How to Provide Loving Support

The Bright Line Eating community is famous for its particularly loving and compassionate form of support. But what does that look like in practical terms? In particular, how do you support someone who is struggling to stick to their Bright Lines? In this week’s vlog, I provide a cheat sheet—the basic do’s and don’ts of truly loving and helpful support. And the good news is this applies not just within BLE, but in every relationship we experience.


  1. Kate

    Great vlog with great information! Many years ago I actually took a 40 course on this exact topic … listening and support without advising. Thank you for the quick refresher

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  2. Kim

    Right on !! This is such a hard concept to teach in our ‘fix it quick culture’. But it is so important to learn to give each other true respect and real connection.
    Thank you !!

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  3. Joseph

    Thank you Dr. Thompson. I always wondered why offering solid advice rarely made a difference. You just taught me something important. Thanks again.
    Joseph in Missoula

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  4. Claire

    What a great vlog for all conversations huh? 🙂 Thank-you! I gotta remember to have these sorts of conversations with myself too! Talk about self compassion!
    And-btw…I noticed right away you changed your intro…Do what feels best-but I loved the original too-seems to be your bouncy, happy self…probably will never please all of us! 😉

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  5. Sarah

    What a wonderful reminder of how to support ourselves lovingly. Thank you so much for sharing that unrequested advice is not effective as a support but listening and providing a mirrored response is. There was really a lot of love in your vlog today.

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  6. Sheila

    This vlog is just what I needed to hear tonight. Just before listening to this vlog my Inner Critic was chastising me for the second time this week for going off my BLE plan by having a dessert. I was at a large gathering (which is not my favourite place to be) and when I was served dessert, I immediately ate it, despite having resolved on my way to the restaurant that I was not going to have any sugar. My Isolator has been telling me that I can do this on my own without any help from people (fear that they will judge me). Obviously, this position is not working for me. I think it’s time to reach out for support….

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Thanks for sharing, Sheila! Support may be just the thing you need right now. We’re here for you and so are many others. <3

      Reply ·
  7. Stefi

    Love this vlog.! Thank you Susan ☺️

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  8. Susan

    What a great vlog this week! Thank you. I have been reluctant to post anything on the Facebook groups because when I did post a food struggle I was having during Bootcamp, the comments felt awful to me. I felt judged and shamed which was probably not the intention of the people responding but that’s how the advise felt to me.

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  9. Susan Clow

    Perfect and I love what you said. That is what we should do for everyone on every issue that comes in.

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  10. Berni

    Susan, this is so so so good. I’m writing this down … I want to tattoo it on my arm. Brilliant. And those of us who have Manager parts who are advice-givers, caregivers, sympathizers, etc (me) we can just automatically go oh so wrong with folks who are hurting. Great! Thank you.

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  11. Amy

    Fantastic, Susan. So needed and beautifully
    delivered. Copyright and send to FA WSO, please! 🙏

    Reply ·
  12. Lu

    Wow! I am really struggling to stay on plan. I lost 90lbs & have put on 25 of it. It is a very frustrating & scary time . I am at a crossroad … either I am going to gain back the weight or I am going to regain control. Everything you said was spot on! Thank you because your words of example really helped me feel less alone tonight.

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      You’re definitely not alone, Lu. Let us know how we can support you! <3

      Reply ·
  13. Laura

    My favorite vlog yet- I so resonate with having been moralized and judged and not having a safe space to express my struggle- I’m pretty good at providing this for others but haven’t found many who are willing/able to be the support I need- so I often struggle alone. Thank you for addressing this much needed topic. Our community is strong but full of wonderful people who love to give advice, ha!

    Reply ·
    1. Vera

      Thanks so much for this vlog. I’m sure it will help all my relationships including the one with myself. I always learn so much from your vlogs. I love your intros and hope you always continue to be you.
      Thank you!!

      Reply ·
  14. Thinking on it....

    Hmmm. Yes, it’s nice to be heard. However when I’m struggling, I’m already in the thick of my thoughts and hearing them back and having only the presence of the listener, without their thoughts ….I think really will leave me feeling more empty. Like “that was a waste of time”, I knew that before I got vulnerable and opened up and I don’t know any more now. So the cost of being vulnerable and of reaching out and asking for support was a much higher cost than the benefit gained. Maybe?

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD

      You can always ask for their thoughts. 🙂

      Reply ·
  15. Gina Heese

    At least you didn’t get rid of your “click and a wink” at the END of your vlog, Susan!
    This was such AMAZING insight and information! Thank you!

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  16. Sandy

    BRAVO!! Thank You, Susan! THIS is true in almost ANY situation, in ANY relationship. People want to feel heard, deeply listened to, not judged, but valued and affirmed that they matter. I learned this years ago when my younger sister, in a terrible marriage, would call to vent, again and again. I gave her advice, again and again. She NEVER took my advice, EVER! And I was left after every phone call feeling heavy with her burdens…which I dutifully took on as an older sister. FINALLY, I GOT IT!! She wasn’t calling for advice, she was calling to be heard, to be held…until SHE could figure it all out, on her own terms. I begin to NOT offer a word of advice but simply responded with love and care and words of sharing in her feelings…a lot of “ahhhs and oh mys”. She began to shift and then to see her own way out and ways to problem solving. (And, I felt unburdened after her calls!) Her Higher and wiser Self emerged and she successfully made healthy changes in her life. I just held “space” for her ….it really was easy. I learned a lot about myself as well.

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  17. Helga

    Thank you for this cheat sheet, I feel less helpless now.
    Soooo glad you changed your introductory eye rolling!!! Mostly I used to keep my eyes shut in order not to feel sick.

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  18. Ellen Oliver

    Wow, Susan, thank you so much for this! I am one of the ones you made this for; I started BLE last October and my lines have been bright. I am a college professor and advice-giver, and I am pretty sure I did not support some folks correctly during my phone calls in RebootRezoom. I feel so opened up and made aware by this vlog, and going forward I will hopefully be much better-equipped to be more supportive of folks. Thank you!

    Reply ·
  19. RM

    Thank You Susan. Some of us who are not as good at reaching out for support can feel burned easily as well once we do. Most of my BLE Journey has been pleasant & successful but I must share a frustration. I reached out for support early in my Boot Camp & got no response. It was a simple request from those in our FB group & I felt ignored so I have been hesitant to reach out much & post there. Our Leaders have been great, it was not them. One of them even shared my request & I still got nothing from the group we reached out to for information.

    Reply ·
    1. Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD

      RM, I’m so sorry for your experience. That sounds really painful, and I can see why it would make it hard to lean into the community again. I’m with you in your pain and disappointment. ❤️

      Reply ·
  20. Linda Pearcy

    Oh my!!! Did you see me at that handful of nuts?? This week has been a “nutty” week for me. Thank you so much for this vlog. I’ve given myself self compassion and forgiveness. Moving right along. I love you and your “bouncy self”.

    Reply ·
  21. Claire Hackett

    So glad you did this (although I would have LOVED it before the Gideon Games started since I already did the very things you say NOT to do!!! UGH!!) Thank you!!!!

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      We are all learning, Claire, and when we know better, we do better! You’ll have more opportunities to practice leaning in and giving support. <3

      Reply ·
  22. Tammy Peatfield

    Great vlog. But I wanted to let you know I liked the old opening, I looked forward to it.

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Ha ha! You definitely can’t please everyone! The opening is quite the debate! 😉

      Reply ·
  23. Liane Anderson

    I do LOVE that you did something a little different at the start of the video! Seems a little more respectful to me. Thanks for the good tips on being a helpful buddy. Now if I can only get someone to be my buddy…..

    Reply ·
  24. Bobbie

    I do like the new way of opening your vlog. SO many people love to tell you how to fix things or instead of listening , go on to tell you what they did. This vlog is so important!!! Information that can be adhered to with anyone in any situation. Thank you Dr. Thompson.

    Reply ·
  25. Betsy

    This is really helpful information – basic, but shared in a great easy to apply way. I think this would be great to post on Bright lifers site, bootcamp sites, etc.
    Thanks again for all you do.

    Reply ·
    1. SatSundri Kaur

      I learned this guideline ‘not give advice unless asked’ when I was young ( almost 70 now) and it has served me well. The presupposing the Isolator from an external point of ‘you’ can almost feel to me as a judgment. Sometimes in a really busy life, even though I do appreciate the bright lines work, I am so busy working with others, family, etc., It’s hard to figure out how to fit in “more community”, not necessarily just wanting to be on my own. So for me it’s a reprioritizing issue for my ‘me’. I have a hard time with – if I can’t serve myself how in my going to serve anyone else well? Yeah? ❤️
      Just a BTW I like seeing Your flexibility with your opening and closing on the Vlogs. Thank you. Really great work and important material. 🙏🏽

      Reply ·
  26. Alice Finnamore

    Thanks. Just what I needed to hear today.
    And yes, I noticed the new beginning. ❤️

    Reply ·
  27. Cindy


    What a great vlog!

    I learned in a class in college about active listening a long time ago, and it has been a life’s journey to get good at it, as is weight loss. You are right, as a society we are not good listeners or even listeners. If in part of the BLE journey people learn to be better listeners, what a huge blessing!

    I also love the way you started your vlog today. It shows that you swallowed your pride to be willing to grow. Which is what you are asking us to do. Such a sweet picture.

    I really enjoy your vlogs. I have been watching them for about a year now.

    God Bless!


    Reply ·
  28. Constance Joy

    As Spirit would have it, your wonderful vlog, my decision to rezoom on Thursday, May 16th after isolating, and my friend wanting to start Bright Line eating, all converged on the same day and I am so thankful for your vlog (especially the isolating piece which has been my story for a couple of months at least.) Thank you! I will refer my friend to this Safe Haven for sustained weight loss and incredible support. So glad to be back!

    Reply ·
  29. Mary Ann McKarns

    I signed up for the 14 days for $29.00, but
    did not send the money ; I would like to talk
    to someone first. I have been on such a plan
    years ago, weighted food, etc., but now I live in
    in a Senior residential place where my food,
    one meal a day is provided, so I would be giving
    up the socialization of that so I would like to talk
    to some one. My email address is mamckarns or if you are able to call, my number is
    239-204-9967. I live in Fort Myers,FL. 33908;
    10100 Cypress Cove Dr. 339086.
    Thank you very much. Mary Ann McKarns.

    Reply ·
    1. Stephanie

      Publishing your personal information was not a wise thing to do.
      BLE has a private way to contact them.

      Reply ·
    2. Bright Line Eating

      Hi Mary Ann! Our team will be giving you a call soon! If ever you need to get in touch with us, please go to and you can submit a form there! <3

      Reply ·
  30. Janice

    Thank you for the great vlog on this important topic. I am one who would shy away from reaching out for support because, like you mentioned, I already knew the “rules” and what I needed to do differently, it’s the surrender and commitment that is lacking. I have yet to find whatever it is that will fully get me there. Possibly related, I also found the “you got this” type comments (I think of it as cheerleading), not very meaningful or helpful. This is just a personal perspective and not meant to be a judgment on those who offer this support (I engaged in it as well). I think in some, maybe many, instances it can be helpful. But speaking from a perspective of a deep inner struggle, this is my experience. Thanks for all you do with honesty and integrity. I’m a fan of the intro change!

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Good thoughts here, Janice. Maybe it’s time we rethink when and how we are using “You got this.”

      Reply ·
  31. Karen

    Nice change to your beginning. I absolutely noticed. 😁

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  32. Michele montgomery

    I loved this vlog! Thank you!

    Reply ·
  33. Carrie

    Thank you. This vlog is ….perfect.

    Reply ·
  34. Nancy Goss

    Brilliant idea to share this vlog! I have used this reflective technique for years with students! It works amazingly well. Always, it leads to their ownership of solving the issues they are working through. Thanks for the vlog post!

    Reply ·
  35. Jacqui

    Dear Susan: Thanks very much for this. Intuitively, I’ve always known this but practically, I tend to feel like I have to DO something and, funnily, advice, being more ‘active,’ feels more like I’ve ‘even’ something or ‘done’ something. It’s great to get some support for this. xx

    Reply ·
  36. Boni-esther Enquist

    Thank you so much, Susan. That was very helpful. It’s a MUST watch for all group leaders, teachers, counselors, etc.

    Reply ·
  37. Jacqui

    …..’given’ something….(not ‘even’….)

    Reply ·
  38. Stephanie Smith

    I have a friend who underwent bariatric surgery several months ago. She weighed close to 400 pounds
    and wore a size 32. Her attitude towards taking control of her life is driving me bonkers. She is seeing
    a Counselor to try a determine what is her trigger. She is going thru her second session of Celebrate Recovery.
    She hired a Personal Trainer. But and this is what makes me BONKERS is she is going to let him worry about her weight loss.
    She has a reason why. Fact is she has reason and excuse to justify everything. Would she think about BLE. No. Because she refuses to weigh and measure her food
    even though her Trainer wants her to because she did it when she was Weight Watchers lost a 100 pounds and gained it all back.
    Keeping my mouth shut is getting harder and harder.
    I liked the new opening.

    Reply ·
  39. Lesley Smith

    I needed this vlog. Thank you Susan!

    Reply ·
  40. Audree Lyles

    Boy, that hit a target with me! So glad you posted this vlog!!! Ive often felt that way. And for sure my Isolator is at work, BIG TIME!!! Thanks for sharing this!!!

    I think this advice will help in other areas of my sphere, too! I can just mirror back what the person is saying. I don’t have to fix their problem! And I can empathize with them.
    Thank you again!!!

    Reply ·
  41. Sue

    Wow! You continue to amaze me. I always feel that you are coming from a place of love and compassion.
    My isolator, as you said is afraid of being judged and my rebel gets really annoyed at people giving me advice.
    I’m going to stay out of the boxing ring and just show up and listen. And, for myself, I’ll do the same and let my authentic self deal with the situation.
    Thanks for all your great Vlogs.

    Reply ·
  42. Tricia Abensur Ting

    Amazing Vlog! Thank you, SPT.

    Reply ·
  43. susie k

    Dear Susan,
    hahaa I sure did notice the change in the way you started the vlog! I was getting used to the eye roll and tilted head back & forth. either way you are beautiful and brilliant. your vlogs always make me think! this one is tough. I am a good listener but I usually do try to give advice. I can see now it is not helpful most of the time. I will ask first from now on. thank you!

    Reply ·
  44. Katherine

    This was fantastic, a real keeper! I struggle with impulsively giving advice, and I can see it backfiring, diminishing the connection with the other person (actually annoying them.) I genuinely want to share the things and program(s) that have worked for me and all thatI have learned, but now understand I will need a different outlet for that. Yikes.
    PS Really interesting to have you change the start of the vlog! I’m among the people who didn’t like it, but I DID find it a good practice for myself to practice tolerance, reduce perfectionism, and realize that my preferences are not everyone’s!

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  45. Katherine

    PS And — Maybe this vlog should be an integral part of Bootcamp and Bright Line Freedom!

    Reply ·
  46. Michelle McKenzie-Voigt

    THIS. IS. GENIUS. And once more, for those in the back – THIS. IS. GENIUS. What great advice – not just for the BLE journey, but for the myriad interactions we have with each other every day! Love your vlogs,love you. You’re AWESOME.

    Reply ·
  47. Sara

    I (as a buddy), wrote in one day because I felt at my tether’s end. My Buddy was off track, very upset with herself, overwhelmed with work, family and life. She repeatedly said the same things and stayed miserable and stuck…and I was probably doing the very thing I should not – giving advice ! The response I got on the coaching call made ME feel judged and inadequate. In a nutshell I was told that the alchemy was obviously not operating between the two of us so it would be better to end our Buddy relationship… I came away none the wiser ! I would have so LOVED to have heard this precious vlog back then !!! So I am THRILLED to have this very beautiful reminder. THANK YOU SUSAN ! So today I commit to NOT offer advice unless otherwise asked !

    Reply ·
  48. Gill Hughes

    Beautiful! Well done Susan and thank you. xxx

    Reply ·
  49. Christy

    This is why I am not on facebook or other places to share. I don’t want advice, but I don’t want ahhs and oh mys. I want reassurance and most of the time it’s criticism. so I stay away from boards, groups etc.
    I did the 2 week program and I am not even sure if there is any place to get help. But I have been successful.
    Susan you have passion for your mission and I love your passion, eye rolling or not, your passion shows.
    BLE is a fantastic healthy way of living. I love it.

    Reply ·
  50. VaryFi

    I have the same concern/need Christy shared. I think we would be good buddies, however, only being able to afford the 14-day program, there is no way to connect with a buddy. Is there a way to connect us? I would love to “chat” with her.

    Reply ·
  51. sara

    Your advice is so helpful. It always is. Your weekly vlogs are my medicine dose….sometimes it is more effective than others. This was a good one!

    Reply ·
  52. Susan Lafferty

    This vlog was a great gift to us. Thank you.

    Reply ·
  53. Ann King

    Genius genius genius! Thank you for this lesson and for all you do for us. This info is valuable is so many aspects of our lives.

    Reply ·
  54. Kate

    This vlog is an answer to all interactions with people. So so helpful!!

    Reply ·
  55. heather

    Thank you Susan, a drop of Light and Love from the Cosmos so profound and important, a wonderful new skill for me to adopt that will provide the best sort of help.

    Reply ·
  56. Silvia

    I think this might be my favourite vlog of yours since the beginning. 🙂

    Reply ·
  57. Colleen

    Thank you Susan for your great insight.
    I have struggled with this and now rarely confide in friends. I find they come straight back with a comparison to themselves almost a one up man ship. It often seems my feelings are trivialised and some are serious issues.
    I would come away thinking I was an unappreciative friend so thanks for helping me to see this another way. I do tend to isolate myself after one of these interactions, now I understand why.
    I have just signed up for Brightline Freedom. So glad I did

    Reply ·
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