sedentary dieting alone – regardless of whether or not weight is lost – the body can suffer a deterioration of muscular substance and, as a minimum cannot obtain physical benefit offered through muscular activity in combination with diet. The body (human and non-human) was conceived as an essentially motile being. Hence the combination exercise / diet is the motto required. The second misperception indicated in this piece appears to be a belief that “compensatory” duty performed by the brain leads to hunger, even to ravenous appetite and that the “exhausted” sportsman also remains sedentary for the remainder of his post-sport day. Neither so nor so. Sorry. The metabolic process does not function in this simple schoolbook manner (as already mentioned) and, following athletic activity, the “athlete” continues his/her day in a similar manner to that of the non-athlete. The difference being that the athlete has served his bodily status to a higher, healthier degree. Thanks, for reading and for the vlog.

    Reply ·
    1. KM

      Thanks for refuting the nonsense in this vlog.

      Reply ·
  31. Mark

    I truly believe this is your best and most valuable blog ever, Susan! My 30 years of trying the exercise route and not losing much weight and/or failing to keep weight off and my 18-months of BLE with entirely unprecedented and fabulous success are very likely due to what you presented in this vlog. I wish everyone who tries the exercise route is somehow made aware of the wisdom you presented here. If the primary care physicians were aware of the research papers you mention – they would have to stop advising patients that exercise is a viable option for weight loss success. Then people could focus like a laser on their eating habits and finally achieve lasting success

    Reply ·
    1. Natalie

      Thank you Mark–I really enjoyed your response as you have shown us a compare and contrast example. Having just read all of the responses above, it has caused even more confusion for me, even though Susan’s message is very clear. I struggle because I still go to the gym, albeit to focus mainly on weight training and less on cardio. The reason for the weight training is so I can maintain my muscle and cut look. I am also concerned about “deactivating” the habit of working out every day which I have worked so hard to create. What will it be like to stop for a 3-4 month period and restart? Is this possible? How long will it take for me to rebuild my shape and muscle? Also, once I have lost the weight, but introduce exercise in again, won’t I just be “exciting” my metabolism again only to eat more and gain weight? Would it not be better to just keep a low level of exercise on the helm so habits don’t have to be reformed later and metabolic rates won’t keep changing? I guess I’m just confused what will change once the weight loss is completed and exercise is re-introduced? Won’t I just be gaining weight then?

      Reply ·
    2. Bright Line Eating

      Thanks, Mark! Someday the doctors may “get it” too… right now, as you can see from some of the comments here, it’s sound scientific wisdom that’s so against the grain it’s really hard for people to believe. Good for you for your 18 months!

      Reply ·
  32. Caroline

    My favourite Prince song…PURPLE RAIN???
    So true for me in regard to exercise making me want more food….and the weight loss is so amazing!
    My body for the first time is actually coming back to my youthful shape….no other diet or exercise has worked this well.
    TRY IT FOR YOURSELF HONEY???

    Reply ·
  33. Leslie

    I think what Susan is trying to say, is to keep the process as simple as possible. Take small steps until you obtain the goal of good eating habits. Then slowly add in exercise. People are always in a rush to achieve change, when the wight no doubt took years if not decades to put on. Slow and steady is key. I really like what Susan has stated here. It makes a lot of sense.

    To Laura: Rather than clicking close upon Susan’s mention of being a size 4, try to be proud of her. This is motivating for many, and she should be expressing her happiness daily. Good for her.

    Reply ·
  34. Lindy

    Size 4 seems so tiny to me. How tall is Susan? I wear a size 8 or 10 when I am at my best weight, but I’m 5’7″ tall.

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson

      I’m 5’3.
      Sometimes, on a really good day, 5’3 1/2.
      I’m pretty small.

      Reply ·
  35. Andrea

    Hi Susan, I’m starting Day 4 of the 14 day challenge and I am
    soooo hungry since day 1! My tummy rumbles and aches
    all day and at night the hunger pangs are so bad its difficult
    to fall asleep. Is this normal? I found the exercise vlog interesting. I
    strength train 3x per week and I find when I stop, even though the
    weight drops my body looks awful ( flat butt, flabby arms) unless I continue to strength train.

    Reply ·
  36. Karen

    I actually lost a lot of weight (for me) and kept it off for years (9 years) (until I had 2 kids and stopped exercising). I think the difference was that I had work out buddies to start with and keep accountable to until it became a habit for me. I think that this is a little bit miskewed. I think that promoting exercise after the bright line eating has become habit ( 70 days or so from what I have read in BLE book) would be a good idea.

    Reply ·
    1. Karen

      At the same time, I imagine that it is promoted and perhaps I misspoke.

      Reply ·
  37. ros

    Hi Susan, Spot on!!!!!! I keep telling people this but they look at me in a strange way.. I exercise nearly every day and hunger is always there…when I stop… my appetite is reduced. I watch what I eat so that saves me…..however…..if I want to lose weight even more I just need to stop exercising for one week. If I don’t want to get hungry I don’t exercise that day at all….

    Reply ·
  38. Sue

    I can confirm this theory. In 2014 I was exercising like crazy and losing a few kg but was unable to sustain it. When I stopped eating sugar and flour at the beginning of 2015 the weight just fell off and I wasn’t exercising. I have now lost 17.5kg. Thanks for explaining how this happens Susan. My question is that once you get to your goal weight is it ok to e exercise ? You said you weren’t going to your spin class after breaking your bright lines. Is this how you maintain your weight loss or is it ok just not to ever go back to exercise ever again?

    Reply ·
  39. Denise

    Susan, you are speaking right to my heart! I did exactly what you just describes a few years ago. I went to the gym 5 days a week for six months and I did not lose any weight at all! Yes, I did feel better and became healthier, but I was so much hungier and ate more and result, NO weight loss! Now I get it and while I do a little bit of expercise to keep myself in shape, but it is not affecting my eating (3 x a week walk/jog 2 miles because I try to do 2 or 3 5K’s a year).. I have been following you for 3 1/2 weeks now and I am down 11 pounds! So happy with my results.

    Reply ·
  40. Gabe

    I think these comments can be taken in the contest of a very specific population. Sure, if you are overweight and you’re body is full of processed foods you need to get your diet in balance before you can realize your goals (I agree with that). What I do not agree with (and I am no doctor as I am only going off personal experience) is that if you are relatively healthy but maybe want to lose some flab you don’t exercise. Now, maybe I misheard or am misquoting but if I want to lose weight I am not going to AVOID exercising. But, to each their own.

    Reply ·
  41. Renee

    What I hear Susan saying is that exercise is fabulous, just not while someone with food issues (like me) is trying to get the food issues under control. If you are already an exercise fanatic, and going to the gym is one of those “automatic” things for you, like brushing your teeth, than, by all means, keep going! But if it takes will-power and self-discipline and effort to make it to the gym (or take a walk), focus your effort on what you’re putting in your mouth. Ultimately, your weight, long-term, directly depends on your food input. When the eating is under control and it’s “automatic” to follow the Bright Lines, then you can exercise (which she says is wonderful for a bunch of things, just not long-term, sustainable weight loss).

    I wonder if the people who debate this are struggling or have struggled with food addiction? If they are low on the susceptibility scale and food isn’t a big issue for them, then perhaps going to the gym and exercising doesn’t lead to a compensation effect. But as someone who struggles with food and always has, I know that I always went to the gym so I could justify eating more food. Now that I’m doing BLE, I’m having success and control over what goes into my mouth in a way that I never had before, and I’ve dropped 14 pounds since starting the 14-day Challenge in mid-March. I never would have thought I could take weight off without exercise, but controlling caloric intake (and cutting all flour and sugar) is working!

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Yes! You understand! And thanks for sharing your story… it is the same for so many of those in our program.

      Reply ·
    2. Gabe

      Agreed.

      Reply ·
  42. Linda Wilkins

    Thank you so much for your work, Susan. I have struggled with obesity for over 50 years and your plan is working for me. I am in week 7 of Boot Camp. I love it that your module videos address all the intimate issues that come up for people like me — and you address them straight forwardly.
    I’ve wondered if it would be valuable to offer the boot camp videos for sale?

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      So glad you are finding success in your Boot Camp, Linda! Right now the only way the Boot Camp modules are available is in a Boot Camp. But you’ll have access to them even after the program is over. For new people, we prefer they take the full Boot Camp and get the whole experience of the modules and support, etc. Thanks again!

      Reply ·
  43. Nina Bergström

    This was the best vlog for me that you’ve done. As soon I sart to train my weight loss ruins.
    Thank you!
    /Nina
    100% working mom with a 2 years old that still part time breastfeed and can’t get my pregnancy weight of.

    Reply ·
  44. Anne

    I am on day 7 of Boot Camp and really appreciate the science of BLE. I currently have a gym membership but am putting the strenuous cardio and weight training on hold until I am in my right-sized body. I now use the gym to go for a leisure bike ride while listening to Susan’s vlogs, then do some gentle yoga-type stretching followed by 15-20 minutes in the sauna and a cool shower. So invigorating and a real treat to myself for sticking to my bright lines! I could even eliminate the bike ride but need to warm up my muscles before stretching. I agree that exercise is important for cardiovascular health and strong bones (I am 61 and want to reduce my risk for osteoporosis) but until I lose the weight I will stick with my alternate gym plans for now.

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  45. JoAnn

    Anyone see the issue of O magazine where they followed up on the women who wanted to lose weight a year ago? It struck me as so sad that they had all lost such a small amount of weight compared to boot campers. Not unrelated, they were all coached and supported to exercise. I was hoping they could find BLE and do another follow up in a year.

    Reply ·
  46. Stephanie

    My wife is going to do the 14 day challenge with me, but her 30th birthday is happening during those two weeks and her family always gets her an ice cream cake. She doesn’t have any weight to lose, but wants to change her diet to support me as well to generally feel much healthier. She views the birthday as an exception, where I feel like as soon as I make one exception its so much easier to make more. I’m not sure how to be around the birthday cake and everyone eating it so early in starting the program. Do you have any advice for me?

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      You are indeed facing a challenge! It is especially difficult in the beginning. However, our program is designed to happen in real life — and in real life, we get faced with these special occasions, right? You’re right that any deviation makes it more difficult to develop your new habits. I suggest you keep your eyes on your own plate. Your wife gets to decide what she eats, and you decide what you eat. Make a food plan for that day (like you will for every day) and know in advance exactly what you’re eating. Bring your own lunch maybe? Then let your eyes avoid contact with other people’s food.

      And perhaps find a mantra that works for you for while you are there? I like “that is NOT my food — that’s not food for me,” but you can find one you like better. Good luck!

      I am glad you have your wife’s support the rest of the time… it DOES get easier the more you follow your bright lines.

      Reply ·
  47. Wendy

    You address only intense exercise in the gym, not moderate exercise such as brisk walking. My whole adult life, the following simple statement has been true: the more I walk, the less I weigh. I believe exercise helps weight loss in three ways: by burning calories, revving up metabolism, and increasing endorphin levels, the last of which makes overeating less likely.

    Reply ·
  48. Mayan

    I loved watching your vlog and learning about this new way of eating. I am very intrigued with the bright line eating and started on Monday and already lost 2 pounds. I don’t have a ton of weight to lose but want to lose the weight and keep it off. My problem is that I am a teacher and I start my day very early. I have breakfast at 6:30 lunch around 12 (my lunch break) and dinner between 6 and 7. At around 5 my stomach is growling and I feel really really hungry (not the I feel like eating hunger but actual hunger). I don’t want to eat yet because I want to eat with my husband, however, I get very irritable and light-headed. Any thoughts on what to or how to overcome this problem? I’ve tried drinking tons of water, but this doesn’t seem to take the hunger away. I can already see that my husband is getting really mad at me because of this. Any advice would be great…Thanks!

    Reply ·
    1. Anna

      It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. Why is your husband getting mad? Don’t impose your beliefs on him. If you can go 6 hours between breakfast and lunch, you can do it between lunch and dinner. You need to prep your dinner so it is ready when your husband comes home for dinner, make yourself a cup of herbal tea, remove yourself from the kitchen and go read or paint your toe nails. I know, easier said than done, but necessary.

      Reply ·
      1. Mayan

        Thank you. However, what happens when we have people coming over for dinner and dinner ends up happening at 8pm?

        Reply ·
  49. LoisAnneMT

    Hi Susan:

    This will be a bit long… 😀

    I am still exploring BL. My sister referred me to your site. I have been obese since I got pregnant in 1981. Pre-pregnancy, it was all I could do to keep the weight ON! My average weight was 100-105 pounds at 5’1″ during my 20’s and even less in high school. I was also very physically active both in my work and free time life. One of my current doctors feels that pregnancy may have caused me to be diabetic and my thyroid to shut down. Both conditions went undiagnosed until 2010. By then other health conditions made themselves known and I could not ignore them (i.e. heart). After many doctors visits and diagnostic procedures, I am at least as stable as can be expected.

    Over the years I have tried to lose weight but did stay away from “diets”, so I have not experienced the yo-yo effect many people have. I rarely ate processed foods (i.e. Hamburger Helper) preferring to cook from scratch when I was home for meals, buuuttt… I did eat a lot of fast food because of my schedule during the week. I was rather ignorant or willfully in denial regarding my diet. My attempts have always included extreme exercise because that is what made sense to me especially, since I became a mom, my activity level was considerably reduced. I religiously went to a gym, that had free child care, and worked out 6 days a week, for 2 hours each day, including cardio and resistance training. It was not a social activity for me. I did not know anyone there. After 6 months, I had lost 10 pounds and several inches. I was much fitter but no significant weight loss for my efforts.

    Most recently, after I had changed my eating habits to a much healthier diet, eliminating fast food and restaurant eating, a friend asked me to teach him to ride horses. I had three and welcomed the opportunity to exercise them. At the time I worked at home so had a flexible schedule. We would ride 4-6 hours, every day, for the next 4 months. The horses were really fit from mountain climbing annnnd I lost 50 pounds. Over the last 10 years, I have gained about 20 pounds back.
    I am a fan of getting outdoors for fresh air and exercise, but having sustained many injuries, work related, over the years, my ability has been greatly diminished. I have also been diagnosed with several health conditions including insulin dependent diabetes and hypothyroidism that is controlled.

    Your vlog for this week has made so much sense in view of my past experiences. My appetite does increase greatly with exercise and the sabotaging attempts by the brain is sooo true! It has been so discouraging, especially in recent years to be diligently following what is recommended, tracking food intake daily, pre-measuring all of my food, exercise etc. and still no results. This failure is also met with disbelief that I was doing things properly, and insinuations that I “cheat”.

    This past year I even met with a G.I. doctor because I was concerned about my lack of appetite and my daily average caloric intake of 500-900 calories. I wanted to know what was wrong. He didn’t believe I was eating so little without any weight loss. So, I again kept a food log for 6 weeks which confirmed what I suspected. I was also having digestive upset when I did attempt to eat in addition to rapid dumping. I have since done some research, and discovered I had gone into starvation mode, which among other things, interferes with your brain’s perception of hunger. I made myself eat certain foods at certain times and my digestion is back on track again, and no pain.

    Yes, I am addicted to sugar and grain products. I have considerably reduced my intake of those items but will be eliminating the grains altogether. Can honey be substituted for raw sugar? My one indulgence is 2-3 cups of tea in the morning, but that is my only sugar (2-3 measured teaspoons ) intake at this time.

    I am on a fixed income but I will order your book. My weight HAS to come down and I am willing to try again. Your philosophy regarding exercise makes so much sense. If I can lose my weight I will feel encouraged to add an exercise regimen to my lifestyle again. I have a tricycle that I use to get around town with. It is the only thing at this time I can do without pain. Thank you so much for the fresh perspective and sharing your experiences.

    Reply ·
  50. Mary C. Arpaia

    Recieved the book, very informative but how do I start the 14 day challenge? Love your weekly blogs..

    Reply ·
  51. Therese

    I found this vlog to be very informative and it makes A LOT of sense from the stand point of not depleting your will power. My one concern would be the understanding I have that exercise prevents the loss of muscle when losing weight. Is this another common miconception? I am seriously considering this program, but am concerned about losing muscle. Thank you for all the information!

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      It’s inevitable that we lose a little muscle along with the fat when we lose weight… but it can quickly come back, Therese. It’s so important to get our brains away from food cravings and gain some automaticity with our new food program; THEN exercise is super great to do!

      Reply ·
  52. Karen S Winchester

    Hi. I am at the near end of Day 1 of the 14 day challenge. So far so good. 🙂 I had to substitute the protein I had planned on because when I went to work, my cheese plate with apples was gone, lol! I had just done some grocery shopping so I had other stuff plus my planned on veggies in the office fridge. I appreciate the vlog about exercise because it is something I have had a lot of guilt over not doing. I used to walk a lot but about year ago was getting what I think was shin splints. I know I can benefit from basic yoga stretching so I’ll just stick to that and celebrate being excused from exercise for now.

    Reply ·
  53. Megha Nancy Buttenheim

    Congratulations on the book. I am a bright lifer and have not received it yet. I signed up for it as soon as we were asked to buy it. Hoping it shows up soon.

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Hi Megha, So sorry you don’t have the book yet! Please go to support.brightlineeating.com and scroll to bottom of page, the banner that says “Click Here for More Help” and submit a ticket… we can now track the book delivery and make sure you get yours soon!

      Reply ·
  54. Liz moore

    two years ago I tried to lose weight by exercise, and calorie management through my fitness pal for weight loss. What a disaster, over the two months I did 1-2 HIT workouts a day, tracked all calories., i was always on point for calories or below. was so muscle sore every day I could barely move, I didn’t lose an ounce , I lost a few inches , I eventually gave up and decided that I was just going to be chubby!
    Fast forward 2 years and I have now joined BLE and have completed 8 weeks of bright line eating and NO exercise (phew) . I have lost 8 pounds and 13 inches!

    Reply ·
  55. Dr. Judith Boice

    I’m wondering if you are familiar with other information about how SHORT periods of exercise (less than 18 minutes) burns carbohydrates; greater than 18 minutes burns fat. If someone exercises > than 18 minutes they burn fat, and the body wants to REPLACE fat, which in turn slows metabolism. The short bursts of exercise burn fewer calories BUT increase metabolism for 4 – 5 hours after the short term movement. Below is a slide from a powerpoint presentation I created, with studies cited after:
    Laval University, Quebec, two groups¹
    Long duration: 45 minutes uninterrupted of cycling
    Short duration: short bursts, 15 – 90 seconds, resting in between
    Long duration burned twice as many calories
    Interval group burned 9 times as much fat

    Short duration, high intensity
    Increases HDL cholesterol²
    Increases testosterone (supports memory, libido, bone density and strength)³
    Decreases testosterone and androstenedione, increases FSH for women with PCOS⁴
    Bottom line: normalizes hormones

    Metabolism 1994; 43: 814-818
    Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2002; 34: 1468-1474
    Journal of Applied Physiology 1999: 87(3) 982-992.
    Haqq L1, McFarlane J. Effect of lifestyle intervention on the reproductive endocrine profile in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Endocr Connect. 2014 Feb 28;3(1):36-46. doi: 10.1530/EC-14-0010. Print 2014.

    The point here: short bursts of movement/exercise throughout the day increases metabolism and fat burning (the AFTER effects of short bursts). The longer bouts of exercise (>18 minutes) increase FAT burning, burn more calories in the SHORT term, but then reduce overall metabolism later in the day (so the body can replace the burned fat).

    Bottom line: I encourage patients to do shorts bursts of movement/exercise throughout the day, e.g. walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, dancing for five minutes after a meal, etc.

    I’m assuming you also are aware of other health benefits of exercise. As passionate as I am about diet, I was humbled to read recent research that EXERCISE, not diet, was the single most important factor in reducing breast cancer risk AND reducing mortality after breast cancer treatment. Too much exercise, though (e.g. running marathons) increased mortality. I think of everything related to our health have a “physiological,” just right amount. Too much exercise is like a pharmaceutical dose and has detrimental effects.

    Reply ·
    1. Richard

      Awesome information. Makes a ton of sense to me in my life experience.

      Reply ·
  56. Loretta

    Hi there. I just heard about Bright Lines from an acquaintance who lost a good amount of weight before my eyes. I am 63 and had pretty much given up on weight lost, since it has been such a chore after menopause… but I am gaining!! So, I have ordered your book and plan to investigate the 14 day challenge.

    I have been a vegetarian since 1985 without any thought of wavering from that commitment. This gives me hope that having “bright lines” of dietary restrictions may be the exact thing I need. I will keep you posted!

    Reply ·
  57. Stig

    I have a problem finding the 2009 Plos One article you were referring to. Could you state the publication date or the Article DOI (Digital object identifier ) please?

    Reply ·
  58. Kelly

    Thank you for this! I have found in my years of yo-yo dieting that exercise didn’t always get the work done. Years ago I had lost 35 pounds without exercising at all. Focusing on eating right is hard enough. Your explanation makes total sense to me. 🙂
    Also, as a Minnesotan who went to First Ave on his anniversary, thank you for mentioning Prince. What an extraordinary human! 🙂

    Reply ·
  59. Megan

    I agree that you won’t lose weight when exercising. I have been doing crossfit for about two years now and have gained weight. Not inches though. I have been trying the BLE for a week and I have some questions about the food intake. I understand that you don’t recommend exercise unless it is like brushing your teeth.. which it is for me. I would completely lose it if I had to stop. It is my outlet and anxiety relief. My question is this though, with doing crossfit/oylmpic lifting do you still recommend such low caloric intake? I am seriously SO SO SO hungry and it is making me feel weak, dizzy, and straight cranky! The book doesn’t go into detail about exercise and it is hard to find any other information on this site about it. Thank you!

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Hi Megan, We don’t count calories here, so I’m not sure what you mean. Are you following our food plan? We do offer coaching to those in our Boot Camp who are doing a lot of exercise to adjust their food plan per their specific needs.

      Reply ·
      1. Megan

        I guess I worded that wrong…as in only 3 meals with the 4oz protein, 6oz veggies, etc. I am just wondering if it is ok to add in a grain to each meal or something of that nature to help me not to binge. I am just going off the book, not the boot camp. It is just not something that is affordable in our budget right now. As an athlete, my body is used to eating a lot more! I am just wondering if there is a general guide line for athletes doing the BLE. I am not over weight, honestly I am close to a “right size body”. My issues are more with food obsession and the occasional eat all the brownies and don’t stop mentality….

        Reply ·
  60. Kristen

    Thank you for addressing being able to go to the gym after you get to your desired weight! That had been my main concern starting this. I get crazy awesome endorphins when I work out. My depression goes away, I have tons of energy, and I’m generally a much more pleasant person. I had been worried that I would never be able to work out again. I’m so excited that once I reach my goal weight, I’ll be able to work out again!

    Reply ·
  61. Andrea

    Another great Vlog! I’m just now catching up on them – binge-BLEing one per night! 😍I have personally found that NOT exercising (cardio, that is) when starting a diet to lose weight is a good practice for two reasons: 1) exercise does make you super hungry (and now I know the science behind the dynamic as well – thanks Susan!); and 2) if you’re very overweight, unless you’re swimming or some other non-load bearing cardio, it can’t be good for your joints! No doubt worse if you’re older like me. I would recommend waiting until a substantial chunk is off and your new eating habits are well ingrained and then phase in the cardio for all the benefits it bestows. It’s now part of my maintenance routine and working well.

    Reply ·
  62. Clare

    Hi, just found BLE this week and it’s been a revelation and inspiration! I have a few personal queries though. I am a breastfeeding mother so do I need to in crease my food intake to suit? I am increasing my calorific intake by including seeds instead of milk products (dairy and soy intolerant) but is this enough?

    Reply ·
  63. Daina

    I second the last commenters question: how do you do this safely while breastfeeding? When you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, most people would encourage you to “eat when you’re hungry” which can be confusing because sometimes, your brain is telling you you’re hungry when your body is not. I have searched all over the internet and am halfway through the bright line eating book but I haven’t been able to find any info about the safety while breastfeeding. This is pertinent to me because I am currently tandem nursing a newborn and a 2 year old. Would really appreciate a response! Thanks you!

    Reply ·
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